What Are Lead Gen Forms Optimized For?
Collecting leads & obtaining online conversions.
When you are pumping time and resources into designing your site, you should pay extra attention to the form – it’s a hot spot for turning visitors into leads for your business. And don’t take my word for it; Expedia gained $ 12 million in profit by removing just one redundant field from a form.
This post was inspired by a previous Unbounce post, How To Optimize Contact Forms For Conversions [Infographic]. Further down, I’ll give you 17 live form examples, each with a short critique, but for now, let’s cover how to best optimize your contact form.
Is Your Landing Page Form a Vampire or a Locomotive?
Since not all forms are created equal, practice makes perfect when it comes to their optimization. The great part about web forms is that you can break them into chunks, and set analytics goals step by step, which does a lot to shorten the process of A/B testing your page. This way, you can get a clear view on visitors’ behavior and map those choke points that crush conversions.
For example, let’s say your form page has a high bounce rate and subsequently you notice that just 1/3 of the unique visitors are actually filling in the form. This would mean that your form is a landing page vampire, with a high level of abandonment making your entire landing page perform poorly. The solution is either to remove the form from your landing page and place it on a subsequent one, or to draw conclusions over analytics and optimize the form to encourage fill-ins (find some quick’n’dirty tips below).
On the other hand, there are so many scenarios where a form is the locomotive of the landing page, carrying high conversions on its own.
What Does A Form Conversion Mean?
The first answer is obvious: the moment when a visitor hits the ‘send’ button. However, after a couple of years spent knees-deep in form tweaking, my conclusion is that real and actionable conversions come if you fulfill two conditions: overcoming psychological obstacles + screening out the tire kickers. In other words, a pro conversion is all about getting a lead that has a genuine interest in your business and your product offering. As Mona Elesseily said, “collecting information from prospects with your form is a negotiation, a process of easing into a relationship – and not a sudden event.”
Takeaways to rock your visitor-to-lead form conversions:
- Minimize friction. It’s a good idea to use fewer form fields – the general rule of thumb sweet spot is between 3 and 5 fields. Also, cut down required fields. If you are unwilling to sacrifice data precision over conversions, consider dividing your form into several steps.
- Ensure you have a strong Call-to-action. This refers to both your design and your copy. “Never Submit” says the Unbounce team. As you can see in the infographic, the most compelling text formulas for the button would be “Click Here”, “Go”, “Download” and “Register”. Don’t be afraid to super size the button, and give it an attention-grabbing, positive color (orange, green, blue).
- Use smart CAPTCHA, or no CAPTCHA at all. To avoid the risk of scaring off visitors, make sure that your “human verification” code only shows up when there is some sign of abuse over the form (such as multiple submissions from the same IP in the same day).
- Place the form above the fold. It’s been reported that the best converting spot lies in the upper right hand corner of the page, as people tend to look over there first. The rule of thumb is to make the form visible at first glance without scrolling.
- Last but not least, you should also take care of the surrounding space on the page that contains the form. Give the form some room to “breathe”, and use directional cues to highlight it. It’s a good idea to include trust seals on the page, and powerful elements that reinforce the statement of benefit (what you will get from filling in the form). Generally, the page should pass the blink test, which is roughly 6 seconds from the moment the visitor enters it. Minimize friction by avoiding dissonant colors, text cluttering, navigation that distracts attention, and parasite calls-to-action that overlap with the form’s main goal: submission.
And since the aim of this article is to show, not tell, I’ve chosen a handful of live form examples to analyze and critique so you can learn. Voilá!
**Disclaimer: Although the entire pages are showcased below, my concise analysis refers only to the form (not the page in its entirety).
A neat form with a classical look, placed right between strong landing page elements: trust seals and an informative video. It uses the required condition wisely, just for the email field. Could have been more explicit in scope, however.
Nice colors, strong call-to-action button and good directional cues. What is there not to love?
Text Link Ads
The first form aims two actions at the same time, create an account and request a proposal, which can be overwhelming, same as the great number of required fields.
In this second form field, the cascade of forms close to each other are quite a turnoff for the time crunched visitor.
This form really scares me. Ten required fields, including a Phone one? And not asking at least what time people would prefer to be contacted? This is simply a no-no.
Real time price calculations are a big plus for this form. I also like the simplicity of the fields, and the fancy sliders – they make a good match for the target public.
Here is one inviting form. Catchy headline, explicit description and fields that take less than 2 minutes to fill in – good layout!
This example illustrates what I call the Chuck Norris of web forms. Big bold title and button, simple fields and a background that screams “give me all your attention!” This little fellow might just be a hero of conversions.
Clear statement of benefit, but too much wording here. I would use a “Download Now” text for the button and balance the white space surrounding the form – it would be more inviting if the fields themselves were placed towards the top of the page rather than the bottom.
Nice slim form – even too slim maybe, as the absence of a “required” validation upon the email field puts it at risk of receiving invalid submissions.
This page does a great job in encouraging visitors to download the material. With so strong statements of benefit, I would definitely be willing to spend a little time in filling in the form.
The rules of thumb for popup lightboxes such as this one are to leave a clear exit button (so that people don’t force a way out) and to explain why it’s necessary to fill in the subscription form. This form does both beautifully.
The Next Web
Can you locate the subscription form in the picture? Yes, it’s below the “Stay smart” slogan. It’s a relevant example of non-intrusive form that serves its purpose well and manages to be an aesthetical pleasure too.
Minimalist design puts an extra weight on every form element. In this case, the “submit” text is quite disorienting; a “subscribe” one would serve its purpose better.
Web Traffic ROI
Nice and effective form, with just one exemption: the extra link, which makes you wonder if filling in the form would be the best way to grab the e-book. I love the download counter, a very engaging feature.
Big Idea Mastermind
Another hero of conversions, here is a spectacularly designed form with just one field that does it all, plus engaging colors and contrasts – highly converting combo.
How about you? Do you have some web form stories to tell? We’d love to hear them in the comments section below!