The CleverFunnel Guide to Lead Capture Forms

February 23, 2018

By Chris Franks

Lead Capture Forms

We spend a LOT of time analyzing copy, graphics, colors, fonts, pictures, videos, CTAs, and just about everything else under the sun you can to get better conversions from our websites and landing pages. The one element that frequently gets overlooked are forms.

Come on people, it’s 2018! It’s time to #StopUglyForms

We throw them on a web page, usually dictated by whatever plugin or page builder has a native form for our platform and hope our amazing graphics, copy, and obviously irresistible product offering is going to entice people so much they vomit up their contact info and wait by the phone for us to call and prospect them.

The CleverFunnel Guide to Lead Capture Forms | CleverFunnel Digital

It’s 2018! Why This?

Who’s talking about the forms themselves?

What’s so hard about capturing name, email, company, phone, zip, # of users, time zone, blood type… you get the idea. The actual act of getting this information from a prospect can quickly become the barrier to entry you are trying to avoid in the first place.

There’s a fine line to walk between what the sales team wants (everyone’s life story), and what you want — to ensure you aren’t losing people when they feel they’re giving away too much information just for a simple pricing quote.

The thing to keep in mind is less is more. Do not over-complicate the form! Your drop off rate will be too high and your conversions will suffer. You can supplement the info you get later with a variety of services like Salesforce’s data.comClearbit, or best of all, your own sales team, because that’s what they’re there for. Also, don’t forget progressive profiling so you aren’t asking for information you may already have.

A few things to consider when making any form

Here are a few things to consider when adding your forms to pages:

  1. Aesthetics matter. Just like your landing page, if your form is ugly, people will not use it. It’s as simple as that. Most your builders have the ability to add custom CSS to make the form actually fit in on the page. Use this!
  2. A working form matters more. This sounds silly to even say but I literally cannot count the number of times we’ve found forms all over people’s sites that lead to nowhere. Nowhere! The sales team doesn’t get notified, the person filling out the form is left wondering if it submitted or if their precious email will ever get to anyone. #FormsThatWork
  3. The follow-up matters most. So you got someone to fill out your form? Good work. Now, don’t waste it. Follow up as soon as you can and with relevant information to what they were looking for. It’s tempting to use the same form for all your CTAs, but that just doesn’t work.
  4. Drop-off and abandonment rate matters. The last thing you want is your form being the factor for not getting the email on the list or the lead in the funnel. Is six data points too much? Can you double your contacts if you just ask for email? Use your analytics to know which forms work best and where you’re losing people. If you can capture a partial fill, even better.
  5. Social Auto-fill. These types of forms take information from social media sites and auto-fill themselves when a person visits your page. They are useful if you’re advertising on social media and want an easy way to pre-fill information on your site forms.

Which form for which purpose?

There are MANY options for forms, builders, plugins, 3rd party over-the-top solutions, and plain custom coding. With so many options for capturing info, how do you know which is best? Well, as with anything, it depends on your application. Here’s the breakdown of form types and positives and negatives of each and when to use them.

Good ‘ol fashioned forms

These forms are everywhere, we even use them. Get the info and be done with it. But is it that simple? Of course not. You have a wide range of options from Gravity forms to Contact Form 7 and dozens of others, not to mention the bare bones custom forms.

Pros: Easy to make and deploy and included in most website/ landing page builders. With good/custom styling, these aren’t so bad. Custom coded forms can really stand out when done right.

Cons: There is nothing sexy about unstyled forms. Eyes can and will skip right over them and your attempt to capture info is lost. There is limited analytics on drop-off rates rate and if you’re not careful, they may not even work correctly. Some forms are unwieldy and will not play nice with mobile devices.

The CleverFunnel Guide to Lead Capture Forms | CleverFunnel Digital

A simple, traditional contact us form.


These come in many forms (pun intended) but they have one purpose: To pop-up and get in someone’s face. Sumo and Optin Monster are the big guys here. From showing passively at the bottom of a page to alerts about a privacy policy to mildly intrusive exit-intent “enter your email for blog alerts”, to ridiculously intrusive full page takeover “MOAP” pop-ups, these are a beast of their own. These types of pop-ups aren’t that bad since they are usually not ads.

Pros: They get in your face. They’re easy to deploy and can be used to more easily build lists and generate leads. They can be great if done correctly.

Cons: They get in your face. A lot of people don’t like them. Mediocre analytics on conversion rate. Some pop-ups are limited in what type of form can be embedded into them and how many fields you can use.

The CleverFunnel Guide to Lead Capture Forms | CleverFunnel Digital

Simple popup form

Interactive forms / Typeform

We may be a little biased, but this is the latest whiz-bang form capture service. It may not be science, but it seems people are filling these out just because they are fun and pretty (like me). Who doesn’t like fun? #WeLikeFun

Pros: Very pretty and fun forms. They draw people’s attention like no other. They are very mobile friendly. You can add logic jumps to questions, altering the form questions on the fly and sending the results anywhere and everywhere you want.

Cons: Not the easiest to deploy. They can be wildly different from everything else on your page. Styling matters a lot with these. #StayStylish

The CleverFunnel Guide to Lead Capture Forms | CleverFunnel Digital

An example Typeform.

Instant Scheduling App

Let people schedule their own time to talk to you. Cut the back and forth email and get to the point. Wow, what a time saver for everyone!

Pros: These fancy forms can seem like a perfect replacement for a full-time appointment-setter, SDR program or anyone that doesn’t have the time to do the chasing of a prospect to schedule or reschedule a meeting.

Cons: This can be a little off-putting for people that aren’t quite ready to talk to your team. It’s a big step to get someone on the phone and some people prefer a self-service demo. They also make for terrible home page forms. Also, tracking your conversion source with some scheduling apps can be an absolute nightmare.

The CleverFunnel Guide to Lead Capture Forms | CleverFunnel Digital

Calendly form inside a web page

Pro Tips for Forms

  1. Assure people they aren’t going to get spammed by your company. Just a simple one-liner to let them know goes a long way in building prospect trust.
  2. SUBMIT… Have a clear submit button people actually want to click. It doesn’t hurt to make it pretty! #Submit
  3. Have a clear call to action. People should know what to expect before they hit the submit button.
  4. Make sure people know they submitted the form! We all want the positive affirmation that the info we put in a form will be received by someone. Give a thank you message or redirect a visitor to a thank you page. It’s the least you can do.
  5. Follow up. This last step is crucial. If you or your team does not follow up on leads, then what good was the form?

Where does a form go on a page?  

I know what everyone is thinking: above the fold you dummy! Duh. But with all these options, it isn’t that simple and it really depends on what you’re asking your prospects for. If you have a super cool landing page you want to show off, an above-the-fold form might not be the best choice. Our recommendation? Test different versions of your page with forms in different sections. Is there a difference in conversion rate? There’s your answer.