Create Online Forms that Engage and Convert

Online-Forms-that-EngageTo your website visitors, online forms are like optional extra credit in school. If they are already passing a class, most people don’t want to spend time completing extra work. That extra credit only becomes attractive when they need the points to pass the class. Your visitors won’t look at your forms with interest unless it promises to help them achieve something of value to them. If they can find the information they need through your blog or the products they need through your store, they have little incentive to spend time filling out an optional form.

The solution is not to give up on forms altogether but to create engaging online forms that have value to your visitors. You start by being upfront about what they will receive in exchange for the information asked for in the form.

For instance, you may tell visitors that they can obtain more in-depth information not featured on your blog or website content if they sign up for your newsletter or that they can get discounts on future purchases by signing up for occasional email messages. Think about what benefit a visitor may gain from a specific form, and make sure they understand that benefit. Then place the form in a convenient location on your website and follow these additional tips:

1. Only ask for the information you really need.
The more information a visitor must provide, the less likely they are to fill out an online form. Forms with a lot of fields look complicated and require a larger investment of time. Simplerforms are faster to fill out, so your visitors are more likely to consider the time investment worth the payoff they receive at the end.

2. Use terms that everyone can understand.
If your website is dedicated to a specific industry, don’t use industry lingo. You want to ensure that everyone inclined to fill out your form will understand what information you are requesting. When something is unclear, visitors will abandon the form before it is complete.

3. Design your forms to limit frustration over errors.
Have you ever gotten to the end of a long form only to be presented with a message that there were errors on the page? Going back to fix the error can double the time it takes to complete the form. This is often caused by not using dashes or other small mistakes. If you simplify your forms by accepting data in whatever manner your visitors want to enter it, you can eliminate this frustration and ensure your visitors stick around long enough to fully complete the process.

4. Customize your online forms to your user.
Use your analytics to determine what country most of your visitors come from, and then put that country at the top of your location dropdown list. Small things like that can simplify the form process so that more of your visitors make it to the end of the form.

Notice that these tips are aimed at making your online forms fast and easy to complete. The promise of something valuable on the other end will get many to start the form, but these tips are what will ensure they finish the form.