More than 96% of your visitors won’t buy anything from your website on their first visit. That number is just too high if you want your business to grow at a significant rate. There are other ways to get value from your visitors besides getting them to buy your products.
One of these, and the one we’ll be focusing on today, is through lead capture forms.
Lead capture forms are small boxes that appear on your website with a message to your visitors. This message depends on what you have to offer your visitors and what you want them to do. They convert your visitors into valuable email leads directly from your own website.
This type of list building is the absolute best, as these leads are relevant because they come directly from your site, which means they have already shown an interest in your product. This increases your chances of converting them into customers through email marketing significantly.
Email marketing has the highest ROI of all marketing channels, making it the perfect channel to convert subscribers into paying customers.
So how you you use lead capture forms?
There are so many bad lead capture forms on the internet today that it can be difficult to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Thus I’ve gathered all the best practices from our experience working with lead capture forms at Sleeknote, so you can get crackin’ on your own lead capture forms in no time.
There are two main types of lead capture forms.
You’ve probably already seen hundreds of popups which is the first type of lead capture form I’ll show you.
Popups appear on your visitor’s screen while they browse your website. They catch your visitor’s attention immediately because they appear right in the center of the screen blocking the content.
Take for instance this example from FxPro:
The popup blocks the content and forces your visitor to take an action. There are two options. Close the popup, or click the big green button.
Popups work because they force visitors to do something, and they can’t be ignored.
This is also one of the reasons why some people dislike popups. They find them intrusive and annoying. However, it’s not the popup in general that annoys people – it’s the way it’s presented.
You should never have your popups appear the moment your visitors enter your site. Give them some time to form a first-hand impression of your site, and then you can try and convert them.
At Sleeknote, we’ve learned that 7 seconds works really well, as it gives visitors a chance to get a feel of the site, but not enough time for them to leave again without seeing the offer.
The less intrusive slide-in
If you’re not completely sold by the idea of a popup, try a slide-in. The slide-in is a much less intrusive version of the popup as it doesn’t take up the center of the screen but rather slides in from one of the bottom corners.
Here’s an example from Eva Solo:
Notice how the slide-in simply sits at the bottom corner without demanding an action from your visitors. With a slide-in it’s possible for visitors to keep browsing the page without having to close the slide-in.
There are a number of different triggers you can set for your slide-in. You can set a time-based trigger that shows the slide-in after a certain amount of seconds. You can also set a scroll based trigger that shows the slide-in when a visitor has scrolled a certain percentage of the page.
Lastly, you can set a number of different cookie settings that determines which of your visitors will see the slide-in. This is especially effective for visitors who’ve already subscribed to your newsletter and wouldn’t be interested in seeing another signup form.
With the slide-in, you also have the opportunity to add a teaser. The teaser is a small bar that will show at the bottom of the page when a visitor has closed the slide-in. It enables visitors to reopen the slide-in if they closed it down without meaning to.
It’s also very effective if you have visitors coming to your site with the purpose of buying a product. If a customer sees the slide-in, they’ll close it down without reading it because they’re on their way to buy something, and you don’t want to interrupt that process.
Once the purchase is done, that visitor (or now customer) has the opportunity to reopen the slide-in to see your message.
However, your headline is very important if you want your slide-ins to be reopened. It’s a compelling call-to-action that tells your visitors what the content of your slide-in is.
In this example from Kapten & Son, the message of the slide-in is that visitors can win a pair of sunglasses. The teaser thus says: Win a pair of sunglasses. Simple as that. It tells visitors exactly what they can expect when they open the slide-in.
Create a convincing call-to-action
The same goes for your call-to-action button in your slide-in or popup. It should be short, precise and convince people to sign up.
Don’t just write “sign up”. It’s a bad call-to-action because it’s not why people sign up. They sign up to get value, and not specifically to get your newsletter. Even if you don’t have a specific offer in your lead capture form, you can always be creative with your call-to-action.
Focus on the value that your visitors get, instead of the fact that you want their email.
If your newsletter offers valuable tips and discounts, you can write: “Get my free tips and tricks.” It’s all about being creative. You can read more about effective CTA’s here.
How to get the necessary information
So what information should you ask your visitors to provide in your lead capture forms, and why is this important?
We live in a world where everything has to be optimized for the highest efficiency. Your forms included. We’re always looking to save time, not spend time. So the number of seconds it takes for visitors to fill in the input fields in your form is very essential.
It shouldn’t take more than a few seconds to fill in your form. Only ask for the information you need to get value from that visitor. In most cases, that’s limited to their email address. Once you have their email address, you have a direct line of communication with them, and that’s really all you need.
In some cases asking for their name is also a good idea if you want to be able to send personalized email campaigns where you address receivers by their first name.
However, limit the number of input fields to a maximum of two. Our experience at Sleeknote has taught us that every time you add an input field to your form, your conversion rate decreases by 50%.
There are two reasons: it takes too long to fill in more input fields, and people are becoming more and more careful when it comes to sharing personal information.
You can always send an email, asking them to complete their profile, or ask what their interests are.
We as humans are incredibly visual beings. We respond much better to images and video than we do to text. A more exciting way to look at content can be a great way of exemplifying a point.
Your lead capture forms should be no exception. It has been proven that adding images to your forms can increase your conversion rate by 50%.
It doesn’t take much extra work to add an image to your form. You probably already have a bunch of images on your site, so you just pick one that’s relevant and use that.
Check out this form from B&O Play’s website:
The image used in the slide-in comes from the same source as the photo on the front page, but they’re not completely the same. The image is of the A1 black speaker they offer in their slide-in, and it visually shows visitors what they can win if they sign up. Furthermore, the image along with the design of the form matches that of the website and creates a form that is much less intrusive than if had been in bright red colors.
It’s all about relevance. Both the design of your form and the content has to match your website and your products, as well as be targeted to your specific audience.
Keep the focus on the value in each form, and keep it personal. The more targeted your form is, the more signups you’ll get.
Don’t copy what others are doing. The keyword here is unique. Create a unique and interesting lead capture form, and you’ll increase your conversion rate in a heartbeat.
Don’t be afraid to take chances, you’ll learn from each and every one. Test different options and see what works best on your website.
Rikke Thomsen is a passionate Online Marketing Specialist at Sleeknote, a lead generation tool for e-commerce. At Sleeknote, we help online stores interact with their visitors to increase additional sales and get more customers.