Lessons from 3 really good web forms
Web forms play an essential role in an online business.
Through them, customers reach out to you, answer your questions, and, most importantly, make purchases.
It’s important to understand that the way you design a web form will affect its conversion rate.
Take a look at these three really good web forms to get some inspiration…
Minaal is a company that sells premium quality travel gear designed for people who want to get things done while on the road.
Their flagship product is their Carry-on 2.0 bag, but they also have a daily bag as well as accessories like packing cubes.
They are a very friendly, down-to-Earth brand which is reflected on their “Contact” page:
Here’s what you can learn from Minaal’s “Contact” page:
- Use the headline and the subheadline to reinforce your brand image and reassure people that it’s okay to reach out to you.
- Keep the contact form as short as possible. All you really need is their name, their email address, and their message. Only ask for additional details if they are truly necessary.
- Provide an alternative way to contact you. People are often concerned that the contact form won’t deliver their messages. Giving them an option to send you an email alleviates this fear.
Minaal’s approach to the “Contact” page might work well for businesses that want to encourage people to reach out to them and aren’t worried about getting overwhelmed by the response.
Sway Copy is a copywriting company run by the SaaS copywriter Josh Garofalo who helps SaaS startups grow.
Take a look at his “Let’s Talk” page:
Here’s what you can learn from it:
- Use the headline to encourage people to reach out to you and then put a call to action and a guarantee of a quick response in the subheadline.
- Preemptively answer the questions that potential clients might have. For example, Josh is open about the fact that his project minimum is $3,000 and that most of his projects are in the $5,000+ range. That way potential clients can immediately tell if they can’t afford his services. Disqualifying leads before they even contact you can save you a lot of time.
- Provide social proof to reinforce your value proposition. Josh displays a testimonial from his previous client right below the contact form. This reassures potential clients that he is a skilled SaaS copywriter that can get results.
Do you see the main difference between Minaal’s “Contact” page and Sway Copy’s “Let’s talk!” page?
They both encourage people to reach out to them, but the former is open to everyone; meanwhile, the latter has put measures in place to disqualify leads. Why is that?
It’s because Minaal’s form isn’t a part of a sales funnel, meanwhile Sway Copy’s form is, so it makes sense for Josh to deter people who aren’t a good match.
In short, if you are using a contact form to generate leads, then you should also make an effort to disqualify those who don’t meet your criteria.
Basecamp is a legendary SaaS company that sells its flagship project management tool with the same name.
Take a look at their Basecamp Classic sign up page:
Here’s what you can learn from it:
- Use the headline to reassure the customer that filling out the form won’t take long.
- Provide an option to skip the form altogether if such option is available.
- Preemptively address the customer’s concerns. For example, it seems that people are often confused about the Basecamp Classic free plan and think that it’s a free trial. Basecamp clarifies this by reassuring them that there’s no time limit on it.
- Make the customer feel appreciated by thanking them. It might seem like a minor detail, but “Thanks for choosing Basecamp!” shows people that Basecamp doesn’t take them for granted. Small gestures like that matter.
Keep in mind that the more you are asking from someone, the more effort you have to put into persuading them, so sign up forms require extra work.
The #1 web form design rule
The most important thing you need to know about web forms is this: always keep them as short as possible.
Baymard Institute has discovered that people feel overwhelmed and intimidated when they see a lot of form fields during the checkout process.
Moreover, they found that even optional fields contribute to this effect:
“While it’s true that users aren’t required to fill out the optional fields, users won’t realize this until they progress to that field and see its ‘optional’ label. Hence, when users first glance over the page, the optional fields are as intimidating as the required fields (because the user has yet to distinguish the two), and can thus make a checkout step seem more intimidating to complete than it actually is.”
So keep the number of form fields (including the optional ones) as low as possible.
Make sure to analyze the data
Simply putting a web form on your website isn’t enough. You have to track its performance, analyze the data, and optimize it accordingly. That’s why form analytics is an essential tool for any online business. And what is form analytics?
Form analytics is a type of software that allows you to better understand how your website visitors interact with your web forms:
- How long does it take them to fill out a form?
- Which fields cause them to drop off and abandon the form?
- Which optional fields are rarely used and can be either collapsed behind a link or removed entirely?
For example, Freshmarketer form analytics function lets you track metrics like time spent on a form, hesitation time, abandonment rate, correction rate, and much more.
Knowing all this allows you to take the guesswork out of optimizing web forms.
No one enjoys filling out web forms.
That means that you need to make it as easy as possible if you want people to still do it.
Once again, the way you design a web form affects its conversion rate, so put in the effort to get it right.
And don’t rely on guesswork. Use form analytics to gather and analyze data. You need to know what works and what doesn’t if you want to optimize your web forms and get the most out of them.
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