Nobody likes filling out forms, especially when the form is ridiculously long. It’s even more aggravating when they hold you hostage, making you submit details before you can continue to use the website.
But as undesirable as they are, forms are still necessary. They generate leads, collect valuable user information and interact with users even when a rep is not available — just like the overnight drop-off slot at your local post office.
All in all, however, boosting conversions and lead generation is a matter of optimizing your forms. Here’s how you can alleviate some of the necessary evils that come with forms.
1. Change the Button Text
Every form has a submit button — it’s the final step that saves entries and ships the information off to the host. But that doesn’t mean the button should actually say “submit,” because that’s a terrible waste.
Actionable phrases like “click here” or “go” work much better than “submit.” If you want to take it a step further, tell users what the button is going to do. “Get Your Free E-Book” is an excellent example of this.
Toptal’s contact page ditches the conventional “submit” for something just as simple, yet more direct: “Send message.” It works because it tells visitors precisely what’s going to happen when they hit the button.
2. Keep it simple
Do not overextend the form by including irrelevant details and requests. If you want an email address, ask for that and that alone. If you need a full name and a phone number, stick to those fields. There’s no reason to ask for extra information, especially if you’re never going to use it.
The shorter the form, the more likely people will share what you need. Finishing Systems’ contact form, for instance, includes just four fields: name, email, phone number and message. It’s short and sweet, and there’s no hassle to using it or reaching out to the company, exactly how it should be. The form also remains on the right-hand side of every page, which helps with leads and conversions.
3. Be transparent
What are you going to do with the information you collect? How will you be using emails, phone numbers, addresses or any other personal data? Tell your audience exactly what you intend to do and how that’s going to affect them.
Furthermore, stick to what you say and only use the details for what you’ve outlined. Don’t sign them up for a weekly email newsletter, for example, if you told them a sales rep is going to reach out.
4. Make it snappy
Like your general site’s design, performance is a big deal when it comes to filling out forms and submitting information. If the experience is sluggish, buggy or doesn’t work, no one is going to participate.
Be sure to test out your forms before pushing them live. You may need to use a different plugin or form provider if the one you initially chose is not working out.
5. Test compatibility
Sometimes, a form will look great on desktop browsers, but cluttered or misaligned on mobile. Other times, buttons might be impossible to click on smaller displays. Any number of problems may crop up when dealing with cross-platform experiences.
Be sure to test the form on multiple devices, browsers and platforms. Consider every channel your audience will be using and then some.
6. Move it up
Always keep the form at the top of the landing page, with other content and elements strategically placed around it. In other words, the form should be the absolute focus. On desktop-style sites, that means keeping it above the fold, but for mobile, that means keeping it right at the top.
7. Provide value
What are you giving back? What will your audience get after they fill out the form? This tip is similar to being transparent about how you’re planning to use the data you collect, even though it seems similar. What you’re doing here is giving your potential audience a value proposition. Why should they want to fill out the form? Are you giving them a free e-book, providing access to exclusive features on the site or will they get special promotions?
Sleeknote complements its contact form with different things users will be able to do after making contact. It provides a clear understanding of why visitors should reach out.
8. Keep it dynamic
With things like contact forms and call-to-action buttons, it’s always a good idea to run split tests to discern what works and what doesn’t. But even if you don’t spend time running those kinds of tests, you can estimate progress on your own based on performance.
The trick is to create something dynamic. Leave enough wiggle room so you can change fields, various elements or maybe even the layout over time. Like any other part of your site, you’ll want to find what works best, which means making minor adjustments here and there rather than using a single, stagnant design.
Live and learn
These tips will help you boost conversion and lead ratings for your landing page, contact form or any other interactive element. But the most important takeaway is that success doesn’t generally happen overnight. It can, but more often than not, it’s an eventual buildup, achieved through hard work and perseverance.
When it comes to contact forms, it’s going to take some tweaking — maybe even a lot — to get them optimized. You might not see huge gains right away, or even in the short term, but that’s OK. You’ll get there through perseverance.