How to Optimize Each Major Form Type for More Conversions

Written by Heather Mueller on April 1, 2015

Posted in Form Optimization

Fill six different landing pages with six different web forms, and you could easily have half-a-dozen different conversion goals. Selling tickets. Getting signups. Generating leads. Retiring early. Making more money.

No matter what your goals are, there’s a way to quickly and easily reach them. Optimize your forms! Thanks to all of the industry research taking place, there’s an abundance of data you can use to improve your web forms—no matter the audience or industry.

To make things easier, for today’s post we’ve combined key findings from our Form Conversion Report with other key stats in a quick-reference list of guidelines. Use them any time you need inspiration for structuring and stylizing your forms.

Surveys and Registration Forms

  •   Email them out at 11 a.m. Our data reveals this as the hour when surveys and registration forms get the most submissions. Try scheduling your promotional emails to go out at this time on a Wednesday to land more event registrations, or on a Friday to capture more survey responses.
  •   Reduce the number of fields. Overall conversion rates for surveys, while still relatively high compared with other form types, experienced a seven percent drop (from 21% to 14%) in the twelve months since our last Form Conversion Report. This might be due, in part, to the fact that they got longer: The average survey now contains 22 fields, compared with 21 fields a year ago.
  •   Span multiple pages. Don’t try to cram everything onto one web page. When it comes to online forms, bigger is better. Multi-page forms—which typically use larger fonts and longer fields—capture 9% more conversions than single-page forms. If you need to collect a lot of data, you can always use Conditional Logic to build a “smart” form and give users a breather with page breaks.

Contests and Lead Gen Forms

  •   Embed them on your Facebook page to double conversions. Formstack users who allow people to complete forms within Facebook itself average up to 122% more conversions than those who simply provide a link.
  •   Promote them at the end of a Thursday. Contest and lead gen forms tend to perform well toward the end of the work week, making Thursdays a great time to spread the word. The peak hour is 4 p.m. for lead gen forms and 8 p.m. for contest forms.
  •   Allow users to select multiple answers. When you’re offering multiple choices, be sure to use checkboxes wherever possible so users can pick more than one answer. Our research reveals that radio buttons, which allow just one option to be selected, are a leading cause of high form abandonment rates.

Donation and Order Forms

  •   Use your form header or footer to display trust seals. One recent study found that 17% of shoppers don’t complete transactions because of security concerns.
  •   Delete a field. Or several. Another survey showed that 10% of shoppers feel inconvenienced by lengthy checkout processes. Likewise, Formstack data shows that fewer required form fields often leads to more conversions.
  •   Ensure they’re mobile-friendly. More than 50% of Internet access occurs on mobile devices, where tiny touchpad keyboards can present hurdles. Customers are much less likely to make it to shopping carts if they can’t easily type and tap their ways to your “pay now” button.

Contact Forms
Get creative. Contact forms convert at just 1%. You might offer an incentive or spice up the language like Jellyvision did. Or you could turn your attention to higher-converting form types like lead gen (which convert 11% of traffic) and contests (which average an impressive 35% conversion rate).

Tips for All Form Types
The following suggestions apply to all form types in every industry.

  •   Customize the button copy. Conversion rates increased by as much as 320% when users simply added one word after “submit.”
  •   Allow users to autofill from social media profiles. Companies using Formstack’s Social Autofill feature convert up to 189% more traffic than those who don’t.
  •   Customize automated tweets with hashtags. Tweets with hashtags tend to get twice as much engagement as tweets without them. If your form is set to post to Twitter, be sure to add a custom hashtag.
  •   Use testing to optimize for conversions. Form conversion rates among marketers nearly doubled in just one year (from 7% to 13%). Is the fact that 90% of them are placing increased emphasis on conversion rate optimization a coincidence? We think not.

Looking for more insights? We have plenty to share! See how different types of forms are performing by industry in the 2015 Form Conversion Report.