The most common way to collect client and subscriber information is through a web form. A web form is exactly what you think it is: a form that is hosted online either on your website or on its own landing page that’s accessed through a distinct URL.
Web forms may seem simple enough to create and use, however, there is always room for improvement to ensure they are as effective as they can be while making sure you’re obtaining the information you are looking to collect. Luckily there are a few tips and best practices you can use to optimize your web form and boost the number of signups!
Use double opt-in to verify information
Complying with anti-spam rules and legislation is imperative for any business. The last thing you want is for your business to be labeled as spam by individuals who are not pleased with the number of messages they’re receiving because they either didn’t realize what they were signing up for or – worse yet – they‘re convinced they DIDN’T sign up to receive messages. This is why we recommend that you enable double opt-ins for your web form.
But what does “double opt-in” mean, you ask?
Well to answer that question, we first need to explain what an “opt-in” is. Essentially, when a recipient submits your form, they are opting in (or choosing) to give you their contact information so you can communicate with them through emails, surveys, phone calls, or what have you. A double opt-in adds another step to this process, requiring the submitter to confirm that they did indeed consent to provide their contact information to you. Oftentimes, double opt-in involves the verification of an email address by sending an email to the address the submitter provided in the form. The submitter would then have to click on a link in the email to confirm their opt-in.
Utilizing double opt-in helps to ensure that those who sign up through your web form are fully aware what they are getting into, as well as prevents the addition of fake email addresses to your contact manager, thereby reducing the number of bounces your messages receive upon sending.
Keep your web form short and sweet
A signup form should only ask for the bare minimum information needed from submitters. No one likes forms that go on and on and on, with field after field of information to fill out, especially when all they wanted was to sign up for a monthly newsletter.
Be sure not to bombard new leads and subscribers with too many questions upon your first contact with them. Once they sign up, you will have plenty of other opportunities to gather all the information you need and want through regular check-ins as well as through your web tracking efforts.
The fewer fields form submitters need to fill out, the more likely they will do so, rather than balking at the excessive number amount of information they would need to provide to receive a simple newsletter. For signup forms especially, try and limit the number of fields to only the information you absolutely need in order to perform the service or action the submitter is signing up for – such as the email newsletter example, where only the subscriber’s name and email address is needed from the get-go.
Maintain a cohesive and consistent design
While looks certainly aren’t everything, they do count for something – especially when creating a web form that will be used to gather contact information from prospective leads and clients.
Make sure your form design is consistent with the design of your website or your company branding so they flow seamlessly into each other. It would certainly be jarring to come across the signup page on a business’s website and see that the form doesn’t match the rest of the site at all. You want those signing up to be able to tell to what and to whom the form refers, and you want them to trust that the form belongs on the page it appears.
The form itself should also follow a logical order in terms of the information fields it contains. For example, you wouldn’t ask for someone’s address information before asking what their name is, right? The most important information you are requesting should be at the top of your form – i.e. any identifying information – and the less important, less valuable information should be placed further down on the form. This will help ensure your form submitters provide the information you need, even if they may get bored halfway through your form and submit it without completing it.
Leverage modal options for form presentation
Did you know there is more than one way to display your web form on your site?
Instead of having your form load with your webpage and remain static, you can play around with a couple of different modal form options to see which works best for your business.
The first option is to have the form load separately from the rest of the webpage and show up after a few seconds in its own pop-up window. This enables you to get your form in front of page viewers in a more “in your face” manner and force them to acknowledge it in some way before they can interact with the rest of the page. This may make them more likely to submit their information.
Another way to have your form displayed on your site is through the use of a modal button that resides along the edge of your screen that will produce the form once clicked. This is a more subtle way of displaying your form and allows you to include your form on your site without having it take up any room on the page.
It depends on what the purpose of your web form is when you’re determining which modal display option will work best for you if any. For example, if you’re offering website visitors a free quote of a service, maybe you’d want to use the pop-up form option. And if you are asking visitors to sign up for a company newsletter, perhaps the more subtle button option will work best. Ultimately though, it is up to your best judgment.
Make sure your form is mobile friendly
This final tip for optimizing your web form is perhaps the most important one of all. Many of us do our online browsing from our phones nowadays, whether it is researching products or scanning through content. It’s important that any forms you are using on your site can be easily displayed and filled out using a mobile device.
Part of ensuring that your website forms are mobile friendly is ensuring your overall website or landing page is optimized for mobile. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to scroll every which way to find the content you need on a page. This goes the same for forms. If a visitor has to scroll endlessly just to try and find all the information fields to fill out, they will more than likely simply give up without hitting “Submit.”
By ensuring that your web forms are compatible with mobile devices, you have the potential of gaining more signups from all the mobile visitors who come across your site during the course of their daily browsing.
Let us help you with your web form creation!
SimplyCast has an intuitive Form Builder application that you can use to create dynamic web forms quickly and easily! With drag-and-drop fields and multiple design options, you can create a comprehensive and well-designed form that can be shared through email, embedded on your website, or displayed through various modal options.
Click the button below to request a demo of the SimplyCast platform!