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Too Many Choices Can Be Dangerous

Online registration pages are vital to marketers. Offering too many choices or requiring too many steps, however, can lower conversion rates, result in bad data, and will harm overall marketing programs. A study reported by the American Psychological Association concerning employees choices of 401(k) plans supports this theory. The study discovered that when given two plan choices, 75% of employees at a certain company participated in the 401(k), but when given 59 choices, only 60% participated. The more choices given decreased the chance that a conversion occurred. In addition the research team found that the more options that were offered the more cautious people became and the more likely they were to abandon.

Here is how to get the most out of a registration page:

  • Keep it simple. Keep the registration page and process as short and to the point as possible. Make it clear what one needs to do to complete the registration process and be clear on which data is required/not required.
  • Only gather necessary information. If telephone number is not useful or actionable don’t ask for it. The fewer steps in the process, the fewer opportunities for abandonment.

  • Test the registration page and overall process. Are values being written to the database correctly? Are there broken links? A broken registration page can harm one's marketing program and brand goodwill. Test it. Test it. Test it.

  • Validate the information entered. A misspelled email address, name, or postal address could mean lost revenue, lost chances, and unhappy customers. Take a look at Experian QAS for email, mailing address, and phone validation technology.

  • Briefly explain the benefits of providing information. You can even answer the questions Why should I complete this form? and What’s in it for me? in the form itself.

  • Keep the registration form look and feel consistent with other marketing endeavors. The move from a website to registration form should be seamless.

  • Send a thank you or confirmation message in a timely manner once the registration is complete. This could be an email or at the very least a simple thank you page once information is submitted. This message should be sent or displayed in real-time when possible.

Lastly, here's an example for your consideration: the Eddie Bauer email registration form. It is simple, clear and only requests information that the retailer uses. Enjoy, and happy acquisition!

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