I’m often asked by clients whether it is better to have a long enquiry form on your website or a short one.
Now, it’s easy to assume that a short enquiry form will give you more leads and that a longer form will result in fewer leads but perhaps with a higher overall quality.
But the reality is that things aren’t usually as simple or as predictable as that. And so this is one of the aspects of your landing page design that you should test as part of your conversion rate optimisation strategy.
I recently carried out just such a test with one of my mortgage broker clients and the results were really interesting. I’ll tell you all about it in a moment, but first let me tell you a story.
I was charging my car at a public charger the other weekend and, as often happens, I got chatting to one of the other drivers who was there.
By the end of our brief car park chat, I knew what kind of car he drove (obviously!), what he did for a living, who he worked for, what car he was getting next, how many kids he’d got, and where he lived.
But there was one thing I didn’t know…
And that’s not unusual. I bet if you think about it, you’ll realise you’ve had loads of random conversations with strangers where you share lots of personal info with each other, but never introduce yourselves by name.
And once you’re aware of this aspect of human behaviour, you can use this knowledge to get more leads from your website.
Long enquiry form versus short enquiry form
So, back to the case study…
I ran an experiment recently with one of my done-for-you mortgage broker clients who had a simple one page enquiry form that just asked for the prospect’s name, email and phone number.
We made a copy of their page and changed the form to an online quiz that asked the visitor ten questions – but with the questions presented on-screen one question at a time so it didn’t look overwhelming.
The ten questions covered things like:
And only at the very end did we ask for their name and contact info.
What’s the best length for a website enquiry form?
Now you’d think that asking so many questions might have scared people off and reduced the number of leads generated. But, in fact, the opposite was true.
To make it a proper experiment, I sent half my client’s Google Ads traffic to the page with the short single-page enquiry form and half to the new version of the page that used the longer quiz-style enquiry process.
And, over the next few weeks, the quiz version produced twice as many leads as the original one!
Not only that, but the leads were better quality and easier to deal with because the broker had more information about the prospect’s requirements upfront.
If you want to learn more about how I carried out this experiment, check out this video:
Why did changing the enquiry form increase conversion rates?
Well, my theory is that it’s the same thing as we saw happening with my chat in the car park.
People are used to NOT sharing their name with a stranger. So the short enquiry form - where the very first question was the equivalent of saying to a stranger, "Hi! What’s your name?" - was off-putting.
The longer multi-step form took people gently along a path one question at a time, warming them up bit by bit. And so by the time it got round to asking the prospect for their contact details right at the end, they were far more comfortable about divulging their name, phone number and email.
Of course everyone’s audience is different and you never know how things are going to pan out until you test them.
So if you’re currently using a short enquiry form and want more leads, try switching to the kind of mini factfind I’ve talked about today. And if you’re already using that type of enquiry form, see what happens if you switch to a very simple form that just asks for the person’s name and basic contact info.
You may even find the results vary from one product or niche to another, as every type of client is subtly different from the next.