Beadred guy working in his office

If you want more conversions, ask fewer questions. It’s one of those no brainer best practices we’ve had drummed into us since taking that first job as the intern. It’s basically a fact, often recounted among marketing and lead gen professionals as the quickest way to boost conversions.

“Having fewer form fields leads to increased conversion rates”, we’d say. “The problem is we’re causing too much friction by asking too much of prospects”. It’s a logical idea, to say the least. But is it true? Well, not exactly!

Though this idea that “less is best” has made it’s way to the core of modern marketing, research has indicated it’s not how much you ask, it’s what you ask that’s important. But don’t worry, I won’t dispel the myth and leave you hanging.

Here are 4 top tips for reducing form friction:

Ask the right questions in the right order

A split test carried out by Truckers Report saw the website hosting 2 landing pages, identical but for the number of form fields. Form A asked only for an email address while form B requested preferred job information, locations, driving experience, and then, finally an email field.

The result was that while form B contained 3 additional fields, it converted 31% better than form A.

What’s important here isn’t just the number of fields, but the progression from a fairly ambiguous, impersonal field, to one that is 100% personal, and thus likely to cause more friction.

This type of staging and timing plays on the commitment and consistency phenomenon discussed by Robert Cialdini in his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. It is the idea that “Once we have made a choice or taken a stand, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment. Those pressures will cause us to respond in ways that justify our earlier decision.”

Offer a worthwhile incentive

We’ve often spoken about the impact incentives have on conversion rates, and they can also play a huge part in reducing form friction. When it comes to your form, your incentive must outweigh the data you’re requesting. For example, if you’re incentive is a white paper or discount code, chances are I’m not going to feel comfortable handing over my social security number.

Research, optimise, test, repeat

Many of us can throw together a lead generation form in hours, if not minutes. Often turning to our extensive experience and vast knowledge of our respective industries.

The truth is, while this knowledge and experience might help inform our choices, it does little to help us understand what the right questions actually are, and even less to understand the “right order” to ask them. This, in turn, results in unnecessary form friction.

To figure out the right questions, turn to the data. Look at what your visitors are engaging with, and where they’re dropping out, and use A/B testing to optimize and understand the best order.

Use the right words

One of the most crucial elements of your form, that is so often overlooked, is the copy asking the actual question.

Most of us wouldn’t give a second thought to spending hours writing page upon page of crafted sales copy, to try and entice visitors to the conversion stage. Yet once they are primed and ready, we leave them to flounder, potentially confused by questions that have been hastily written.

Click here for some examples.

Take time to think about your form from your visitors perspective. Are the fields optional? Can they select more than one checkbox? Is there a character limit on text inputs? Clarity is crucial to creating a friction free form.