How to Convert More Prospects on Your Website

Simplifying your web form can increase your response rate immediately.

One of the most important goals of a business-to-business website is to capture visitors’ contact information. Yet there is a huge barrier standing in the way. It’s your web form. Chances are excellent you’re asking for too much information.

Recently one of our clients, Adam Washington (not his real name), achieved a 24% increase in website visitors signing up for his software demo just by simplifying the web form. And it was relatively painless.

Adam got rid of a bunch of questions that weren’t necessary and asked only for information he really needed: the visitor’s name and email address. He also got rid of additional distracting offers and options on the form page.

The original form was a salesperson’s dream – asking for every conceivable piece of information to make it easy for the sales team to distribute leads and follow up. The original form included fields for:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Company
  • Phone number
  • Mailing address
  • Country
  • Industry

It also included two marketing questions: “where did you hear about us” and “would you like to receive our newsletter”.

Some of the information was not required, but the effect was still the same. Many prospects saw it as too much of a hassle to fill out the form. They moved on.

The new form asked for only three pieces of info:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Country

It also allowed the prospect to opt into the mailing list.

The 24% increase in the number of people filling out the form was nearly instantaneous.

From a marketing perspective you won’t get much push back about changing your form. After all, a 24% increase speaks for itself. And there are much more accurate ways of learning how a prospect found out about you than asking on a web form.

Most sales teams, on the other hand, will object to eliminating some of the information required on a web form. The two most common complaints seem to be:

1. They need geographical or industry information so they know which sales person gets the lead.

2. They want a phone number to call the person direct. They believe email addresses collected on these forms are usually junk.

These objections indicate a process problem more than a form problem. Website contacts should never dump directly to an outside sales force without further qualification – either by marketing or an inside sales group. And phone numbers and mailing addresses are no more likely to be “real” than an email address is. But that is a subject for a different article.

The point of this article is that instead of spending a ton of money to drive more people to your website, you should take advantage of what you’re already driving there. You can do this with a few simple changes.

Is Adam’s success with the demo form experiment a fluke? It could be – time will tell whether or not the modified form maintains its high performance level. But based on decades of experience with other clients like Adam, I know it will almost certainly continue to provide Adam’s company with increased prospects week after week after week.

Copyright 2009 Tatum Marketing Inc.


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