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Conversion Optimization Tactics for Beginners: Part 2

Can you claim you’ve done everything possible to improve the conversion rates on your website?  Let’s face it, most people do not want to fill out any kind of form on your website, but there are a number of things you can do to improve the odds. Hopefully you have a good grasp of some of the beginner strategies for conversion optimization before moving into some of the common tactics used.

Beginner's Tactics for Conversion Optimization

What are some of the top reasons people don’t want to fill out a form?

  1. Don’t want to be called. Whether you have a active sales force or not, the impression people have is that some sales person is going to pester them endlessly if they fill out a form.
  2. Don’t want spam. We both know you don’t spam people, but your visitors don’t know that.
  3. Don’t have time. Some forms are multiple pages long. People already don’t want to fallout your form, why put more obstacles in their way?
  4. Not really that interested. Unless you are totally awesome, this is going to be 90% of your visiting audience.

So if those are the primary reasons people don’t fill out your forms, what are some of the things you can look out to make people more likely to fill them out?

Ten Tactics to Improve Conversion Rate

  1. Don’t use a plain old contact form. Give people value for giving you their information. It may be a white paper, webinar, ebook, newsletter, free advice or stuff. Your objective is to create value for your visitors and having good things to give them for filling out forms is an incentive to take the next step.
  2. Multiple points of conversion. Give people multiple reasons to contact you. Provide several of the above items to help drive visitors and conversions.
  3. Use short forms. The shorter the form is the likelier you are to have a conversion. for instance, if you don’t need a persons physical address for a follow up email or call, don’t ask. Just eliminating the address can cut down on 4 fields of information that keeps people away.
  4. Support all platforms. Due to the growth of mobile devices, it is expected that more people will be connecting with your site on these than on a desktop in the very near future. Make sure your forms are easy to use on mobile devices or you may be missing a big portion of your visitors.
  5. Don’t use drop down form fields. Through lots of testing, I’ve found in every case that drop down fields on forms are the point at which people stop entering information. It doesn’t seem to matter what is in the drop down box, it kills conversions. Instead, use a radio box or check box. The opposite of this is true for forms shown to mobile visitors. On phones and tablets, the drop down works better than the radio and check box because it is easier to click.
  6. If its not required, don’t ask. If you don’t need the information to start a conversation, don’t ask for it. I’ve seen improvements in form conversion by 30% and more simply by removing a few fields.
  7. Enable people to share the goodness. If the form is promoting a great ebook, white paper or webinar, be sure to add social media like and share buttons on the form and the thank you page. This can help drive additional traffic and conversions from your customers inner circles.
  8. Test, test, test. If you aren’t already, test your forms to make sure they are working correctly and efficiently. Use an inexpensive tool like to test the form and Visual Website Optimizer to test variations of the form against each other. Dong regular A/B testing is critical for any website.
  9. Follow up with that email. All of your forms should be capable of sending an autoresponder. It shouldn’t be some basic thank you, but make it personal and tell them what next steps you’ll be taking.
  10. Nurture that conversion. After that initial email. Follow up with an actual contact, but if it is not a B level lead like a white paper or webinar, send them additional related material one, two and three weeks after than drives additional conversions if possible.

There are many other items that help drive conversions on forms, but as a strategy, just implementing regular testing of different form designs and form copy can significantly improve the conversion rate.

John Paul Mains

John Paul Mains is the Chief Marketing Scientist at Click Laboratory. He loves all things digital, but especially SEO and analytics. If you're interested in learning more, his LinkedIn profile is

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