There are lots of places we can go to find advice on improving conversions for our websites. However, some of the suggestions “feel wrong” or seem counterintuitive. This is why I like to go look into other people’s research.
There’s a term used in marketing – basket recovery – that describes a somewhat counterintuitive method of grabbing at least partial contact information from your site visitor even if they don’t complete your conversion process, leaving you a little less empty-handed.
The basis of this principle is requires the insertion of an email collection field BEFORE the call to action button. For example, if you have a page that offers a link to a free trial download of software, you could just have a button that says “click here to start the download,” and hope the customer follows up with you when the free trial expires, or you can put a single form field in there requiring an email address, then the customer clicks the button to start the free download.
Of course, I can hear everyone saying “I put fake email addresses in there all the time. That won’t help.” Ok, I admit this example is simplistic – but I’m illustrating how basket recovery works at its simplest. In the real world, it’s usually a little more sophisticated. Here’s an example from a test that was run by the researchers at Marketing Experiments last year.
The above image illustrates a free trial offer where the customer had to fill out a 6-field form anyway in order to get the free trial. The original green button was just a link with some basic call to action text.
In this process, instead of the landing page only containing a link to the mid-length form that is required before the customer’s trial account can be set up, they inserted an email collection field right above the orange button. Then the second page of the process included the email address that was already provided. If the customer changes their mind after seeing the rest of the form, there’s still a chance to recover that individual as a customer later with a follow up email to find out why they didn’t complete the form, because you already have the email address.
In this particular test, the basket recovery test page had an email address conversion rate of 2.16% while the original 6-field form completion process only converted .09% of the time. That’s a 2300% increase. If you’re operating a lead-gen site, a valid email address is all you need to make a sales introduction, offer a second chance, ask if there was a technical difficulty, etc.
Keep in mind that this technique will not work for every type of conversion as it actually increases user friction by adding a form field sooner. Careful testing will be necessary before you can decide if basket recovery testing pays off for your web site, but if you already have a multiple-step conversion process, basket recovery practices might help your end conversions.