We spend a lot of time and money driving people to our landing pages and striving to provide the best possible experience for them.
But when it comes to capturing them as a lead we too often drop the ball by forcing them to fill out long, outdated, one-size fits all lead capture forms.
Well, most lead capture forms are built by IT teams or third-party CRMs and email services that have no concern over your company’s conversion rate. These ‘off the shelf forms’ are costing us all leads. A lot of leads.
Besides the obvious benefit of capturing more leads, forms sit at the most critical point in your marketing funnel. A small improvement in your form’s conversion rate has significant positive knock-on effects, as it improves the results of every marketing channel driving people to that form.
Having seen the impact great forms can have first-hand, I’m hoping that you can use the insights in this short guide to make them significantly better.
Conversion killer #1: Outdated design
Web form design has come a long way in 20 years. Yet, you wouldn’t know it looking at most sites.
The design of your forms sets the user’s first impression. It communicates how much effort the user will need to invest to complete the form, and whether or not the outcome is worthwhile.
Conversion killer #2: What’s in it for me?
Motivation is the single most important factor affecting a lead form’s performance. After all, people use forms to achieve an outcome, and the intensity of their desire to achieve that outcome impacts your conversion rate.
As such, it’s important to make it clear to your visitors what’s in it for them. Why should they use your forms? Lead capture forms fall into one of two categories: “Me forms” and “Us forms”.
“Me forms” are all about your business capturing the lead. Like in the Mouseflow example above, “me forms” ask us to submit our information without giving us any compelling reason why.
If you’re not clearly communicating why people should fill out your form, I’d recommend focusing on that. The results of any other tip in this guide will pale in comparison.
Conversion killer #3: Asking too much information
I know what it’s like. Your sales team want to capture each lead’s life story. The IT team want to add spam captcha boxes. The legal team want to add their disclaimers. The outcome is inevitable. Your forms get bloated.
To be clear, I am not against long forms. Some of the best-converting forms I’ve seen are over 30 questions long. I am, however, against forms that ask too much information at the wrong time.
Conversion killer #4: Treating everyone the same
Most forms try to pigeonhole every lead into a one-size fits all form. Given the different types of visitors on your website, and their varied needs, this one-size fits all approach is often far from optimal.
A better approach is to segment your visitors into different categories and hide/show questions based on their previous answers. This enables you to provide a personalised experience, while shortening the length of your form for certain users.
Conversion killer #5: Ambiguity
Multi-step forms typically out-perform single step forms. This is why many websites in lead generation industries (e.g. dating, online loans, and online gaming) use them heavily.
When using multi-step forms it’s important to remove any ambiguity. Forms convert best when there are no surprises, and the user’s expectations match reality.
On the left, we have the lead capture form from WeLoveDates, which clearly displays that there are five steps to this form and that we are currently on step one.
The example from Match.com on the right is, however, very ambiguous. There is no indication as to how many steps are in this form, how long it takes to complete, or what step we’re currently on. While the brand and clean design of Match.com give them an advantage, it’s very likely that the ambiguity around their form length hinders their conversion potential.
To combine #4 and #5: multi-step forms with customized steps after step #1, based one the answers, is one of the most powerful “tips & tricks” I have seen. Take time to set up and the logic and watch the number of leads multiply.
My bonus tip: before starting to optimize the forms, install a form analysis tool (HotJar or any other) and see how visitors interact with your form.
Which form field takes the most time, which ones are filled, which ones are skipped, where they give up, and what produces errors.
Armed with this knowledge, you can start optimizing the forms and removing all the conversion killers.
PS. Forms are annoying. Make them less so. Now you know how.