At some point in your online life you’ve probably visited a website where a form popped up asking you to fill out some basic information: name, email, phone number, etc. Maybe you’ve never filled one out, or maybe you’ve filled them all out (which is why you spend the first 15 minutes of your day deleting promotional emails from your inbox). Either way, you understand the concept.
These forms, a.k.a. lead forms, are actually a tool that website owners use to get more information about their current customers or new customers. They also allow website owners to stay in contact with customers, keep them informed, or provide them with certain benefits.
When it comes to lead forms, and the post-form communication with customers, there is a fine line between helpful and annoying, and many website owners have crossed it by a mile. Even if Company XYZ is your favorite store, no one wants to receive 5 emails a day telling you about the same sale coming up next weekend. We get it. There’s a sale.
Now…we aren’t trying to scare you away from using online lead forms. Website owners should absolutely use lead forms because they are a great resource for customer engagement. However, there are some strategies that can help you create leads your customers will actually want to fill out. Otherwise, you can expect a lot of emails from customers asking to “unsubscribe” from your email list. The choice is yours.
Here are the Dos and Don’ts for online lead forms:
DO: Provide incentives.
Everyone loves free things. A form that says “sign up and receive a 50% discount off your first purchase” will certainly encourage customers to fill out your form, and to purchase from you. Whether it’s coupons, discounts, or access to a special sale, incentives are a great complement to lead forms.
DO: Make your forms easy to use.
The goal here is to get some basic information about your customers or potential customers so you can begin a relationship with them. A form asking for a first name, last name, and email address is all you need for this initial contact.
DO: Be transparent.
If you’re going to be emailing someone who fills out your form, tell them. Many lead forms have checkboxes where customers can choose what categories of emails they want or how often they would like to receive them. Forms like this not only allow you to learn a bit more about your customers, but they also let the customers feel like they have some control.
DO: Send a Thank You
A great way to start your customer communication is with a simple thank-you email after they sign up. Here you can provide them with some basic information about your company and what you offer.
DON’T: Annoy your customers.
Like I mentioned earlier, it’s good to inform customers about sales or specials, but use common sense when it comes to the frequency of your communication. If you have a special event coming up in a week, feel free to tell your customers about it once, maybe twice during the week. Any more than that and the “unsubscribe” requests will be flooding in.
DON’T: Ask for really personal information.
Forms that ask for bank account information, social security numbers, or home addresses tend to look like scams (because lots of times they are scams). Asking for this information is unnecessary and will probably scare off anyone from filling out your form.
As you can see, there are more Dos than Don’ts when it comes to online lead forms. This is good news! As long as you keep your forms simple, your communication clear, and you don’t try to scam anyone, lead forms should be a helpful way to learn more about your customers and keep them informed.