Your order form is the place where prospects have to make a commitment to you – either to register, request more information, or make a purchase. That makes it one of the most likely places for customers to get cold feet and abandon your site. Here are ten things you can do to make sure your order form isn’t scaring customers away.
In a classic direct mail package, the envelope promises a benefit or piques the reader’s curiosity; the letter packs an emotional wallop and calls for action; the brochure provides detailed product information; and finally, the lift piece builds credibility. But the order form or offer form is where the rubber really hits the road.
You see, whether on a web site or in direct mail, the order form is the place where the reader has to actually sign on the dotted line and make a commitment. Whether you’re asking the prospect to order the product and pay up with a credit card number, request a free white paper, register for a webinar, or act in any other way, it’s important to handle all the details of the order/offer form properly!
Here are ten ways to make sure that your order form is a winner.
1. You don’t have to call it an “Order Form.”
When a life insurance salesperson passes over the contract for your signature, she doesn’t say “Please sign this contract.” Instead, she hands you a pen and says, “Let me just get your OK on this.” Why? Because any (good) salesperson wants to keep you from focusing on the fact that you’re making a commitment. So don’t (necessarily) call your order form by that name. Go with something else less threatening, like:
- FREE Guide Request Card
- Information Request Form
- Software Request Action Card
- Free Software Evaluation Form
2. Ask for personal details tactfully.
Don’t just roll in with your data fields: name, title, company, etc. Warm things with a simple line like: “We’d like to get to know you better.”
3. Make a “limited-time” offer.
If you want to spur action, let prospects know that they can’t dawdle. Push them along with lines like:
- Offer must expire on December 15th and will not be repeated!
- This limited-time offer good until December 15th only!
- Don’t miss this FREE offer which must end on December 15th!
4. Minimize the number of qualifying, marketing-type questions you ask.
Response rates plummet the more you ask probing questions. Typical questions you’d love to ask but should consider avoiding include:
- How many people are in your department?
- What’s your budget?
- When do you plan on making a purchase of a new system?
- What solution are you currently using?
5. Include your guarantee on the order form.
Since you want to reassure the prospect at the moment he is deciding to act, reprint your fabulous guarantee right on the order card. It’s comforting to the prospect.
6. Precheck the “Yes” box.
If you’re going to include a little box for checking next to the “Yes” line, precheck it.
7. In the first line after the “Yes,” restate the benefits.
Be sure to state the full offer benefits so they’ll be encouraged to reply. That way, if the order form is the first thing prospects read, they’ll still understand your offer fully. Be specific when you do this. Here’s an example of a vague statement and a better, more specific statement.
VAGUE: Yes. Please send me your FREE Information Kit.
SPECIFIC: Yes. I want to find out more about how American Management Solutions can solve some of the toughest budget and management problems I face. So send me your FREE Information Kit titled “How to make your budget go farther in difficult times” without risk or obligation.
8. Make sure you include your fax number, phone number, Web site URL and e-mail address.
You can say, “For faster action, call 1-800-123-1234, etc.” You never know how people want to respond so include ALL response options on the order form.
9. Include motivating subheadlines under the order form headline.
If the headline is, “Report Request Card” try a series of subheadlines such as:
- “How To Slash The High Cost Of Product Returns”
- Your Report Is FREE For The Asking!
- Don’t miss this “must read” document from Levison Software!
- No risk. No obligation. Nothing to buy.
10. Make the details completely clear.
It’s an obvious but often overlooked point! You don’t want the prospect to have to work to fill in your order form. So make the price, quantity, tax, etc. very clear and lay it all out attractively and cleanly.
Remember, your order/offer form is extremely important since that’s where the prospect has to take action. As always, handle all the little details properly and watch sales grow!
Ivan Levison is an award-winning freelance direct response copywriter who creates direct mail sales letters, e-mails, and ads. For a free subscription to his monthly e-mail newsletter for marketers, visit