Are you in a business that relies on lead capture forms to generate leads or complete online transactions? If so it is important to recognize that having form fields that provide a poor user experience can result in lost leads, lost sales, and lost business.

Don’t believe us? How about the $12 million dollar form field lesson learned by Expedia?

Expedia’s $12 million a Year Data Field Lesson

Expedia is an online travel booking site that needs no introduction. However, even household brands like Expedia create processes that need to be worked out and can result in lost revenues – in Expedia’s case, $12 million dollars a year.

Turns out that many customers that were trying to complete transactions with the site were clicking the “Buy Now” button, not completing their transactions and abandoning the site altogether. Expedia had done its part to drive traffic to their website, led visitors down their sales funnel, gotten them to whip out their credit cards and even hit the “Buy Now” button but were not getting the money. Why?

Expedia invested in some analytical software to find the root of the problem. The solution was quite simple: remove one optional field that was confusing customers.

The Failed Data Field

On Expedia’s checkout page users were asked to put in all of their billing and travel information and click the “Buy Now” button. One of the form fields contained an optional field under ‘Name’ for ‘Company’ which confused many customers into putting their banks name instead of their company’s name. After putting the bank name into the optional field these users made the mistake of entering their bank address rather than their own, hindering the credit card process that sought to link the credit card number to that of the holders address.

Expedia immediately deleted the field and saw a change in transactions virtually overnight. This change was speculated to help the company gain $12 million in profit a year, simply due to the deletion of the form field.

Conversion Rate Optimization and Your Business

While the Expedia example is indicative of a rather large success story it is a success story none-the-less. Here are some tips related to form field conversion rate optimization that can help you dissect your website for instances that may be preventing you from sealing the deal:

Fewer Fields is Better

When feasible, eliminate as many unnecessary form fields as possible to improve the conversion rates of your forms. One research study done by HubSpot found that eliminating form fields from four to three can increase conversions by 50 percent!

For example, let’s say you are looking to capture lead information and have fields for first (name), last (name), phone, email and message. You can likely combine the first and last name fields, likely eliminate either the phone or email field (do you absolutely need both?), and may even be able to eliminate the message field. This would leave you with 2-3 fields and increase your conversions.

Reduce Steps to Success

In addition to reducing the amount of form fields you have you can also increase conversions by reducing the amount of steps that are required to complete the form. For example, let’s say you have a landing page that serves to capture names and email addresses. Rather than having a link from your landing page to a page that asked for a name and email why not ask for the name and email on the landing page? This reduces the friction that is required to get to your conversion goal and will increase the number of leads.

Test on Mobile First

The state of the mobile audience is going gang busters and it is likely that many of your mobile users make it to your form pages. If you design forms that cater to this audience it will help you to get better at eliminating useless fields.

If you have ever attempted to fill out a form on a smartphone you know how difficult this can be. To avoid your users thinking “this is annoying I’ll do it on my desktop” think about mobile forms first so that you provide these users a good experience. By improving the experience for mobile users you will also single handedly improve the experience for all users across all devices.

Change Your Forms, Change your Business

Take a look at the forms on your website that are used to capture leads or complete transactions. After analyzing and documenting the conversion rates on these pages try to implement some of the above advice and measure again. Who knows, you could be missing out on $12 million too.

About the author of this post - Avin Kline
Avin Kline is the co-founder and Internet Marketing Director of SUCCESS agency. Connect with Avin on Twitter at @avinkline.
View all posts by Avin Kline
About the author of this post
Avin Kline
Avin Kline is the co-founder and Internet Marketing Director of SUCCESS agency. Connect with Avin on Twitter at @avinkline.
View all posts by Avin Kline
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