Web forms make the digital world go round.
Let’s think like a user/consumer for a second, about all the activities you may undertake on a website: You may enquire about a service, buy a product, ask a question about a product, download a paper/freebie, log in to use a service/app, and so on. All of these are done by filling a form, aka a web form.
What Exactly Are Web Forms?
Web forms are essentially HTML forms where users visiting your website enter their information, which is then sent to your server and made available for you as a brand.
Websites exist to help you make a connection with a brand, and each connection is done through a web form. A web form, then, essentially, helps you convert your website into a sales strategy that widens the top of the funnel and pulls in more leads.
Let’s take a second to talk about that concept: using your website to make a connection with your audience, and the roles that web forms play in it.
Think about product or service: what is the reason for you to build a website around it and why would you need a web form?
- You may be a software company offering a web app – users will use your website to sign up for a demo or trial or the product itself. They may also use your website to sign in to their app accounts
- You may be a manufacturing company offering information on your products – users will use your website to download brochures, get in touch with you for quotes or with enquiries, or perhaps to raise service requests (depending on how much you decided to include in your site).
- You may be an F&B company or restaurant displaying your menu – users could use your website to book a table or to simply get in touch, order a product, or perhaps set up a subscription.
- You may be a lifestyle services company – users may use your website to sign up for a service, a workshop or webinar, download resources, and so on.
- You may be an e-commerce company – most obviously, users will use your website to order products, set up subscriptions, track their orders, raise requests & inquiries, and so on.
As you can see, much of it depends on how much convenience and independence you want to offer to users via your website. How much can they interact with your brand via your website?
Nowadays, most consumers shy away from phone conversations with brands – they prefer the speed, ease, and convenience of self-service. And your website, equipped with some well-thought-out web forms, is the perfect way to offer that.
Web Forms and Lead Generation
At their very basic, web forms are lead generation tools – that is what we are going to talk about in this blog post.
Brands use web forms to capture the details of interested users that may have landed on the website via various channels…paid ads, social media profiles, google results, or even by directly typing in your web address.
Generating leads from your website:
The idea behind lead generation is that people visiting your website are likely to be interested in your product/service, and hence you would want to capture their contact details.
Once you have their details, you can get in touch with them and tell them more about your product, follow up with them till they turn into a customer, and so on.
The only way to capture their contact details is by giving them a form to fill – a web form.
At its very basic then, a web form is how you do business with your relevant audiences online, around the world. They help you bridge the gap between your marketing strategy and sales strategy by acting as a lead generation tool.
The Ideal Way To Generate Leads
The thing to remember about lead generation is that your audience doesn’t want to give you their information unless they absolutely have to. The first instinct, for every website visitor, is to shy away from the web form. And that brings us to step 1 of the ideal way to generate leads:
1. Make Your Website Attractive
Your website needs to draw in your audience – just because they land thereafter clicking on an ad or a social media post, or even by typing in your address, doesn’t mean they will stick around. Your website should be:
- Visually attractive
- Informative, with all the details any prospective customer might need
- Engaging in tonality that will appeal to your audience
- Easy to navigate and explore
It also, of course, helps to have a website that creates a brand experience for your audience – with your brand colours, visuals of your product, people, and so on.
It also helps to give users a glimpse into your company – the people behind it, the culture of it – to help them connect with you. The better your website visitors connect with your brand, the more likely they are to turn into leads simply based on what they see on your website.
2. Offer A Reward for Their Contact Details
So you need to use web forms to collect lead details. But just because you add a form to your homepage doesn’t mean everyone will fill it.
No prospective customer will simply leave their details on your website because you ask for them – they need something in return. That could either be information (or the promise of information), or something tangible like a download.
Your web form should make it clear why they need to leave their information, and what they get in return for it.
3. Make The Process of Lead Generation Easy
If the web form is lengthy, glitchy, or difficult to find, it makes filling it harder for a prospective customer.
Even when users need to get in touch with you, if the process is difficult, they will drop off – and likely move focus to a competitor of yours that they are considering at the same time.
The process of lead generation is “easy” for a prospective customer if
- It asks of the least possible number of details from them (while still being viable for you)
- It is easy to enter into – i.e. the web form is easy to find and operate on your website
- It can be completed without needing excessive attention (as the basic number of details are usually filled on autopilot)
4. Close By Informing The Lead Of The Next Steps
After a lead provides you with their information, they must get a confirmation telling them what comes next. Think of the process of ordering food online – when you’re done with the process, you get a confirmation saying “Your order will soon be on its way!”, and the same goes for e-commerce.
Filling a lead generation form is like completing a similar transaction. If you promised your customer a download, you need to communicate that “Your document will begin downloading shortly”. If they requested a callback, the message could be “Someone from our team will call you within 24 hours”, and so on.
This helps create a sense of satisfaction and tells the lead what they can expect, closing the lead generation loop with effective communication.
How To Create A Web Form?
Now that you know what a web form is and what an ideal lead generation process with a web form looks like, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of actually creating one.
Step 1: Know the Purpose of Your Web Form
There’s no point putting a web form on your site “just in case” someone wants to get in touch. If that’s the case, the purpose of that web form will be to attract visitors looking to contact you for information. Having a purpose for your web form is important because it tells users what they’re filling in their details to achieve.
The other perspective to this point is also that you can use various purposes to help draw in leads. Your one website, for example, could have web forms with different end goals – asking a query, signing up for a newsletter, downloading a brochure, etc. – to maximize your chances of lead generation.
Here are some types of lead generation web forms, for example:
This is a “Leave us a message to get in touch!” form. Instead of simply providing contact details on your website, you create a form that allows visitors to leave you a message along with their details. This is a great way to generate a lead while gathering their details as well as their intent via their message.
Free Trial Form:
Especially common in the product/software industry, this type of form allows users to sign up for a free trial of your product. Forms like this are often accompanied by the caveat “No credit card required!” to break any conversion barriers.
‘Get a Quote’ Form:
Especially in B2B industries or service industries where the norm is to begin conversations with a quote request, this type of form brings the familiar conversation online. Users can fill in their contact details and requirement so your sales team can revert with a call and begin the proposal process.
Sign up/Sign-in Form:
Depending on your business structure, you may need to provide users with an account that they can keep coming back to (this is also especially relevant if you have a loyalty program, or offer subscriptions). In this case, you will need a signup/sign-in form where users can create and enter their details.
Have visitors to your website subscribe to your newsletter or service with a subscription form. While you may not have a product/service for users to subscribe to, running an email marketing initiative that regularly reaches out to leads is always a good idea – which means you can use a “Subscribe to our newsletter” form as a lead generation avenue.
Step 2: Plan Your Web Form Fields
Based on the purpose of your web form, you now need to plan the fields that will go into the form itself. Here are some best practices:
Keep the Number of Fields Minimal:
Website visitors are impatient and appreciate a quick form where they don’t need to pay undue attention.
Don’t Skimp on the Contact Details:
For example, if you think you need an email and a phone number, don’t pick between them at the cost of your lead data.
Account For Fime:
How long will it take for a lead to fill the fields you’ve planned? Is that an apt amount of time considering the output they’re getting? For something like subscribing to a newsletter, for example, you want to have a quick-enter email address form.
Use a Relevant Submit Button:
Instead of simply saying “Submit”, you can remind users why they’re filling the form – “Subscribe Now!”, “Sign Up”, “Get a Quote”, for example.
Step 3: Plan the Look & Feel of Your Form
Like everything else on your website, web forms need to be in sync with your brand. Ensure you keep your brand experience consistent with forms that are:
In line with Your Brand Colours:
White is the best colour for web forms, but you can always use your brand colours in elements like the form title. The form submission too should be in your brand colours and in line with the look of other buttons on your website.
Following Your Brand Tonality:
Do you have a friendly, informal tone to your website content? Keep that consistent in your web forms with titles, descriptions and button text that is friendly and conversational. When reading your form, users should have a feel of continuity and consistency.
Pay Attention to Form Size & Position:
How big will your form be? Where do you want to position it? These are more important questions than you may believe.
For example, it’s commonly acknowledged that people read from left to right in a Z pattern – so, you’ll find most web forms are positioned to the right of the page (where the users’ eyes come to rest), or right below the title on the left (where the user begins scanning the screen).
Step 4: Make Security a Part of the Form Submission Process
Security is one of the biggest aspects of any information-sharing process online today. Consumers are more hesitant than ever to share their details online, and businesses too, want to avoid bot traffic and data.
There are two ways to ensure your web forms are secure:
Use a CAPTCHA test:
This ensures that the person submitting the form is, in fact, a person and not a bot. As you may be familiar, the test involves users typing out a string of letters and numbers, to prove that they are not a computer-generated bot. The most common tool used to embed a CAPTCHA test is reCAPTCHA from Google – both free and easy to use.
This is an additional step that requires users to open their email account and click on a validation link, ensuring that they have received legitimate email IDs. This, however, we would not recommend for forms such as query forms or newsletter subscription forms – the effort of validation on the part of the user must be worth the purpose of the web form.
Step 5: Embed the Form On Your Website
Whether you host your website on an easy plug-and-play platform like WordPress or have built it from scratch via HTML, embedding web forms is pretty straightforward and only needs a little bit of expertise. WordPress, of course, is the easier method to work with, since there is no coding required.
As a standard practice, however, allow us to introduce you to the basic steps involved in embedding the form on your website:
Use a tool to actually create the form:
WP Forms, Type Form, Jot Form, are all varying levels of basic/sophisticated form creation tools (WP Forms is a drag-and-drop form builder particularly for WordPress
Get the embed code:
After you’ve created the form, each tool will allow you to copy an embed code. If you’re not sure where to look for this, look for a “Share” or “Publish” button, or something to that effect.
Find the embedding section of your website:
In your WordPress backend or in your code – and paste the embedded form code into it. This is the step where, if you’re running a website on HTML, you may need some professional help.
Once you’ve got your web form embedded on your website, get ready for a fount of data! Web forms help you generate leads so you can establish a database, get better insights into your consumers, and increase your conversions and revenue via your website.
We hope this blog post has been a thorough guide on getting started with web forms as a lead generation tool. If you have any questions, we’d be happy to have them answered by our marketing or development experts! Simply drop your query in the comments section below.