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Experts' Secret Series: Form Registrations - Part #1

A Five-Part Series: What Works and Doesn’t With Registration Forms

By: Deborah O’Malley | Last Updated May, 2021

In a conversation I had with Michael Aagaard, international keynote speaker and conversion optimizer, we discussed the top five secrets to make your registration forms convert.

Today, I’m going to share the first secret with you so you can immediately apply it to improve your own digital marketing performance.

Secret #1: Break Down The “Wall”

Here is the first and most important thing you should be doing to make your registration forms convert well:

#1. Break down the “wall” by understanding your users

A lot of marketers assume that if they can get leads to their squeeze page, or push visitors far enough down the funnel, form conversions will just naturally happen.

But, that’s not usually the case.

Your visitors won’t usually just fill out your form because it’s right there in front of them.

They need motivation.

Visitors need to be told the benefits of filling out your form. And, they need to be motivated enough to receive the reward offered — once they’ve completed your registration form.

Whether that reward is getting free newsletter content, receiving a quote for a service they’re interested in, or obtaining a product at the end of an eCommerce purchase form, users need to be guided and nudged every step of the way.

As Michael Aagaard remarks, many marketers seem to see the registration form as a cash register. If users fill out the form, it’s a conversion win. And, chan-ching, you’re golden. “But, that’s not the way users see your forms. Most users see forms as a walls in front of them,” Aagaard remarks.

Users are certainly not cheering or excited to going through and complete your daunting-looking form.

So, your job as a marketer is to break down that wall.


You need to make that “wall” appear as easy and simple to get past as possible.

Ideally, you should give your users a ladder to get over the wall.

Understand User Needs and Motivation

The first rung on the ladder is understanding your user’s needs and motivations.

Create your forms not by looking at what information you want to get out of your users, but rather by asking yourself these crucial questions:

Who are your users?

  • What socio-demographic information do you know about them?
  • Where are they located?
  • Are they new or return visitors?

Note, much of this information can be gleaned from your analytics data, like Google Analytics. Additional insights can be obtained from a specialized form analytics platform like Zuko.

Why are users at your form?

  • Do they want something from you?
  • Are they there to buy something?
  • Did they arrive through a squeeze page and hit a “wall”?

What do your users need and want?

  • Do they need motivation or incentive to complete the form?
  • Do they need clear direction because the form is complicated?
  • Do they need an indication of next steps so they know how much longer until the form is complete?

What barriers do your users need to overcome to fill out your form?

  • Are you asking for personal or sensitive information?
  • Are you asking for a lot of information?
  • Are you matching what you’re asking with what you’re offering in return?

Once you’ve asked yourself these questions, you can dig into your analytics data to find the answers.

Your findings will help you better understand your users, their needs, and what actions you need to take to break down the “wall” — so the process of filling out your form is as simple and easy as possible for your users.

Now, go ahead. Apply this information to improve your own marketing performance.

For additional insights on how to optimize your forms, check out the second part of this series, which delves into understanding your users' path and conditions to better understand what works and doesn't with optimized forms.

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5 years ago

Really interesting point about using form to get demographics. Thanks for that!

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