8 Best Practices for Lead Gen Forms

One of the questions we ask clients during the initial discovery meetings is: “What are the actions you want website guests to take that will enhance your business?” The answers we hear become goals during the information architecture and user experience phase. After the website launches, they track as internet conversions.

What is an internet conversion, and why is it important?

Leading vs. Lagging Conversions
Many online marketers focus on lagging conversions. By lagging conversions, we are referring to events which occur at the end of the customer’s buying journey, like buying a product or paying to become a member. That works well if you sell a product or service online with a relatively short buying cycle.

For online marketers who do not sell a product or service online, for products with a longer buying cycle, and site owners who are looking to impact future performance, the focus must turn to leading conversions. By definition, these are actions which lead up to a person becoming a customer.

Examples of Leading Website Conversions

  • When a guest sees your telephone number, taps it on their smartphone, and calls
  • When a guest clicks or taps on your address and gets directions to your office
  • When a website visitor signs up to receive coupons or a newsletter
  • When a guest shares or “likes” a blog post on your website
  • When a guest fills out a form and asks for more information or a follow-up call

Lead Generation Forms
Lead Generation form submissions – when a guest fills out a form – are one of the most important leading conversions a business or organization can focus on since they put you directly in touch with potential customers.

Lead Gen Form Best Practice
When it comes to Lead Gen Forms, there are good and there are bad. To get the most benefit, here are some best practices for how to present a form on your site and how to handle submissions.

lead gen forms - Reliable Home Improvement

  1. Make Your Case
    You need a strong Call to Action. Explain why filling out the form will be of benefit to your guest. Make sure you know their pain points, and then make sure you have a compelling reason why filling out the form will help.
  2. Placement
    Forms do best when they are above the fold and on the right-hand side of the page. This is sort of intuitive. You want your guests to see the form, so it’s best to keep it high enough on the page so most everyone can see it without scrolling down. Since most people read from left to right, forms get filled out more when they are on the right-hand side of the page.
  3. Short vs. Long
    This is a classic tradeoff between quantity and quality of leads. Be sure to ask for only the information you need! We recommend that unless you have a compelling reason not to limit responses, simpler is always better. Don’t get greedy. Some reports have shown a 30% reduction in response rate by adding one required field beyond name, phone number, and email address.
  4. lead gen forms - Strong Call to Action

  5. Save Submissions
    Make sure your form is saving the entries to a database so you can export them into a spreadsheet. As well as making your data exportable, this is a handy backup you can occasionally check to ensure you’re not missing email notifications for submissions.
  6. Skip the Captcha
    No one likes to guess what letters and numbers those squiggly lines actually are, and if a guest fails the test even once, you can lose them. We say, skip the captcha test unless you’re getting a lot of spam, and we do mean a lot of it.
  7. Integrate with Mail Chimp or Constant Contact
    These days there’s no reason not to integrate your form with your email management software. Keep it simple. So when your new lead clicks “add me to your newsletter list,” it’s taken care of automatically.
  8. Email Notifications
    Be sure to send your new lead an email that confirms you received their request. It’s a great opportunity to reinforce your brand. That immediate response to their request will show you appreciate and value them.
  9. Follow Up
    Always respond to people who fill out the form, and do so quickly — ideally, within one hour. Few things will harm your brand image more than not responding to a lead gen form submission. Remember it’s possible to have the form send information to more than one email address. Be sure you have someone who will see the submissions and who will respond to them promptly.

What Are Your Leading Conversions?
Take a look at your site and imagine what steps your guests could take that would indicate they are moving toward becoming a customer. Do you track these events over time? If you aren’t doing that yet, now might be a great time to start!

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