Online Web forms that capture customer data in exchange for content or another kind of information or service are often the first point of contact customers have with your business.

So, why are they frequently so awful? Or overly ambitious? Why do marketers try to collect too much information, or require extraneous information customers aren’t interested in readily handing over?

Capturing and converting leads online is all about user experience. Provide visitors with a positive experience, and you're more likely to interest them in taking the next step in the pipeline: getting to know your company better.

Here are 14 ways marketers can improve the conversion rates of their Web forms.

1. Avoid too many clicks

If the goal of your online marketing program is lead generation, then keep Web forms as short as possible. Who wants to spend 10 minutes giving away a complete personal history—especially early in the relationship? We don't. Potential customers don't, either.

Even if you don't require visitors to complete every field, a long, visually cluttered form can be off-putting.

Bob DeStefano, one of our go-to experts at MarketingProfs, likes to say, "Don't try to qualify prospects with your online forms—that's the salesperson's job."

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Jo Roberts heads up MarketingProfs' web strategy and free product portfolio (among other things). She previously lead marketing for B2B Marketing Forum and Marketing Services product lines.


LinkedIn: Jo Roberts

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Anne Yastremski is vice president of marketing at MarketingProfs. Need to reach her? Find her on LinkedIn (AnneYastremski), sometimes Twitter (@anneyaz), or at any of our live and virtual events.