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Is your trial signup process optimized for a simple user-experience and qualifying leads? If you’re not quite sure, you should consider reevaluating. As the growth of the subscription business industry soars, consumers are faced with more options than ever. Gartner Research predicts the total revenue of SaaS worldwide should reach $22.1 billion by 2015.

“Adoption of SaaS continues to grow and evolve” states Gartner’s research director, Sharon Mertz. In a world where consumers are faced with more options than ever to meet their IT needs, an unnecessarily intensive signup process can hurt your prospect conversions. Here are five ways to evaluate whether you’ve designed your signup process.

1. Minimize the Process

The number of steps required for prospects to signup for a trial will have a significant effect on your total conversion rate. HubSpot research has found a strong, negative correlation between number of landing page forms and overall conversion rate. Their studies have also found that the following factors can have a significant affect on perception of the signup process:

  • Types of Information Requested: Even if your forms are brief, if you’re requesting sensitive information that doesn’t seem relevant, users may be driven to abandon a process that seems needlessly intrusive.
  • Perceived Security: If your prospect doesn’t trust your website, they’ll be more likely to avoid completing a form of any length.

2. Streamline Your Sign-Up Form

Are you willing to lose out on serving a potential client if they won’t provide information? Fields which are critical for qualifying the lead, which may include job function, should be kept. If the information isn’t strictly necessary, it can likely be eliminated from the signup process. Extraneous questions like age or zip code can almost certainly be collected later, when leads are converted into paying customers.

Dan Zarrella has found that asking for age, telephone number and street address can significantly reduce the completion rate of signup processes.

3. Eliminate Confusion

Many user experience experts recommend subscription businesses consider removing main site navigation options from their signup pages entirely. Any confusions or distractions can detract from the primary decision at hand, which is becoming a trial subscriber. Marketer Ellis Luk recommends the following tactics if you’re offering a multi-plan trial:

  • Limit the total number of options available as much as possible.
  • Ensure decisions are optimized for simplicity.
  • Consider allowing prospects to sign up for the trial and then choose an option.

4. Set Expectations

No one likes to be surprised by a lengthy or confusing signup process, particularly when they were under the impression that the first form they completed contained all the required questions. If your subscription business needs users to complete multiple steps, consider including a progress bar.

Eliminate visual confusion or overwhelming-appearing blocks of text by using bullet points or information that’s displayed only during rollover can ensure pages maintain a clean look.

5. Keep it Simple

Your business has a competitive edge, but the your trial signup process simply isn’t the time to display your organization’s innovative tendencies. If you’re trying to stand out from your competition by placing a form below the fold so users have to scroll to share their information or eliminating clear explanations, similar tactics can leave an unprofessional impression.

Focus on impressing your prospects through the quality of your subscription business’ service, not through a creative approach to the trial signup process. Keep it streamlined, work with established patterns in your industry to ensure users aren’t surprised, and focus on continual efforts at optimization.