Having a contact form on your website allows a web visitor to get in touch with your business. People don’t like complex forms. They take too much time and require too much thought. Easy contact forms are proven to increase leads and conversion rates, which in turn leads to increased revenues.
During the last month I have worked with a software provider to help improve their websites online experience and contact forms. We made sure the contact form was readable, easy to complete and prominently featured on the site. The following improvements made to the form lead to a 170% increase in conversion rate and 277% increase in completed contact forms.
Make the form secure
Internet users are becoming increasingly aware of fraud and phishing techniques online. When entering sensitive information such as credit card details, users look for the trust and verification logos. However, personal information such as name and email are just as sensitive so we made sure that the page is secure with https:// and SSL certified. Don’t risk having IE or Chrome label the page as insecure. Next to the “send” button, we included copy that read “this form is secure” for added reassurance.
Reward good behavior
What is no common is a reverse effect of inline validation. Instead of presenting a negative validator we also improved the form to include positive validator. We reward the user when an action is completed successfully (example below):
In September 2009, research by Etre and Luke Wroblewski found that inline validation has a great impact on completed contact forms, resulting in:
- 22% increase in success rates
- 22% decrease in errors made
- 31% increase in satisfaction ratings
Using this data, we applied both positive and negative validators on the contact form.
Set expectations early
The human race is becoming more and more impatient. Everything has to be fast, whether it car repair or load times on a web page. We are time sensitive and completing a long web form may be enough to turn away a web visitor. The client’s contact form contains 15 fields, which at first glance may appear to require 5 minutes of time. However, the average time on page for completed forms was less than a minute. Using this data, we removed the previous copy above the form “Please fill out all fields carefully……” and instead used the following:
One of the fields in the form asked for the users website. This is common amongst B2B sites and helps the client when assessing the possible best service to offer. However, when running a simple test we found that entering www.mysite.com was not working. Several tests were performed using different variations (www.mysite.com, mysite.com, etc) yet we were unable to proceed. The problem was the CMS setting for a valid website address including the http:// prefix. We immediately removed the prefix and to only include free range text in the field in order to make this form user friendly.
Capture email address early
The world’s top 10 converting websites send email campaigns to users who visit the site only to abandon the shopping cart (known as remarketing). An easy way to capture the email address before the booking process is to ask for it on your contact form early, and above the fold. Alternatively, you can ask for an email address on your home page, and offer incentives to sign up including a free e-book or white paper.
Only ask for what you need
There are millions of contact forms on the web that ask questions including name, email address, address, sex, etc. and so on. I was recently interested in signing up for a newsletter at a travel company and the sign up form asked me for my postal address. It didn’t make sense to me so I left and did not sign up. Do you really need a postal address when asking users to sign up to a newsletter?
In this blog posts example, we removed the following fields and reduced the form from 18 fields to 15:
In 2010, Dan Zarrella of Hubspot found that when removing one field that, moving a total of four fields down to three, the conversion rate increased by 50%. If you can reduce the number of fields and only ask for what you really need, you could see an increase in completed forms.
Thank you page
Once a user has completed a form, don’t send them away with a generic “Thank you, we will contact you shortly” page. The Thank You page is under-utilized in almost every organization. Here are three suggestions on what you can do once a user has completed the form:
- Download a whitepaper
- Sign up to a newsletter
- Register to a webinar
Keep the communication going and complete two goals at once, both for you and the visitor.
Making your contact forms easy to use and complete should be at the top of your to-do list. In just under a month, leads and conversion rate has tripled and the number of users abandoning has decreased. A higher conversion rate means more leads, more sales and more success.
What else can we do to improve contact forms and is there anything I have missed from my list? Please comment below.