How NOT to Design Lead Capture Forms for Effective Lead Generation

By February 28, 2013Content Marketing

Recently I received an email from one of my favorite marketing websites offering a free download for an eBook that sounded really interesting to me.  And it inspired me to write a blog post about how NOT to design lead capture forms for effective lead generation.  The email I received looked like this: 

lead-gen-Email-offer-resized-600 (1) (354x500)

The email was a good example of effective email marketing with a compelling subject line and header.  Once I clicked on the offer I was taken to this landing page:

lead-gen-download-offer-2 (355x380)

The landing page gives me a good idea of what the eBook is about, without giving away too much information.  Once I clicked the “Get It Now” button (“Get It Now” and “Go” get higher numbers of clicks than “submit” buttons) the following form appeared requiring me to tell them a “little” bit about myself before I could download the eBook:

lead-gen-lead-capture-form-3 (360x358)

Puh-lease.  There is NO WAY I’m going to spend more than 1 minute filling out a contact form for a “free” download, and there is no way I’m going to share all of this information with this resource!  For example: why would I share my company revenue?

How to Develop & Design Effective Lead Capture Forms:

Developing a lead capture form isn’t difficult; however there are a few things you must figure out prior to starting, in order to make sure your lead capture forms are efficient.  The three things you need to consider before developing a lead capture form are purpose (beyond basic lead capture), design (position, length, fields, etc.), and testing (for effectiveness).

What’s the purpose of Lead Capture Forms?

The basic purpose of every lead capture form is to gather information about prospective customers, so that you may market to them further utilizing that information.  However, while you may be curious to know everything about prospective customers, customers aren’t likely to want to give you a ton of information about themselves because it takes time and it can be suspicious (“What are they using all this information for?” – Me, when I first saw the above form).

How Many Fields Should be Required in Lead Capture Forms?

A good rule of thumb is to not require more than four to six fields to be filled out.  Many marketers will tell you the fewer fields you require, the less qualified the leads will be, however, some of even your most qualified leads won’t want to spend more than a minute on filling out forms like this.

What Fields Should be Required in Lead Capture Forms?

This depends entirely on what the purpose of the lead capture form is.  Do you want to collect names and phone numbers so you can call them in the future?  Do you want to collect email addresses so you can add them to an email marketing campaign?  Once you figure out what contact information you want to collect from your leads, you can save the other questions (like the ones included on the above form) for the next point of contact with that lead.

The Importance of Testing Lead Capture Forms

All these tips are nice and all, but if you’re not trying different designs, fields, lengths, etc. how do you know which form is the most effective in capturing leads?  While one type of lead capture form may work for a certain industry, it may be a completely different type of form that works for yours.  And so that is why it’s so important that you do some A/B testing of several different lead capture forms before choosing one. 

Come back next week when we dig further down into how to do lead capture forms right!

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Dorota Umeno

Author Dorota Umeno

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