Everyone knows you need to include forms on your website to capture leads. But, it’s not enough to just slap a few form fields on your landing pages and call it a day. If you want your forms to convert, and convert consistently, you need a thorough web form optimization strategy.

Believe it or not, only 52% of companies that use landing pages run tests on their forms to find ways to improve conversions (source). If you aren’t taking the right steps to optimize your web forms, you’re likely missing out on valuable leads.

Today’s post offers some web form optimization tips and tricks to keep in mind. Keep reading!

1.    Number of fields

How many fields should a form include? It’s a question that has plagued marketers and website managers for years. Popular opinion dictates that forms should contain the least amount of fields as possible. Research backs this up. In fact, the average number of form fields is 11, but studies show that reducing that number to 4 can result in a 120% increase in conversions (source).

However, the answer to the question isn’t quite so simple. Yes, reducing the amount of fields in your forms may boost conversions. But ask yourself, do you want more conversions or better conversions?

Using more fields means you gather more data from each conversion, but perhaps less conversions overall. If your top priority it to maximize the quantity of inbound leads, brief forms are the way to go.

If you’re not having trouble generating leads, but instead have trouble generating qualified leads, then this less-is-more approach might not be right for you. Luckily, you can optimize your forms in other ways to generate both quality and quantity:

  • Include optional fields: Structure your forms to include both required and optional responses. Be sure to make this distinction obvious so visitors understand which are required and which aren’t. Site visitors who don’t want to spend too much time on the form may fill in the short version. But, leads who voluntarily choose to complete every field are generally more interested in your services. It’s the best of both worlds, you don’t lose out on quantity and you have a better understanding of which leads take priority.
  • Multi-step forms: If your form has more than 4 or 5 fields, consider breaking it up into two steps. Using this format, visitors answer a couple questions and press a “Continue” button to see the remaining fields. This strategy has several benefits – you won’t scare off visitors with one long form, and you can choose which questions you want them to see first.

Though you may be wary of making your visitors click an extra button, research shows that adding steps to your forms can indeed boost conversions – in some cases, by as much as 214% (source).

2.    Call-to-actions

Using actionable language will capture the interest of site visitors and make them more likely to fill out your forms. But, be sure the language you use is concise and clear. Every person who completes the offer should clearly understand what they’re going to receive once they complete your form. Vague, non-descriptive language like “Sign up today!” and “Register now!” tell visitors what to do, but give them no reason to do it.

Are you offering a free trial of a service? An informational piece of content? An event invitation? Your form should reference this in the header so that your site visitors know there’s a tangible “reward” for filling out the form. Ex: “Get your free ____ today!”

3.    Placement

Place forms at the top of your lead generation landing page so that it’s the first thing a person sees when they visit your site. Visitors may only give your site a passing glance, so if they have to scroll to find your  form you risk losing the conversion.

Be sure to give your form ample space. There are a lot of factors that contribute to a successful landing page –you may feel tempted to include as much information as possible. But in doing so, you risk creating friction and drawing visitors’ attention in too many directions.

Remember: blank space serves a purpose! Surround your forms with minimal clutter, so that it appears like a focal point of your landing page rather than an afterthought.

4.    Go mobile

In recent years, mobile devices have become the most popular platform for users to access the web. Consider these statistics:

  • A 2017 study found that over 55% of web traffic came from mobile (source)
  • 51% of smartphone users have found a new company or product while searching on their mobile device (source)

If you’ve been keeping up with this trend, your website is already mobile-friendly – but there’s more you can do to improve your conversion forms on mobile devices.

Simply making your landing page compatible with mobile devices isn’t enough. Because of the nature of the different devices, mobile users interact with your site differently than they do on desktop. The reasons are obvious: smaller screens, touch screen rather than physical keyboards, and the fact that users may be visiting your site on the go rather than from their desk.

Here’s why this is important: If your form has four fields that require written responses, mobile visitors may be hesitant to fill it out. On a computer, it only takes seconds to complete. But on mobile devices, it can take more time and effort.

Consider implementing mobile-only forms that are shorter than their desktop counterparts. Use multiple-choice options to make the process more simple for users.

5.    Security

Avoid scaring off leads by including a small but noticeable link to a privacy policy in your form. Visitors are understandably hesitant to give out their personal information on the internet. Put your visitors at ease be ensuring all responses will remain private and secure.

The best place to link to your privacy policy is near your form in a discrete location. Even if visitors don’t take the time to click on your privacy policy, having the link available will assure your customers and prospects that your business takes security seriously.

Building trust is key in this early stage of the buyer’s journey. Take every step necessary to demonstrate the credibility and security of your website.

6.    Be wary of captcha codes

Everyone is familiar with captcha codes – the pesky boxes at the end of a form that ask for a jumble of letters The purpose of captcha codes is to prove that the site visitor is human, thus keeping out spam bots and unwanted submissions.

But let’s face it: captcha codes are annoying. Some visitors will see a captcha code at the end of your form and immediately leave. Or worse, they’ll complete your form only to get the captcha code wrong—causing frustration and often causing the visitor to lose interest in the offer all together. In fact, a recent study found that using captchas can reduce your submissions up to 30% (source).

Try removing captcha codes from your forms. If you test this method out and find that you’re receiving spam submissions, there are some alternatives that will be less irritating to your visitors (source)

  • Honeypots: This term refers to invisible form fields that your human visitors won’t see, but bots will pick up on. You’ll be able to weed out the unwanted submissions without frustrating potential leads.
  • Track response times: Spam bots can submit forms to your website instantly, while humans take a few minutes to fill them out. Track the response times and flag the submissions that are sent too quickly.
  • Checkboxes: Rather than making visitors fill out a captcha response, provide a “I am a human” checkbox at the end of your form. This still adds an extra step, but is far less frustrating than traditional captcha boxes.

Key Takeaways on Web Form Optimization

Though many web forms resemble one another, it’s the details that separate bad forms from forms that convert. There’s only one way to determine what methods will work for your business – test it out! If you haven’t made tweaks to your conversion forms lately, consider some of the above suggestions and track the results. You may discover a quick and easy way to generate more high-quality leads!

If you’re interested in learning more ways to improve conversions, or simply want to see more success with your B2B sales and marketing programs, contact ZoomInfo today. Our B2B database will support and improve your most important business initiatives.

Read More: How to Improve Your Landing Page Conversion Rate

About the author

Ryan Hadfield

Ryan Hadfield is a content marketing director at ZoomInfo, the leading B2B contact data solution.

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