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Conversion Rate Optimization Best Practices for Web Forms [CRO Chat Streamcap]

CRO Chat - Best Practices for Contact Web FormsOur latest #CROchat was another great one where the topic and question set covered “Conversion Rate Optimization Best Practices for Web Forms”. The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: What advice would you give to someone New to CRO in regards to increasing conversions for Web Forms?

  • My advice typically would be to not ask for too much info too soon, request only the info you need, & ask for appropriate info!
    James Svoboda (@Realicity)         
  • Fewer fields.
    Carlos del Rio (@inflatemouse)         
  • Keep the amount of form fields to a minimum for Conversion optimization nubes.
    Bobby Hewitt (@Bobbyhewitt)         
    • Form fields to a minimum is a must… Don’t ask for too many questions on the first date!
      James Svoboda         
  • Attractive and clear offer, this is most important 2. few fields.
    Peep Laja (@peeplaja)         
  • I’d also recommend that you highlight/reaffirm any offer you have on the forms so the visitor knows why they are submitting.
    James Svoboda         
  • Make the button text congruent with the benefit of submitting the form but please don’t use the word submit.
    Bobby Hewitt         
  • a) above the fold b) test complete one page form vs 2 page form this is huge for lead generation, our customer are shy.
    Matt Graves (@gravymatt)         
  • Pretend all buttons finish the statement “I want” or “I want to”
    Carlos del Rio         
  • Imagine a visitor angry, estressed, w. no time 2 read, 2 understand and less 2 write. Imagine the worst scenario & put joy on it .
    Joe Web (@JoeWeb)         
  • Also consider giving away content free (without a form) just brand your it and encourage sharing. Put your social sharing and follow up requests on the confirmation page (when the lead is warm).
    Unbounce (@unbounce)         
  • Ask less and remove your nav.
    Paul Gailey (@paulgailey)         
    • De-emphasizing the nav can also work instead of removing completely. Test it.
      James Svoboda         

Q2: What warnings would offer to someone in regards CRO and Web Forms?

  • Make sure your forms actually work. Nothing will kill conversions & frustrate visitors more than poor usability on web forms.
    James Svoboda         
  • Test your forms with EVERY website update/adjustment that you make. Avoid disaster.
    Cassie Allinger (@CassieAllinger)         
  • The main mistake I see everywhere is poor offer – focus on clarity and be specific about the benefits. Magnet is everything.
    Peep Laja         
  • Don’t let the Highest Paid Person make decisions about your forms. Use customer feedback.
    Tom Bowden (@tonbowdenCRO)         
  • Make sure you close all links around your forms. I made a contact form once that accidentally sent people to my Twitter profile.
    Carlos del Rio         
  • a)test for conversions from forms check in engines, check in Google Analytics, check in your inhouse Database. b) Date & Log/note changes so you remember when and what you did, compare the conv rate pre & post, did it do what you wanted.
    Matt Graves         
  • Test your form layouts in all browsers (this goes for web page layouts as well). Looks good in FF and Chrome, but IE…
    Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)         

Q3: What are your considerations for multiple Web Forms on a website? Types, Uses, Departments? Any “must haves”?

  • I always assess the multiple reasons why someone would contact the business and have forms for each of these. For instance, I recommend having separate pages & forms for Customer Service and Sales for each visitor’s unique needs.
    James Svoboda         
    • That’s getting away from CRO and into business issues.
      Carlos del Rio         
      • Actually, I use them to segment visitor intent and keep general/customer service inquiries away from sales forms. 
        James Svoboda         
  • Use several on a long form landing page as a repeated goal – and test splitting longer forms into multi-step.
    • Does this mean that you place more than 1 form on a long sales page?
      James Svoboda         
      • Yeah it can be effective, because you don’t know which copy will trigger the buying instinct (so keep the form close)
    • Are you suggesting multiple forms with different goals on 1 page? Seems odd…
      Michael Stickney         


      • No, multiple forms with the same goal. If a long form, just like with a click-through CTA – repeat the form (same goal) throughout for usability. Keep on message, but, revisit the action if you are making a long landing page.
      • Backend stuff, like where it is routed can easily happen without changing the action/feel for the vistor.
        Carlos del Rio         
  • Definitely, don’t make them scroll to take action.
    Carlos del Rio         
  • If multiple forms are needed, keep the look and feel consistent, with same button styles and formatting.
    Michael Stickney (@spitshinedesign)         
  • Less is more. Less forms, more info when you get contacted by the lead.
    Nikolaj Bomann Mertz (@BomannMertz)         
  • Multiply inbound channel landing page by eg nº of Adgroups. thus eg 50 form variants each custom text to each CRO CTA. Have as many landing pages as Google Adgroup for example. User has continuity of message from PPC ad to landing page.
    Paul Gailey         
  • Classic A/B test case to split your form between multiple steps/pages – garner interest, then complete.

Q4: How do you like to draw attention to your forms to increase visibility and conversions?

  • I use photos, images and color on and near forms to draw attention to them. Especially for Lead Gen.
    James Svoboda         
  • If using human in photo, make direction of gaze of model look at form/CTA not straight at user/down the lens.
    Paul Gailey         
  • First and foremost, setCursor will help visibility, and tell the user where to start. Agree with James, A bold arrow that follows the selection, helps visibility.
    Nikolaj Bomann Mertz         
  • Colour in your form fields. Works every time!
    Tom Bowden         
  • Brad Geddes (@bgtheory) would also suggest testing vertical stripes on form backgrounds to focus the eyes.
    James Svoboda         
  • Ensure the form area is in stark contrast to the rest of your page as your form is now your entire CTA and should stand out.
  • Form background : contrast is the key. What’s the point on input text background? only white?
    Konrad Chmielewski (@hwkfr)         

Q5: What considerations do you have for the use of multi-page or multi-step forms?

  • Get most important data first (email!), so its okay if they only fill the first part.
    Peep Laja         
    • Yeah many people gather email first, to allow an email follow up if they don’t complete the whole process.
  • If we need to collect many pieces of information I start to consider multi-page forms. Also, if needing to collect additional info that might be more sensitive to the visitor, ask for that on page/step 2.
    James Svoboda         
  • If you have a lot of information, go with multiple pages. If you have a little information, go with a singel page/multi-step.
    Nikolaj Bomann Bomann Mertz         
  • Actually collect the data at each page for retargeting… Email is often the key bit of info and should be asked early (first).
    Michael Stickney         
  • Carry over information to the next step. Possibly with a message…”Thanks Paul, could you tell us more?” Personalize!
    Paul Kragthorpe         
  • Soft questions on page 1, name and contact on page 2, the user tends to feel more invested in the form.
    Matt Graves         
  • Provide mini incentives to complete each step of a multi-page form (free report at each step)
  • Be sure to keep the user aware of how far along they are for particularly long forms (multi steps/page).
    Michael Stickney         
  •  You can also get quite a bit of data from social discovery sites like @Rapleaf if you just get the email
  • Asking optional questions on a “Thank You” page is an easy way to get action and info from engaged users.
    Carlos del Rio         
  • Also, be honest, don’t say “Sign up in minutes” if it takes 1/2 hour to get through the forms.
    Michael Stickney         
    • If it is going to be 1 minute tell them 5, if it is going to be 5 tell them 10. It gives a feeling of speed.
      Carlos del Rio         
      • Just be careful not to scare them away with hefty time estimations.
        Cassie Allinger         
  • Asking optional questions on a “Thank You” page is an easy way to get action and info from engaged users.
    Nikolaj Bomann Mertz         

Q6: How do you approach Submit Buttons on web forms for CRO purposes? Any design or testing considerations?

  • It helps to use button text to reassure the visitor why they are completing the form. “Get a Quote” is a common example.
    James Svoboda         
  • Make them big, word them well .
    Peep Laja         
  • Submit buttons should not say submit.
    Cassie Allinger         
  • Also, make strong use of color to draw attention to the button and relate it to the form action the visitor is taking.
    James Svoboda         
  • Never use the word “Submit”! Always describe exactly what you’ll get if you click.
  • The obvious ones are size, shape, color, copy… these should all be tested (and NEVER use “Submit”).
    Michael Stickney         
  • Think about color psychology & test different variances that fit the action taking place & the LP design.
    Cassie Allinger         
  • Buttons just need to be visible. I think it’s even more important to use proper error messages, when you hit a submit button.
    Nikolaj Bomann Mertz         
  • As with other elements, they should stand out however they should not overpower the fact that the form needs to be filled out.
    Michael Stickney         
  • “I want to register free” or “register free” ? Any advice by using the I in CTA?
    Konrad Chmielewski         
    • Test it. It can help in buttons if it is for them, but maybe not if they are looking for another. Test, test, test!
      James Svoboda         
    • Can depend on the wording in the form. It the field questions lend themselves to “I” then worth using.
      Michael Stickney         
  • I still include “Reset” button, kidding :] Just test multiple button styles, no lie – sometimes nostyle gray works for users!
    Matt Graves         
  •  >>>>>>> Point at your CTA >>>>>>>


More CRO Chats

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #CROchat on Thursday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.

PPC Chat

Also, join us for #PPCchat on Tuessdays 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK for a similar sessions revolving about everything PPC. Those streamcaps can be found on Matt Umbro’s PPCChat Blog

CRO Chat Participants

Check out the CRO Chat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

About the Host

SEO since 1999. WebRanking CEO. Co-Founder. MarketingLand Contributor. #CROchat Host. #PPCchat Faithful. Husband & Father in Eden Prairie, MN. If you like this post and want to find others related to it, then you can find me on LinkedIn and Twitter:

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