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3 ways to increase form conversions


There are 1,001 desperate tactics you might try in your quest to get MOAR LEADS … but don’t.

Here are the changes you can make in order of decreasing impact. Start at the top, work to the point of diminishing returns. (Or boredom.)

#0: Give visitors little or no choice in the matter

For the sake of accuracy, this … strategy has to come first.

Think about .gov sites, or your company’s HR portal. An online college application, or your insurance company’s website.

A screenshot of a payment platform with an ugly form

One page of the form I complete to submit estimated tax payments 😴

The poor souls filling out forms on those sites will fill them out, no matter what. The alternative is literally printing out the form, completing it by hand, driving it somewhere, and waiting in line. If that’s even an option.

It’s unlikely that your marketing dollars are best spent lobbying the government to make completion of your lead gen form compulsory for all citizens.

But meditating on this very effective “conversion hack” will get your head in the right space to consider …

#1: Have highly motivated visitors

If you can’t have visitors who absolutely must fill out your form, the next best thing is visitors who really want to.

The former group will endure whatever shame, frustration, and confusion your form UX brings them. The latter group has a limit, but they’ll give you some leeway.

To understand why, consider the inverse: just point every ad campaign and CTA you can find directly to a form.

Your conversion rate will crash through the floor as thousands of unmotivated visitors nope out.

To ensure you’re showing your form to motivated visitors, ask the following questions:

That last principle is so powerful, it gets its very own slot in the top 3.

#2: Shorten your form

Even the most motivated of visitors will lose heart at seeing a dozen empty boxes on their screen. (Especially on mobile 😢)

A GIF of a long form on a mobile form

The stuff nightmares are made of

There’s plenty of evidence that indicates fewer form fields mean more conversions. (See the links in this post.)

It makes intuitive sense; do you particularly like typing your zip code?

I’ll even argue that eliminating unnecessary form fields makes the world a better place.

So, go do it.

And then slow down, because we’re fast approaching diminishing returns.

#3: Tweak your form

Should it be on the left or right side of the page?

Is it better to ask for Name before Email, or vice versa?

What color should the Submit button be?

There’s a right answer for each of these questions. And given a data scientist, a frontend dev, and 1,000 years, you could figure each one out.

It’s not worth your time.

When it comes to your specific form UX - after you’ve delighted and excited your visitors, and minimized the number of questions you’re asking them, there are just 2 steps worth considering:

Do the first if you have usability issues*.

Do the second if your form still has > 4 input fields, and you have the resources.

And now you’re done!

If you’ve still got a problem with lead volume, it’s not your form.

Which is great to know! Now you just have to optimize messaging, and design, and structure, and … 😅


*Curious about how to “fix all issues in one fell swoop”? I’m currently beta testing a tool to help diagnose form issues and suggest simple fixes. Let’s connect on LinkedIn if you’d like to try it.

© 2022 Brian David Hall