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(Web) form your way to high conversion

6 min read
Web forms, as we know, are a great way to gather a mailing list, collect data from your subscribers, and convert your visitors to customers. To make them really work, though, you need to target and set them up properly. Otherwise, you risk losing customers by annoying them, and also losing your money.
If you’re familiar with web forms, you’ve likely heard some rules. For instance, you need to display the form for 20 seconds on the website and 5 seconds on a web page. Now, we’d like to make it clear: this is a lie, and it leads to disastrous conversion rates.
There is no universal recipe. Everything that matters is your own data: you need to study your analytics and work with it. In this article, we’ll show you how to use it to figure out the perfect timing and other web form parameters for your website and ensure the best possible rates with no conversion or margin losses.

Analytics


1
The first step is figuring out what part of the marketing funnel is declining. To gather the required information, you need to extract your website data — we suggest using Google Analytics, though you could go for any other reliable solution. Make sure that it shows how the visitors navigate the website and how they handle their orders.
You need to know the overall number of website visitors and the following stats for them:
  • How many of them viewed the items?
  • How many of them added some items to the cart?
  • And, finally, how many of them completed the purchase?
You need to do this separately for each traffic type — ads, social media, organic traffic, direct transfers, and emails. This is crucial for further segmentation of the audience and targeting your web forms. You also must separate people who have visited the website 2+ times and your first-time visitors, since the latter usually spend less time on the website and have different timings.

2
Based on this data, you can calculate the average performance for each step of the funnel. It will allow you to see the traffic segments with below-average performance for each step. These underperforming segments will be your growth points.
The 3 main steps we’re interested in:
  • How many of them viewed the items?
  • How many of them added some items to the cart?
  • And, finally, how many of them completed the purchase?
When your funnel is already working great, you’ll want to add the average bill increase to the list, but we’re leaving this one out for now.

3
Now that you have a better understanding of the segments and the steps of the funnel, you can divide them into two categories: those who completed the purchase and those who didn’t. The second category is what interests you — these are the people you want to convert.
What data do you need on them?
  • How much time do they spend on the website before adding items to the cart?
  • How much time do they spend on the website on average?
  • How many web pages do they go through before they leave?
This information is essential since it determines when your web forms have to appear. If you show the form too early, you’ll likely annoy the customer and they’ll leave, and if you show it too late, they’ll be already gone by then.
In most cases, you’ll end up having a lot of segments, depending on your website traffic. It can get confusing, so you’re better off focusing on the most potentially profitable segments with higher traffic.
Some marketers just look up the timings online. The truth is it never works, and it leads to disastrous conversion rates. Don’t do it, ever. Your strategy and actions can only be based on your own data: your website, your visitors, and your customers. There’s no way around it, unless you wish to fail.

Practice

Now that you have your analytics and you’ve extracted the numbers you need, you start working with them. We’ll explain the process with a fairly simple example.

The tab here will be our reference going forward. You might want to pay attention to the stats we’ve collected and focused on — in most cases, you’ll need the same ones.
In this example, we have a problematic segment: the people that came to the website for the first time, through ads. And the problematic step for this segment is adding items to the cart. Let’s see what we can do.

1
We learn more about the segment using the tab with our recent analytics. For this segment, the average time before adding an item to the cart is 185 seconds, and the average time before leaving the website is 205 seconds. They usually go through five pages and view three products before leaving.
This information will help us set up the web forms later.

2
Based on this data, you can calculate the average performance for each step of the funnel. It will allow you to see the traffic segments with below-average performance for each step. These underperforming segments will be your growth points.
What options do we have?
  • Offer them a time-limited discount on their first purchase;
  • Offer them a selection of relevant items;
  • Lead them to the most popular or currently discounted items.

3
We set up the web form using the data we have. Let’s say we went for the first option and we want to offer them a time-limited discount. We have a lot of information on this segment and its behavior. How do we use it to properly set up the web form?
We choose these display conditions:
  • Source — ads
  • Previous sessions — 0
  • Session time — 180 seconds
  • Items in the cart — 0
  • Pages viewed — 2+
This way, the web form will only appear for this segment: the people who are visiting the website for the first time and came here through ads. And, what’s important, only to those who have already looked around on the website, but still haven’t added anything to the cart. If they add something before the 180-second period ends, the web form will not be displayed.

This is pretty much it for setting up a targeted web form. You can apply this thought process to any segment and step, and be sure that your forms will appear at the right time for the right people. Feel free to use the tab we provided as a reference to know which data to collect.

Theory

Now that you know what you’re working with and how you’re going to do it on a technical level, you need to pick a perfect type of web form to execute the task. Let’s go over the options.
What web form types are best for different steps and goals?
There are three main types of sign-up forms: pop-up forms, inline forms, and landing pages. Their difference lies in how they are displayed — and, therefore, how they are perceived.
1
To motivate a person to view more items:
  • A topper with popular categories or sales items;
  • A pop-up with popular items compilation;
  • Any type of web form with sales items;
2
To motivate a person to add items to the cart:
  • A notification with data on how many people are viewing the item at the moment or bought it today;
  • A pop-up with a discount for the first purchase in the next 24 hours;
  • A topper with sales info and a timer;
3
To motivate a person to complete the purchase:
  • A pop-up that offers to save the cart (if the visitor’s email address is unknown);
  • A pop-up with a discount for purchasing in the next 15 minutes;
  • A notification with data on how many people have this item in their carts + a reminder that adding an item to one’s cart does not book the item for them;
4
To increase the average bill:
  • A notification with the current discount/loyalty bonus status when a person adds items to their cart;
  • A notification or a topper with an additional discount for reaching a certain order value;
  • A notification or a topper with free shipment for reaching a certain order value;
5
To motivate a person to sign up:
  • A pop-up with a discount for the first order;
  • A pop-up with relevant content (a style guide for this season, a free stylist session, etc.);
  • A topper or a pop-up with a relevant items compilation.

To wrap it up

It’s hard to overestimate the importance of a well-targeted web form. It can really do wonders for your conversion rates, sales, and mailing list growth. A poorly set-up form will do just the opposite, annoying potential customers and even scaring them away from your website.
Fortunately, this will not be the case after this guide.

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