When creating a landing page, most of us have asked ourselves and Google one question – what kind of form should we use? A single column or a multi – column form? Is the single column form going to make the process look too long or is the multi – column form going to make it look like the visitor needs to go through too many steps to convert? In this post, we’re going to answer this question once and for all.

If you take a look at our landing page, we use a single column form to let the visitor sign up for a free trial.

exit bee landing page form

Before I delve into numbers, here are a few reasons our team chose to use this type of form:

  • It looked easier to complete when viewed from the visitor’s perspective
  • It gave the impression of the process to apply being quicker
  • It is able to ask the visitor all the important details required

Pretty much how you felt too seeing it, right? Just how long would it take you to fill in the first name, last name, email, website and visitor count? One below the other – quick tab tab tab.

Now imagine if the same form was broken into multi – columns. Something like this:

too many fields form

Top of the mind thoughts? Just imagine these fields being a little lesser!

“Oh, so I need to fill in all that information?”

“Umm..looks too tedious.”

“Why exactly do they want so much information?”

Yea, that’s exactly what your visitors think too!

While we do agree that in some cases where the business needs more information from the visitor, using a multi – column form is better. It at least lets the visitor know how much of the form is remaining to be filled.

Imagine the above multi – column form in a single column. You’re going to get irritated not knowing when the whole form is going to end!

But as a ground rule, single column forms do well.

According to a recent study by ConversionXL on the usability of the two type of forms, it took the survey participants took lesser time to complete the linear or single column forms. On an average, the time recorded was 15.4 seconds faster than the multi – column form.

linear vs multi

And this isn’t the first time that the use of multi – column forms has been discouraged by conversion experts.

timediff-mcVSlinear1

Back in 2011, Baymard Institute wrote an in – depth post on how tedious multi – column forms seemed to fill. And why they should be avoided by businesses, especially on their landing pages to not suffer from lower conversion rates.

In fact, they conducted user testing and recorded their behaviours as well. Here’s the video for you to see:

The study goes to show how eye tracking hampers the agreeability and the way a visitor completes the form presented to him.

Even though you might support your multi – form with a set of quick instructions on how to complete, the visitor is for once going to sit back and think which side of the form should they start filling to get done with it quickly. Their eyes will wander to the field that requires them to fill it up with a multiple choice question or something that won’t take them long to type into.

multi-vs-single-column-form

On the other hand, when a visitor is presented by a single column form, he knows exactly what to do – go stepwise, from one field to another till he hits the call-to-action and it’s done!

But that doesn’t mean incorporating a single column form will instantly boost your conversion rates on the landing page. There are a few things to keep in mind while designing the same.

Tips to create a converting landing page form

1. Only ask for information that is important

Let’s face it, just how comfortable are you sharing your contact information on business websites? Now if the same websites ask you for more information like your birth date, anniversary date and more, you’re probably going to abandon it thinking, ‘why on earth would they need this information?’

Hence only ask for information that is important to your business. For instance, if you’re offering an ebook on marketing, the most obvious information you need from someone who wants to download it is – email address and company. Maybe a little more information like his name and job title. These give you enough insights into what kind of audience is converting on your campaign.

Another example would be that of a demo. To give a personalized demo to your visitor, you practically need this information – name, email address and his website to understand who he is, and what he does. Asking him where he is from would make absolutely no sense to him!

2. Give whitespaces the importance they deserve

Alright so one thing I have learnt while working with Exit Bee is that whitespace matters in any design. I’m no designer, but now that Pavlos has explained it almost a hundred times, I no it matters and can recognise it when not given priority to.

The same holds true in forms. No proper whitespacing and your form’s going to look all too cluttered, thereby decreasing the conversion rates.

no white spacing form

Whitespacing and your form will instantly look more appealing to the visitor’s eyes, and increase your landing page conversion rates.

good single form

Spacing – it can truly make all the difference!

3. Pay attention to the design

Alright, just how many hours or days did you spend creating the landing page? We’re pretty sure at least more than a week. Then why would you want to compromise on the design of your landing page form?

When creating the form, ensure it has a personality that complements the design of your landing page. Following the same theme through it is a smart move, to not make the visitor think he is moving to completing something that is totally out of the flow.

For instance, Salesforce uses the same colours to create its landing page form. Now it is important for the form to stand out, so they ensured the used blue to demarcate it from the rest of the page elements and yet not seem too jarring to the visitor. Plus as someone who follows Salesforce for their product or content, will instantly relate the form to them and not some shady third party website.

salesforce example form

4. Give the call-to-action more thought

The most common call-to-action buttons include buy now, subscribe now, sign up, sign up to get deals and similar copies. Now we’re not saying they don’t work – they’re pretty much to the point. But are they creative? Do they reinforce what the visitor is going to achieve by interacting with the business?

No.

The CTA on your landing page is supposed to direct the visitor to the next step in the conversion path. It needs to reinforce the value proposition that a business has to offer to him. For instance, if he is subscribing to a newsletter via the form, what is he going to get out of it? If he is applying for a demo, what is he going to achieve from it?

For instance, this form here is making the visitor share some of his information to enter a contest. The call-to-action says ‘enter to win’ – reinforcing to the visitor that by entering this contest, he is likely to win the MacBook Pro.

good landing page form 2

As a visitor to this landing page, here’s what I would think while filling up the form – Hell yeah, let’s do it!

So give the copy of the CTA some thought. Make sure it complements your value proposition and serves as the final nudge a visitor might need to convert.

5. Use visuals to direct the visitors

You could have the simplest of landing pages that lead up to the form, but never let any scope for the visitor to wander as per his liking. What we mean to say is, ensure you direct him in the right direction if you want him to convert.

If you think your landing page’s flow looks good, it’s not. Make it better by adding visual elements that make it a little more than obvious for the visitor to complete the form. It might seem silly to you, but adding visual cues can really boost the conversion rates on your landing page form.

For instance, this form here uses an arrow as the visual cue to visitors. It subtly nudges them to look at the form and complete it. While the purpose was pretty obvious even without it, adding the element only makes it better!

landing page form good 3

Another example would be to add elements that indicate something special that a visitor could be getting. This could be a premium account trial or an offer you’re running for a limited period.

6. Ensure your form is optimized for mobile

Only 42% of your landing page traffic comes from the desktop, so it is important that your landing page – including the form is optimized for mobile devices. Ensure that the placing of the form, the design and each little aspect or functionality of it is mobile friendly.

If you can’t find a responsive mobile design, a good approach is to show a different mobile suited form to those visitors. The idea is to not let go of the opportunity to convert these visitors just because your form didn’t seem to fitting the mobile device screen well.

7. Don’t forget to A/B test your form

Like every other aspect of your landing page, the form needs to be A/B tested too. Be it the length of the form, the form fields, the call-to-action or even the design, A/B test your landing page form. You never know which form works for which segment of your target audience.

a-b testing landing page forms

Source

Conclusion

Using forms is vital on most landing pages. So make sure they don’t become the element that bring down the conversions of your landing page. Think them through, keep it simple, ask only for what’s important and get more customers!


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Vanhishikha Bhargava

Content Marketer at Exit Bee. Most of the times found trying to create compelling copies for blogs and digital campaigns, keeping a watch on what's happening on social media or ranting on Twitter. At all other times, not found.

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