Most websites have some kind of form on them, whether it’s to subscribe to a feed, download a resource, or contact the company. According to Formstack‘s very insightful research on how online forms are converting customers, there are more than a few trends that have been found to be either a hit or miss with users. So, here are some interesting points (from their 17 page report. You’re welcome.) to keep in mind when building forms on your website:
People don’t like giving out their name to strangers: This is an obvious one, but not many seem to think it applies online too. Yes, those forms on a new website where you have to give your first name and last name make you feel a little exposed, and users (including yours truly) tend to hesitate before filling out these fields, or as Formstack found in their 2015 report, most just abandon the form entirely. Ironically, to download the Formstack report I had to enter my first and last name. Hm. The point is, if you can ask for their email instead of their first and last names, then you’d be doing your users and yourself a favor.
Make your forms mobile-friendly: More than 50% of Internet access occurs on mobile devices¹, so it would be wise to make sure users can easily access and fill out your form while on mobile. This also means reducing or eliminating the use of text fields where they would spend much longer typing out an answer.
Multi-page forms convert more than single-page forms: Believe it or not, making your forms shorter isn’t always better. It all really comes down to how your form is presented. Multi-page forms tend to be divided into bite-sized sections which are easier for users to digest, plus they usually have nifty progress bars, bigger headings, more spacing, and larger images which all make forms a lot more pleasant and easier to get through. So instead of squishing 20 questions into a single page, try splitting it up, and if it’s very long then a “save and resume” option goes a long way.
Integrating social media doubles conversion rates: We’re in the era of social networking, so if you’re not using them to boost your form conversion rates then you are seriously missing out. Here are some tips for you: if you can, embed forms involving contests, events, or surveys on your Facebook page and other popular social media channels. Conversion rates more than double when users integrate their forms with their Facebook pages. If you have a campaign or trying to get the word out about something special, then create a unique hashtag for it since tweets with hashtags get twice as much engagement as those without. Lastly, Formstack’s report shows a 189% conversion rate increase when user’s have the Social Autofill feature to pull information from their social media profile straight into a form.
What your submit button says is important: We all know the final button to actually submit the form is important, but how often do you pay attention to the words on it? Research showed that the top ten converting buttons had 2 or less words on their submit button. In fact, adding just one word after “submit” can boost conversion rates by as much as 320%. Think “Submit now” or “Submit survey”, to be more specific.
Now these are just a few ways which have shown to result in positive responses from users, but to further optimize web forms for conversions, it would be a good idea for you to dig into your own form analytics to reveal what else could be stopping your website visitors from turning into new leads. Or, you could wait for me to read and blog about Formstack’s 2016 report for more tips, but that could take a while.