Creating simple, intuitive and beautiful forms that entice users to part with their information is in many the ways the unicorn of digital marketing. Since the very beginning of the internet, forms have played a key part in the way that users interact with web sites and applications, and whilst most of the technology surrounding the web has evolved beyond recognition in the last 10 years, the humble form remains in much the same format as it did at the very beginning.
We all know how off-putting forms can be for a user. How many web experiences can you think of that have been ruined by a badly designed form? I can think of several such experiences - from really slick ecommerce sites with great product promotion that slap you in the face with an unwieldy checkout process, through to being asked to complete a seemingly unending myriad of fields just to sign up to a newsletter.
For content marketing, where we are asking the user to engage in a value exchange (their data for our content), getting the form right is critical. All the budget in the world poured into PPC and other marketing channels is simply a waste of time if the user is going to be turned off by a long and complex form. On the other hand, a great, simple to use form can make a significant impact on your conversion rates.
So with that in mind, here are my three golden rules for creating a great experience with forms.
Every piece of data that you ask your users to supply should be relevant and justified. You should have a clear idea of how you will use the data, and what decisions you will be making based on that data. If you can’t answer these two questions then don’t ask for that piece of data in your form. It just so happens that most country’s data protection legislation includes a similar provision, so keeping your forms relevant and concise can aid users and keep you compliant with the law.
Forms should be simple for the user to complete, with the form doing as much of the work as possible. Some good examples of this are:
Perhaps the most important rule of good form design is to continually test and improve your forms, analysing how changes to the layout and functionality of the form improve conversion rates.
Be thoughtful and selective in the changes you make and how you will measure them. In a previous life, working for an agency, I once had a client ask for us to test how the number of fields in the form will affect the conversion rate. I answered that I could pretty much give him the answer now for free - the fewer the fields, the higher the conversion rate (see Rule 1!). Test specific, single things such as the input type used on a specific field. Have a theory about how the change will impact conversion, and know in advance what you will do if you see certain trends begin to emerge in your data.
There are many areas to consider when building great, user friendly forms that really drive conversion. If you would like to discuss your form strategy, or understand more about how GatedContent.com can revolutionise the way you acquire prospect data, then contact us today.