Continuing the conversation about effective forms, remember to use conversational language in your design.  The advantages are that you will appear much more approachable and personable — and prospects will be more likely to share their info if you seem easy to work with.

Use a friendly, casual, comfortable tone.  Stiff and formal comes off as unfriendly.  Craft your forms to read like a real conversation, a real exchange.

Short two-word sentences or single-word asides give forms an appealing personality.  For example, close with “Nice job!” or “That was fast!” or “Please register by completing the form. But if you don’t, that’s okay. Signing in is entirely optional.”

Use the words prospects use and you’ll be talking their language.  Think about the forms you use and where you market (especially when using targeted microsites).  Different prospects at different life stages use different phrases and expect different responses.  If in question, ask someone from that age bracket for the honest truth about how your form terminology sounds and make appropriate changes as suggested.

Be careful using abbreviations and language that first-time home buyers and sellers may not be familiar with.  When in doubt, spell out everything including the abbreviation in parenthesis after the word so that you may educate as you explain.

Depending upon your market, consider adding form options in another language (Spanish, French, etc.).  You might add a single line in the form inviting other language speakers to fill out the form in their native tongue.  Beware – you need to be fluent in that language to do this correctly and be able to respond appropriately to those inquiries in that language!

Don’t look too hip though.  Texting abbreviations (LMK=let me know, BTW=by the way, etc.) might be cool to use, but are likely to confuse another whole segment of prospects — if you are attracting a wide age range of prospects.  Know your audience before you go too trendy with your conversation.

Share your experience in what type of wording you use on your web forms and response pages.  What works best and connects well with your readers?

Amy Hausman

Editor at Gooder Group
Amy is editor extraordinaire. If she’s not writing, proofing or editing, she’s traveling the world and taking photos around every corner.

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