Optimizing your Landing Page Form Fields for Conversion

Are you generating leads? Do you want to? Have you optimized your landing page with all the best practices we at the Wishpond blog has been spouting for the past few months?

Are you wondering if there’s anything else?

Of course there is!

While not the sexiest part of your landing page by any stretch of the imagination, entry forms are an essential part of landing page optimization

This article will dive into the science and psychology behind entry form optimization (bear with me). I’ll discuss how this stuff can possibly matter to your conversion rates and give you the three main things to keep in mind when building your landing page.

Why entry forms actually matter

Entry forms are where people pay for your valuable content, access to your campaign, or for a free demo. You convince them that engagement is worth doing with your awesome USP, benefit list, image, customer testimonials, trust symbols and an engaging and eye-catching CTA. They, in return, have to fill out this little form on the right side that asks them to give something up, something very personal to them:

Their name.

Think about this: more often than not your potential lead knows that filling out an entry form means they’re entering your business’ sales funnel. At the very least they recognize that they will probably be getting a few emails from you in the next few weeks.

No matter how delicately you tread, how personal your marketing emails are or how convincing you are with your “no spam, we promise!”, they know they’ve given something away they may regret.

Balancing your Ask vs Offer Ratio

A lead’s details are worth far more to you business than they might think. That said, that information is still valuable to them. As I said above, we’re talking about somebody’s name, email address, etc (personal stuff!).

Therefore the amount of form fields you require leads to fill out should be in direct relation to what you’re giving in return. Whatever you’re asking for should reflect what you’re offering.

Let me break it down right quick into a simple hierarchy so you can see how this might work:

1. At the top we have registration for a conference or event

Events, where people are actually signing up (or even applying to attend) are the top of the lead gen food chain. Your average influencer speaking at an event will allow you to ask for the entire life story of possible leads if you’d like it.

2. Next is ”sign me up for a call” and “free demo”

This lead gen strategy offer a lot of value (one on one conversation). This means you can ask for a lot in return. I’m talking job title and size of business.

3. Then we have case studies and industry reports

Worth more than ebooks only because they offer exclusive information that leads can’t get anywhere else, these are worth at least a post code.

4. Last but not least is ebooks, whitepapers, webinars and podcasts

While this content can be incredibly valuable, by in large (and because value is assumed until they actually get to read the book or hear the webinar) these are the bottom of the lead gen barrel. I’d recommend asking for name and email address. That is, unless there’s an influencer involved (in which case this strategy jumps a couple spots in the ol’ lead gen ladder).

Balancing your Offer vs Segmentation Ratio

Content marketers, A/B testers and copy-writers work closely with their sales counterparts. We look down the sales funnel and wave from time to time. Entry form optimization is one of those times.

Your sales team will get farther with a lead when they know a bit about them. When creating your entry form you need to have a long and serious talk with your sales guys about the most important characteristics they’ve found make the difference between a conversion and a “thanks for the chat, I think I’ll keep looking around…”

In short, sometimes sacrificing your conversion rate is worth it if those leads who do convert have a higher chance of a final sale.

Sometimes including more entry form fields (while decreasing the chance of your landing page traffic converting) will actually result in more sales down the line.

This is called the “offer vs segmentation ratio”, and it’s something you need to consider.

Like with all A/B testing and landing page optimization there are times when the things we change at the top of the funnel effect the bottom too much to be worth it. Removing every form field but “name” will increase conversion rates, no doubt. But it will also mean that the leads we get aren’t worth the space they take up in our CRM. It means that our sales people will look at us and say “Awesome, you’ve made our lead generation page convert at 84%. But our sales conversion is at 2. Congrats.”

The offer vs segmentation ratio is something you need to test, as each sales team works differently. For instance, Hubspot has been running this lead gen form for quite a while now (which means it must be working for them):

landing page entry form

A form this long signifies, to me, that the benefits they’re getting from knowing a lead’s biggest marketing challenge or their job title are more significant than the hit they’re taking from possible leads bouncing when they see it.

The Power of Pre-Selected Form Fields

I’m not even sure if I should be giving this away. Is my CMO behind me? Alright, I’ll whisper it…

A few months ago we increased our sign-ups by 56% with a single simple A/B test. This was one of those seven-figure tests that comes every decade or so.

Here’s how it works:

  • A small line of code (I recommend calling a dev over) “$( “#target” ).focus();” goes into your landing page code
  • This makes it so that when someone lands on your page, their cursor is already placed within the entry form
  • All they have to do is start typing

Basically, it changes your entry form from this…

landing page entry form

To this…

landing page entry form

I know what you’re going to say: “You’ve got to be kidding me! There is absolutely no way that would increase landing page conversions by 50%.”

Fine. Then I guess it’s not worth testing.

By James Scherer


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