Don't Be A Form Zombie - Best Practices for Landing Page Forms

POSTED BY Regina Gilloon-Meyer - 03.11.14 - Inbound Marketing

Photo Source: Cliff Jette – The Gazette-KCRG TV9Too many fields on a landing page form can turn customers off. Turned off customers bounce off your website at record speeds and your website quality score falls. Your quality score drops and your Page rank tanks. Your Page rank tanks and suddenly you’re on page 17 of the search engine results page (SERP). Your business is on page 17 of the SERPs and your customers can’t find you. Your customers can’t find you and your sales drop. You’re not making any money and you can’t pay the bills. You can’t pay your bills, you have to live in the street and a zombie bites your brain making you a zombie, too. Don’t become a form zombie.

Everything I say is true…or could be. Or, I could be over-stating things just a bit but do you really want to take that chance?

Giving It Up for Content

The idea behind a lead generating machine of a website is to collect your visitors’ contact information so you can follow up and turn that visitor into a lead, and eventually a sale. Hence the name - lead generating website.

The key to getting these leads is the contact information requested on the landing page form. When designing your form, you have to think like a customer. As a customer, how much information would you be willing to give up for this content? At the top of the funnel, would you give your first name? Sure. Last name? Chances are good. Your email address? This one’s a little tougher but still do-able. Your interest has been piqued. Your phone number? Whoa! Not very damn likely. Specters of dinnertime telemarketers still haunt most of us so a phone number is a tough get. A little further into the sales cycle, you’ll probably be willing to give a little more but still, most of us are pretty stingy with our information.

Not surprisingly, the research backs this up. Dan Zarrella’s Science of Lead Generation research found that landing pages with forms that have three fields see approximately a 25% conversion rate. However, forms with five fields see around a 20% conversion rate, and forms with eight or more fields see around a 14% conversion rate.  The more fields you have, the fewer conversions you will get. That’s not to say that your forms should only ever have just three fields. But it is a caution against collecting data just because you can and being overly intrusive in your marketing efforts.   

The other risk you should be aware of is not including enough fields on your form. If the content you are giving away is valuable enough for someone to tell you their company’s annual revenue, for example, but you don’t ask, your marketing and sales teams miss out on vital information that they could use to further qualify and nurture the lead. Knowing someone’s email is great but if the lead is not a quality lead the follow-up can be wasted time and money. The art and science of form creation is all about finding the right balance.

Check out these two forms. The first form is one of Fusionfarm’s forms encouraging a visitor to complete the form to get a free eBook on business blogging. The questions are designed to provide basic contact information and also to answer just three additional questions we use to determine what, if any, additional content we should provide to this visitor in the future. 


On the other hand, this busy, busy form from an online college wants information to contact the visitor via email, by text, at a home address and even asks for permission to contact the visitor by phone (and who doesn’t love robo-calls) in perpetuity in exchange for some undefined “information” about their programs.  



Which of these forms do you suppose converts better? 

So, save yourself and your visitors from a gruesome end by creating forms that find the sweet spot between providing helpful content in exchange for the ability to follow up at a later date and scaring off your potential customers with heavy handed, intrusive data collection requests. For more information about designing effective landing pages, download our FREE eBook “Optimizing Landing Pages For Lead Generation and Conversions” today. And no robo-calls, we promise.

Optimizing Landing Pages ebook

Regina Gilloon-Meyer

Regina Gilloon-Meyer

Content Marketing Specialist Regina Gilloon-Meyer is an all-around contributor to the Fusionfarm team – blogging, website writing, search marketing, strategy and web analytics and more. With a degree in journalism and years of technical writing under her belt, she saw the writing on the screen several years ago and made the jump to all things digital marketing. Regina is a regular contributor to the Fusionfarm marketing blog and creates blogs, e-Books, white papers and other multi-media assets for her awesome clients.

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