Cracking the Conversion Equation
There's no doubt marketing is an art. But conversion? That's a science. And science is built on equations.
At Formstack, we like to try our hand at deciphering the equations that power the science behind our industry. We've spent some time trying to identify the perfect A/B testing formula. Our next mission is to solve the great conversion equation.
After running the numbers, reviewing the research — and discarding a few options that played with the sum of coffee and mass quantities of carbohydrates — we came up with what we think is a winning conversion equation: bold call to actions + social autofill features - ungated content = conversions.
With this equation in play, marketers can move the needle and create meaningful, value-based conversions for their brands.
Here's a quick snapshot of each of the components of our winning conversion equation, and why each one works:
Bold calls to action
Your call to action (CTA) is the endgame. It's literally where you want customers to go, and what you want them to do — whatever that may be. That's why this element is the first (and maybe most critical) part of our conversion equation. It's just that important.
First, position your CTA at the top of your landing page to deliver maximum views to your form without requiring page visitors to scroll all the way down to the bottom. Make sure your CTA and all other buttons are large enough to be easily tapped from a mobile device.
And don't underestimate the power of using the right color. Try red if you're running a sale, limited-time offer or selling tickets to an event that's close to selling out. Red creates a sense of urgency. Orange also encourages immediate action. It's a good choice if you want people to sign up or buy something right now. You can use yellow to get attention. In addition, one of the best blanket choices for a CTA button color is green. We all know green means go, which is pretty handy when it comes to CTAs.
You can also test button variations with different text that communicates your unique value proposition and drives people to take action. Don't be afraid to be creative with this copy, but be clear and keep it short. Formstack's 2015 Form Conversion Report found that the top 10 converting buttons all contained two words or less.
Social autofill features
Many of us struggle to remember the slew of logins and passwords required to function today. That's why social autofill is the next part of the secret sauce: one click lets users complete multiple form fields using data from Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+. By making the experience as plug and play as possible, visitors are less likely to abandon your form.
Social autofill has unparalleled potential to improve the consumer experience. Not only does it reduce your customers' time on site, it's a sanity saver, too. Sixty-four percent of users who frequently leave sites due to forgotten log-in information say social login is an option companies should offer.
But the best reason to leverage social autofill? Our data shows conversion rates can increase up to 189 percent when form users take advantage of social autofill features.
Finally, take ungated content out of the conversion equation. Instead, spotlight your best content — and make it super desirable to your prospects — by securing it behind a gated lead-generation form.
Some marketers are afraid of gated content. However, if used properly, it can support killer content strategies … instead of killing conversions. The key is knowing exactly where web forms belong, and when it's appropriate to use them. If you gate everything, you risk losing out on frustrated leads who will look for information elsewhere. Gate nothing and you end up with no leads to nurture. But find that one awesome topic your team can expertly address, and the submissions will start rolling in.
The first rule to remember is your form is only as good as the content it's guarding. Think of your form as a fee for entrance. Any original resource that's so valuable it might otherwise come with a price tag is definitely going to be good enough to gate.
Also keep in mind that every time you use a web form to gate content, you're asking people to give up personal information in exchange for something they haven't even seen yet. Build trust by designing and deploying forms that follow best practices, adhere to your brand standards and only ask for the information you need right now.
Chris Lucas is the vice president of marketing for Formstack, an online form-building application. Follow Chris on Twitter at @chris_c_lucas.