Form creation is a subtle art. While they may look innocuous, well-designed forms are cleverly composed to secure as many submissions as possible.
Particularly in the competitive world of sales prospecting, creating an inviting intake form is key to securing leads, validating, and ranking them. Get your design right and you’ve made the prospect do much of the initial work of indicating how promising they’ll prove. Get it wrong, and you may have wasted an invaluable opportunity.
Did you know that 85% of marketers say that lead generation is their number one marketing goal? And that half of them credit inbound marketing techniques like intake forms as their main source of new leads? [source: NotifyVisitors]
In this piece, we’ll look at several techniques for creating a compelling form which converts casual browsers to potential customers.
10 Tips for Creating the Perfect Lead Generation Form
It’s vital to keep the purpose of this form at the forefront of your mind. The form isn’t there to create an enquiry list, or give your interns something to do. It’s supposed to generate promising leads. This means your form needs to attract the right customers, and subtly dissuade the wrong ones.
Tip 1: Strike the Right Tone.
You’ve probably worked exhaustively on a brand bible, where you outline your brand personality, tone, and specifics. Make sure you invest your messaging with these qualities. Are you light and breezy? Professional and courteous? Discreet and polite? Cheeky and irreverent? You’ll attract different potential customers depending on how you phrase each question and explanatory note.
If you’re not 100% sure what approach to take with tone, then check out tip 5 for a possible solution.
Tip 2: Keep it Brief.
Nobody making an initial enquiry about a product wants to complete an epic form. We have our tax returns for that purpose! Therefore, hone your fields down to the bare minimum, while remembering that the purpose of this form is to pre-validate responses where possible.
For instance, if you’re targeting a SaaS product at SMBs, you may want to include a job title field, for instance, so that you know how senior the individual completing the form is. You want to know how likely that first call is to result in a purchase decision, or a referral to someone more senior.
What you can’t do without is a name, phone number and email address, and all these fields should be validated. Consider asking the individual to validate their email address (see tip 7).
Tip 3: Make it Clear.
Give obvious instructions, to avoid frustrating people. Don’t ask for a “name” when what you want are separate fields for first name and last name. Do ask for pronouns so that when a rep calls, they’ll know whether to use “Mr.”, “Ms.,” or another title.
Remember that not every respondent will have English as a first language, so it’s important to use plain language wherever possible, while maintaining your brand tone.
Tip 4: Segment by Campaign.
You don’t need to have a “one size fits all” form, and you may be missing a trick or two if you do. If you’re running a promotional campaign, or have partnered with another company to refer business, you may already know enough about your visitors to tailor your form specifically to them.
For instance, if you run a cosmetics business, you could have three subscription forms – one aimed at teens, another at older women, and one at young men. The visual design, branding and language would be different for each form.
This approach also allows you to offer unique discount codes, or run time-limited promotions, while segmenting your responses into a pool you can later target with specific campaigns.
Tip 5: Try A/B Testing.
If you have more than one creative idea for pulling in new leads, why not try them both? Send 50% of respondents to one form, and the rest to another, then compare results. You’ll soon learn valuable lessons about how your visual branding and messaging is working with your intended audience.
Tip 6: Gamify your Form.
Why not use your form to ask one or more survey or quiz questions? This could be a fun addition to an otherwise mundane experience. Run a poll on visitors’ favorite ice cream flavor, or way to consume your product. You can inject a bit of personality, and perhaps garner a few useful insights at the same time.
Tip 7: Make it Secure.
As anyone in ecommerce or SaaS marketing knows, spam is a big problem. Bots love forms, and you’ll often find that, despite your best measures, you’re getting too many spam replies.
Make sure you incorporate security features like honeypot fields or ReCAPTCHA validation to minimize these irritating and pointless responses.
We’ve written a handy article on the many ways you can reduce your form spam. These include validating your form fields, disallowing links in text responses and including a test question to separate the humans from the bots.
Tip 8: Notify Next Steps
Its good practice to let people know how long they should expect to wait for a response. This gives your business a reputation for professionalism and sets expectations. Just a simple line like “we aim to respond to all queries within 48 hours.”
Tip 9: Ditch “Submit.”
Consider being a little creative with your submission button. Would it suit your brand better to say “Get Started” or “Stay Informed” or even “Buzz Us?” For some brands, “submit” may feel a little too clinical and generic.
Tip 10: Reply with Gratitude.
When your respondents hit “submit” (or your chosen equivalent) make sure you generate an automated reply with a grateful and encouraging response. For instance:
“Many thanks for contacting XXX! We’ll be in touch shortly to start your YYY journey. Have a great day!”
That’s just a suggestion – we’re sure you can do better.
Hopefully these ten tips have been helpful. For more insights into creating the perfect lead generation form, why not browse our other articles?