I’m a huge fan of Anne Holland’s “Which Test Won” blog, where you can vote on which version of an A/B Test performed better and was declared a winner.
Today’s offering was all about forms, and how to make them more profitable for your business: Which Test Won: Required vs. All-Optional Form Fields – Which Version Got A 31% Lift In Lead Gen Form Submissions
Many of you have online booking capabilities, but require forms for contact us pages, or RFPs for meetings and events. Sometimes, these forms get monstrous and look like job applications. The general rule is – the more information you ask for, the less likely you are to have someone fill out the form.
There are a few ways to make your forms more user friendly and more likely to convert.
So what was the #1 lesson learned from the test above? Don’t make fields “required” to submit. Yep – that’s about it – the only difference in these tests was making the form fields required vs. not required.
The “B” version, without requirements had the following results:
- 31% boost in submissions.
- ALL of the emails submitted on the “NOT required” version were legitimate, while 20% of the email addresses on the “required” version were bogus.
Here a few more suggestions about forms:
- Don’t ask for more than 4 or 5 initial pieces of information. If you absolutely NEED more information, consider a 2 or 3 step process so that each page only has 3 or 4 questions/fields. This eliminates the overwhelming list of blank fields one is faced with when they land on a page with a form. Be sure to number your pages, such as “Step 1 of 3,” as the user goes along. If users know they’re close to the end, they’re less likely to abandon your form.
- CALL OR EMAIL THEM BACK – right away – but not within seconds. Generally an automated “we’ve received your submission, we’ll be back to you within 24 hours” email is okay. Ringing them up within 5 minutes of submitting the form is a little scary. I NEVER answer those calls. I feel like I’m being stalked.
- On the “Thank You” email answer some “FAQs” that might help them make a decision, or gather more information for when you do call them. If you will need a list of information from them (such as time of year, approximate number of guests, type of meals etc.) tell them so that they know to gather it and your phone call is that much more productive.
- Give an alternate form of contact. Forms are great for gathering information, but sometimes they just want to call and talk to someone. Don’t forgo an email address or phone number if you have a form, offer all THREE options to your users.
- Use a form handler on your website that offers reporting and tracking. Some forms just send you an email, but what happens if email is down, or your front desk deletes them? Cover your bases with robust web-based software like Wufoo.com. You can easily build forms with their HTML form builder, see reports on all forms submitted, and track what is done with those forms with this low-cost option. We’re not an affiliate for Wufoo – we just love the product and recommend it to everyone, and we use it ourselves!