Just because a user arrives on a landing page doesn’t mean they are guaranteed to convert. 

When confronted with a lead-capture form – i.e. a form that asks for customer details in exchange for a service or product – it’s often a make or break kind of situation. Typically, they’ll either commit or abandon the page entirely.

So, what elements will increase the chances of users converting? Here are nine examples of changes you could test.

Highlight ease

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.

Bulb lead capture

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.

Litmus minimal form 

Offer alternatives

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.

Codecademy social login

Avoid ‘submit’

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. 

Salesforce CTA

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.

OKCupid multi-step form

Clarify errors

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.

Square lead capture form

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.

Basecamp 30 day trial

Make your privacy policy clear

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.

The Times places its privacy policy link at the top of its form. Of course, the GDPR has compelled many companies to add a clear privacy notice to their lead capture forms, including a vairety of information such as the legal basis for processing personal data.

The Times privacy policy

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.

H.Bloom form position 

Related reading:

Nikki Gilliland

Published 3 July, 2018 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (1)

Pete Austin

Pete Austin, Founder and Author at Fresh Relevance

There are two problems with most of these examples. (Disclaimer: this is informed advice but not legal advice).

(1) Most seem to be invalid under GDPR, because there's no statement of what will happen to personal data and no privacy link to get details. That could mean they risk a fine. For example I recommend that bulb (your first example) looks into this issue, because theirs is B2C marketing and it was found that postcodes are personal data, in this case: https://foiwiki.com/foiwiki/index.php/FS50236990

(2) Our research shows that the best approach is not to display a form immediately, but to let people browse the site, so they can learn about it, and then display a registration form when the visitor paused for a bit. Obviously this depends what you are trying to do, e.g. maybe the site can't do anything useful until the visitor has signed up.

15 days ago

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