Nine tips for optimising lead-capture forms
So, what elements will increase the chances of users converting? Here are nine examples of changes you could test.
Lengthy forms can often prevent users from converting. This means that – along with actually making forms as short as possible – the copy that surrounds them can also be optimised to highlight speed and ease.
This lead-capture form from Bulb tells users that they can get a quote in just thirty seconds, cleverly prompting people to get started.
Only ask for the essentials
Companies often make the mistake of asking for too many details at the outset. Granted, this can generate better quality leads, but extensive forms can also be hugely off-putting for users.
Forms should only ask for the essentials, ensuring that the process is as quick and painless as possible.
This form from Litmus (in exchange for a report) is a good example. It’s refreshing to be asked to complete just two steps, rather than having to enter extensive details usually found in B2B forms like job title and phone number. As well as taking up more time, the latter questions also instil the sense that you’re about to be bombarded with unwanted communication.
In contrast, Litmus’ short and simple form feels fuss-free.
Research suggests that 65% of users prefer using a social login to a traditional form. This is perhaps unsurprising, given that the majority of users will already have a social account (that they’re signed into) online.
This form from Codecademy includes many good features, namely the encouraging CTA and minimal details required.
However, another is that it gives the option of using Facebook, Google, and GitHub to sign up, giving users the ability to choose the one they like (or use) the most.
A form button should always make clear what will happen when a user clicks on it. This is why ‘submit’ is perhaps the worst wording to use, as it sounds entirely non-committal.
In contrast, buttons that say things like ‘get started’ or ‘click to download’ indicate an action, i.e. that something will actually happen when you click.
Salesforce uses the explanatory ‘start your free trial’ on its form button, giving users no doubt as to what they’ll be getting in exchange for their details.
Point to progress made
One way to capture higher quality leads (i.e. with more detailed information) without alienating users is to use multi-step forms. These are essentially longer forms that are broken up into shorter ones so as not to daunt or overwhelm.
Dating site OkCupid takes this approach, using the word ‘next’ to indicate that there is a next step to come.
However, by making the initial stage as quick and easy as possible, it reduces friction, and gives the sense that the rest of the process will be similarly seamless.
There’s nothing worse than filling in contact details only to find out you’ve made a mistake or missed something out.
Forms that automatically highlight these issues can make the process much easier, reducing friction (and potential user frustration).
This form from Square does this effectively, using red design elements to instantly alert users before they proceed.
Sell the benefits
Lead-capture forms aren’t always about locking users in to a long-term purchase or subscription. In fact, these can be big barriers to entry, putting off people from giving away their details if they feel like they’re being asked for a big commitment.
As a result, selling the benefits can be an effective route to conversion, with free trials and the promise of ‘no credit card required’ prompting users forward.
Basecamp offers a free 30-day trial of its service, and its landing page nicely explains the benefits of signing up. It also uses social proof below the form to further instil trust in users.
Security can be another barrier to entry, as users might feel concerned about how the company in question might use their personal data.
As a result, it’s important for privacy policies to be highlighted, with visible links and copy that reassures users. Security badges also indicate that a site is secure, giving users instant reassurance that it’s safe to enter sensitive details.
Position it right
The question of whether forms should be placed above or below the fold has long been debated.
Though users may scroll down any given page, the majority of time is spent above the fold. So, what’s the right way to go?
Ultimately, it boils down to the industry and what a form is offering. This form from flower subscription service H.Bloom is a good example of how to get it right. The copy is minimal but sufficient in explaining the value exchange, meaning there’s no need to fill the page with much else. As a result, the form’s position at the top right is both eye-catching and easy accessible to users.
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