How to A/B Test Your Lead Generation Form

Guest Post by Marianna Pratt

Your lead generation form is a critical element in converting visitors to “warm” leads you can engage and nurture.  But how do you know if your form is really working?  How much more revenue could you earn with even a small percentage increase in the number of responses?

That’s where A/B testing comes in.  The beauty of online marketing is that you can test easily and quickly, and implement changes right away, so you save time and precious budget dollars.  Besides, testing is fun.

A/B testing is a well-used marketing analysis method that examines the performance of one element at a time.  This is important because each detail can affect your form’s performance.  Drilling down to individual detail lets you draw accurate conclusions.

So A/B testing uses a control form – which could be the one you’re currently using or something new – to compare against a test form with one different element.  You track  results via your conversion (thank you) page.

A/B testing enables you to find what works best.  But that’s likely to be different for different promotions, products or website locations, so you want to see what works best where.

What to test.

Your goal is to make it easy and desirable for visitors to hit that “submit” button.  If you know what form elements cause visitors to hesitate, you can eliminate them.  Conversely, knowing what attracts the most people tells you how to structure your lead generation form.  Test virtually every detail, including:

  • Placement – position on the page, but also which page.  HubSpot reports that, for them, e-book offers are more popular on blog pages, whereas free trial offers are more popular on product pages.
  • Design elements — color, font type and size, location of various elements, etc.
  • Copy – specific wording, what information sparks action (or not), whether visitors respond better with more information or less.
  • Submit button – color, wording and location.
  • Number of fields – overall length of form.
  • Which questions to ask – will asking for their address help or hurt?  What information do you really need initially?  If you want more information, consider using a two-page form.  Use the first one to gather basic, required information – including contact information – and use the second to ask optional questions.  Adding a brief explanation about why you’re asking these questions may facilitate responses.  And you can perform separate A/B testing on each page.
  • Privacy policy display and link to details.
  • Load speed and submission speed – you’re looking for thresholds here, obviously faster is better.

Test variations of each element concurrently.  Running one test now and another later on can alter results because your audience may not be exactly the same.  Run your test long enough to provide confidence in the results.  And use what works, even if it seems strange to you.  You aren’t the audience.

Try these tips and tools for A/B testing:

  • If you’re testing different offers or prices, make sure any repeat visitors see the same thing each time.
  • Explore Google Website Optimizer (it’s free) as well as Visual Website Optimizer or other testing software options.
  • Amuse yourself (and gain amazing insight) at WhichTestWon.
  • Keep testing.  It’s not a static marketplace.

Losing leads loses money, whereas A/B testing can make a delightful difference in your sales and revenue.  And isn’t that the point?  So go forth and conduct A/B testing.  You’ll create more profitable lead generation forms, and you’ll have fun doing it.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user winnifredxoxo

2 responses to “How to A/B Test Your Lead Generation Form”

  1. Marketing Day: December 19, 2011

    [...] How to A/B Test Your Lead Generation Form, http://www.trada.com [...]

  2. Matt About Friday: The "How to Get Site Traffic" Edition | Matt About Business

    [...] How to A/B Test Your Lead Generation Form: Would you like more of your site visitors to use your newsletter sign-up and contact forms? Here are some tips for testing different versions of each form to measure their effectiveness. [...]

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