Even though I'm a marketer, one of my least favorite activities is filling out forms on websites. Google's AutoFill has become my best friend to help save me from the tedious and mundane task of filling out name, email, phone number, yadda yadda yadda.
Still, if you want to grow your business, website forms are part of the gig. Your job is to make sure your forms are ones people actually fill out.
Below are six very common reasons why people won't fill out landing page forms -- so if you want more people to convert on your forms, you should steer clear of these mistakes.
1) Your landing page is too generic.
If your landing page is just a page on your website that says "contact us" on it, you're probably not going to have a ton of conversions. Even if it has that nice little drop-down specifying what their inquiry is about (Sales? PR? Support?), the landing page is too generic for most visitors on your website, so they'll end up just bouncing off your page.
MarketingOn a landing page, not having a single, compelling, and clear reason for filling out the form is a surefire way to get people leaving your page. Your landing pages forms should be used to gate offers like ebooks, templates, guides, free demos, consultations, trials, etc. Basically, all things that are specific with a single, clear value proposition -- not just a general "get in contact with us" form.
2) Your landing page is too distracting.
If you have too many options on your landing page, it can make visitors feel overwhelmed. It's kind of like being in a cereal aisle at the grocery store with a billion options. Should you get Lucky Charms because they're delicious or the generic Lucky Charms because they're cheaper (though taste like cardboard) or Honey Bunches of Oats because you really need to get on that diet you said you were doing three months ago or should you get granola because it tastes better with your daily yogurt?
Suddenly, you're just really overwhelmed with the number of things you could do -- like most other people when faced with lots of options -- and you quickly exit the cereal aisle, hoping for better success with your next grocery list item. With too many options on your landing page, visitors may find an option other than filling out your form to be more enticing -- or they just get overwhelmed and leave the landing page.
To get your visitors to fill out your form, you've got to eliminate distractions, like your navigation bar or offers further down your marketing funnel (save this for your thank-you page). Your landing page should exist to get people to fill out a form for a specific offer -- and that's it.
3) Your landing page didn't meet expectations.
Using clickbait won't work -- sure, it'll get people to your landing page, but once they feel hoodwinked, they'll bounce instead of filling out your form ... which, like we discussed before, is the whole point of your landing page.
You need to set expectations in the copy of your marketing that's directing people to your landing pages. This means in every social media post, blog post, PPC ad, call-to-action, etc., you should be very careful to explain what your landing page is about and what people will get by filling out your form.
For example, for a landing page for a quick, five-page guide on Facebook Ads, you shouldn't promote it as "The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Ads." People will expect to have a big, in-depth explanation of what Facebook Ads are and how to optimize them -- and if your landing page copy shows them a short guide, they sure aren't going to fill out the form on your landing page. So make sure you're being very accurate in the promotion of your landing page, or your conversions could suffer.
4) The form is waaaay too long.
You may have a clear, enticing landing page for one offer, have it free of distractions, and have accurate promotions, but still have no one filling out your forms because the form is too long. Think of your form as a form of currency for your offer -- its length should match what the offer is "worth."
For example, it'd be okay to have a longer form when someone's filling it out to attend an all-day event. That type of "offer" is really valuable and the "price" of giving over your information seems cheap in comparison, so your prospects will most likely fill out your form. On the other hand, if you had a one-page checklist with that same form length, you'd likely have some dropoff -- that offer probably isn't as valuable as the event.
If your offers fit in the latter scenario, think of shortening up your forms. If you have progressive profiling enabled, you can still gather valuable lead intel without sacrificing form length, poking a hole in that whole form length vs. lead quality debate.
5) Your form fields feel invasive.
Just because you can ask almost anything on a form doesn't mean you should -- it could be the difference between someone filling out your form ... or just completely abandoning your landing page. Even with trust seals, sometimes asking overly personal or sensitive information can backfire, even if it helps you qualify people in your sales process.
Asking things like how much your visitors make or what their social security number are both obvious examples of these types of invasive form fields. That being said, your audience most likely has their own threshold of what feels invasive. What feels invasive to a Baby Boomer might feel very normal to a Millennial, for example.
To make sure you're not asking invasive questions for your audience, try gut-checking your forms with someone who would be similar to your buyer persona, and then A/B testing to confirm your findings.
6) Your form doesn't play nice with mobile devices.
Last, but certainly not least, one huge reason people might not be filling out your forms is that your landing page and/or forms aren't mobile friendly. Think about the last time you tried to fill out a form on mobile ... most often, it's a pretty terrible experience. You're furiously pinching and swiping to try to get the form the right size on your screen, your fingers suddenly feel huge because you're typing in all the wrong letters on your tiny keyboard, and eventually, you give up filling it out entirely.
Not fun for you. And definitely not fun for the marketer.
If you're the marketer in that situation (and since you've made it this far, I assume you are), you can do a few things to fix this. First off, you should make sure your landing pages (and entire website, for that matter) are responsive so they function properly on any device. That's a given in today's mobile-connected world.
With a few simple fixes, you could turn around those dismal conversion rates and be on your way to hitting your team's goals. The key to all of these fixes is to make it easy -- and enticing -- for people to give over their information.
Originally published May 28, 2014 12:30:00 PM, updated April 04 2018