When we discuss conversion rate optimization, one of the frequently discussed topics is the importance of having a “call to action” that draws the visitors into providing their information. What is often missed in this discussion is how the web forms themselves have an effect on how high your lead generation rates are.
Depending on the industry you work in, and the marketing strategy you deploy, the size of the lead generation forms differ quite a bit. For example, if you run a marketing agency and are offering a free downloadable copy of a survey report, all that you need is the email and/or the name of the visitor. This information is sufficient to get in touch with them with the report and also add them to your sales funnel. Over time, leads put through the sales funnel turn customers when they buy your product.
However, if you run a local business, the object of having a web form is quite different. It is to gather details about your prospect’s requirement so that you can reach out to them with a quote. It is common and also regarded a best practice to have as few fields in your web form as possible. For instance, if you regularly reach out to leads over phone, then the only information you need is the prospect’s name and phone number. Other details like email address, address are redundant and may often go unused.
While the thumb-rule for a high converting web form is to have as few fields as possible, this is not always true. According to Jay Barnett, the owner of Priority Floor Care, a Perth based carpet cleaning company, tests conducted by his company showed that while short forms indeed resulted in higher number of leads generated, the quality of leads drastically improved when the form was expanded to include other questions like ‘nature of inquiry’ and CAPTCHA code. He points out that short forms brought in close to 90% more leads. However, in terms of lead conversion, the larger forms converted way higher.
This brings us to the topic of leads versus conversion. Conversion optimization specialists often make the mistake of measuring increased leads as a sign of success. What matters though is that when all things stay the same, what are the factors that influence customer acquisition.
Besides the number of fields, another major factor that influences lead generation is the user experience. You may remember how Google tested nearly 41 different shades of blue for their button. Every miniscule design change has an impact on how users behave. So as long as you have enough visitors to justify testing such miniscule design changes, this is always recommended in order to get the best conversion rates.
As a last word, business owners must realize that web forms are just the beginning of an inquiry process. With the ease offered by internet, prospects regularly reach out to multiple businesses. So any small factors like a badly designed web form or page can lead to a drastically lower conversion. What has your experience been with small business lead generation? Tell us in the comments below.