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Creating Optimized Forms for Lead Generation

Posted on 6.30.2013

Creating just the right form to quickly and easily convert your leads is equal parts art and science, as you have to make sure you give them something that will provide you with the information you need for your business, without forcing them to spend more time than is necessary.

After all, we’ve all been scared away from completing an arduous-looking, lengthy form at one time or another, right? Or maybe, it was just too confusing and you didn’t have time to deal. These are understandable frustrations, and really, it’s up to the form maker to ensure that it doesn’t happen (well, really, just that it doesn’t happen for too many people).

So, when you become that form maker for your prospective leads, make sure you don’t screw it up. And just in case, you can follow these simple rules for optimized lead generation forms.

1. Identify the Most Important Information
“Duh,” you may be saying to yourself, but it’s still a necessary point to make. Before you begin thinking of the cool colors you want to use on your form, you should start by figuring out why you’re making it in the first place. In other words, precisely what information do you want to get out of these leads? Then, when you begin laying out the design for the form, make sure all of these information fields are easily visible and accessible, which can be helped by putting them higher on the form.

2. Make Other Fields Optional

Of course, there’s probably other information that you would like to gather from your leads that can also be to the benefit of your business that isn’t necessarily “important,” or more accurately, essential to your day-to-day operations. This allows more motivated leads to provide additional helpful information, but still ensures that their less motivated counterparts will give you what you need. Plus, if you have a few optional fields, it’ll make less motivated leads feel like they’re getting away with something by only filling in the necessary sections.

(Note: Some studies have found that not including ANY required fields, but only providing fields for necessary information will spur more conversions. This may work for your business, but isn’t recommended for everybody.)

3. Exclude Phone Number Fields
At the very least, make them optional. People don’t like giving out their phone numbers, especially on the Internet. Now, if having a phone number is somehow essential (for instance, if your business is based on post-click sales calls), I guess you have to go for it then, don’t you? Most of the time, though, you won’t need it, and it will likely hurt your conversion rates to put it on there.

4. Optimal Field Labels
Left-aligned field labels tend to improve and increase readability compared to right-aligned labels, but for the most part, the best placement for labels is on top of each field. Moreover, keep in mind that users prefer (and expect) certain information written on a single line together, such as first and last names, years, months and days in dates and hours and minutes of time.

5. Keep Copy Clear and Concise

Another one that should go without saying, but the last thing you want to do is clutter up your form with a bunch of superfluous copy that will only distract and, in most cases, overwhelm your leads. Too much verbiage on the page is a surefire way to get a lead to just say “nope” and click the back button, so make sure that the form’s purpose is clearly stated in as few words as possible, and then get out of their.

6. Test (and Optimize) Button Copy

More than likely, there will only be one button on your form (or at least only one that matters), but that doesn’t mean you should just stick it on there with only minimal thought put into it. If nothing else, at least make sure the button copy makes it clear what action will be performed with the user clicks on it, but if you can, try to be even more descriptive than that. Try out different things like “Submit,” “Go,” Register” or the always-popular “Click here.”

And there you have it; follow these tips, and you’ll be able to create the best lead generation forms on the World Wide Web.


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