Don’t throw your leads away at the last moment

Another success story for you today, again from an Insider Programme member. This company’s very mature website was producing plenty of name-and-address sales enquiries, thanks to good design which led visitors slickly through the product descriptions and onto an enquiry form. But although most visitors moving on to the form were completing it, some weren’t, and the company wondered if the design of the form might be putting people off.

Nearly all enquiry forms on business-to-business websites ask for far too much information, usually because the Sales Director has insisted on it. I don’t know about you, but I get really irritated if someone offers to email me something, but apparently needs to know my telephone number, postal address and shoe size before they’ll do it. What relevance has that got to an email? A “please call me” form should just ask for name and telephone number. A “please send me details by email” form should just ask for name and email address. A “please post me the catalogue” form should just ask for name and postal address. You get the drift. Otherwise, I just end up wondering what they’re going to use all this information for, and I always think the worst. If I want to hide behind my email address, then let me, please.

Now, our Insider Programme member company was quite happy with its forms – there were a lot of boxes, but they weren’t all compulsory, which seemed like a reasonable compromise between getting a decent response rate and not forcing the Sales Director to do more work than he absolutely had to. Even so, maybe the look of the form was too daunting for some.

There was only one way to find out – testing. Using a free product called Google Website Optimizer, our intrepid heroes sent visitors randomly to either the old form, or to a new, streamlined one. The results were remarkable – an improvement in successful form submissions of over 40% in the test period. And that must really have made the Sales Director happy.

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