Struggling to get leads for your business?

Did you try starting a blog? How about writing a free ebook or setting up a webinar?

So, you did all three of those.

Hmm… how about creating landing pages to promote your offers?

Did that too. Still no leads?

Did you try optimizing the form on your lead capture landing pages?

Well, there you go.  

B2B marketers invest a lot of time and money creating viable channels for lead generation. The graph below describes the most popular lead generation channels B2B marketers use:

B2B marketers graph

Plus, according to Salesforce, “68% of B2B businesses use landing pages to garner new sales leads.”  

And yet, according to Pardot two of the top three challenges faced by B2B marketers is the quality of leads and lead generation.   

Do you know why that is?

Because 40% of marketers reported low conversion rates on poorly optimized pages.

Due to the immense competition in the B2B arena, leads aren’t easy to come by, especially good quality leads. If you’re finding lead generation a challenge even after you’ve explored multiple lead gen channels, it’s time to analyze the element that actually gets you leads — your lead capture form.

Why are lead capture forms important?

If you need an example just how important forms can be to lead gen, look no further than Expedia. The travel giant increased their annual profits by $12 million simply by removing one field from their form.

This is how important lead capture forms are.

Here’s what the form variation looked like:

expedia lead capture forms

The “company name” field was removed in variation B because it was causing friction. Many visitors that came on the page were confused by this particular field, and the majority of them ended up putting their bank’s billing address in the form instead of their personal address.

The result? Many failed transactions and people abandoning the page.

Lead capture forms are important for lead generation because they are the last stop before the conversion.

Don’t be mistaken; the entire landing page experience is important. But if you’ve taken the time to optimize your headlines and your call-to-action button — yet haven’t given your form equal attention — you risking losing everything you’ve worked for. This is because regardless of what lead generation channel you’re using, the form is what earns you the lead (whether this form is on your webinar landing page, your blog subscription popup box, or the dedicated page connected with your retargeting ads).  

Why are forms a challenge?

The thing is, when it comes to forms, nobody wants to fill them out.   

Visitors are afraid of getting spammed, some feel insecure sharing their details, and for some filling out a form is just too much effort compared to the value they get.

Optimizing lead capture forms changes all that.

What makes a form optimized and better equipped to get you leads are what we’ll discuss today, and we’ll do this with the help of real-world examples from the B2B world.

Don’t include unnecessary form fields

The number of fields you include on your forms depends on two things:

  1. The offer: The smaller the offer, the shorter your lead capture form should be. If you’re offering your visitors a free ebook or the chance to download a whitepaper, you’ll probably want to limit the number of form fields to “name” and “email address”.
  2. Where you visitor is in your conversion funnel: If your visitors are at the top of the funnel, don’t intimidate them with a bunch of form fields. You can increase the number of fields as your customers move down the funnel.

With every form field you include, ask yourself, “Is this information absolutely necessary?” This includes the fields that aren’t necessary to fill out.

An eye-tracking study revealed that visitors don’t look at the “required fields” on a form, which leads them to believe all form fields must be completed:

 

eye tracking image

 

Follow the “less is more” approach with your form fields. Marketo did just that and found that a five field form outperformed a seven and nine-field form:

 

marketo form

 

Include social proof on your forms

Let your visitors know that they aren’t the only ones filling out the form by including social proof.

This is what we do with the form on Instapage’s PPC landing page showing that more than 300,000 marketers have already converted on our forms:

 

lead capture form

 

Don’t Include captchas on forms

A captcha is a program that is setup to distinguish between a human visitor and a bot. You’ve likely seen something similar to this when browsing the web:

recaptcha-example

 

There’s no room for a captcha on your lead capture forms because they negate the concept of optimization. Optimizing involves removing friction from your forms — ensuring that visitors face no problems when entering their information.

Captchas require your visitors to do extra work that not a lot of them would be comfortable doing. Furthermore, a Stanford study found that up to 30% of captchas either fail or are incorrectly answered by visitors as they’re too hard to figure out.     

Bottom line: Don’t put hurdles in your lead generation path with a captcha. Your conversion rate will thank you.

Use pre-filled form fields

Pre-filled forms remember any relevant user information filled out in previous forms. This feature only works for visitors who have already interacted with your brand and have entered some information in a previous form.

With the help of pre-filled form fields you reduce the time it takes for visitors to fill out forms which increasees the likelihood of them converting.

For example, if a visitor has already filled out their name and email address on a previous landing page, and a different landing page requires company and job title, all they would need to do is enter information in the new fields.

Upwork’s webinar landing page has pre-filled form fields, and because I previously filled out my name and email address on a different Upwork page, the new form is pretty much filled out for me (except for phone number). In this case, all I have to do is click the CTA button:

upwork form

Just filling out one field doesn’t seem like a challenge, right?

Now what about a form like this?

hubspot form

Wouldn’t the form on the HubSpot page be easier to complete if they had some fields pre-filled?

Instapage knows this, which is why we offer you pre-filled forms for your landing pages.

Include a privacy policy link with your forms

A link to your privacy policy is the only way to assure your visitors they won’t get spammed after they enter their information on a form.  

This seemingly small element adds credibility to landing pages and helps ensure visitors’ information will be kept safe (which also helps increase conversions).

This is what CoSchedule does with their sign-up form with a short message below their CTA button:

 

coschedule

 

A privacy policy link is particularly important for forms that ask visitors to enter their credit card information.

Would you feel 100% comfortable providing your credit card on the Mixergy trial page below? I’m certainly not comfortable:

 

lead capture forms

 

Don’t risk losing conversions just because you didn’t add a privacy policy link to your form.

Hide your form with a two-step opt-in process

What if there was a way you could hide your form until they were sold on your offer?

A two-step opt-in form gets this done.

Contrary to a “normal form” — which is visible to visitors as soon as they land on a page — a two-step opt-in form appears only when the visitor clicks the CTA button and is ready to start a relationship with your brand.

This is what a normal page form looks like:

user testing lead form

This is what a two-step opt-in form looks like, demonstrated by GetResponse:

 

two step opt in form

 

Instapage lets you create two-step opt-in forms on landing pages with just a few clicks.

In fact, we also use a two-step opt-in form on our webinar landing page:

 

instapage webinar

 

Two-step opt-in forms reduce conversion friction because they put your visitors at ease when they’re reading about your offer. A form only displays if they choose to click the button.

Don’t design your forms as an afterthought

Your lead capture forms are just as important as other landing page elements. Forms should be designed keeping optimization in mind or the friction could make you lose out on precious B2B leads.

Design your forms keeping in mind the techniques discussed in this post. Your conversion rates will thank you.

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