Alright, you’ve gotten someone on your website. They like what they’re seeing. They want a loan. They take a look at your online application and — that’s it. They think “Wow. That looks like a ton of work. I wonder what’s up on Facebook?” And away they go.
We’re continuing our three-part series on auto loan landing pages today, and we’re hitting on something almost every loan site screws up: form pages. The forms are way too cluttered! They’re traumatizing to look at and even more painful to fill out. People would rather redeem beer cans for nickels than use these to apply for a loan.
Normally we focus on landing pages, but today we’re opening it up to online forms. Too many companies are killing their completion rates. We can stand by no longer.
The vertical groove
Whether you realize it or not, there is a rhythm internet users get into when filling out form fields. It goes something like this: first name, last name, email, address, city… and so on. When the fields are in a single column, the information just flows out. The users keep going until they’re done. You never want to interrupt this rhythm. But when there are multiple columns, it disrupts their flow. They have to stop, scroll up, think about what to do (ugh!), and start again. So keep it simple, keep it vertical, and don’t make them work anymore than they have to.
Our tests have consistently shown that having a single column of form fields on a longer form increases conversion rates, even without any other changes (when compared to a multi-column newspaper style layout). This makes sense when you think about it, because a multi-column format is confusing.
Who the heck are you?
Brands like Wells Fargo have a big advantage: people know them. Their logo conjures up feelings that have been embedded by millions and millions of dollars in advertising. The logo is like a big stamp on the page that immediately tells people “We’re not some fly-by-night internet scam. You know us. Don’t worry.”
So why not use that asset to your advantage on your form pages? That’s what Wells Fargo did by including it at the top of their auto loan application page. That logo makes people feel better when, while typing in their social security numbers, they look up and think “am I sure I this is safe?”
You, savvy marketer, might not be as lucky as the marketers at Wells Fargo. The people filling out your form might not know much about your company — and that’s OK. You just need to provide some assurance that you won’t use their information to do something unsavory, like buy mail-order pain killers from Mexico.
Try including logos from well-known organizations that you’re associated with, such as the Better Busine
ss Bureau. Also test using logos from well-known publications that have featured your company (“As seen in ****”). The idea is to use the power of these well-known brands to lend your company credibility and assure users. Of course, you always want to ask permission before adding another company’s logo to your site.
Let me get your digits
As far as phone numbers go, we like what we’re seeing. First of all, a phone number is provided to speak directly to a loan officer who can help users fill out the form. Users don’t have to click to a “contact us” page to see the number — which is great. They can stay right on the page without extra clicks and further distraction. What’s even better is the office’s hours are posted so people don’t waste even more of their lives listening to robotic voices in a call system maze.
Toward the bottom of the page, we noticed that Wells Fargo is aware that they’ve made it to the 21st century. The form doesn’t bother asking for a home phone number and instead requests a “primary phone number” as a required field and makes “secondary phone number” an optional field.
Requiring people to provide a “home” phone number when so many people no longer have one only forces people to stop and think “hmm…I don’t have one of home number. Should I leave this blank? Oh, I can’t leave it blank. It’s required. Well, I guess I’ll just put my mobile number. Oh, but that other field asks for my mobile number. Hmm… I hope this doesn’t stop me from getting the loan. I really want that hybrid.” All this eats up valuable effort that should be spent filling out your form.
Keep them on the form — do not link elsewhere
“Learn more” links can be tremendously helpful. They can clear up confusion around privacy policies, return policies, or in this case, immigration status. But these links can cause more problems than they solve when they send someone to a new webpage.
Remember that rhythm we were talking about? That flow people get into when they’re filling out forms? The flow that you never want to interrupt? Well, if you send them to a new page, what you’ve done is worse than interrupt their flow. You’ve put them into a new world from which the only escape is to stop, think, and navigate a return — or give up. Then, once they’re back, they have to think about where they left off and where to start again.
All this is unnecessary. You’ve worked hard to get these people to this form, so don’t send them somewhere else. That’s just adding work. Instead, test using pop-ups to provide little bits of additional information. That way, the user never leaves the form, and when they’re done reading, they’re right back where they left off.
Remember: Form pages are not the same as landing pages. However, both combine hundreds of variables that can be tested and optimized to improve results.
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