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City and State Fields – What are they good for? Absolutely nothing.

(Ok, before we dig into this, I guess I owe Edwin Starr an apology for stealing the line from his 1969 classic “War”).

One topic that we discuss over and over here at FranchiseHelp is contact forms.

October 2014 FranchiseHelp
Contact Form

Ultimately, for most of us, a conversion event is going to be defined as a successfully completed contact forms. We’re all in this together, trying to provide leads for the sales team to work. As I sit here on October 29th, 2014, FranchiseHelp’s field looks something like this:

(The reason I include the date is we run so many tests with forms, that whenever you are reading this post, it’s downright likely the form looks different.)

And just to prove that forms come in lots of different shapes and sizes, here’s a smattering of other franchise contact forms you’ll find across the web.

Healthier4U Vending Contact Form
Menchies Contact Form
Pretzelmaker Contact Form

Obviously, there are lots of differences that we can dig into, but for the time being I want to focus on the dreaded city and state fields.

Let’s start here – NO ONE LIKES TO FILL OUT A FORM!

No matter the context, filling out a form is pretty close to the worst thing humans have to do. (Ok, I’m probably being a bit dramatic.) But seriously, think about forms that you have to fill out. Doctors’ office forms? Yuck. Benefits forms? Awful. And perhaps the worst forms of all, tax returns! It’s so bad that tax preparers fill out 82 million tax returns every year!

I think you get the point. So, as franchise lead generators, we have to remember that we need to try and make filling out forms as painless of a process as possible. (Because I doubt will ever make it actually rewarding). This is especially true given the fact that a higher and higher percentage of your visitors are coming via a mobile device, the worst place to fill out a form.

The easiest way we can make this happen is by reducing the number of fields in a form. Our testing shows that every field that you can increase conversion rate by a factor of 2! For most of us, a one-field form may be unfeasible, but there are ways to decrease the number of fields without compromising the amount of data that we’re able to collect.

So, with regard to city and state, it turns out that there is a single piece of information that allows us to back out what the city and state are, zip code! There are even free databases out there that provide the zip code to city /state mapping, so there’s no additional cost to back out the city and state. Here’s an example.

By simply replacing the city and state fields on your contact field, you can raising your conversion rate by up to 100%. And there’s absolutely no loss in data available to you. (In fact, you even get the benefit of know which neighborhood the person lives in!)

So, it’s time to make the change. No more city and state fields. Zip code only!

Wanna chat about form fields? Shoot us a note!

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If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. The internet is all about mobile these days. You need to run your website through this test, so you can figure out if you have a problem.

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In this webinar, FranchiseHelp's Eli Robinson provides an overview of the four key components of online franchise lead generation. Each of these steps will be covered in more depth in subsequent webinars in the series.

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