4 Hacks to Increase Your Form Conversion Rate

Nov 14, 2018 | Form Design, Marketing, Tips and Best Practices, Web Form Creation

Let’s be honest: low form conversion rates can create disappointment and confusion. You work hard on a donation form, feedback form, or survey, only to have a small fraction of your audience fill it out. So what’s the problem? Why aren’t people filling out your forms?

Unfortunately, there’s not a simple answer to that question. Everyone has their own reasons for not making it to the end of a form, and some of the reasons might have nothing to do with how well your form is designed. (Although you should always make sure you’re followingbest practices when it comes to design and function.)

While you can’t read the minds of your respondents, there are a few things you can do to increase the chance that they’ll complete your web forms.

1. Decrease the Number of Form Fields Strategically

It seems like a no-brainer, right? Trimming the amount of fields in your form makes it easier to fill out, which results in higher conversion rates. Not only is this step logical, but there’s plenty of data to back it up. Here are a few examples:

  • Hubspot’s Dan Zarella looked at more than 40,000 landing page results and found that as text areas (text form fields that are sized for larger amounts of text) increase, there is an associated drop in conversion rates. Zarella found that using one text area led to a conversion rate of about 20%, but using up to five text areas dropped conversion to below 10%. Using numerous drop-down fields may also contribute to decreased conversion.
  • Eloqua conducted research on the connection between the number of form fields and landing page conversion rates. In an analysis of 1,500 landing pages, they found that fewer form fields leads to higher return.
  • Imagescape saw a 120% jump in conversion after eliminating 8 form fields and bringing the total down to just 4 fields.

So why talk about a form conversion technique that’s fairly common knowledge? Because there’s a catch to it. While fewer fields generally appear to perform better, there’s also evidence to the contrary, which shows that in some circumstances, decreasing the number of fields in a forms can actually drive down conversions.

It may seem crazy, but in certain instances it appears to be true. Unbounce’s Michael Aagaard removed 3 fields from a form (one-third of the total), which led to a 14% conversion rate drop. Why? As reported by ConversionXL, Aagard admitted that he, “removed all the fields that people actually want to interact with and only left the crappy ones they don’t want to interact with.”

Even if it’s an isolated example, the moral is that you can’t just cut out any field and expect conversion rates to drop. You need to strategically plan which fields to eliminate based on how respondents may interact with the form’s required information.

2. Remove the Right Fields

If you take a look at your longest web form, you’ll probably notice several fields that are nice to have but in reality, aren’t truly needed to get the job done. (If you’re creating a complex form that absolutely must have certain fields, there are still ways to make it easier to fill out. We’ll cover that below.) These are the fields you should critically review in order to decide what matters more: having that piece of information or giving your users an easier form-filling experience.

If you’re not sure which fields to chop first, here are a few suggestions:

  • Non-essential info: If you’re capturing lead information, you probably don’t need an address field. The same rule applies for telephone, age, and birthday fields. In fact, one study shows that phone number fields decrease conversion by as much as 48%. If possible, remove these and any other non-essential pieces of information.
  • Confusing fields: A confusing field is any field that makes the respondent question what information is needed. If you have fields that require more explanation, UX Planet suggests adding accompanying or explanatory text to help the respondent understand precisely what they need to provide.
  • Non-required fields: Are you only noting which fields are required? That may not be as helpful as you would think.  Research from the Baymard Institute suggests that a better option is to clearly delineate which fields are optional while also noting which fields are required. Taking the time to define both types of fields helps users progress through forms with ease, thus converting at a higher rate. The research shows that this is especially true in the realm of e-commerce forms.

3. Focus on the Form’s Value to Your Audience

Asking someone to fill out a form can be a tall order. Even though it may only take a few minutes to enter some personal information and leave a few comments, you’re still asking something of people you probably don’t know very well. Unfortunately, many users are also leery of sharing their personal information. Because of these factors, you need to offer your audience something of value in return for their time and information.

just about any form, there’s a benefit to the user if they choose to finish and submit it. The key is to communicate that value up front, and even reassure them that their data is secure. Let’s look at a few examples that deliver value to form respondents:

  • Nonprofit Donation Forms: Although you’re asking for donations, people rarely donate because they feel forced into it. On the contrary, they donate because they believe in the cause.
  • Job Applications: Too often, job applications are painfully long and tedious, but they don’t have to be. Eliminate stress by creating a simple process for applicants that reflects your company’s brand and mission.
  • Lead Forms: The idea of exchange is a well-known tenet of content marketing. You give your users something of value in the form of helpful content such as a downloadable eBook), and in return, they give you their information.

4. Make Forms Easy to Fill Out

Although the ideal form might be short and sweet, there are plenty of use cases that necessitate longer forms. Job applications, certification processes, and admissions applications may necessitate extensive form fields that can take more than 30 minutes to complete. While there’s often nothing you can do in these unique cases, there are several ways you can leverage FormAssembly to help eliminate drop-off rates.

  • Prefilling: Already have a form user’s information in your CRM? Use a prefill function to enter certain information so they don’t have to.
  • Multi-Page Forms: If your form involves multiple sections and lot of scrolling, consider breaking it up between multiple pages.
  • Save & Resume: Some forms are just too long or complicated to finish in one sitting. Allow them to save their progress and continue filling out the form when they’re ready.

If you’re not seeing as many form submissions as you’d like, whether it’s a sudden drop-off or a slow decline, try some of these practices to optimize your form conversion rates.

To see our team of expert form builders review actual customer forms for their effectiveness and design, watch this recording of our Form Review webinar.

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