Why No One Is Filling Out Your Website Forms

Lead Generation Marketing UX Reading Time: 9 minutes

Your website design might be great, and you might have a consistent flow of traffic, but if your contact form inbox is drier than Gandhi’s flip-flops, there’s an issue somewhere.

Form abandonment is a pretty common occurrence, and I’m sure we’ve all started filling out a form and then become distracted or changed our minds. It happens!

But the issue is when you’ve got a lot of traffic going through to your landing pages or contact page, but you only get form submissions once in a blue moon – usually when someone’s trying to sell you something.

There could be a load of reasons why people aren’t filling out your forms. Maybe they’re intimidated by the number of fields, or perhaps they’re convinced their message will get lost in the abyss of your inbox.

But the good news is that the fixes are pretty simple.

In this blog post, we’ll be exploring some of the reasons that could be causing your high abandonment rate and how to get them sorted!

The Problem: Low Conversion Rates from Your Website Forms

The average form abandonment rate is around 68%, which means that almost 3 in 4 people who start filling out a form will abandon it before submitting it.

That’s a lot of potential leads falling through the cracks.

But if something is stopping your visitors from filling out your forms, it’s not just your leads that will be affected; it’s your business growth as a whole!

Identifying any issues or roadblocks with your forms and putting them right can hugely improve your form conversion rate and lower the abandonment rate.

According to SaleCycle, for every 1% decrease in form abandonment, you can see a 3% increase in your conversion rate and a 2% increase in your revenue. This means reducing form abandonment by just 10% can lead to a 30% increase in your conversion rate and 20% more revenue!

Sounds pretty great, right?

Let’s look at some things that could be stopping your users from submitting their forms.

application form copy - Digital Marketing Agency

Reasons why people aren’t using the forms on your website

Long or complicated forms

Filling out forms can be a tedious process at the best of times.

So if your forms are longer than they need to be or have a complicated structure/layout, your visitors could find the process too long-winded and will click off before submitting.

Take the following B2B contact form as an example; with 14 fields and 4 tick boxes it goes on a bit too long for just a standard contact form.

When making an initial enquiry, users don’t want to be handing over a load of information like their address, company size and industry, and that’s also information you probably don’t need or can find with a quick search on Google or LinkedIn.

Also, they wouldn’t want to sign up for every single mailing list if it’s their first interaction with your company.

A contact form that has too many fields and asks for irrelevant information.

Of course, the length of your forms will vary depending on the type of information you’re collecting and who your audience is; however, multiple studies have shown that shorter forms can lead to more submissions.

For example, HubSpot says that forms with only 3 fields have the highest conversion rate. While QuickSprout has found that forms with 6 – 10 fields have the highest conversion rates.

Although there’s no magic number of fields, as a general rule, the shorter your forms are, the better they’ll perform. That’s why we’d recommend keeping your forms around 5 fields in length if possible and try not to exceed a maximum of 10 fields.

Lack of trust in your website or business

If you’re asking your users to submit their personal information through your forms, they’ve got to be able to trust you.

I’m sure you’ve been on a website before that looks a little bit shady. Maybe the design and layout are messy, there’s a lack of valuable information, and no policy links are in sight.

If the contact form on that website asked for your name, address, contact info, or even payment details, you’d be reluctant to hand those details over, wouldn’t you?

Like with this contact form asking for too much personal information and doesn’t link to the Terms & Conditions.

intrusive contact form edited - Digital Marketing Agency

Building trust is one of the key aspects of improving your form conversion rate. So, make it clear what information you’re collecting, why you’re collecting it, how that information will be kept safe, and how it will be used.

Thankfully, despite being one of the shortest pages on your website, there are plenty of ways to build trust on your contact page, and we’ll cover those shortly.

Poorly designed or unattractive forms

I’m sure we’ve all encountered a form that is an absolute nightmare to use.

Whether it’s form fields overlapping, unclear labelling, not enough visual feedback on errors, or a lack of mobile responsiveness, they’re all things that give a bad experience when filling out a form.

With the example below, the form is affected by basic and inconsistent font usage, overlapping form fields, and colour contrasts that make it hard to read certain elements – this is a common sight on mobile devices when form designs aren’t responsive.

A poorly designed contact form with inconsistent fonts, poor colour contrasts and overlapping fields.

An important of building your website forms is testing and feedback.

Ask people (your colleagues, friends, or, of course, your users) to test the forms on different devices and give feedback on how they perform.

If you’re being told that the form is hard to use, visually unappealing, or has some glaring technical errors that need addressing, then you can work on getting those fixed!

Lack of a clear value proposition

With most website forms, users exchange their details for something of value in return, whether it’s a quote for services or access to downloadable content like brochures, guides, or templates.

If your landing pages don’t communicate the value you’re offering your user, why would they want to fill out your form?

This is especially true if you’re using lead magnets on your website. If you’ve spent a lot of time and effort creating valuable content, tools and resources for your audience, but aren’t clearly communicating what that value is, then it’s all going to waste.

A clear value proposition that’s relevant to your audience’s needs and problems will help you reduce form abandonment and increase your conversion rates.

Unclear or confusing form instructions

If your form instructions aren’t clear enough (or you just haven’t included any instructions), then that could be causing confusion and frustration for your users.

If you’re asking for specific types of information, or need data in a particular format, then including clear instructions helps guide your users through the form completion process by telling them what information they’re expected to provide and how they need to lay it out.

Also, communicating any errors on the form is vital for your customer’s experience. Take the form below as an example; it says there are errors with the form but doesn’t explain what the user has to change, which can lead to confusion and frustration.

Contact form no instructions - Digital Marketing Agency

One thing that always gets on my nerves is when I type out my long card number (with spaces) into a checkout form and then hit the character limit because the form needs it without the spaces. If there were clear instructions from the start regarding the format, it would avoid all the hassle!

Make sure you’re giving your users the proper instructions by correctly labelling fields, providing detailed instructions for longer text fields, and clearly communicating any issues like incomplete fields.

How to fix low conversion rates on your website forms

So we’ve covered what could be holding your website forms back; now, let’s review how to fix them!

Simplify the forms

As the famous marketing saying goes, keep it simple, stupid!

No one likes trying to do something as simple as filling out a website form but being obstructed by an overcomplicated design, too many fields to fill out, and excessively long text fields asking for every bit of information under the sun.

If your forms look too long or ask for too much information, you probably need to simplify them.

Keep the design and layout clear and easy to follow, limit your form to around five fields, and only ask for the information you need – I’m sure you know how frustrating it is being asked for things like your address on a bog standard contact form!

Here’s an example of a simple contact form that collects only the essential information, and makes submitting the form easy for your users.

A short and simple contact form that is offers a good UX.

Build trust through social proof and certifications

When people trust your brand, they’re more likely to engage with your content, explore what you offer, and convert into paying customers.

If you want to build trust with your audience, you should share social proof demonstrating the quality of what you offer and what your existing customers have to say about your products and services.

Start by sharing content like customer case studies, reviews, social media mentions and user-generated content, or anything else that truly demonstrates the value of what you offer.

Another way of building trust is to display info about your partnerships or accreditations from well-recognised organisations within your industry.

For example, as a Growth Agency that offers PPC Advertising services, we like to make it known that we’re a Google Premier Partner Agency. We do this because Google is a well-recognised organisation within the Search Advertising space, and it helps to demonstrate our knowledge and proficiency.

In your industry, it could be a certificate from a regulatory body, businesses you’ve partnered with, or other accreditations from reputable sources that your audience will recognise.

If a lack of trust stops your customers from getting in touch, implementing these things can help you increase your form conversion rates.

Improve the design and aesthetics of the forms

When people visit your website, they’ll make quick judgements about your brand based on your site’s overall look and feel, and the experience it provides. The same goes for your website forms too.

If the design and layout of your form are hard to follow, and the colour contrast and font styling make it hard to read, then your users will be less inclined to fill it out.

Similar to the earlier point on keeping things simple, you need to keep your form design simple so your users can easily follow and understand what they need to do.

Here are a few tips for improving the design of your website forms:

  • Reduce visual clutter: Make sure you’ve got plenty of whitespace around fields, use clear and legible fonts, and minimise image usage around forms unless they’re essential to the context of the form.
  • Use contrast colours: Using contrasting colours to highlight essential elements like form fields, buttons, and calls-to-action will help users understand what they have to do. But don’t use a colour contrast that makes things hard to read.
  • Group related fields together: Use headings and clear labelling to categorise different form fields and group associated fields close together.
  • Implement visual cues: Using visual cues such as asterisks, colour highlights, and icons to indicate required fields, input errors, and specific actions.
  • Use placeholder text: Adding placeholder text to fields helps guide users on the type of information they need to give and the format of that information.
  • Optimise for mobile: Make sure your form is optimised for mobile devices to avoid unreadable text, overlapping form fields, and buttons that are too big or small.

Highlight the benefits of filling out the forms

If you want your website visitors to complete your forms, you’ve got to show what’s in it for them. What do they get in return?

If you have a bog-standard form and a call-to-action that says, ‘get in touch’, your users won’t see the benefit of submitting their details.

By highlighting your key value proposition and explaining what your users get in return for filling out your form, whether it’s exclusive content, special offers, or personalised recommendations, you’re giving them a sense of urgency and motivation to take action.

Take a look at the landing for our SEO Audit Tool as an example.

Damteq's SEO Audit Tool form.
The form for our SEO Audit Tool

Above the form on the page, there’s a clear title and sub-paragraph explaining that you get a free SEO performance report in return for completing the form. Further down the page, a more detailed section explains exactly what’s included in the report and how to complete the form.

When you clearly explain what your users will get in return, and provided that it’s something relevant and valuable to them, you’ll be far more likely to see an increase in form submissions and conversion rates.

Make the form instructions clear and easy to understand

This one is for more complex forms or forms when you ask for specific information types in a particular format.

Let’s say you’ve got an account sign-up form on your website. Including instructions for the ‘Create a Password’ field will make life much easier for your users.

For example, a typical set of instructions for a password field would look like this:

  • Password must be at least 8 characters long
  • Your password must be a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols
  • You must not include the same letter, number, or symbol consecutively
  • You should avoid including any common passwords e.g. ‘Password123’
  • You should avoid including easily guessable information e.g. your date of birth

These instructions will minimise the chance of users encountering errors when creating their passwords, which will help to increase form submission and limit abandonment.

Other common types of instructions that might be useful to add to your forms include the following:

  • Phone number formats (e.g. ‘Enter your phone number in the following format XXXXX-XXX-XXX’)
  • Checkbox/Option selections (e.g. ‘Select all that apply’)
  • Dropdown lists (e.g. ‘Select your country of residence from the list below’)
  • File upload (e.g. ‘Please upload a file in one of the following formats: .PDF, .PNG, .JPEG)

This is a very low-effort way of adding context to your forms and reducing your abandonment rate.

Here’s the same form example we used earlier, but this time with clear indicators of form errors, labels and field instructions.

A contact form with clear labelling, instructions, and indicators of errors.

Final Recap

To sum up, if your website forms are suffering from low conversion rates, it doesn’t just mean fewer leads; it can also slow down your business growth!

Addressing common issues that often lead to form abandonment can drive more users to take action, complete your forms, and convert into paying customers.

A few actions you can take to improve your form conversion rates and reduce abandonment include:

  • Simplify your forms as much as possible
  • Ensure they’re well-designed and easy to use
  • Keep forms to around 5-10 fields where possible
  • Focus on building trust with your visitors
  • Provide a clear value proposition – explain what your users get in return for submitting the form
  • Make sure your form instructions are clear and concise

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