Online forms are like eyebrows – you only pay attention if they look really good or really bad.
Odds are you’re not getting attention for having the worst lead forms around, since they are pretty hard to mess up. At the same time, though, it’s just as hard to create a strong lead form that consistently converts for your company.
The only way to figure out how to do a better job of converting leads is to test a variety of different variables. Here are a few different elements of your lead form that can be effectively tested, and some of the companies that have found success with various methods.
1. Amount of information
This is pretty simple – You can either ask for a lot of information in your lead form, or keep it simple with just a few fields to fill out. The amount of information for which you ask in a lead form is largely dependent on the product or service that is being offered.
For example, if your lead form is a call-to-action encouraging blog subscription at the bottom of a post, you might not need to ask for more than a name and an email. If the lead form is connected to a helpful, lengthy PDF marketed to people lower in your sales funnel, it might be more appropriate to ask for more information from your potential customers.
Drift, a messaging software company based in Boston, has an incredibly simple blog subscription lead form. The form asks for only an email address, and it also lays out exactly what a reader will not get upon subscribing.
So they’ve eliminated two of the biggest pet peeves people have when subscribing to blogs, and they’ve given the reader minimal work to confirm their subscription. Considering that over 8,000 people subscribe to Drift’s blog, they must be doing something right.
Do you want to present your consumer with a lead form at the very beginning, in the middle of their experience, or closer to the very end?
There are a few benefits for each option. If you put the lead form at the beginning of the consumer’s experience – say, a quiz or an assessment – you get it out of the way early and let the person know up front what is required of them.
If you put the lead form at the end of the consumer’s journey, you can tease him or her with the entire quiz but then withhold the results until the lead form is filled out.
This assessment from HotSchedules, for example, tests how well a store owner is managing employee schedules. After completing a six-question quiz (and, thus, demonstrating serious interest in the results), the participant is prompted to complete the following lead form.
3. Level of Fun / Creativity
Who ever said lead forms had to be boring?
Most lead forms are the same – dull, drab, and just a formality. But don’t fear – It’s easy to make yours stand out from the crowd and convert.
Andrew Littlefield, creator of One For the Swipe File, does an excellent job of this. At the bottom of each blog post, he attaches a lead form for readers to subscribe to his blog. He asks for the reader’s name and email, of course, but then he also asks what the one movie you would watch for the rest of your life would be.
Now, if you were on the fence about filling out the form, I bet you’re hooked.
By throwing in a fun question like that, you get a sense of the lighthearted tone of Andrew’s blog, you get a sense that he actually reads each individual response, and, in all likelihood, you’re more likely to complete the form.
In addition to the fields to be filled out, you can also get creative with the CTA button on your lead form. It doesn’t need to be as simple as “subscribe” or “confirm,” and often a more creative CTA button can be more effective.
One of the most effective uses of this comes from Lianna Patch, founder of Punchline Conversion Copywriting. The name of the newsletter is “Just the Tips” and her CTA button reads “Give it to me,” so there’s an obvious underlying comedic theme here.
Test, Test, Test
The only way to really know if any of these variables will be effective is to test them on your own site. Don’t just blindly adopt any of these methods simply because they worked for other companies – past success for one individual will not guarantee future results for you.
So get out there, curious marketer, and A/B test until your heart can A/B test no longer. Think outside the box (or inside it, if it’s more appropriate for you). Show us what you can come up with!