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New study compares short and long "contact us" form

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I've been experimenting with the contact form on our Web site. It is an important - perhaps the most important - aspect of our Web presence. For all the blogging and news releasing and testimonials and marketing, our primary method of gathering online feedback is the contact form.

We have always had decent traffic to the site and decent visits to our contact form, but a poor submission rate at around 5%.

It's not like the links to the contact form are misleading - for the most part they read "contact us" or "contact center." So if the links are not misleading, why are only 5% submitting?

I took a hard look at the form itself and realized that I was falling into a traditional marketing trap - trying to get way too much information up front. It seems that as marketeers, we are so thrilled when someone decides to pause and fill out a form, that we cram as many questions as possible. If they are looking at the form, they must be interested, right? If they are interested, they certainly will be happy to tell us all sorts of information about themselves - up front, right?

It's like we think this is the only time we will ever have to interact and we must gather all the information possible - right now.

But the marketing and sales process is more of a continuum - and the contact form needs to respect this if it is to be successful. Ask the absolute minimum needed for this exchange and nothing more.

As I was reviewing the form with this new frame of mind, I was able to immediately remove fields that had no place in the context of an initial inquiry. They included the assorted physical address fields, fax, preferred method of contact and "how did you hear about us?"

The results were wonderful. 160% increase in forms, 120% increase in conversion rate. The best part? No reduction in the quality of the form information submitted.

I thought the information was important enough to share, so I wrote it up.

Download the complete study

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