Conversion rate optimization is a big issue for your organization. You want to convert more website visitors, but you don’t want to come across as pushy or desperate, so check out these tips to optimize your online forms with style:

1. Test the Number of Fields in Each Form

It’s easy to assume that the fewer the fields in your form, the better. That’s a mistake.

One company added fields without hurting their conversion rate, but collected better quality leads. Adding more fields could push your opt-in rate up or down, or leave it unchanged, but you won’t know which until you test!

A lot of people look for rules and “best practices” when it comes to forms and CRO. When they do, they usually arrive at, ”The fewer irrelevant fields in your form, the better.”

The problem with that advice is that you won’t know what’s irrelevant until you test.

You also cannot forget to test not only for conversion rate, but to see which forms bring you the most profitable leads. The idea is to test to see which form variation brings more revenue over time, the highest lifetime value per customer.

If a form brings a higher than average amount of revenue per customer, but a lower conversion rate - that might be worth the sacrifice.

Again, you need to test and either verify or invalidate your hypotheses.

2. Test Form Placement

Don’t miss the opportunity to use every inch of real estate to try and generate leads. The question isn’t really if you should, but how.

Some people think you need to put a form on every page, others think you merely need to have forms on some pages and CTAs that lead to forms on other pages. The best option for you depends on your goals.

A form on every page means that:

Your audience always has an opportunity to sign up at the moment they make that decision, without needing to click to another page.

The relevance of your leads may be lower if you collect opt-ins from visitors who are only mildly curious and might not have bothered to complete a longer opt-in process.

A mixture of forms and form-linked CTAs means that:

  • Your audience won’t feel like they’re being chased around your site by an opt-in stalker.
  • You may convert fewer visitors with a CTA than with an embedded form.
  • The leads you collect via a two-step CTA and form process may be better qualified.

If you worry about putting a form on every page despite the merits, you could instead make sure that on each page your visitors can see calls-to-action that link to forms or cause forms to pop-up.

3. Test Your Form’s Wording

Just asking questions on your form in different ways can increase the number of your leads. Test your forms to see which works best. Some ideas of questions to test include:

Email collection label—try split testing a few different options like MailChimp’s “What’s your email address?” vs. “Your email, please?” vs. “Type your email here”.

Free comment field—test questions like “Something you’d like to tell us?” vs. “Can we help you with anything else today?”

4. Test Multi-Step Forms

Vendo tested multi-step forms and saw their conversion rate increase. That doesn’t mean using multi-step forms will do the same for you, but what it does mean is that you should test them. The golden rule is that you don’t know what you don’t test!

5. Use Tooltips Creatively

Those little hints that pop up on your forms can make a big difference to your conversion rate optimization:

Add some brand personality to your form’s error message tooltips. “We didn’t understand your email address. Could you type it again?” is more likely to win people over than “Error: Incorrect format”.

Offer an incentive within a tool tip on the Submit button. If you’re using a behavior-based web personalization platform like Evergage, you could offer a discount that’s only available to the user if they submit the form on that visit rather than coming back later.

7. Clearly Define What’s Next

Add copy below the form heading, in the CTA button or below it that lets the visitor know what will happen after they fill out the form and submit. Keep it clear and simple to maximize trust.

8. Offer Something to Look Forward To

Incentivize filling out the form. Offer an eBook, a special report or a free training course on a topic that matters to your visitors, and you’ll see an increase in form completions. Test two or more different opt-in offers to see what works best for your audience.

9. Encapsulate Your Form

A neat capsule around your form may help to attract and hold attention, making visitors more likely to notice the form and less likely to abandon it. Try it out with a simple split test and see if it works for you.

10. Calm Potential Concerns

People are hesitant about handing over their personal information. Build their trust in you with well-chosen copy and explore different ways to calm them down with privacy messages designed (and tested!) to reassure your visitors.

11. Test Nearby Messaging 

The messaging around your form can influence your ability to collect information, too. Test the info you provide around the form to see how to improve on the number of people completing the form.

You really should test all of the typical elements and how they influence your ability to effectively collect information from forms:

  1. Social proof. What types of testimonials or media mentions work best?
  2. Client logos. Do your visitors trust certain companies more than others? They might.
  3. Value propositions. Re-emphasizing your core value proposition close to your form could help.
  4. Images. Certain images will certain influence people differently - you need to figure that out.

12. Personalize for Added Relevancy

With a web personalization platform like Evergage, you can personalize the form heading, individual form fields and even the call to action button based on who the visitor is and what they’ve done so far on your site. This added relevance boosts conversion rates in most tests.

13. Test Different Colors, Layouts, and Positions

You need to test all the design elements of your form, from layout to color, before you can say with certainty that your design is close to optimal. Use A/B testing to get an idea of how single specific design choices affect conversion rate, or multivariate testing to pit very different designs against one another. Don’t be afraid to add, and test, a dash of personality in your online forms, too.

It all comes down to this: test, test again, test some more, then keep on testing. Conversion rate optimization is impossible without test data, and every test you run gives you information that will help you win more sign-ups.

What do you think would boost the conversion rate of your online forms? Have you tested your theory yet? Tell us how it’s going!