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Put yourself in the shoes of a customer and ask the following questions:

  • Will you feel comfortable sharing your phone number with someone you have just met?
  • Do you share your residential address with strangers?
  • Do you give away your business email address to just about anyone?

The above landing page is a disaster, considering the context of the landing page whose context is clearly mentioned – "Want to know more about our products?"

In this context, the host is demanding too much information which turns the customer off.

Not Just Length Of Your Form But Its Finer Details

Short forms often convert better than their longer counterparts, because long forms require a larger turn around time than short ones. This hypothesis is only partially true because the length of the form is just one factor which affects the conversion rate of a form on a given landing page

There are other factors e.g exclusivity, time, value and credibility and it is the entire package which makes a difference. Here are some example scenarios where your lengthy form will bring effective results:

- Exclusive: If you are providing something exclusive and have negligible competition in the market, users will fill out your form anyway.
For example, if youre the only source who is selling the tickets of a very popular concert, users will fill out your form, no matter what details you ask for. Hence, in this case, it makes sense to make your landing form as detailed as possible and capture as much information as you can, taking advantage of the exclusive trigger.

- Value and market goodwill: If you are providing additional value for registered leads and you have a good hold on the market, long forms will work themselves out. Why? Because the word about your business will spread through word of mouth and when users learn that you are providing more value than other sources, they wont mind filling up a long form on your landing page.
But remember that the value should be meaningful to the needs of your customer. If you are selling ebooks and providing coupon codes for web hosting as additional value, there are chances that users wont take the value seriously.

Short Forms vs Long Forms

Now how do you get more leads to fill out your landing page? The short answer is that it depends on the type of business in question and the type of customers you are dealing with. In general, short forms which ask for the bare minimum details works, almost always.

If your sales team needs a huge list of leads to begin with, I would suggest you to go for short forms. Just ask the customer's contact information e.g name, email address or phone number and remove all the other details e.g street address, country and so forth.

Once your sales team has obtained a giant list of leads, pitch your customers with an offer and extract more information in exchange. This is often called the bargain technique which works pretty well.

On the contrary, if your team is struggling to find high quality leads among a pile of junk, it makes sense to use long forms. When you are using long forms on a landing page, only those leads will fill it out who are really interested in your product. The advantage here is that you will have to spend less time and resources on processing those leads later. This is because your leads will be already filtered at the outset and only those leads will fill it who are convinced that your product is their sole need.

It also makes sense to split test your example forms and see what works and what doesnt. Experimentation is a must; you have to re-position your form, design it, remove some fields and track the performance under similar conditions. Only then, you will be able to conclude whether short forms or large forms are ideally suited for your landing page.

Here is a quick checklist of all the best practices:

  • Are you providing something exclusive or is your resource a unique property which no one else has? If Yes, go for long forms and capture as much data as possible.
  • Is your competition thin? Are you considered a top authority in the subject and you have a good hold in the market? If yes, long forms will do but it makes sense to first capture only the email address of the leads and then follow them up with a detailed form after a couple of days.
  • Are you new to the market and want to drive as much conversions as possible? Are you being overwhelmed by competitors? If yes, then you will have to give a tough fight and the only way to make a lasting impact is through offers and giveaways. Give something away for free and entice the customer to use your service.
  • Do you want high quality prospects and only targeted leads? Do you want to save time on post processing details and want an easy way to filter leads that are not genuinely interested? If yes, use a long form but dont make it too long. Add all the mandatory and necesary details and use it on your landing page. You will get less leads, when comapred with short forms but these leads will be more targetted and you will see more conversions or sales going forward.
Lior Levin

Lior Levin works with apsd to html service company.

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2 Responses to “How Much Information Does An Effective Lead Capture Form Ask?”

  1. Abby A. says:

    They say when you ask the right questions, you'll get the right answers. So I guess there is too much information we could get from a form if the details in it are right. Do you have sample forms here?

    Thanks for sharing this!

    -Abby

  2. Leo says:

    Great post, and that is a great form-making checklist right there!