Why Your Forms Aren’t Converting: How to Improve Conversion Rates

Pen, paper and magnifying glass

You’ve set up your paid media campaigns, have killer ad creative with compelling copy, and you’re driving prospects to your landing pages to download a gated content asset. Everything is set and your click-through performance is looking great. But when these visitors come to your landing pages, too few of them are filling out your lead generation form. What gives? Here’s what we know about conversion rates.

Tips for Improving Conversion Rates

In B2B marketing, a landing page featuring a gated content asset is still the primary way businesses generate leads for their sales team. Though savvy marketers are now leaning into ungated assets as part of an account-based marketing (ABM) approach, many brands are still using asset download forms as a tried-and-true lead generation technique.

But even with compelling ads and enticing copy, your form experience can make or break your campaign performance. If you want to raise your conversion rates, the following recommendations can help.

  1. Is the offer worth it?
    First, is there enough value in your offer for your prospects to part with their personal information? White papers, webinars, and ebooks make great offers since there’s often a fair amount of “meat” in them. But lighter fare, like case studies and datasheets, are bad choices.
  2. Too many fields
    How many fields do you really need on your form? Some organizations make it a battle between their marketers, who want to limit the number of fields, and the sales team, who needs lots of information to route and better follow up with leads. According to a study by Unbounce, the sweet spot is three to five fields on a form, reaching a 20% conversion rate; on forms with six or more fields, it drops to 15%.
  3. Check your required fields
    Work with your sales team to question every field and understand how it will be used. Having many fields is often unnecessary, but if you must, use tools like Zoominfo to append additional information to lead records without a slew of fields. For example, by properly capturing a lead’s company name, you can usually infer their city, state, zip, and firmographic notes like company headcount, revenue, and more.
  4. Picklists vs. checkboxes and buttons
    Picklists (dropdowns) can be a major source of form friction. Too few options and the dropdown can hide choices and slow the user’s efforts. If it’s just two or three choices, checkboxes or radio buttons work much better than a picklist. Conversely, if you have more than six to ten options, that’s a lot of scrolling, and a combo search/drop-down box often works better. Salesforce, for example, has a long picklist for Country, but they offer a geographic lookup to auto-select the user’s country to make things easier.
  5. Phone number
    For many prospects, the phone number field means it’s time to bounce, and it’s easy to understand why. If they’re early in the buying cycle, they may be doing research and don’t want a call from a sales rep yet. We recommend avoiding this field for top-of-the-funnel offers. If it’s really necessary, ask for it on forms that pertain to lower funnel offers.
  6. People don’t like to ‘submit’
    Here’s a low-hanging conversion optimization tip. Change your button text from “Submit” to something more actionable like “Download Now”, “Get the Guide”, or “Watch the Webinar.” They reinforce the action we want users to take, and they’re friendlier. No one wants to submit to anything.
  7. Help!
    Depending on your fields, inline help text in your field labels can make a big difference in conversions. Help text eliminates ambiguity so users can cruise through the form.
    If you’re seeing a lot of spam/bot traffic, a CAPTCHA can reduce the flow of junk into your database. But if marketers like CAPTCHAs, users think identifying sidewalks in a photo grid is a time-consuming pain. Try a ‘honeypot’ instead, which flips the script by asking bots to identify themselves using a form field that’s visible only to bots, hidden to humans.
  9. Dumb Forms
    If multiple form fields really are necessary, progressive profiling may be a good solution, asking only for the bare minimum the first time a user interacts. The form will identify the user on subsequent visits and forgo asking what’s already known. Instead, it will ask for additional data points to build out the user’s profile. When used in conjunction with lead scoring, it lets marketing hold on to a lead until all fields are complete, then pass it along to the sales team for follow up.
  10. Hidden forms
    How well does your form stand out on the page? Make sure there’s enough white space and contrast between the form and the rest of the page so users clearly understand what they need to do to access the gated content.

There you have it. A ten-step checklist to make sure your lead generation forms are performing optimally. Next time you stand up a landing page form, run through this list and position yourself for success.

Expanding beyond gated assets

Once you’ve mastered your forms, we strongly encourage you to test out an ABM approach with ungated offers. Users are getting less tolerant of filling out forms to learn more about a brand’s solutions. In fact, LinkedIn states that 81% of tech buyers won’t fill out a form when they encounter gated content.

And besides, wouldn’t you rather pursue your optimal targets with personalized messaging instead of foraging through form submissions?

How VSSL Can Help

Our crew of experts would love to help you kick off your ABM journey and help you improve your conversion rates. So please get in touch or look at our other resources to see how we can help.