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Web form analytics; the final frontier of internet marketing

Conversion Rate Optimisation

SEO, CRO and hurdles

Digital and internet marketing now forms an integral part of the growth strategies of most businesses. Engaging with potential customers and clients online, being visible in search engine results, and providing high quality sharable content are cornerstones of the vast majority of marketing plans. Bring more people to your website and explain what you do in an engaging and interesting way, the thinking goes, and the more business you will win.

Raising traffic to a website is only a part of the conversion process, and increasingly conversion rate optimisation has become ever more important to marketing efforts. After all, you can bring millions of visitors to your site, but if you do not give them a compelling reason to get in touch, your bottom line remains the same. However, even if you do give your audience a compelling reason to get in contact with you, there is one final hurdle; the form.

Even presidents have to overcome hurdles.

Almost all websites contain a form that allows visitors to reach out to you in some way. This can be a sign up page to join a community, receive newsletters, offers and competitions, an online checkout that they have to complete to make a purchase, or simply an enquiry form for them to ask you a question. Forms however remain an obstacle to overcome to achieve some other goal. They are a means to an end, be that buying a product, paying a bill, booking a holiday or simply having a question answered. And unfortunately, these forms remain a much neglected afterthought for most websites, meaning overcoming this hurdle is time consuming and often infuriating.

The importance of web forms cannot be understated. They are often the first (and sometimes only) communication that visitors have with your business. Poorly designed and complicated forms can make the difference between an excited, engaged customer buying something from you and a frustrated, annoyed potential customer lost, unlikely to return.

An analogy

Imagine an incredible shop full of wonderful, desirable goods in prime position on the high street. As you wander past it you’re immediately taken by its store front and display and decide to go inside, keen to find out more about this eye catching and interesting place.

Once there, the layout and interior design are spectacular, intuitive, and almost awe inspiring. The shop is laid out in such a way that you can easily find exactly what you’re looking for, whilst also stumbling across other things that you never knew you wanted. After just a few minutes, you find your arms filled with amazing stuff that you want to buy, so you decide to head for the cash registers.

There, you find the most complicated and unintuitive self checkout system on cash registers that look ancient, and do not match the modern, sleek design of the rest of the shop. It’s also unclear what you are supposed to do, as there are no on-screen instructions. You decide to crack on, regardless.

The cash register regularly scans your items wrongly and you find it difficult to cancel or correct these errors, with no staff in the shop apparently there to help, and no way to request help either. You are asked to input the barcode numbers individually rather than scan them, and this has to be done in a particular way that you find yourself often getting wrong. At one point, you ask to pay using your card, but due to a technical error this does not work and you have to start the whole process again. Towards the end of the process you are asked to enter your favourite colour and if you have any pets. After 20 minutes of desperately trying to purchase the amazing bundle of wonderful gadgets, you give up, leave the shop and vow never to return.

You may also have smashed the thing.

For most businesses, this is exactly what their online forms are doing. Poorly designed, with little or no instructions, they are often too long, ask far more questions than you feel are necessary, and frequently wipe previously filled out fields if you make a mistake.

But what if, as a business, you did not know that your forms were giving users such a headache? Or, you knew that your forms were not converting but did not know exactly why? Are they too long? Are some questions seen as unnecessary and put users off completing the form?

The answer

Enter Formisimo – a powerful yet easy to use form analytics engine which gives insight in to how web visitors interact with your forms.

The Form Analytics tool allows you to view in-depth information on how users engage with the forms on your site. This data can be split in to overview statistics, in-depth statistics about individual form fields and highlight form issues, giving you data about problems users may be experiencing with your forms.

Every element of your form has a health score which compares the performance of that element to your own averages, industry averages and worldwide averages. The tool can also segment by mobile and tablet visitors and by country. In short, Formisimo gives you all the insight you need to make improvements to your forms.

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If you can improve them, then you’ll see an increase in sales or leads with the same marketing spend. This process of form conversion rate optimisation will also make it easier for your website visitors to engage with you, which means they’ll have a more positive experience of your brand.

Formisimo has been developed to be powerful and easy to use. If you use web analytics software like Google Analytics, you’ll feel right at home.

So stop neglecting your forms. Give your users and potential customers the best possible experience at the point where they want to make contact with you. Forms will always remain a hurdle, but if you can make that hurdle as small and as easy to jump over as possible, your customers will forever thank you for it.