Web Forms Dilemma

photo credit: axbom

In the first chapter of this series of posts we tried to cover email capturing forms and some basic tactics on how to optimise both form and supportive elements in order to maximise the subscription rate but not severely damage the quality of subscriptions. I’ve been covering the importance and incredible business value of web forms in the first chapter as well so if you just stumbled on this page – do check the 1st part

Lead Generation Form

As you already noticed from the headline today’s focus is going to be dedicated solely to the lead generation sites and web forms used as the main lead generator.

Define Your Goal

Defining the objective of your form should be the first step of your initial meeting with your design/development team. It might sounds pathetic but you will be extremely surprised how many organisations are not asking this simple question:

What do I want to accomplish with this form?

Callback - Just to capture phone number

Basic lead generation – Name, Email (sometimes company)

Lead generation with comments – Identical to the above but with a comments field in case of questions and brief enquiries

Lead + basic requirement – Adding several fields asking for specifics (type of product or service interested in etc.)

Lead + company profile – Asking in depth details about the entire organisation (size, location, type of business, marketing budget, etc.)

Lead + complete specification – When the form consists of several pages of fields (really often used for quite technical products or services. Think about enterprise software solutions or demo request forms)

There is no optimal solution in this case. It’s pretty obvious that the basic or callback form will generate much higher amount of leads than full company profile/product specification but at the same time the quality of leads in basic forms will always be a lot less when compared to detailed requirements form.

This perfectly drawn graph visualises this message above:













So based on the statements above, the type of the form you will choose will influence the size and skills of your sales team (if they are receiving low quality leads it is likely they will need a greater knowledge of your product or service). More importantly you will want to refine the communication of all copy on the form pages, including headlines calls-to-action and web copy.

State clearly what you want from the user

With all the various form types described above it is logical to understand that your users might get confused about what information exactly they should supply in your form and mostly important what to expect after they clicked on the CTA (Call To Action – Submit or Send button). It might sound surprising but our in-house user tests have repeatedly highlighted that users quite often overestimate the further obligation of the lead and would rather spend additional time researching (usually not on your page!) than ask simple question in the lead form. That is why it is your direct goal to decrease this anxiety by trying to clearly communicate that there are “no strings attached” (Please don’t take this advice literally and try to come up with something less clichéd!)

Another problem is that in order to communicate any message in a web form you won’t really have a lot of space to play with so any word choice should be questioned several times and tested before any final implementation. Your form’s headline and wording of the CTA should the primary weapons for communicating this message.

I forecast a lot of confused and doubtful readers at this point so i would include the practical example from the project we were running more than a year ago:

Below is the screenshot of the form users would naturally land on after choosing their preferred footbal pitch (the client is the UK’s biggest football pitch provider)

What do you think you can achieve by submitting this form?

I can bet that majority of you are thinking: “Book a Pitch”, and I know that because of the user tests we have been running. Nothing telepathic is involved, really. That’s exactly what at least 80% of our test participants were thinking. However,  football is the team sport so the decision about a precise booking place and time can’t be made by one individual so anyone not ready to make this decision right now was just leaving.

But the reality is that this is not a booking form, just an enquiry. After submitting the form, the company’s representative will get in touch and only then arrange the precise time and centre so any user will have enough time to think/decide/ask friends before the final decision will be made.

Proposed Variation and Results

As you can see on the screenshot of the proposed variation below, the changes were mainly focused on explaining this issue to the users:

Please note that we used multiple methods to ensure that the message we wanted to communicate would be spotted by every single visitor:

  • Page Headline
  • Several lines of description
  • Form headline
  • Call-to-action wording

Which in combination with small cosmetic tweaks produced a fascinating result of 73.1% increase in conversion rate

Lead generation form











And to finish..

Originally, I wanted to include another 5-7 tips but the post would become indigestible (sorry, I just don’t know how to write a short post!) so I would rather cover these points in the next instalment of the web form optimisation guide. Stay tuned or follow me on twitter @attacat_kiril in order to avoid missing the next part. Happy Testing!

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