We all know that if you have lead gen forms, they are an important piece of the conversion rate optimization puzzle, but why does this piece often have a high impact on CRO? Forms are typically close to or tied to final conversion. Beyond this, they often play a role in guiding users through the conversion funnel. For example, a form to sign up for a blog would be considered higher in the funnel than a form to sign up for a free trial of a product which is much lower in the funnel. So now that you know how important forms can be to the conversion process, check out these three elements I have found to be important for forms and where I start looking for optimization opportunities.

1. Call-to-Actions

CTA’s are important during any stage of the funnel, and this is no different for your forms. Most users aren’t willing to offer up their information for free; they are exchanging their personal information for something you are offering them. With this in mind, here are a couple of things to consider when looking at your call-to-action.

  • Use your CTA to identify the next steps of the user journey. If you have multiple CTA’s, such as “Checkout” and “Continue Shopping” for eCommerce, ensure there is a clear hierarchy to differentiate between the primary and secondary CTA’s. Defining and reiterating what the next steps of the user journey are will remind users why they are giving you their information and can provide additional motivation for users who need an extra nudge to complete the form.
  • Have an obvious CTA. This may seem like a given but making the form seamless and thoughtless may remove possible areas of friction from the process. Making the CTA a big button would be easier for users to find and click than having a text link that could be overlooked by users. This can be especially important for mobile users who are working with a smaller screen and have less control over what they are clicking.

2. Layout

The order in which you ask users for information matters. Think back to a form you have filled out recently, most likely you were asked to fill out your name first and then proceed to information that could be considered more sensitive, such as email address or phone number. Users can be hesitant to give out their information on a form. When asking users for information it is important to consider how you are asking for the information.

  • Ask for information in a way that will make sense and be familiar to users. It is much easier to input your name than your credit card information, so asking for banking information first may cause users to hesitate to fill out the form. Users are also more likely to continue the process once they have started it so ensure there is a logical flow to your form fields.
  • Provide some additional background information on why you need certain information when asking for something that could be considered sensitive. This could remove some of the hesitation users feel when filling out a form.

3. Help Text

Help text may not seem like an important area to focus on when optimizing forms but consider this: a user is filling out a form and inputs a piece of information incorrectly. The help text needs to direct the user to the area where a mistake was made, quickly convey the mistake and easily explain how to fix the mistake. If this is not done well a user may get frustrated and abandon the form altogether.

  • Be specific with your help text to ensure it is actually helpful. 

Final Thoughts

Forms may not seem like the place that will have the biggest impact on your conversion rate optimization, but their close proximity to the final conversion makes them a great place to start when thinking about optimizations. Poor form experience can have a negative effect on your overall user experience and may even drive potential returning users away from your site altogether. If you still don’t believe me, check out this case study for a business school in which we optimized the client’s form and increased their info request rates by 46%.