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As a digital marketer, your #1 priority is helping your users get to the finish line on key forms: from signup to checkout. But in a distracted online world, there are thousands of possible disruptions that could distract your prospects from completing a web form they started to fill out. This article covers 7 specific tips that we’ve found most useful to reduce form abandonment and increase conversions:

Why form abandonment matters

Abandoned forms take away from your bottom-line revenue.

Most online forms directly equate to money in your pocket:

Newsletter sign-ups = new users in the funnel,
Webinar & demo bookings = warm new prospect activations
Order & registration forms = new opportunities in the door,

…few elements on your site are as close to new revenue as an online form is. Missing a potential lead to form abandonment translates to lost business, which is why form abandonment is a critical component of conversion rate optimization.

Form abandonment is most likely the leading driver of lost revenue online for your company — esp. considering studies suggest, on average, over 2 in 3 form visitors leave before completion. 

This is what makes form abandonment so important: it directly adds to your business’ bottom line. So, what can you to stop it?

How-to reduce form abandonment

So, how do you reduce form abandonment? Here are 7 tested & true strategies:

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1. Shorter forms ≠ higher conversions

There’s a lot of myths and misconceptions about the length of forms. Conventional wisdom is that shorter forms (i.e. less form fields) translate to higher conversion rates — it’s a logical hypothesis, but recent research would suggest otherwise. Here are some tips to help you decide what’s best for your unique business goals:

Is a short form the absolute truth or silver bullet?
No! Reducing form fields can actually bring your conversion rate down if you eliminate fields that people want to interact with.

Before jumping on the “less is more” bandwagon, it’s important to look at some influencing factors. For instance, did you know that 53% of forms have more than 10 fields? Or that nearly 6% of forms contain over 20 fields? It’s key to understand why and how these conversions occur.

From a user’s perspective, some fields are essential. For example, if a student is applying to a school, they might expect to choose the subjects and campus location among other things. An admission form consisting of only Name and Email might feel inadequate. 

From a business’ perspective, longer forms can result in fewer but higher quality leads. Having said that, the data shows that shorter forms often do better than longer forms and there isn’t a simple rule you can follow when it comes to the Form Length. 

Here’s the real scoop on form length and conversion rates. When it comes to length, there is no magic number of fields. It’s up to you to test what works best for your website, but using a moderate maximum number of fields ( ie. 5–10 ) is a fairly reliably universal principle –unless you have data that says otherwise.

2. Streamline the UX (user experience)

That all said, with a lead form that has been well optimized for the target audience, you don’t have to worry about how long the form is. Focus your attention on creating an engaging experience for your users.

Can’t afford to trim down on a few fields? Using “multi-page” or “smart logic” to make your forms interactive is a great strategy to simplify the experience.

This is a deceivingly simple approach guaranteed to increase conversions: simply put, make your forms less intimidating using by only showing the relevant fields & text, while hiding and/or overlaying the rest.

By breaking up longer forms into easily-digestible sections, we’re able to harness customers’ natural desire to complete a task (the “Progress Principle”). This also makes it’s easier for the user to feel like they are participating in a valuable process rather than having to complete an endless questionnaire.

Coupled with visual inputs & intuitive controls (a’ la Typeform), this approach is proven to increase completion rates on longer forms. Make your forms more approachable with clever UX!

3. Follow existing standards

Users already know where to expect certain buttons & functions. Most people have pre-existing expectations as to where certain buttons and setting should be located – too much creativity can detract from the experience and annoy users searching for specific functions.

Your website visitors are already familiar with what they expect certain types of forms (ie. signup, checkout, contact) to look like, so it’s always best to avoid mixing things up too much. While we don’t recommend being too creative and eschewing convention, it is possible to be unique without confusing potential customers. Stay true to the pre-existing user expectations—but you have plenty of room to play around.

Keep it simple. Think about the process from a user’s perspective. What are the common questions and tasks users will need to accomplish? Take the trouble out of things for users by placing important buttons and function where they know they should be. Think of your form as an extension of your product experience – another key destination in your customers’ journey.

4. Don’t use generic copy

Be more personal when asking customers to fill out forms. Avoid generic terms such as “Submit” or “Send” and use messages that speak specifically to the customer you want to attract.

Make your forms clear and personalized. Label inputs with messaging that speaks directly to your audience (e.g. “Sign up” vs. “Start 30-day risk free trial.”) and use action-oriented messaging in call-to-actions (e.g. “Get Started” or “Schedule Demo” rather than “Submit”).

Using specific messaging in labels and CTAs can significantly improve conversion rates. Help your visitors take the next step by clearly labeling fields and buttons: to help your brainstorming, we’ve classified some examples in a table — we’d recommend aiming for the “Inspired” category:

TIRED CTA’s WIRED CTA’s INSPIRED CTA’s
Request demo Get A Quote / Pricing Try It Free
Get started See It In Action Shop {Brand}
Buy / Download now Confirm Subscription Click to {Action}
Apply Now Join Now Plan / Start Your {Product}
Contact Us Get Free / The {Lead Magnet}
(e.g. Proposal, eBook)
For {Customer Group 1} | For {Customer Group 2}
(e.g. Advertisers, Publishers)

5. Enable auto-fill & save

The Internet age has become synonymous with impatience — according to a recent study by Microsoft, the average attention span today is 8 sec: less than that of a goldfish. As people grapple with a barrage of information daily (est. over 35G per day), long lead forms and slow web pages are being left in the dust.

The first step to a fast, seamless online experience for new leads is enabling autofill and progress saving functionality for your forms.

Autocompletion and autofill are native features of HTML forms that you should be able to easily configure regardless of how you created your forms. On the other hand, enabling saved progress on your forms may require third-party software, depending how your web forms are built. If you’re in this boat, Insiteful’s plug-n-play form tracking solution may be perfect for you: with just one click, you can add save & continue later functionality to virtually any existing web form (learn more here).

Automatically increase conversion rates by streamlining your lead forms to minimize the amount of data entry your prospects need to complete.

6. Only ask for what you need

As a general rule, you’ll want to only ask for the information you need. This way, it’s easier for users to complete the form and (in most cases) there’s less reason for them to quit the process before it’s completed.

Depending on the purpose of the form(s), asking for certain personal details can put-off users & make them quit before completing. Requesting personal information in your forms is only necessary in instances where you absolutely need a real name to complete the transaction (ie. online bookings or payments).

Otherwise, it’s usually best ask for only what you absolutely need (and consider offering a secondary form after the primary one is completed). If you’re able to collect extra information from users who don’t mind providing it, you can always do so on a later page!

7. Track your forms to identify friction points & recapture leads

When you have hundreds of visitors leaving your form without moving onto the next step, you know you have a problem. You’re not alone. The most popular ways to rectify this is to install tracking software on your form — we obviously have our preferred recommendation here at Insiteful 😉

Form tracking will record every website visitor and analyze the areas they struggle in. This shows you exactly which part of your form triggers them into leaving: Do they leave at the point where you ask for certain personal details? Do they fill out all the form fields but not click the submit / CTA button? These insights show you exactly where you need to improve the usability of your form and, most importantly, will help improve your bottom line.

Additionally, a form tracking solution (aka. Insiteful) will give you the partial entry data left behind by users who abandon your forms, so you can easily remarket to &/or follow up with interested leads that you would otherwise be entirely unaware of!

Get a FREE 1:1 demo! 🌱One of our product experts would be more than happy to give you a live presentation of how Insiteful can help you add to your bottom line.

In conclusion

That wraps it up! To briefly summarize our 7 Tips for Reducing Form Abandonment:

  1. Optimize form length: shorter isn’t always better, prevent friction (ie. data enrichment)
  2. Streamline the experience: design engaging forms with interactive logic (ie. multi-page, conditional)
  3. Follow industry standards: match user’s existing behavior & expectations — too much creativity can hurt
  4. Don’t use generic copy: no more ‘submit’ or ‘send message’ buttons — speak to your audience
  5. Enable auto-fill & save: users are more impatient than ever: reduce friction
  6. Ask only what’s needed: avoid sensitive details where possible
  7. Track your web forms to identify bottlenecks & recover interested leads

Automagically uncover more leads from any web form, with Insiteful. Capture and convert 100% of prospects that fill out your forms with our intuitive, no-code solution for automating your form tracking and optimization. Learn more about how Insiteful can help you automagically increase your conversion rate here.

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