How do you optimize conversion forms? Here are 7 best practices to do it. These are proven techniques and are distinct from creating an intuitive website conversion path, which, as should be pointed out, is your broader lead generation goal.
Are you frustrated with your lead volume even as you have a compelling free offer? Or maybe you do have plenty of leads… but they lead to nowhere. Before you dump the offer (or your sales reps), you might want to look at something that’s seemingly trivial, but can turn the tide: your web form.
The chances of getting quality leads off your web form seem stacked against you. Study findings on marketing-qualified leads posted by FormAssembly indicate that only 27 percent of form-generated leads will be qualified. The rest, more than 70 percent, are wasted.
Not if you can help it.
An optimized form makes for an effective lead qualification process. Properly designed and distributed, it will give you quality over quantity leads, and help your sales reps pursue the dollar.
The key is to optimize it and we have the goods below
At the end of the day the form can make or break the campaign no matter how good the latter was thought out, budgeted and executed. So give your form a close scrutiny because, well, you wouldn’t want to run a good race only to falter at the finishing line. Here are 7 best practices to optimize your conversion forms.
Your landing page should have this spelled out early on, so it’s really a matter of weaving the form into the page’s key messaging. A lazily crafted general form creates dissonance and lays waste to a well-crafted landing page. Does the form speak to prospects at a level of engagement they’re on the way your landing page does?
What you put in the form matter as what you don’t. Its ability to qualify leads rests on the number of fields, CTA and other elements that you’ll add to the form. There should be no extra parts to it that create noise, or a missing part that prevents the engine from perfectly humming.
In general, the form should be targeted at only one engagement level — where prospects are in the buying cycle — not two, and definitely never all of them:
These just affirm the fact that a CRM platform can help users beat sales objections. Now, with your target audience’s engagement level clear, let’s expound on the elements that go into the form.
The common advice here is to keep the form short. But that’s not entirely accurate. It should be–keep the form at its shortest possible length. As we’ve explained above, the number of fields depends on your target audience.
So a form for pre-sold prospects can be longer but still more optimized than a shorter form for prospects who are uncertain, if the latter has one too many fields. For example, asking a phone number for early-stage leads creates opt-in friction; thus, the form isn’t optimized even if it’s short.
What should go into the form for each target audience? This is a general framework on the number of fields to move leads across the buying cycle:
The form should have its own CTA headline and button, apart from the landing page CTA. The form’s CTA moves prospects to the next buying stage by taking a specific action, such as: “Register for the event now;” “Claim your seat here;” or “Start your free trial.”
When we talk about CTAs, verbs easily come to mind,”download,” “sign up,” “submit,” etc. But when used alone verbs are vague and, worse, make prospects feel like being ordered to do something.
So, make sure to specify a noun to make the CTA specific to your offer and, in fact, sound like an offer, not a command. In our examples above, “event,” “seat” and “free trial” paints a crystal-clear picture what prospects are getting by taking an action.
We’ve heard the merit of placing the form above the fold (the visible first half of the screen without scrolling). It does have a grain of truth, but the whole bushel of wheat we now know is more complicated. What do we mean?
That the fold has less to do with the form than with the landing page copy. After all, before prospects get to the form they have to be motivated first, right? That’s the job of the landing page copy, where headline, subheading, callouts and possibly bits of the body are compelling enough to make prospects scroll. In fact, placing the form above the fold eats up prime real estate that’s better allocated to copy.
The above-the-fold mantra with its print journalism origin might have been exacerbated by this study on web page visual appeal, concluding that ,“You have 50 milliseconds to make a good first impression!” That may be true for the landing page as a whole, but the form is just a slice of the cake.
Perhaps, the only time the above-the-fold rule applies to form is when you’re dealing with pre-sold leads, prospects who might as well be harking, “Sign me up, where’s the form?”
Is your form a part of an optimized conversion path? Does it connect to your CRM? If not, and you have to manually sort form-generated leads, or at best, they’re thrown into a spreadsheet, you’re not optimizing the form. You run the risk of data siloing your leads and losing opportunities.
Here’s an example of an optimized conversion process. The HubSpot form builder automatically sends leads to your HubSpot CRM contacts. That means you get to use smart filters to sort high-quality leads, spot duplicates, score leads or create mailing lists by lead traits.
You then get to feed your sales funnel with qualified leads, track their progress as you nurture them up to the point when they’re ready to be handed over to sales. Sales takes over and nurtures prospects until conversion or, if necessary, loops them back for more nurturing.
The whole thing acts like a well-oiled machine and it’s triggered by a form that’s connected to this pipeline.
Mobile is the new frontier in B2B space. In a research by the Boston Consulting Group, mobile is driving the revenue of marketing leaders by as much as 40%. The study speeds up the buying cycle and increases the rate of repeat buys. These are compelling data to make your form adapt to mobile screens while highlighting the need to come up with a mobile CRM strategy.
The good new is, many form builders are mobile-responsive. For example, HubSpot uses a 12-column responsive grid system that makes the web page (and the form in it) adjust to almost all screen sizes. The rows and columns automatically stack on a mobile screen, so your form keeps its fields.
For long forms, prioritize the required fields over optional ones. In a stack layout as with mobile forms, the most essential data are filled in first.
The General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR swept into action on May 25, 2018. But what is GDPR? It’s the EU law governing data privacy in the EU. Sure, you do business in the U.S. or elsewhere, but the minute your form accepts personal data from an EU citizen you may be subjected to the law’s penalties, which spell euros.
So, how do you make your form GDPR compliant? In many ways, if you keep to the spirit of CRO (conversion rate optimization) best practices, or you use CRO software to optimize landing pages, your form is likely compliant. We can summarize the key GDPR requirement, as follow:
One of the quickest ways to get your form right is to use a smart form builder. There are plenty of form automation software out there. What you want is something that’s coding-free, comes with drag-and-drop simplicity and affords a wide range of customization to match your specs. To help you picture what a smart form builder is, you can use HubSpot Form Builder as an excellent benchmark. It has what it takes to cover all the components of a lead capture form.
Here’s a rundown on what makes HubSpot an awesome form builder:
If you want to try a smart form that costs nothing to your wallet we recommend you sign up for HubSpot Form Builder free tool here. Once you have a proper tool to speed up your workflow just follow the tips outlined above and do share a comment with our readers on how much improvement you’ve merited.
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