Sounds too good to be true, right?
After all, what could you possibly do in five minutes that has the potential to double your conversion rate?
It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. Because you see, there is one part of your website that has more impact on conversion than anything else:
The sign-up form.
Here’s why: if you’re asking for too much information upfront, visitors will decide to do it later and forget about it, or they’ll just give up entirely. Just by simplifying the form, you can sometimes double the number of people who complete it.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. Remove Extra Fields
Some of the fields on your sign-up form are necessary, of course. For example, you need their email address so you can get in touch with them, and you probably want their name so you can address correspondence to the correct person.
But do you really need their phone number? Or their mailing address?
If not, you should cut the fields. All you’re really doing is making your form longer and more complex than it needs to be and giving your prospective customers more opportunities to leave.
2. Ask for Less Personal Information
A lot of your customers probably won’t care about giving you their email address, but a lot of them probably will hesitate to give you their phone number or home address.
It’s not so much about trust as being overwhelmed. They have so many companies advertising to them that it’s starting to feel like an invasion of privacy, and they don’t want to deal with it anymore, so they shut you out.
This is becoming an even bigger issue now that so many people use a cell phone as their primary phone number. Since they have it with them all the time, it means anyone with the number has access to them all the time. Sometimes, it’s less hassle to just walk away from the product.
So, if you don’t absolutely need it, don’t ask for much personal information. If your customers have to choose between your product and their privacy, you’re going to lose almost every time.
3. Tell Them Why You Need the Information
Have a legitimate reason to ask for personal information?
Be sure to explain it on the sign-up form.
If a company asks for my phone number, I automatically assume that at some point in the future, a salesperson is going to call and try to sell me something. It doesn’t matter if it’s sure not; like most people, in the absence of information, I tend to assume the worst.
A simple fix is to explain why you need to know. If you need a phone number for the shipping company to schedule delivery, just go ahead and put that on the form. Chances are, it’ll give you a nice boost in conversion rate.
The same goes for all other types of unexpected questions. In the end, most customers aren’t unreasonable people; they just want to know why you need a particular piece of information before they give it to you.
4. Put Your Customer in Control
If one of your fields is borderline important, and you’re not sure whether to exclude it or not, give the customer and their choice of whether or not to give it to you. Add an “optional” tag next to the field. Customers who are comfortable giving you the information can still do so, and those who aren’t comfortable with it can skip it.
It also makes you look more trustworthy. When you put your customers in control, it comes across as a sign of respect for their time and their privacy. And when customers feel like they’re being respected by a company, they’re more likely to do business with them.
5. Simplify Your Sign-Up Process Overall
For more dramatic results, streamline and simplify all your forms. The faster a visitor can complete their signup or transaction, the more likely they are to actually complete it.
For signup forms, the best format only requires an email address and password. Billing information would, of course, be required for any paid accounts or purchases. But beyond that, every form field you add has the potential to drive away customers.
If you use a regular shopping cart and checkout process, make sure you’re not requiring your customers to sign up for an account prior to completing their purchase. Again, it’s something that makes them pause and makes them more likely to abandon their purchase. Instead, give them the option at the end, once their purchase is complete, to save the information they just entered to make future purchases easier.
6. Reverse the Risk
Moneyback guarantees are a proven way to boost response. Customers who might be wary about signing up will view it as a risk-free way to try your product, and if they don’t like it, they can just get a refund.
The best strategy here is to not have your guarantee period end at the same time as a billing cycle. If your money back guarantee runs out at the end of a billing cycle, a lot of customers will cancel their service and get their money back at the same time.
But if the billing cycle is, say, thirty days, and the guarantee period is only fourteen days, some customers will give it the extra sixteen days before they decide, figuring they’ve already paid for it. Those extra sixteen days can give a customer more time to get used to your product or service, which will hopefully result in them deciding not to cancel.
The key is to be transparent about it. If customers feel like you’re trying to pull a fast one on them, they’re less likely to bother trying your product, even with a guarantee. You want them to feel like they can’t lose by trying your product, and that it won’t be a hassle if they decide they don’t like it.
It’s All about Respecting the Customer
In the end, all of these tips come down to one general principle:
Respect the customer.
When you’re designing your website, it’s all too easy to design your sign-up form around what you need, thinking the customer will go along with it as long as your other marketing is enticing enough. But it’s not usually true. What usually happens is you can waste tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars designing a great marketing campaign, and then it flops when the customer gets ready to sign up.
A better approach is to design your website around what the customer needs. Accept that they are in a hurry and maybe a little bit nervous about doing business with your company for the first time, and then design your sign-up forms accordingly.
Really, creating a high converting website doesn’t have anything to do with sales or technical tricks. It’s all about putting the customer first.
Do that, and the rest will follow.