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How to Double Your Conversion Rate in the Next 5 Minutes

Sounds too good to be true, right?

After all, what could you possibly do in five minutes that has the potential to double your conversion rate?

It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. Because you see, there is one part of your website that has more impact on conversion than anything else:

The sign-up form.

Here’s why: if you’re asking for too much information upfront, visitors will decide to do it later and forget about it, or they’ll just give up entirely. Just by simplifying the form, you can sometimes double the number of people who complete it.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Remove Extra Fields

Some of the fields on your sign-up form are necessary, of course. For example, you need their email address so you can get in touch with them, and you probably want their name so you can address correspondence to the correct person.

But do you really need their phone number? Or their mailing address?

If not, you should cut the fields. All you’re really doing is making your form longer and more complex than it needs to be and giving your prospective customers more opportunities to leave.

2. Ask for Less Personal Information

A lot of your customers probably won’t care about giving you their email address, but a lot of them probably will hesitate to give you their phone number or home address.

It’s not so much about trust as being overwhelmed. They have so many companies advertising to them that it’s starting to feel like an invasion of privacy, and they don’t want to deal with it anymore, so they shut you out.

This is becoming an even bigger issue now that so many people use a cell phone as their primary phone number. Since they have it with them all the time, it means anyone with the number has access to them all the time. Sometimes, it’s less hassle to just walk away from the product.

So, if you don’t absolutely need it, don’t ask for much personal information. If your customers have to choose between your product and their privacy, you’re going to lose almost every time.

3. Tell Them Why You Need the Information

Have a legitimate reason to ask for personal information?

Be sure to explain it on the sign-up form.

If a company asks for my phone number, I automatically assume that at some point in the future, a salesperson is going to call and try to sell me something. It doesn’t matter if it’s sure not; like most people, in the absence of information, I tend to assume the worst.

A simple fix is to explain why you need to know. If you need a phone number for the shipping company to schedule delivery, just go ahead and put that on the form. Chances are, it’ll give you a nice boost in conversion rate.

The same goes for all other types of unexpected questions. In the end, most customers aren’t unreasonable people; they just want to know why you need a particular piece of information before they give it to you.

4. Put Your Customer in Control

If one of your fields is borderline important, and you’re not sure whether to exclude it or not, give the customer and their choice of whether or not to give it to you. Add an “optional” tag next to the field. Customers who are comfortable giving you the information can still do so, and those who aren’t comfortable with it can skip it.

It also makes you look more trustworthy. When you put your customers in control, it comes across as a sign of respect for their time and their privacy. And when customers feel like they’re being respected by a company, they’re more likely to do business with them.

5. Simplify Your Sign-Up Process Overall

For more dramatic results, streamline and simplify all your forms. The faster a visitor can complete their signup or transaction, the more likely they are to actually complete it.

For signup forms, the best format only requires an email address and password. Billing information would, of course, be required for any paid accounts or purchases. But beyond that, every form field you add has the potential to drive away customers.

If you use a regular shopping cart and checkout process, make sure you’re not requiring your customers to sign up for an account prior to completing their purchase. Again, it’s something that makes them pause and makes them more likely to abandon their purchase. Instead, give them the option at the end, once their purchase is complete, to save the information they just entered to make future purchases easier.

6. Reverse the Risk

Moneyback guarantees are a proven way to boost response. Customers who might be wary about signing up will view it as a risk-free way to try your product, and if they don’t like it, they can just get a refund.

The best strategy here is to not have your guarantee period end at the same time as a billing cycle.If your money back guarantee runs out at the end of a billing cycle, a lot of customers will cancel their service and get their money back at the same time.

But if the billing cycle is, say, thirty days, and the guarantee period is only fourteen days, some customers will give it the extra sixteen days before they decide, figuring they’ve already paid for it. Those extra sixteen days can give a customer more time to get used to your product or service, which will hopefully result in them deciding not to cancel.

The key is to be transparent about it. If customers feel like you’re trying to pull a fast one on them, they’re less likely to bother trying your product, even with a guarantee. You want them to feel like they can’t lose by trying your product, and that it won’t be a hassle if they decide they don’t like it.

It’s All about Respecting the Customer

In the end, all of these tips come down to one general principle:

Respect the customer.

When you’re designing your website, it’s all too easy to design your sign-up form around what you need, thinking the customer will go along with it as long as your other marketing is enticing enough. But it’s not usually true. What usually happens is you can waste tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars designing a great marketing campaign, and then it flops when the customer gets ready to sign up.

A better approach is to design your website around what the customer needs. Accept that they are in a hurry and maybe a little bit nervous about doing business with your company for the first time, and then design your sign-up forms accordingly.

Really, creating a high converting website doesn’t have anything to do with sales or technical tricks. It’s all about putting the customer first.

Do that, and the rest will follow.

  1. Great suggestions. I just did an A/B test and discovered that out of 1000 views, the form that asked for first name and email address actually received slightly more opt-ins than email address only. Whoda thunk?

    • how much is slightly more? and if its slight then what does tht experiment really prove?

      • Steve krug, might say “dont make me think!!” It’s pretty universal to enter name and email address, and only having email address isn’t what we associate as Normal Web behavior, which might increase anxiety, and question the form/site and therefore lower form input.

    • In my previous job, we had a list somewhere in the 30k range. Not the largest, but when you end up rotating through that many potentials in a month (or two) you really can get a good feel for the small things that matter. Great post!

  2. We also added a simple Name/Phone Number form NEXT to our Quote request form saying ‘Request a Callback”. We found that those looking to get a quick quote were more likely to fill that out than the more complex form.

    That helped our conversion rate for leads. However, the folks that filled out the Request a Call form were actually slightly less likely to buy.

  3. Thanks for the tips. We are currently revamping one of our companies websites and focusing on a larger call to action. These tips will help me figure out how to gather the info we need.

  4. Gary Robinson Aug 02, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Good article. For me, this perfectly illustrates the need for conversion testing. There are so many big wins available on a website, but companies often fail to provide the minimal resource required to run simple tests such as these.

    One other tip I’d suggest concerns multiple pages. As the article suggests, in an ideal world you’d keep your form as short as possible. However, depending on your service / product, sometimes you need to collect more info in the form. You could try and make the best, but slightly long, one page form or spread the form over two (or more) pages.

    I had this scenario not so long ago and I was wary of introducing the need for an extra click in the sign up process. Fortunately I tested it (A/B & multi-variate) and received fantastic results – a 103% increase in registrations.

    If you want to see what I did you can get the write up I did for my blog:

    Keep up the good work on the articles – I’m really enjoying them

  5. Pre-filling any information you already know about the user helps as well.

    E.g. their e-mail address if they are clicking from an e-mail you sent.

  6. Really nice tips. It would be great if you had screenshots with examples of simplified sign-up forms.

  7. It depends though what you’re ordering as giving a phone number can be very helpful as I ordered books online and was happy I gave them my phone nr as the courier was able to give me a call when I wasn’t home. So giving an option as to whether or not to give a phone nr open might be the thing to do.

  8. Great tips!
    This makes me think that reducing shopping cart abandonment principles also apply to form completion funnels.

  9. I’m not sure I agree with the less inputs analogy. In lead-gen landing pages, more fields usually means the user is more likely to pay/convert.

  10. Dinesh Thakur Aug 15, 2010 at 8:43 am

    Really a great post..! Makes everything simple to customers or visitors and it will work.

  11. Great thanks, I am going to limit myself to name and email on the basis of this article – it makes sense and the other information is not really necessary to me.

  12. Yeah I believe this is a very convient way for costumers and clients .I’ll try to apply this to my site.
    thanks for the brilliant advice.

  13. Thanks for the post. I just want to support what your saying with some “Sales theory”… when you learn about selling product to people (face to face) they say “Don’t talk the customer out of the deal”. specifically, this means that once the customer has said “Yes, I’ll buy”, dont keep saying things because anything you say can only change their mind. and don’t give them time to change their mind.

    The same applies for websites – dont’ ask the customer to do too much to buy something – get the money asap before they change their mind.


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