3 Steps to Creating Better Sign-up Forms

reduce-form-friction

I have a love hate relationship with road trips.

They’re fun for a little while, but after five hours there is a point where every person starts to go a bit stir crazy as the car starts to feel as if it’s closing in on them.

Thankfully, to help everyone in the car from losing their mind, my parents would usually have us kids start playing 20 Questions.

Perhaps you’ve played that game a few times.

The goal is to ask 20 questions to guess what the other person is thinking.

It’s fun and passes the time when you need it to.

But you know what’s not fun?

When you come to an online form that is deciding to play the game of 20 Questions with you.

You’ve seen those right?

The online forms that are designed to help a business drive leads, but they’re longer than what you’re use to seeing.

Sort of like this one…

online-form-friction

Not exactly 20 questions, but to someone coming to this page with this form, it can certainly feel that way.

For example:

If you own an auto recycling company, you know that getting the correct information from your online forms will help you figure out if the vehicle you’re going to be purchasing is worth the investment or not.

But what you may not know about is a phrase we in the lead generation industry like to call form friction, and how it affects your bottom line.

What is Form Friction, and Why Is It Something You Need To Fix?

To get to the point quickly, let me explain what form friction is.

In plain english, when we say friction, we’re talking about anything on your website that gets in the ways of your conversion goals.

So form friction would be anything within your online form that keeps people from filling it out.

Why Is It Bad?

The reason why form friction is so important to consider is because of this major factor:

If your form is too intimidating to fill out, they will go to someone else.

That means that your online form can be getting in the way of your bottom line.

Worse yet, all that money that you’re potentially losing is going into the wallet of a competitor!

If this happens often enough, you could really be hurting financially in the months ahead.

Now, let’s just be clear:

Sometimes you need a form with more input fields for a variety of reasons.

For instance, if you need to qualify or segment your leads.

Take a look at one of Hubspot’s submission forms.

 hubspot-form

The form is so long that I couldn’t even get a full screenshot of it.

And while this form is one of the longer ones that you’ll see, these opt-in forms do well at both converting and segmenting leads.

For a corporation like Hubspot, being able to so is important for many reasons.

If someone is willing to go through the effort of filling out this form then they’re likely a very good candidate to become a paying customer.

However, apply a form of the same length to something like a personal blog or even a small business website it’s likely the wrong approach and can cause that form friction that we’d been talking about thus far.

Which is why so many blogs simply use one field: email.

So how can you tell if your online form isn’t converting as well as you thought?

And what can you do to reduce form friction?

3 Steps to Creating Better Sign-up Forms

1. Consider Creating a Landing Page

If you haven’t already, consider creating a landing page specifically for each type of conversion goal.

For instance:

Let’s say you want the visitors that come to your site to sell their used car with you.

Instead of placing your form off in a sidebar or near the bottom of a page, create a clean and neatly designed landing page on your website that is centered on this goal.

Doing this will help give people a clear direction.

You can see an example of how we did this for a client:

tearapart-sellcar

As you can see, this page is very clean and speaks instantly to a person that wants to sell their car for some quick cash.

Once they click on the call-to-action, the form they’re taken to is a pop-up modal:

contact-form

The entire process is easy, and simple with a user friendly flow and minimal fields to help alleviate form friction.

It seems like a small enough change, but the results have proven effective for our client.

2. Check To See If Anything on the Form is Confusing

Another area that can lead to form friction is confusion.

Words or phrase within your form can be enough to trip up the conversion process.

Remember that photo from earlier?

Here it is again.

online-form-frictionNotice that final field asking the user to “Type the text from the image above:”?

To me, it’s clear that this field is to help combat form SPAM.

But to someone else, they could read that and think…

“What the hell do those letters even say? Why do I need type in this code and does it need to be in all caps?”

Plus, this method of fighting SPAM can result in someone typing the wrong letters and then it clearing the whole form due to human error.

This leads to irritation and customers going elsewhere.

This field is confusing and bad for user experience all around.

Something better might be to place a tick box that says, “Check this Box to Prove You’re Human”.

On the note of SPAM: You can also try removing words and phrases like SPAM or “we hate spam.”

While your intention for adding this to your form may have been to let people know that you’ll protect the information that give you it might be distracting enough to prevent real follow through on the form.

Go back and check your lead generation forms to see if there are any fields or phrasing that could use some clarifications or changes.

3. A/B Test Alternative Forms

Our last point is the most effective:

A/B testing.

With this method, you can test multiple forms against themselves to find a lead generation form that converts the best.

The folks over at AutoScout24 did this and they saw impressive results.

You can read the entire case study right here.

But if you want the cliff notes, here is what they found:

  • By testing 3 new forms against the original, they increased conversion from 1.2% to 1.5%
  • This test lead to an overall increase in conversion of more than 21%
  • Since A/B testing, they’ve tripled their revenue over the past 3 years

Though A/B tests are done by making some smaller tweaks to content, the return on your investment can have staggering results.

If you’re looking for a tool to help A/B test your opt-in forms and you run your site on WordPress, then consider purchasing a premium plugin service like ThriveLeads or OptinMonster.

However, our most favorite tool for capturing leads is LeadPages. You won’t find a better, more powerful tool to capture leads.

All of these applications have the ability to A/B best your forms to see what converts best.

Wrapping it up

Online forms are no doubt important – it’s your primary method of passively getting leads for your business.

Having a well designed and properly tested form can have a huge impact on your business and profit.

And while a blog can get away with asking for just email address, a business might need more information — and that’s okay.

What is important is that you find the balance between the information you need versus the information you want so that you’re not causing any needless friction.