Zuko Blog

Lead Generation Form Design: Advice & Best Practice

Tips on designing a high converting lead capture form

If your business lives and dies by the volume of leads coming through your website then the quality of your form is going to be critical to your success. Too many people just add a templated lead generation form to their site and hope for the best.

Zuko have been tracking the performance of forms for over ten years using our analytics software and have recently launched a form builder that lets you easily build and publish lead gen forms so we’re well placed to know what works and doesn’t. This article shares some of our tips that can help you maximize the completion rate of your lead capture forms.

What is a Lead Gen Form?

A lead generation form is a tool for gathering information from potential customers for use in an organisation’s CRM to start the nurturing process that will hopefully lead to an ultimate sale / conversion. Its effectiveness lies in its design and context, which should align with both the business's objectives and the prospective customer's expectations. An optimal form strikes a balance between gathering data useful to the business and maintaining user engagement so they complete the form.

Top Lead Gen Form Tips

  1. Cut out any unnecessary questions
  2. Be careful about contact details
  3. Infer information for your lead scoring rather than asking
  4. Use a custom form based on the prospect’s place in the buying funnel
  5. Use smart validation of emails
  6. Ensure the form is mobile friendly
  7. Use a clear CTA
  8. Split longer forms into multiple steps
  9. Use copy to clarify the value proposition
  10. Push submissions directly into your CRM system
  11. Use social proof
  12. Avoid captchas
  13. Use form analytics to understand abandonment points
  14. A/B test to continually improve
  15. Follow up submissions quickly

Cut out any unnecessary questions

The principle of minimalism especially applies to lead gen forms. Every question you ask is a potential friction point that could cause a customer to drop out so you need to be certain that it is necessary. Many forms are designed by committee - sales, marketing and compliance may ask for information they believe will be useful to them but don’t consider the impact it might have on completion rates. Do you really need them to tell you how big their company is - can’t you find that out yourself?

Various studies show that removing form fields can increase conversion rates but you do need to be careful as this isn’t a universal rule. Failing to ask questions that customers might expect - desired make / model for a car test drive form - might make them suspicious and prevent completion. There are cases where asking more questions does increase completion.

The key is to be clear in your own mind why you are asking each question and what you will do with the information.

Be careful about contact details

People are often reticent about giving you their contact details. Zuko data revealed that the phone number and email are among the most abandoned fields in our database.

For lead gen forms it’s a tricky balancing act. You need some level of contact information so you can nurture them through your funnel but it must tally with the user’s expectations. If they are signing up to get a digital only demo of your product why are you asking them for their phone number? Try to get that information later if you think you need it.

The cardinal rule is to tell the user what you are doing with the information. If they know that you’re only going to use it to contact them to set up the demo / book a test drive / email them the white paper / etc and you’re not going to spam them with sales calls or emails then they are much more likely to commit.

Also, it’s not sexy but including a clear link to your privacy policy goes a long way to reassuring prospects and is essential in many territories.

A good example of a form that explains why they need the phone number

Infer information for your lead scoring rather than asking

One of the reasons lead gen forms get bloated is because sales departments insist on a tonne of information to qualify prospects before they’ll dedicate rep time to it. But do you really need to ask for it at all?

Instead, could you:

Use a custom form based on the prospect’s place in the buying funnel

Understanding the prospect's position within the buying funnel is important. For those at the awareness stage looking to download some content, a form should be concise, inviting quick engagement without overwhelming the user - an email address should be all that is needed at this stage.

Conversely, prospects at the decision stage who are looking for some more advanced details may want more comprehensive forms. They expect to provide detailed information in exchange for a tailored solution.

Use smart validation of emails

If you don’t want nonsense emails in your leads list you can plug in email validation software that will ensure that you are receiving genuine data rather than from bots or time wasters.

Ensure the form is mobile friendly

With the increasing prevalence of mobile internet usage, mobile-friendly design is no longer optional. A mobile-optimized form ensures accessibility and convenience, catering to the growing segment of users who prefer smartphones for online interactions.

Use a clear CTA

If a prospect finds it hard to submit their details then your lead gen form is going to underperform. Firstly, make sure that your Call-To-Action (CTA) button is clear and easy to spot. No grey or “ghost” buttons here.

Secondly, a boring “Submit” label doesn’t really tell them anything. Make it clear what the user is going to get with action oriented labels like:

Book a test drive
Download the white paper
Request a call back

This CTA example from Officevibe is unambiguous - you know what you’re going to get

Split longer forms into multiple steps

Generally speaking, we’d advise that most lead capture forms are no longer than one page and they shouldn’t extend below the fold of a normal display. However, if you absolutely have to have a longer lead capture form, breaking it down into multiple steps is likely to improve its conversion rate.

Use copy to clarify the value proposition

The use of microcopy is critical in persuading the prospect to commit. It should be used to address potential questions and reinforce the benefits of submission.

This example from mikelardi.com makes it crystal clear what you’ll be getting if you complete the simple form:

Push submissions directly into your CRM system

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or lead processing systems are a vital tool in nurturing and converting leads so you want to get relevant information into them as soon as possible. Integrating form submissions with a CRM system streamlines data management and accelerates follow-up actions. You want to make sure that your form builder has a smooth integration that pushes submissions into the CRM immediately after the form has been completed.

Use social proof

Incorporating social proof, such as testimonials or trust badges, can bolster credibility and provide the final nudge to push a prospect into sharing their details. This psychological principle leverages the influence of peer experiences to encourage form completion.

It’s a little schlocky but this form from the Content Marketing Institute puts social proof at the front and centre of its pitch

Avoid captchas

Whilst no-one wants a load of spam coming through their form, the use of an old school captcha can obstruct user submissions. There are alternative spam prevention methods that can be used to preserve user experience without compromising form security.

Steer clear of something like this or you’ll lose leads

Use form analytics to understand abandonment points

Once you’ve got traffic coming through your forms you’ll want to see if there are any questions that are causing people to abandon. That’s where form analytics software like Zuko comes in. Form analytics will give you topline data on conversion rates but will also let you drill down to identify friction points that need to be fixed to smooth the form UX and optimize completion rates.

Form analytics will show you where people are abandoning your lead gen form

A/B test to continually improve

Form analytics will give you hypotheses to improve the form but you’ll need to test to be certain these ideas work. A/B testing allows for empirical evaluation of different form designs, enabling data-driven improvements. 

Some of the things you may want to test include:

You can read more advice on A/B testing forms here.

Follow up submissions quickly

There’s no point capturing leads if you don’t do anything with them. In many cases the speed of response to a lead is a crucial determinant of whether that lead converts - the longer you leave it, the more likely it becomes cold. Make sure you’ve invested in the processes and automation that mean your team can reach out to the prospect as soon as possible, ideally within half an hour of receiving the lead.

Overall, building lead capture forms shouldn’t be over-complicated. Keep it simple and continually test to maximize the form completion rate and keep a steady flow of incoming leads. If you’d like to discuss how you optimize or build your lead gen form then contact us here.

Looking to improve your form conversion?

Submit your form to get a free health check showing you:
  • Likely friction points leading to abandonment
  • Form elements contributing positively
  • Other areas for UX improvement
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"The best book on form design ever written - 80 pages of PURE GOLD"
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More from our blog:

Failed Form Submissions: Optimizing the Submit Button UX
Why failed submissions happen and how to reduce them
Optimizing the phone number field on forms
UX tips to reduce abandonment on mobile and landline form questions
Form UX Design Tips: Best Practice Examples
10 form design patterns that help optimize conversion
8 Tips to optimize your mobile form UX
CRO advice for forms on mobile devices

Zuko is the most powerful form analytics platform available on the market. Find out how to improve your form and checkout conversion by taking a product tour.

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