Can you claim you’ve done everything possible to improve the conversion rates on your website? Namely, the percentage of people visiting your site that actually fill out a form. Let’s face it, most people do not want to fill out any kind of form on your website, but there are a number of things you can do to improve the odds of someone filling out a form.
What are some of the top reasons people don’t want to fill out a form?
- Don’t want to be called. Whether you have a active sales force or not, the impression people have is that some sales person is going to pester them endlessly if they fill out a form.
- Don’t want spam. We both know you don’t spam people, but your visitors don’t know that.
- Don’t have time. Some forms are multiple pages long. People already don’t want to fallout your form, why put more obstacles in their way?
- Not really that interested. Unless you are totally awesome, this is going to be 90% of your visiting audience.
So if those are the primary reasons people don’t fill out your forms, what are some of the things you can look out to make people more likely to fill them out?
Top Ten Tactics to Improve Conversion Rate
- Don’t use a plain old contact form. Give people value for giving you their information. It may be a white paper, webinar, ebook, newsletter, free advice or stuff. Your objective is to create value for your visitors and having good things to give them for filling out forms is an incentive to take the next step.
- Multiple points of conversion. Give people multiple reasons to contact you. Provide several of the above items to help drive visitors and conversions.
- Use Short forms. The shorter the form is the likelier you are to have a conversion. for instance, if you don’t need a persons physical address for a follow up email or call, don’t ask. Just eliminating the address can cut down on 4 fields of information that keeps people away.
- Support all platforms. Due to the growth of mobile devices, it is expected that more people will be connecting with your site on these than on a desktop in the very near future. Make sure your forms are easy to use on mobile devices or you may be missing a big portion of your visitors.
- Don’t use drop down form fields. Through lots of testing, I’ve found in every case that drop down fields on forms are the point at which people stop entering information. It doesn’t seem to matter what is in the drop down box, it kills conversions. Instead, use a radio box or check box. The opposite of this is true for forms shown to mobile visitors. On phones and tablets, the drop down works better than the radio and check box because it is easier to click.
- If its not required, don’t ask. If you don’t need the information to start a conversation, don’t ask for it. I’ve seen improvements in form conversion by 30% and more simply by removing a few fields.
- Enable people to share the goodness. If the form is promoting a great ebook, white paper or webinar, be sure to add social media like and share buttons on the form and the thank you page. This can help drive additional traffic and conversions from your customers inner circles.
- Test, test, test. If you aren’t already, test your forms to make sure they are working correctly and efficiently. Use an inexpensive tool like Clicktale.com to test the form and Google Optimizer to test variations of the form against each other. Dong regular A/B testing is critical for any website.
- Follow up with that email. All of your forms should be capable of sending an autoresponder. It shouldn’t be some basic thank you, but make it personal and tell them what next steps you’ll be taking.
- Nurture that conversion. After that initial email. Follow up with an actual contact, but if it is not a B level lead like a white paper or webinar, send them additional related material one, two and three weeks after than drives additional conversions if possible.
There are many other items that help drive conversions on forms, but as a strategy, just implementing regular testing of different form designs and form copy can significantly improve the conversion rate.
I would love to hear other suggestions you may have that you’ve used to improve your conversion rate.
A common practice seen among most organizations serious about the web is a redesign of their website after 2-3 years. Not just a simple change or two, but an entire overhaul of the site. This practice of just shaking up the website and erasing everything doesn’t make sense. It takes a lot of effort to draw something beautiful on an Etch-A-Sketch, but to change it, you have to erase it completely.
Common excuses used to start over include:
- New technology – this is usually initiated by a tech upgrade or a new web team leader. In both cases, the web team or new consulting agency is able to convince leadership that to have the new awesome technology, then everything must go.
- The website looks old – the most common of reasons used to upgrade a website, again usually initiated by a new marketing agency or internal web team.
- New Marketing Leader is going to shake things up – the new leader decides that the website isn’t their style and decides an overhaul is necessary to meet the new agenda.
These are not bad reasons to overhaul a website, but more often than not, they are the wrong reasons. These large scale changes will often have a negative impact on search engine rankings because the content change is significant. It can be detrimental on site visitors as well. Just think about how frustrated most people become when Facebook makes even small changes.
Don’t misunderstand, change is a great and necessary action to take. But there is a better way than the massive stress that can occur internally on this type of project and externally with customers.
Constant Incremental Change
The best thing for a website to grow and become better is constant, incremental change, based on testing results. A great web and marketing team will use testing tools like Google Optimizer to test everything from menu layout, colors, form design, images and landing pages. The insight gained from customers interacting with these changes will drive more customer conversions, customer interaction and it will always ensure your website is kept looking modern and ahead of the competition.
If you have an old, poorly performing website right now and have not been testing and updating it regularly, you may need to take out that Etch-A-Sketch and shake things up. But if you still like the look of things, start testing it and introducing new functionality regularly. Your customers, sales team and your web team will thank you.
There are many industries that we have seen killed (or almost so) by the web and Internet. Just what has been killed or so radically changed?
- Fax machines
- Newspaper industry
- Book industry
- Travel agencies
- Postal services
- Radio industry
- Music industry
So which industry is next? It’s the television itself. Maybe not so much in the physical form that we drool in front of late at night, but in how we interact with it. The TV has long been a target of companies like Microsoft and now Apple, Google and many others. The transition is already happening, but it’s subtle enough and stretched out long enough that we don’t really notice the radical changes taking place.
So just what are some of the big coming changes for the future of TV? Well, here are some of my predictions and a few that are already in progress.
- No more Channels. In the future, there will no longer be any channels to change. We will still have content publishers like NBC, Fox and ESPN, but we will be gathering shows from them on our own terms. We will watch what we want to whenever we want to. We are already seeing this happen with DVRs like the Boxee where we can just pull down whatever we want from the Internet.
- Direct interaction with items on screen. So all these new gaming systems that are coming out can track our motions and what we do with quite a bit of accuracy. Well, the Microsft Kinect team is officially real easing developer tools to do all sorts of things with that technology. Since our TV is basically a computer screen, combine the TV with the Kinect, then combine that with video annotation tools like you can find on every YouTube account, and suddenly every item you see on the TV becomes something you can interact with. The easiest thing to imagine would be selecting an item of clothing one of the stars is wearing at the Oscars, searching for who made it, who has knockoffs for sale and placing your order for one, all in real time. This would be easier to achieve than you think.
- Everyone is a TV station. Well, this is another one that isn’t really a prediction, but more of a reality. Anyone can already publish their videos to YouTube and Vimeo for free. This has created a number of online online video stars. As this becomes more popular
Publishers (and organizations) that understand this and take advantage of it now can prepare and be well ahead of the game as it happens to reach worldwide audiences. I’m positive there will be more to it than this short description, but I’m confident in these changes coming over the next five years.
What do you think will happen to this little glowing box that so many of us worship every night? Will it finally make the leap to something more useful?
Well I finally have an iPad and I thought I would try out it’s typing capabilities. If you maintain a blog or do a lot of typing, it will take some getting used to not having a touch keyboard, but you can be proficient enough on it.
It’s not the only reason I have an iPad. I plan on using it for doing a lot of real life testing of ads I’m designing that specifically target this platform. Also, when I brought it home, my wife and girls quickly discovered it and they were all quickly giggling and laughing at the photo editing silliness you can easily do on it.
So far I’m liking it. I did test out a netbook and a xoom. I found the xoom to be rather heavy and although I really liked the netbook, especially my typing speed, it felt clunky and awkward. I’ll be honest, I really didn’t want to like the iPad, but I am enjoying the experiences far.