Getting The Most From Online Forms

Web forms are now an accepted part of everyday life, tolerated because usually the end result of completing a form is the return of something of interest to the user, a concept we at CommuniGator call a ‘Value Exchange’.

Whether it be to sign up to an email newsletter, register for an event or get a quote for car insurance there is an expectation from the user that they will be asked to provide certain information to gain what they require in return.

GatorMail utilises Google’s API to integrate seamlessly, and with a simple extension to the Google tracking codes on your site, GatorMail is returned invaluable data about which individual web pages were visited once contacts had clicked through, generating 100% accurate conversion reporting.

As long as the level of motivation to complete the form outweighs the effort required to do so, this method of data capture should be very cost effective and convert well. Given the cost to purchase data lists, can you afford to have your own web forms converting at anything less than 100%?

Here are our top tips on how to construct your online forms to maximise their success:

  • Keep forms as short as possible and don’t ask for data that it wouldn’t be in the user’s interest to provide. For example, if you are seeking signups for your monthly newsletter communication, don’t initially ask for sensitive information such as date of birth. Once you have the contact in your list and have developed a trusting relationship it may then be possible to probe further to gain additional detail.
  • Although usually only possible when your form is linked from an email, or when a user is signed in to your website, forms should always be pre-filled with the users information. Firstly, this level of personalisation promotes trust, and secondly it reduces the time required to complete the form, which will increase your conversion.
  • Should it be necessary for the user to take a step back in the form process, don’t make them re-fill or select options that they have already completed once.
  • Don’t impose restrictions on upper and lower case text.
  • Where necessary provide clear and specific reasons for errors rather than vague messages.
  • Drop down lists and tick boxes make data entry quick and easy, reducing the time required to complete your form.
  • Only make fields mandatory where the information is specifically required for your objective. For example, why force the user to provide a telephone number when signing up to receive email communications from you? This will have a seriously negative impact on conversion.
  • If possible, verify information as far as you can.

CommuniGator’s GatorMail solution has a quick and easy form creation wizard which can be used to build forms to be linked directly from email (event registrations etc), or that can be plugged into your website to capture new signups. These forms can also be integrated to your internal database or CRM system, saving valuable time and resources on entry of new records and data cleansing.