I had a communications professor once that warned against using ‘allness’ words, words like ‘everyone’ and ‘always’ that are all-inclusive and don’t leave room for outliers and variables that pretty much always exist.
Because of his constant reiteration of the invalid nature of such words, I hesitate to use those words and sayings in everyday conversation and even in post like this one, but I have zero hesitation in writing the following:
Nobody likes filling out forms. Nobody.
As a marketer, my relationship with forms can be somewhat tempestuous. On good days, I understand they get my company important leads and help us give our clients the information they need.
On bad days, I sit grimacing as I type in everything from my ‘date-of-birth’ to questions that seem to be as invasive as ‘what will be the name of your firstborn child’ all to download a whitepaper on best marketing practices.
The truth is, a form should be a give and take, a relationship built on balance. You get the lead information you need and clients get what they need as well. It seems simple, but it’s a little more complicated than it looks. Luckily, in just 3 easy steps you can get this relationship back on track.
1. Fewer Fields on Contact Forms
You may feel like forms on contact pages are like an all-you-can-eat buffet: get everything you can out of your clients. Pile up the plate. But, much like buffets, if you get too greedy the results can be, well – detrimental.
As my grandmother use to tell me “don’t let your eyes be bigger than your stomach”. The same goes for forms. Don’t be greedy, just get what you need.
Maybe your grandmother didn’t give you awesome advice, but Imagescape tested this theory as well and found that when they shortened their forms to a smaller 4 question form they had a significantly higher number of submissions, with the number of forms submitted increasing by 140% and the conversion ratio increasing by 120%.
Not only that, but HubSpot also conducted a study and found that as the number of form fields increases, the number of conversion rates decreases.
So yes, it’s important to get a contact’s name, a way of contacting them back, and what they’d like to talk about, but the more questions you add, the easier it is to spiral into territory that may land you with a low conversion rate.
2. Make Sure The Forms You Include Aren’t Confusing
Once upon a time, a very famous travel website found that confusing forms were holding them back from millions of dollars in profit.
Customers had been clicking the “buy now” link on the company’s webpage, but for some reason, the customers weren’t completing the transaction.
The culprit turned out to be a field on the page under ‘Name’ which said ‘Company’. Some customers were confused and filled out the ‘Company’ field with their bank name. Then the customers filled out the ‘Address’ field under the ‘Company’ field with the address of their bank instead of their home address.
When the site tried to verify the address connected with the customer’s card, it came up as invalid, and they were unable to complete the transaction.
Once they found out what was causing customers to not complete transactions, they made a single change to their webpage, and that change generated an increase in the site’s annual revenues by $300 million. If that’s not a fairytale ending, I don’t know what is.
3. If They Don’t Use Forms, Give Them Another Option
Even if you include a contact form on your webpage, there are chance clients would prefer another method of reaching your business. That’s why it’s smart to include other options on your contact page:
- Your Business Phone Number: According to a study by IPSOS conducted on behalf of Google, customers prefer talking over the phone when making important purchasing decisions. That’s why it’s important to have a phone number present, even if you include a web form on your webpage. It may also be beneficial to integrate call tracking on your webpage, allowing you to track the leads you get on the phone much like you track the leads you get from web forms.
- A Contact Email Address: Some clients may like the option of sending you a quick email as opposed to filling out the information you request on the form. This allows clients who may not feel comfortable filling out ‘necessary’ fields on your form, like their phone number, to still have an opportunity to reach you.
- Social Media Sites: A growing number of clients and customers use social media to voice concerns and contact businesses with questions they have, which may be the reason Gleanser found that 73% of top performing companies identified customer service as a top reason to invest in social media.
In summary, take your grandmother’s advice; when it comes to creating forms for contact pages, less is more. Be sure that your forms are clear and concise and not confusing and, if all else fails, give your clients another option to contact you. Follow these steps and you might just end up with an extra $300 million in your pocket, or at least more form conversions.