Drive More Conversions: Optimize Your Web Forms with Methodical A/B Testing
Of course you want your web forms to convert. Unfortunately, whether it’s a contact form, request-a-quote form, or newsletter subscription form, you can never apply a “one size fits all” approach to creating web forms that drive optimal conversions.
If you want to strike the right balance and craft web forms that convert at high rates, you’ll need to employ A/B testing. Don’t be put off by the word A/B testing. It’s just technical jargon for randomized experiments with two variants—A and B (A being the control and B being the variant). A/B testing is a great way to test changes to your web form against the current design, helping you determine which variant produces the most positive results.
Whether it’s a tweak to the form copy, a resizing of the CTA, or a color change to the web page background, A/B testing helps you validate if any of the proposed changes is improving your conversion rate before these changes are finalized. Moreover, A/B testing takes the speculation out of website optimization and facilitates data-backed decisions.
Recently, writer and PR specialist, Alexandra Recasan (@AleRecasan) wrote an article on MarketingProfs that highlighted the five form elements that webmasters/marketers should A/B test to maximize their web form conversions.
And without further ado, here they are:
- Optimize Form Length
Your site visitors and leads are busy people, and many will not exactly be thrilled at the prospect of filling out forms with numerous fields. This leaves you with one aching conundrum: how should you optimize your form’s length? “As much as you would like to ask a customer for all the info that you’d like to know, doing so might significantly reduce your form conversion chances,” observes Recasan.
Recasan recommends that form length be kept as low as possible, with 5-10 fields being the ideal range. According to research, 7 fields in forms produce the best results. In practice, you should ask for the information that you absolutely need (like name, business email address, job title, and name of organization). However, you can confidently omit annual earnings and other not-so-vital fields.
“A/B testing can help you get your own stats on form length. Use a control with the initial number of fields, and a test with fewer fields. Then see which performs better”. On the other hand, if you’re still hungry for more information that will help you target and qualify leads, you could try the progressive profiling approach.
Progressive profiling allows you to gradually gain lead intelligence and grow lead conversions without bouncing leads off because of web forms with too many fields. For example, the first download might ask site visitors for basic information—like first and last name, as well as email address. The second content download might ask for additional information that facilitates targeting and qualifying leads—such as role in company, location, and number of employees.
Every new stage in progressive profiling allows marketers to gradually gain lead intelligence by replacing previous form fields with new form fields.
- Choose Colors Carefully
It has been scientifically proven that colors can affect our emotions—and marketers and brands only know this too well. The color red inspires passion, love, and intensity; while the color blue inspires comfort, clarity, and equanimity.
Like the golden arches of McDonald’s and the verdant fins of the Starbucks mermaid, the colors on your web form can greatly impact the behavior of your site visitors. It also helps to align the colors on your web form with your site’s branding. A mainly red and yellow site, for example, might require a similar palette for the web form. A/B testing can help you identify which color palette drives the most conversions.
- Tweak Form Copy
People generally accede to a request if the request sounds convincing enough, or if the request appears to offer certain benefits. The same logic applies to crafting form copy. ‘Starting with the headline all the way through to the CTA, tweak your form copy to answer that crucial question by your visitor: “Why should I fill out this form?”’ notes Recasan.
By succinctly highlighting the benefits of downloading a report, signing up for a newsletter, or completing any other call-to-action, the likelihood that the desired action will be taken will increase. A/B testing can be used to identify the right form copy that drives the most conversions.
- Improve User Interaction Elements
People are generally turned off by confusing or awkward forms. However, “if the user interface makes interacting with it easy and seamless, people won’t be put off.”
Recasan provides five means of making forms more responsive:
- Implement field validation: Reduce friction by telling respondents if the data they’ve entered doesn’t have the correct format.
- Find the best label placement: Labels (which identify what information you’re asking for) placed inside fields is generally not a good idea. Labels might save space, but once respondents click on them, they’ll no longer see what sort of information they’re supposed to enter. Instead, Recasan recommends top, left-aligned labels.
- Provide instructions upon clicking: This option works best if you prefer to display field instructions when people click on that particular field.
- Set the cursor to jump to the next field: This option makes entering information in the various fields faster. Nothing annoys respondents more than fields that need to be clicked once the previous one has been filled out. That’s two seconds of their lives that they’ll never get back.
- Use conditional logic: Using conditional logic can help you reduce the number of fields and make the web form appear more interactive. “The form will display a certain question, or an additional option, on the basis of a previous answer by the respondent.”
- Showcase Social Proof, Testimonials, and Endorsements
People are more likely to pay attention to recommendations from people, brands, and organizations they trust. Use the trust factor to drive conversions by adding testimonials from well-known organizations/brands and celebrity endorsements to your web form.
Last Major Takeaway: Avoid Changing too Many Elements at Once
Lastly, avoid messing up your A/B test by changing too many form elements at once. Doing so will prevent you from identifying which configuration performed best. It’s better to change one element at a time, decide on the best option, and then move on to the next element that needs to be tested.
With methodical and patient A/B testing, you’ll drive more conversions and gain valuable insight about your site visitors.
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