Whether you’re collecting leads or taking customers through the checkout process, chances are a form is involved. The bad news is, people hate filling out forms. The good news is, they still do it. It’s your job to make it easy for them to get through the process. How?

Here are 5 simple lessons for creating forms:

Keep it Simple

Is it really important that you get a work, home and cell phone number? Do you need to know a customer’s middle name, maiden name or if they are a mister, miss or misses? Let’s be real, probably not. Plus, people don’t want to fill out all of that. Keep it simple.

Only ask for the information that is necessary.

Tell Me What’s Required

Maybe you decide that you would in fact like to have work, home and cell number fields but since you know people don’t like to fill out long forms, you only require they fill out their home number. Make sure you tell them that. Letting people know which fields are required can make their lives and yours,
much easier.

Don’t be afraid to tell me which fields are optional as well.

Show Me the Errors!

Do you know a quick way to get people to abandon forms? Submission errors. They’re frustrating and can make you actually scream at the computer. What’s more frustrating than filling out an entire form only to get an error? Not knowing where that error is.

Highlight the field with the error.

Format Dates & Numbers

If you don’t have a specific format you need for number fields, then you can skip this part. If you do, make sure you give an example of how the date or phone number should be formatted. How many times have you entered a telephone number and then spent the next five minutes trying to figure out the correct format? Even if the answer is once, that’s too many times. An even better trick is to create the fields so they’re fool proof.

Make number formatting easy.

Put Email Fields First

Ok, obviously we put this one on here because it’ll help you track abandoned forms better, but it also makes sense. If your email field is the first thing people have to fill out, there’s a better chance they’ll do it. Are you not interested in recovering the 55% of people who leave? We didn’t think so.

Put the email field at the top of the form.

These are just five simple ways you can create a more effective form. What are some other best practices you’ve found?

Mike Arsenault
Mike Arsenault is the Founder & CEO of Rejoiner. He works with 350+ online retail & eCommerce companies like Hydroflask, Footjoy, GUESS, and Big Chill to help them grow faster using lifecycle email. He also once lived aboard a 36' sailboat in Boston.