10 Ways to Optimize Lead Generation Forms

Kiley Peters

Content Marketing,
Digital Marketing

10 Ways to Optimize Lead Generation Forms

We all want people to do more of what we want them to do when it comes to our websites, right? In our world, that's called conversion optimization. You're optimizing for conversions and a "conversion" can be whatever makes the most sense for your business. In this case, let's say a "conversion" on your website is someone filling out a form to officially become a lead. This is a pretty common goal for many businesses.

This is the main goal for one of our clients, New City Moving. We worked with them to do a new website redesign, but in the process we also tweaked their lead submission form. In the end, we saw a 60% increase in lead submissions. Not too shabby!

In April 2017, I attended ConversionXL Live in San Antonio, Texas and heard incredibly talented people speak on conversion optimization. One speaker, Julie Grundy, stood out to me as she spoke about a number of tactics to optimize forms online. Below I've listed out the top XX number of ways to optimize lead generation forms. Some are derived from our findings and best practices and a few are also reiterated from Julie.

Easy Ways to Optimize Lead Generation Forms

  1. Make it Easy. We're all lazy. So if you're asking something from a visitor, don't make it difficult for them to give you what you want. Keep it simple.
  2. Consider Context. What likely scenarios is your visitor in, coming from or heading to when they reach your online form? Are they running to the grocery store from soccer practice? Are they leisurely browsing on a Sunday afternoon? Keep this in mind for which questions you ask and how you phrase them.
  3. Ask What You Must. This is not the time to get greedy. Shorter forms have a higher likelihood of being completed. We know you want to gather data on your consumers, but you get zero data points if no one fills out your form. Ask what you must, not the "nice-to-haves" just the "musts." Take a look below at the New City Moving form (left) versus one of their local competitors (right). They have 50% more fields requiring action from the visitor!Moving-Company-Lead-Generation-Forms
  4. Remove Opportunities for Errors. Isn't it annoying when you login to a website and the error notification is "Either your username or password is incorrect." Cool. Now I have to spend time trying multiple combinations of both to try and figure out if I even have an account with this website. It would have been 50% easier if the message had said "Your password is incorrect." Now we're getting somewhere. Use this approach with your online forms. Do this line by line. Don't make the user wait all the way until the end of their form to see what fields they messed up. Remove the guesswork. Make it easy. See point number one.
  5. Clearly Label Each Field. Don't leave fields up for interpretation. If you have a form that asks for an individual's contact information and their respective company's contact information, clearly state "Your Address" or "Company Address."
  6. Limit Typing. As more and more of us conduct our daily business via our mobile phones, we know it's a lot easier to push a button or select a drop down than it is to type a response. Again, see point number one.
  7. Write Action-Oriented CTAs. There's proof that writing action oriented CTAs actually improves conversions. Michael Aagaard, from Unbounce found that by creating more action-oriented and detailed CTAs, conversions skyrocketed.
    control-treatment-31percent content-treatment
  8. Button Order Matters. If you have a lead generation form with multiple buttons (and there'd better be a good reason for it), the button on the right should be your primary CTA. The left button should be your secondary CTA and it should also be in a different, less impactful color. Think warm colors for most primary CTAs. Cool colors for secondary CTAs.
  9. Don't Pre-Populate Drop-Downs. It's easy for someone to skip this field if the list is already pre-populated. Leave it blank so they can make the accurate choice right away. However, using smart fields are a-ok.
  10. Less is More. The human brain can only process about five items at a time. If you have more than five items to select from, use a drop down menu. If you have more than 25, use contextual search.
  11. Show Progress. We all like to know how much longer something is going to take. So give the people what they want. Show a progress bar - but make sure it isn't easily confused with a navigation bar.
  12. Make it Human. The human world quarrels with robots daily. Make your form readable for humans, not robots. Have some personality, and maybe even empathy, if you can muster it up!
  13. Mark Optional, Not Required Fields. It's a small thing, but instead of telling people what they must do, tell them what they can leave out if they'd like or they don't have time. Reverse psychology. They'll appreciate having the choice.required-v-optional-form-field

In a world that moves so quickly and we all try to accomplish 45 hours worth of things in the measly 24 hours we're given in a day, be mindful of people's time. If you're asking them to take a minute of their time to fill out your form, make it worth it.

And even better, make it easy.


Founder & CEO

Kiley Peters is the Founder and CEO of Brainchild Studios, a boutique audience research, content strategy, and website creation agency primarily serving brands targeting Millennial Moms or business owners. She is also the Founder of the Work From Home Playbook, a series of online courses guiding aspiring entrepreneurial moms through the steps of starting a virtual business. She also launched the Brainchild Fund, a nonprofit initiative to support women and girls in business and entrepreneurship Follow her on Instagram.

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