Online conversion forms are one of the most difficult aspects of a digital platform. There doesn’t seem to be an exact formula to get viewers to convert, and even if there was, it changes for every business. One company might find that a blue call-to-action button gets them 20% more conversions, while another company might see fewer conversions with a blue button. There’s no doubt that optimizing conversion forms is a tricky business.
Since its such a hassle, then why do digital marketers even try to optimize conversion forms?
Are conversion forms really worth all the work we put into them?
Well, yes. Conversion forms are actually a quality free way to get vital contact information for qualified leads. They’re one of the cornerstones of any digital marketing strategy, and without that contact information, you’ll have no one to send your compelling content to, no one to email, and really, no one to pull through the sales funnel.
If you want to create a digital marketing strategy that works for your company, you need contacts. Conversion forms are how you get the most qualified contacts likely to take you up on your product or service. They’re interested in what you’re selling, they just need a bit more time to think. Capturing these leads’ contact info is paramount, which is why you need a conversion form that’s inviting, and that people want to fill out.
How do you make an effective conversion form?
While any company will have to do individual testing on their own website to see which features, colors, and minor changes offer the best results, there are a few universal tips guaranteed to help boost your forms’ conversion rates:
Place the form above the fold
No matter what, your form should be above the fold. This means that when your page pops up in a viewer’s browser, your form is one of the first things they see without having to scroll. This makes it easy for leads who want to know more about your product or service to find and fill out that form. What’s more, say you have a site viewer who was a bit on the fence. Even if they’re not sure your product is right for them, when they see that form front and center, offering them some benefit for just their email address, they’re more likely to fill it out. Don’t make your site viewers go hunting to find more information. Place your forms above the fold.
Your headline should really function as a call to action all of its own. It should be short, punchy, and to the point. Stay away from gimmicky titles that seem greasy, like “Lose 20 pounds in just 10 days!!,” but make sure your title clearly states what you’re offering. Try to keep it around 5 to 7 words, and make sure it’s advertising what you’re giving out.
For example, if you’re providing a free e-book download about choosing healthy options at a grocery store, your title shouldn’t be “Lose weight fast!” That’s not what you’re offering. Something along the lines of “Find food that fuels you” is more in line with your content, and doesn’t mislead your viewer. By ensuring that your title is relevant to your content or offer, and that it’s short and eye catching, you’ll draw in more qualified leads who legitimately want the content you’re providing.
Clear, compelling benefits
When you’re providing some sort of offer, whether it’s a discount promotion, a free digital e-book download, or an informational white page, the benefits should be clear to your viewer. Statistically, web users are more likely to fill out a form when the benefits to them are clearly outlined. Adding two to three bullet points in front of the form will help you define to your viewers exactly what they’re going to get when they give you their contact information.
We live in a visually dominated world. People live for high-quality, eye catching photos. Make sure the page your form is on is visually appealing by including a relevant image. Now it’s true that sometimes an image doesn’t make sense for your page. Say you sell machine parts, for example. Machine parts aren’t exactly beautiful, and you’re probably not going to catch anyone’s eye with a photo of your favorite gear.
In that case, you should make sure you’re at least using a color and layout that draws people in. Bright colors that match your website’s color palette, and a clean layout without too many extras can do just as well as a conversion form with an Instagram-worthy photo. The bottom line here is that your form has to look beautiful, so that people take a second to stop and read what you have to offer.
Allow for white space
You want people to see your form and fill it out. That’s the main goal of any conversion form page, right? So it needs to be easy to read, and relatively uncluttered. Stick to one image at most, a small sentence or two about the benefits, your headline and your form. More importantly, make sure those elements make adequate use of white space. White or blank space around your form can do a lot to draw a reader’s eye exactly where you want it, so make sure your conversion page doesn’t seem cluttered or squished. Spread those four elements out nicely so that your page is readable and clean, and you’ll likely see a bump in conversions.
As you might imagine, the form on your conversion form page is one of the most important aspects of the page. It’s the part people actually fill out, and it’s what gets you the contact information you need. So, it needs to be well thought out to get the conversions you want. When it comes to your actual form fields, there are a few things to consider tweaking:
Conversion form length:
One of the biggest deterrents to potential leads are lengthy, complicated forms. The best thing you can do to boost conversions is to take out all of the forms you don’t absolutely need. Studies have shown that even removing just 3 fields from a form can increase submission rates by overwhelming percentages.
Phone number field:
In the age of digital technology, no one wants to speak on the phone. If you can, consider removing the phone number field from your form, or at least make it an optional field. People are very wary of unsolicited calls and telemarketers, so if you don’t make the phone number field required, you’re likely to boost your conversion rates.
If your conversion form absolutely has to be long:
We get it, there are some situations where you need a lot of information. Say you’re working on a subscription basis, or you provide glasses or contacts––you need a lot of information to be able to offer a quality product. So what can you do to keep that form long, but still boost conversions?
- Break it up – Consider turning your form into a few pages or steps. Step 1 can be basic info: name, email, address. Step 2 can be some of your more detailed information. Step 3 can allow them to review their information, and submit that form. By breaking your form up into three simple steps, and showing the lead where they are at each point, it’s less intimidating than a page-long form with a billion fields to fill out.
- Make some fields optional – If you still need a long form, then at least try to make some of the fields optional. This way people don’t feel forced to give you every little tidbit of information, and they can tab through the form quickly.
Once you’ve got the form how you want it, it all comes down to your CTA button. This is the last step site viewers have to get through before they officially become a lead. That means your CTA button is insanely important. So important, in fact, that we wrote a whole blog about them. In case you don’t want to read the blog, know that the basics are as follows:
- It should be a contrasting, bright color
- It should stand out on the page
- It should not say ‘Submit’
- This is the death of all CTA buttons. Studies have shown that buttons that say submit are very unlikely to get people to convert.
- Your CTA button should indicate what’s going to happen after they click that button.
- Options like download, schedule appointment, get started, log in, and get your free e-book now, are much better, higher converting choices.
Include a privacy statement
You know that tiny little fine print you see at the bottom of a lot of submission forms that says, “we respect your privacy,” or “All submissions or private. We’ll never spam you.”? It actually does a lot to build trust with the consumer. People won’t submit their email address if they’re afraid they’ll be spammed for the rest of their lives. Including a small privacy statement at the bottom of your form can go a long way to boosting conversion rates.
Just know that it has to be true. Don’t say you won’t spam a client if you plan on using their email address to send them content regularly. Instead say “We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time,” and then make sure that’s true. The only thing worse than not having a privacy statement is having one that’s a lie.
Promote the conversion form during peak times
Once you’ve got your form set up the way you like it, you need people to get to it, right? It doesn’t do you much good if it’s just sitting in some hidden corner of your website, so promote it! And promote it at the right times. If you’re into Facebook ads or boosted posts, make sure you’re linking to that conversion form page in your post, and promote it at the times you know people are going to be surfing the web. This handy article from Hubspot can help you out with that. When you promote your form on social media at the right time, you’re going to get more eyes on it, and since you’ve optimized it so people stay on the page, you’ll get more conversions too!
When in doubt, A/B test
Finally, even after you’ve promoted your form and made all kinds of changes, you’re still not done with that form. You’ll want to continually A/B test each element of your form to ensure that you keep working to boost your conversion rates. From the color of your CTA button to the shape of your fields, even the most miniscule changes can make a big difference. Make sure to only test one aspect of your form at a time for the most accurate results, and use your findings to further optimize your conversion form.
Now that you know what goes into a quality conversion form, let’s look at a few well-thought-out examples:
An excellent example of a conversion form that doesn’t need a picture, Asana’s first page “Move Work Forward” is simple and effective. Asana is a web and mobile app designed to help businesses and teams track their work. Even if you didn’t know that, you could probably pick up the idea just from their punchy, three word title. This form uses a ton of blank space, and because there is no image, the reader’s eye is immediately drawn to the white of the field box. They’ve got one sentence explaining what Asana does, and their contrasting purple CTA button says “Get started for FREE,” an excellent, clear alternative to a boring submit button.
This is a good example of making a longer form work. Obviously Uber needs quite a bit of information from any potential driver, and here they effectively get some of that initial info without seeming overwhelming. They clearly state that by filling out the form, you will start your path to becoming an Uber driver, and their page is very clean. Again, this form is above the fold, showing a) that Uber’s top web priority is signing up drivers, and b) it’s simple for people to sign up. This clear, inviting form is a great example of what works.
This one is a bit different, but still very effective. You’ll note that Instagram’s sign up page doesn’t have a title, but they get away with it because it’s pretty clear they want you to sign up or login to your Instagram page. Their buttons also do a really great job of explaining what site viewers are going to get, without being lengthy or bulky. A simple “sign up,” “log in,” and “download the app,” are quick, to the point, and get the viewers going where they need to go. The image for this conversion form is also an excellent choice, because not only is it visually appealing, it shows visitors clearly what to expect once they get into the app.
There’s no question that conversion forms are difficult. But if you implement these tips and keep up on your A/B testing, you should start to see positive results in no time. To learn more about optimizing your inbound marketing strategy, be sure to check out our complete 2017 Inbound Marketing Forecast located below, or get in touch with HA for any questions you have about boosting your digital presence.