Marketers everywhere are under increasing pressure to prove and improve the value of their programs. As a result, testing and analysis have become core components of the online marketing toolkit. While the value of testing is undisputed, the overwhelming number of things that can be tested can cause SaaS marketers to overlook the most important elements, such as the trial sign-up form.
Of all the elements on the landing page, the sign-up form is the most important and can be easily tested and analyzed to improve conversions. Let’s take a look at why testing is necessary and how it can be used to improve conversions and your overall marketing campaigns.
Why Test the Sign-up Form?
The simple answer is that the sign-up form is the closest thing to a barometer that marketers have to gauge the effectiveness of their campaigns.
The trial sign-up form is where you direct your social media, email, and SEO links that aim to raise awareness and get your audience to enter the digital lifecycle. In many cases, your audience can only enter that lifecycle through your trial sign-up form. You need that form to be successful in order to set the entire SaaS marketing strategy in motion.
The form itself, of course, will be in one of three general stages of success. Its conversion rate will be low, average, or high. No matter which stage it falls into, testing will improve it. Obviously, you want to elevate a low or average conversion rate, but even an already high conversion rate may not be sustainable over a longer period of time, and could benefit from continuous testing to ensure its long-term success.
How to Test the Sign-up Form
Usability and A/B tests will ensure that your trial sign-up form is performing to its potential.
Usability tests aim to answer the questions: “How easily can users find the sign-up form, and how intuitive is the sign-up process?” These tests are generally qualitative, which means that you can have them completed with only a few sample users navigating both to and through the form itself, and reporting on their experiences.
A/B testing is more complicated because of the many variables involved. Here are the elements that are most relevant to conversion rate:
Form location. Is it on the left, right, or center of the screen? Is it above or below the fold? You may think that a specific placement works better than the alternative, but A/B testing often debunks conventional wisdom. For example, placing a form below the fold (requiring the user to scroll) actually performed better in one case study. Tweet
CTA copy. The call to action is not just important when leading to the form, but also on the form itself. What are you saying in your attempt to get users to take that final step and submit their information to start their trial? In the same case study above, changing a single word (“start my free trial” vs. “start your free trial”) increased click-throughs by over 90 percent. Tweet
Number of form fields. Research has shown that in landing pages for other industries, four or less form fields increase conversion rates. And yet, that may not be true in your unique case: as you probably know, signing up for a SaaS trial may require more fields for sufficient information. These fields can range from drop-downs to Captchas, and even the most successful SaaS providers, from HubSpot to Salesforce, vary wildly in how they ask for trial-user information. In fact, a case can be made for both methods, getting as much information as you can and making the sign-up process as friction-free as possible. With no clear best practice, utilizing A/B testing is both advantageous and necessary to get the most out of your sign-up form.
Other areas of particular interest for A/B testing include the form headline, the wording of each field, the image above the form, and privacy or spam notices before the sign-up button.
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