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Optimise Your Registration Forms and Increase Conversion Rates

Optimise Your Registration Forms and Increase Conversion Rates

Posted 16/06/2009 by Gareth Cutter

Whatever you want people to register for - an email marketing newsletter; a white paper or an online forum - the registration form can persuade or dissuade the site visitor from fulfilling the desired action depending on how well it is optimised. Sometimes a form can put users off simply because it asks too many questions; at other times it can be a more complicated, subtle reason.

Luckily, help is at hand for finding the causes behind low conversion rates. We've summarised all the best practices around registration form optimisation we could think of to create this exhaustive task list:

  • Keep them short and sweet - visitors are going to need a lot of trust in you before they hand over all their personal details, not to mention time to spare; limit questions to the basic 'name, email and address' routine and save the specifics for later

  • Make registration for content voluntary - This may sound counter-intuitive but non-compulsory registration gives prospects risk-free access to your thought-leading knowledge, making it easier to impress them in the first instance and get them to sign up for updates later once trust is established

  • Add secondary offers - MarketingSherpa cite an example where a company offered free trials of its software while knowing some visitors wouldn't be allowed to download them because of firewall restrictions. To compensate, they offered an informative white paper as well, a move that boosted conversion rates by 9%

  • Get rid of 'Reset Field' buttons - they add little to the user experience and are more likely to prove an inconvenience, erasing fields of information when people click the wrong button accidentally

  • Optimise the copy - give prospects a compelling reason to sign up for your email newsletter. What's in it for them: thought-leading knowledge on how to increase sales? Communicate these benefits clearly and make them prominent

  • Situate the form in a prominent position - this means both on the page itself and within the greater site-structure. It's no good having the form buried away on a deep-linked page or in the bottom-left hand corner where no-one can see it. Where are you most likely to attract 'passing trade'? Analyse your web traffic for the answer

  • Manage typos and misspellings - some registration forms can automatically correct the most common slips of the finger e.g. hotmial.com, yahoo.con etc. provided the right programming is in place. Consult with your IT department or web master

  • Pre-fill information fields - a time saving technique useful for re-engaging old subscribers, send recipients personalised URLs (or PURLs for short) with relevant data e.g. name and address already entered in the fields. This makes return visitors feel both remembered and valued

Combined, these best practice tips will result in an increased conversion rate on your registration forms, enabling you to expand the reach of your email marketing campaigns (or whatever programmes you want to promote) quickly. Implement them today and you'll start to see the results unfold tomorrow.

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