7 Form Building Tips to Increase Leads

increase conversions

Giving your lead generation forms a big boost is easier than you think it is!

Trying to get the most out of a lead generation form can be a frustrating experience. Spending hours to build out the perfect form just to have it kind of sit there definitely is.

Tried trimming it back, using fewer fields to make it easier to fill out? That may have helped volume, but then lead quality can tank.

Moved it around to make it more noticeable? That can certainly help too, but trying to shoehorn a longer lead gen form above the fold on a homepage is almost never practical.

Fortunately, there are some really easy and really effective ways to boost a form’s performance. You can get more from your lead gen forms. We’ve been helping WordPress users build awesome forms for a good long while now at Ninja Forms. Here’s some of what we’ve learned!

These 7 form building tips to increase leads can get you surprising returns.

Lead generation is a careful balance of quality and quantity. Sure, short forms will be submitted more. Just adding a 4th field to a form can drop its conversion rate by almost 33%, for example. But a 3 field form will be garbage for filtering qualified leads. There’s a way to get the best of both worlds, though. It’s all about presenting and moving users through a form in a way that’s as frictionless as possible. Here we go.

1. Make sure your forms are easy to scan.

Nothing turns people with limited time away like a form that looks difficult to engage with from first glance. There’s a wealth of eye tracking/heatmap studies that show a common pattern of scanning vertically down the left hand side of a page (or form) with limited ‘flicks’ out to the right to take in info that stands out. It’s the natural way most of us engage with new content. Our eyes are also drawn to high contrast and blank spaces.

Ways you can take advantage of this:

  • Position field labels above the field.
  • Avoid left-of-field positioning.
  • Avoid ghost/placeholder text unless absolutely necessary.
  • Limit the use of column layouts to 2-3 columns wide.
  • Make sure labels & fields have sufficient color contrast against your background.

2. Don’t get too personal too fast.

Many people are naturally hesitant to offer personal info when they don’t see a clear need for it. This is especially true now, with the increased awareness about and sensitivity to what happens with our personally identifiable information online.

Don’t ask for information you don’t need from a lead on the first contact. Phone numbers in particular, but also address and similar.

3. Don’t hit people with everything at once.

Break your form into multiple parts/pages to coax users into engaging. Not site pages, but within its own container with previous/next buttons. This is a pretty common feature of most form builders that you need to take advantage of with longer forms.

Making the first part/page light with just 2-3 fields encourages engagement, and once a user has invested in that first section they’re more likely to see it through to the end. Using breadcrumb navigation and/or a progress bar helps too!

4. Use short “anchor” forms in high visibility areas.

Longer forms obviously don’t work well on your home page, especially above the fold. They don’t always make sense on many other landing pages either. But, these are probably some of your highest-trafficked pages.

You’ve probably seen sites that have a widget or similar in a high visibility area. It will ask for one or two bits of info with a CTA that usually redirects to a longer form. It’s effective, and if you don’t have a convention for doing this, it’s simple with a form. Redirect from the anchor form to your main form, and pass the data you’ve collected along as well so that there’s no need to re-enter it!

5. Only display the fields a user needs. Hide the others!

Lead generation forms often have fields that will only be relevant to a segment of new leads. Use form logic to conditionally hide fields that aren’t relevant to 100% of users. If they answer a particular field in a way that indicates that the field is relevant, display it. This is a very common feature for most form builders that you want to make sure yours offers.

6. Give leads a way to save their progress.

Life is hectic. Interruptions happen. Does your lead generation form take more than a couple of minutes to complete? If someone sinks several minutes into beginning a form and then loses their progress because they had to turn to other things, you’ve probably lost them.

It’s a given that this is going to happen sometimes. Adding a save feature to longer forms encourages users to return and finish when it does.

7. Offer varied lead magnets based on individual interest.

If your lead generation form appeals to varied segments of users, take advantage of offering targeted lead magnets. Determine the segment early in the form, and apply logic to conditionally display one of several possible freebies as an incentive for continuing. Then, set up your form to conditionally redirect, display a success message, or send out an email making that specific freebie available.

This opens up the ability to incentivize completion of forms it wouldn’t ordinarily make sense to offer a magnet from.

All of the form building tips above will increase leads. None of them should require a developer.

Putting any of the tips above to work for you will measurably increase leads from your website. It’s understandable though as you read through them that you might think implementation looks like a lot of work. Even “I’m going to have to get a developer on this to make it happen” territory. If your site’s built using WordPress, good news. You will not.

There are many awesome WordPress forms plugins out there. Most of them offer the features described above. Some of them will let you hit each point without you ever needing to edit a file or write a line of code. If you don’t already have a WordPress form builder you love, the team at Ninja Forms would be thrilled to field any questions you may have!

Quay Morgan

Quay Morgan

Quay is a science and data nerd with a background in education. He's been creating content for Ninja Forms for a number of years and especially enjoys helping people problem solve their way through learning WordPress. If he's not writing, he's probably lost in an analytics dashboard somewhere.

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