Forms are one of the most powerful assets a marketing department has. As marketers, we know that forms often provide that crucial link between anonymous web visitors and actionable leads. Forms play a key role in the customer journey, kick-starting a path of personalized content, and forging a relationship between the customer and your organization. Unfortunately, most internet visitors are form-averse. Seeing a form can often prevent an individual from downloading content, getting support, contacting a company, or solving an issue. We must always keep this form reluctance in mind when designing tools for lead capture. Below, you’ll find ten tips for creating the perfect form—increasing conversions and boosting marketing ROI.
1. Don’t ask for the same information twice
Fight the urge to ask for First Name, Last Name, Email, and Phone on every form. If you’ve already collected that information before, do not ask for it again. This issue often comes up when clicking through an email. The sending company clearly has your email, it should use that stored information.
If you’re not comfortable with your organization’s data quality, think about pre-populating the fields. Make form fills quick for users by entering the information you already have. If they wish to change the values, they can. Tools like Eloqua & Marketo make it easy to add this feature.
Think of forms as a chance to gather more information. Use progressive profiling to ask for fields that you have not collected before - this will help you with advanced segmentation.
2. Standardize your fields (even if they’re hidden!)
Standardization, whether it be naming conventions or larger processes, will allow your team to grow and scale. By standardizing field names you will be able to leverage existing forms for new campaigns.
Hidden fields are also very powerful. You can use hidden fields to track lead source and campaign association, among other things. This will bring visibility into marketing performance and help determine the direction of marketing’s spend on future campaigns and what channels to invest in.
3. Limit the number of fields you use and make fields optional
We already know that long forms don’t convert well, however, data shows that the magic number of fields on a form is 4.
When you are deciding which fields to cut, think about the fields you plan to use in segmentation and personalization. Many companies are choosing not to remap first & last name for existing contacts in their CRM coming from a marketing automation tool or online form. If you aren’t planning on using them, don’t ask for them.
If not all fields are necessary for all segments, make them optional. If I say that I’d like to be contacted via email, don’t ask me for my phone number.
Zocdoc does this very well. You can choose to fill in your medical information before an appointment. They let you know right off the bat that “skipping is okay!” You can fill in as much or as little as you feel comfortable with.
4. Emphasize error location
Nothing is more frustrating as a user than not understanding why they can’t submit a form. Make sure your error messages are precise, and eliminate user searching. You may also think about code that validates as you type.
Check out Bluewolf’s gated asset The 3 Pillars of Modern Digital Marketing. Try submitting it without filling in your email for example. You don’t get an obnoxious pop up, just some friendly text reminding you to fill out your email address properly.