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How to Design Web Forms to Maximize Conversions
As someone who doesn’t know how to use the post office and gets easily frustrated with automated phone systems, web contact forms are a godsend. Well, when they’re done right. But make it too long or too complex and what is supposed to be a convenient website feature can turn into a karaoke version of an Adele song—not pretty.
To prevent your customers from hurling their laptops and tablets at their cats when they become overly frustrated while filling out your tedious website contact forms, we’ve compiled a list of tips for improving your web form design. Bonus? A simpler web form can drastically increase your online conversions.
Clearly Demonstrate Value and Create Trust
People don’t like giving away their information. In order to improve the probability of your site’s visitors filling out your contact form, you need to clearly demonstrate the value of submitting their information while minimizing the risk of doing so.
Take a look at this Amazon form:
The text on Amazon’s submit button reads “sign in using our secure server.” This helps create trust between Amazon and its customers by ensuring them that the server is secure and their information is safe.
Once you’ve created trust, it’s time to demonstrate value. Look at Hubspot’s free trial landing page:
The content on the landing page outlines the benefits of signing up for a free trial in an easy to read, bulleted list. Hubspot also highlights that the trial is free (they use the word “free” four times on the page) and that no credit card is required to sign up.
When it comes to marketing your business and selling your products and services, it’s important to minimize friction. In this context (as opposed to the context of your son or daughter’s eighth grade physics class), friction refers to a psychological resistance to a given element in the sales process. “The greater the friction experienced by visitors, the lower the probability of conversions,” Marketing Experiments reports.
Of course you can minimize friction in a number of ways—from the way you word your website copy and calls to action to the types of banners and images on your site. Today we will simply discuss minimizing friction with your website contact forms.
While we recommend testing and tracking changes made to your web contact forms to find out which way converts best for your site, we’ve included some widely accepted tips for designing a web form:
Reduce Number of Form Fields
The fewer form fields you require, the better. In one case study, Expedia eliminated one form field on a website contact form which resulted in a $12 million profit. The more fields you add to your form, the lower the conversion rate you can expect. According to Neil Patel, optimum conversion rate for a form with three fields is 25 percent; 20 percent for forms with 3-5 fields; and 15 percent for forms with six or more fields.
Ultimately, if you’re not going to use the information, don’t ask for it.
Simplify Form Layout
When it comes to designing your contact form, we recommend (and studies confirm) you keep your layout as simple as possible—this ensures that the user does not get distracted and abandon the form. And if you think web users don’t get distracted easily, think again. I checked my Facebook three times while writing this paragraph (sorry Ben!).
In addition to keeping it simple, we also recommend using vertically arranged fields as opposed to horizontal ones. Eye tracking studies confirm that scanning down a form is preferable to scanning from left to right, as it reduces the number of eye movements needed to complete the form:
Pre-filling contact form registration fields with information you already have from your returning website customers is a great way to increase website conversions and even collect additional information.
With the Hubspot contact form I mentioned above, since I was a returning customer, Hubspot pre-filled a majority of the form with information they’d already collected from me. Next, they added an optional field: “What’s your biggest marketing challenge?” Because the rest of the information was already filled out for me, I’m more likely to take the time to answer this question.
To Captcha or Not to Captcha?
For our clients, we generally recommend leaving captchas off of web forms. If you’re interested in increasing conversions, it’s important to minimize friction and obstacles that might prevent your customers from filling out a form.
If you do have spam problems on your site and have to use a captcha, make sure it’s one that’s easy to read.
Looking to Increase Your Website’s Conversion Rate?
If you’d like to get more website conversions, we can help. Improving your website’s visit-to-lead conversion rate by just a few percentage points can have a huge impact on future leads and dramatically increase the value of each new website visitor. We’ve helped companies from a variety of industries double, triple, and even quadruple their website conversion rates.
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