The role of online forms and consistency in conversion

Mon 1 April 2013 19:00, J-P De Clerck

The role of online forms and consistency in conversion

We don't generate traffic to our websites and landing pages just for the sake of it. We want conversion, whatever it is for any given campaign or purpose. Search engine marketers seek it, email marketers do and, despite all community and customer services aspects, a big chunk of our social media marketing efforts aims to attract visitors to pages that are valuable for them and for our business goals.

 

A consistent experience across all channels, consistent conversion paths (for instance search engine ad and landing page), delivering what we promise in call to actions and clear purposes on our landing pages are key to conversion.

Very often conversion goals include filling in online forms: to download white papers, ask for more information or even close a sale.

Apart from all tools that we have to trace the preferences and demands of people, online forms also play a crucial role in the entire life cycle of the digital client and prospect.

To improve the conversion of online forms one should obviously take a look at the total process that all the web forms are part of. A form to subscribe for a newsletter is not the same as the one used for a survey or an e-commerce transaction, to provide just a few evident examples.

The layout, location and content of the form are also very important. Just as the words that you use when describing the fields, the call to action, the ‘submit’ button etc.

Web forms in scenario and lifecycle based marketing processes

An online form also often forms part of a chain of consecutive scenarios with several forms. A typical example is the e-commerce transaction, but it’s certainly not the only one. The way in which you store data and complete the fields of your forms with earlier acquired information is just as important. There is nothing more annoying than downloading a white paper from a company (often during one visit) and then having to enter the same details over and over again. So, if you can avoid it, please do.

The progressive acquisition of data during the lead nurturing processes - often driven by contextually relevant  content marketing - or the further development of relations and interactions with people is important. And it should therefore also translate into the online forms. If someone subscribed to your email newsletter and clicks on a link wherein you offer a white paper the online form on the landing page should ideally only request information of details that were not previously known.

In short: integration between various data sources and applications from a cross-channel perspective are essential in the optimization of online forms and their conversion.

Conversion is love

Online forms are not an arbitrary element of a particular activity but part of a cycle where the user experience of the customer (in the broadest sense) is central. They play an important role in the development of the relationship with the client.

As I wrote once before on one of my blogs: online forms are like ‘dating’. If the ‘love’ between your client and your company grows depends entirely on the relevance and a careful sequence of interactions, including the use of forms.

Love is obviously the conversion. And now that the word conversion is mentioned, here is another word (it should actually be natural to associate this word with conversion): test! Your online forms as well!

 


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Comments (2)

 

  • I love this article, as I've encountered many retail websites that ask for information in a form, and fail to connect the data I entered into future forms. For example, if I sign up to receive a white paper on a particular topic, I don't want to re-enter my email address again next time I'm on the site. I also feel it is essential to ask for a little bit of information about the visitor each time they are on the site. Having the ability to populate dynamic forms based on how the individual visitor previously behaved on the site is very important. The marketer can then use this data to automatically custom-tailor the entire shopping experience around each visitor (i.e. "The Amazon.com Experience").

    Ma 20 dec 2010, 17:33


  • Thanks for sharing such a great and excellent post.

    Vr 23 sep 2011, 16:44

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