Proven Secrets to Make More Money with Your Website’s Forms

Written by Abby Nieten on June 17, 2015

Posted in Form Hacks

Your contact page isn’t just losing the race to capture leads for your company.

It’s coming in dead last.

The 2015 Form Conversion Report revealed that contact forms convert a mere 1% of website visitors. Despite this fact, 90% of all forms published on the web today are contact forms.

That means thousands of email opt-ins, demo requests and sign up forms are taking up valuable website real estate—and giving back very little in return.

We can fix it. To start, let’s take a look at what’s going on.

Why Aren’t People Submitting Your Forms?
There are two primary reasons visitors are ignoring or abandoning your website’s forms:

  1. You’re asking too many questions.

Too many form fields can quickly kill conversions—a fact that’s been proven by countless studies. One recent roundup shows how removing three contact form fields can boost conversions by 10%. Past research has established that removing even more fields from lengthier forms can boost conversion rates as much as 120%.

Likewise, too many options will overwhelm even the most interested and engaged landing page visitor. Something as simple as reducing the number of registration options from four to three, for example, has been proven to increase conversions by 17%.

  1. You’re not asking the right questions.

Companies often offend visitors with web forms—without ever being aware it’s happening. Asking the “wrong” questions could mean you’re offering too many choices, or it’s too much work, or you’re being too pushy. For example:

  • Your contact form encourages visitors to request a one-on-one demo. The problem? Most people visiting your contact page are new prospects who just want to ask a quick question. To them, your call to action is the equivalent of a marriage proposal on the first date.
  • Your company got really excited about the potential of inbound marketing and lead nurturing, and now has forms gating everything from 15-page white papers to 30-second videos. In this scenario, a high abandonment rate is likely an indication of exhaustion and frustration.

Both are examples of miscalculating where visitors are in your conversion funnel. Have they only recently become aware of your products and services? Or do they already trust you enough to exchange personal information for your latest offers?

What Can You Do About It?
There are two primary, proven characteristics of forms that convert like crazy:

  1. Money-making web forms are simple.

In one famous study, grocery shoppers were presented with two alternating sampling stations:

One included 24 jam flavors.

The other offered six.

Which station do you think resulted in higher conversions? The one with fewer choices—by a landslide. While just 3% of people presented with two dozen options went on to purchase jam, 30% of those who saw just six flavors bought at least one of them.

These findings can (and should) be applied to your web forms. Instead of including an exhaustive list of all upcoming dates in one registration form, break it up into a series of forms grouped by date or location. Rather than overwhelming your users with 11 fields all at once, create a series of lead generation forms to request one new piece of information at a time.

And when you really need to capture more data, create an interactive, “smart” form with Conditional Logic. This way, users will see only the fields that are relevant based on their answers to previous questions.

  1. High-converting forms offer an incentive.

Remember the frightening 1% stat from the beginning of this post?

Well, that’s not the case with contest forms. Those convert at 35%. Why? Because there’s always an incentive with contests: a raffle entry, a prize, bragging rights on social media.

This begs the question:

Why don’t more online forms offer incentives?

After all, all your users really care about is what’s in it for them.

For order forms, the most effective incentives typically involve free shipping: Recent studies have shown that 69% of consumers are more likely to shop with online retailers who offer free shipping, and 61% will abandon carts if free shipping isn’t offered.

If your focus is on lead generation forms, make sure the content you’re gating is truly valuable and offer it in a way that’s meaningful to your visitors. One content marketing company recently discovered how tweaking a single bullet point can increase conversions more than 18%.

For other types of forms, the incentive might actually be the absence of something that’s important to your audience: Removing the credit card field from your free trial forms, for example, or getting rid of the name field in your newsletter signup form.

So…

Now that you know what to do, which of these steps will you take first?