Capturing leads is one of the most important parts of any business. Leads are the lifeblood of any business, as they are an essential step in the sales process and signal interest in your business.
In this article, we will dive into lead capture systems, and how to collect leads from pages, forms, and list the best practices when it comes to creating landing pages as well as great examples to get inspired!
What is a Lead?
A lead is a person or company interested in your product or services. A lead is “created” by expressing their interest by sharing contact information such as an email or phone.
Leads are essential for a business and are usually considered to be either top or middle of the funnel, depending on how engaged they are with your business.
Lead capture is when a website visitor offers their contact information and is now converted to a lead. A visitor will give you their contact information in exchange for something, typically a free downloadable, a demo request, a meeting, or something else of value.
The best way to capture a lead is by creating an optimized landing page targeted to a specific type of visitor.
Capturing leads is one of the main activities of marketing teams. Capturing high-quality leads and growing an email list is the first step to a healthy marketing funnel.
What are Lead Capture Pages?
Lead capture pages are landing pages optimized to convert visitors to leads by limiting other distractions and focusing on a call-to-action (CTA).
These pages are typically used in advertising and other marketing campaigns as they offer higher conversion rates over other pages. Lead capture pages are designed to be optimized for conversion optimization.
After a visitor adds their information to a form on the landing page, that lead is usually added to a CRM or email marketing software. Then, either you will have to set up an automated lead nurturing campaign or a sales team rep will get into contact with the lead to convert them to the next step.
Short vs Long Form Pages
Landing pages come in two sizes, short or long form.
A short form landing page has less information and directly presents the offer, while the long form might include the offer on the top, but will include a lot of information, reviews, examples, and more trying to convince visitors.
For free lead capture, shorter forms are more effective but remember that shorter, easier-to-complete pages lead to lower quality leads. Longer pages will convert fewer visitors, but those leads will be of higher quality, or simply be more interested and convinced about proceeding to the next steps.
Types of Lead Capture Forms
A lead capture page should include a form asking for contact information. There are two options of forms:
Embedded forms are already on the page and waiting to be completed by the visitor. They are faster and fit with the design of the whole page.
Pop-up forms will show up on top of the page if an action is performed; like clicking a button or as an exit pop up (the visitor moves their cursor out of the windows’ borders).
The best option for a lead capture page has an embedded form, but, sometimes pop-up forms are helpful. It’s a good idea to test what works best for your audience.
Short, Long, and Multi-Step Forms
Lead capture forms come in all sizes as well. They can be short, asking only for an email, or long asking for a lot of additional information e.g. company size, budget, seniority level, etc.
The same rules apply to short and long landing pages. A short form will attract a lot of lower-quality leads, while a longer form that takes more time to be completed will attract higher quality leads.
So, when to use each?
Short forms are great for getting email subscribers or webinar registrations, top of the funnel leads, and having an automated marketing funnel to convert them. They are great when you are starting and need to optimize every step of the conversion.
Long forms are best when you have a high-touch process, where you or a sales team rep has to spend time with a potential customer. Long forms “weed out” the leads who are not ready to go through the process and can save precious time.
Best Practices for High-Converting Lead Capture Pages
Whether you are creating a landing page for your ecommerce site, agency, or SaaS, the basic idea remains the same: You need a landing page to collect leads.
Let’s go through the most important aspects of a landing page and best practices to increase conversions.
The Lead Magnet
The main focus of a lead capture page is to collect the contact information of your prospects, usually an email and a name, sometimes you may want to capture a phone number.
To do so, you will need to offer something of value to the visitor which is related to the product you are trying to sell. Your goals and sales process will affect the type of lead magnet.
Here are a few popular ways to collect leads:
Templates: One of the most popular lead magnets is templates, anything from design, spreadsheets, presentations, calendars, social media posts, etc. can work as a template lead magnet.
Checklists: Offering checklists is a popular way to collect leads for many businesses, especially in the B2B and SaaS industries, but can also be used for coaching and consulting entrepreneurs to land more clients.
Free Ebooks: It takes a bit of work to write an ebook, but you don’t need more than 5 or 10 pages to create an ebook lead magnet on your topics and establish yourself as a thought leader while collecting leads.
Educational products/services: A free mini-course, an entry-level workshop, or a free consulting session can be a great way to get a client to know you. That works better if you are selling educational products like courses or consulting.
Webinars: Webinars are a great way to showcase your expertise while collecting emails. The recording can also be reused to create more content later or uploaded to YouTube to reach a wider audience.
Community: Running a niche community on Facebook, Slack, or your website is a great way to get like-minded people together and ask for their emails.
Demo call: If your sales offer is a high-touch one, you may offer a demonstration of your product or services or an exploratory call with the client.
Product trial: Are you offering software as a service or an intangible product like a course? Then, a product trial is a great way to get relevant leads to try your product before reaching out to them. Have in mind that credit-card trials will reduce the conversion rates, but bring more qualified leads.
Elements to Include in a Lead Capture Page
What should this page have to convince a visitor to part with their email information?
You need to create a convincing landing page, and while that looks like a daunting task, remember that you should revisit and improve the page as you go along.
❗ Don’t be afraid to launch with a not-perfect page and improve as you go.
Let’s go through the most important elements of a lead capture page:
Names are powerful. Your title has to solve a problem and be:
- Easy to read (short)
Rember to also write in a language your audience understands. That might include slag, technical words, or other jargon.
Short titles work well, don’t overdo it, it’s difficult to convey your message in 3 words. Think of these examples:
7 templates that will save you a week of design work
Lose weight in a week with this checklist
5 tips to optimize your day and do more with less work
Pro Tip: Adding an element of measurable results and time sensitiveness will also help a lot. Use the SMART goal principles to help you write a great title.
The golden rule of lead generation is first to offer value, then ask for something in return. Think very well about how your lead captures and provides value, and make that a prominent message.
Whether you show the value with a bullet point list, visual icons, video, or reviews, is up to you. But, you have to think at every step of the process, about how the reader is getting value out of this, and why they want to download it.
Pro tip: Get feedback from friends and colleagues on the page and the value messaging. Many people are overconfident or underconfident in their work, a third person’s view will give you a better perspective on the value of your work.
Call To Actions (CTAs)
The most common CTA in a page is a button or a form (with a button to submit). CTAs are your goal for the visitor. In this case, their lead data, in other cases become a paying customer.
Decide early on what is the one action you want someone to take?
- Download the lead magnet
- Register to a webinar
- Close a demo / call
- Complete the sign-up form
- Join your community
You can also have a secondary CTA, for example, if someone doesn’t want to download a checklist, you might offer a video to watch or read an article.
The main CTA will inform your design, messaging, and how to present it (button, form, or video etc).
CTAs have to “pop out” of the page and be very visible, here are some best practices for writing highly converting CTAs:
- Use contrasting colors
- Use verbs and power words
- Position them above-the fold (first screen when the website loads)
- Repeat the CTA multiple times, once per screen is more than enough.
- Don’t overdo it, even a secondary CTA may be too much
- Test how it looks in different screens
Lead Generation Forms
To collect the lead information, you will need some kind of form connected to your CTA. This can include the email, name, phone number, and other information.
The most important information for digital marketing is the email of the potential customer, and the name for personalizing the marketing message.
Inspiring trust is one of the most important aspects of a landing page, people will need to trust you enough to opt-in with their email.
Branding is a huge factor in this, big brands or well-known influencers have an easier time collecting leads as most people will trust a well-known brand. But, how can you achieve the same result?
Here are a few ways to increase trust on your landing page:
- Reviews & Testimonials (social proof)
- Media mentions (logos)
- Videos of real people (faces inspire intimacy)
- Showcasing big clients (inspiring trust by authority of big brands using your product/service/consulting)
- Good design (yes, bad design looks unprofessional)
- Good grammar (typos and other mistakes seem unprofessional)
Video matters! Psychologically, we are inclined to feel closer to people we see, hear, and get to know.
Include a video at your above-the-fold or immediately after it repeating your message and the value of your lead magnet.
If your video “personality” matches your target audience, it’s even better. You wouldn’t offer an ebook about motherhood as a man, but a woman speaking from experience will be more identifiable. Your prospects want to see themselves in your image solving their problem, and this is what you should strive for.
🧊 Video allows us to break the ice and reduce the distance through the cold, hard computer screen. It allows for an element of humanity to pass through and touch the person on the other side.
Each step in the way reduces the chances of you getting a new lead. Optimize the functionality of the page and the lead generation process to reduce the steps of finishing them.
If your form requires them to click to a button, to go to another page, then complete 5 fields, then you probably lost 80% of your leads already.
In some cases, a step like clicking a button for a pop-up form or a multi-step form like Typeform is doing so well, making someone invested in the process to continue, but it’s a generally good practise to avoid extra steps as much as possible with few exceptions.
You should also make sure to test how fast you can complete the form yourself. Slow page load times, complex fields, and bad design might cost you conversions.
🆘 Make it as easy & quick as possible.
Design and UI / UX
We have already talked about design, but the whole user experience is important.
Good design shows professionalism.
Good UI and UX principles help visitors navigate and complete the process with less friction.
A bad website might send all kinds of negative signals, visitors will not trust it, they might not trust you …
If you can hire a professional to help you, do it, if not, remember that good design doesn’t need to be complex. It has to be simple and consistent.
Measure & A/B Test
Your work is never finished!
Do not let perfection be the enemy. Launch your page with its flaws, measure results, and improve along the way.
See how changes affect your numbers. Sometimes, small changes will not impact the page, but groups of small improvements can give you incredible results. Undo the changes if they offer worse results.
There are many marketing tools to do so, but, you can start simple with your lead capture software reporting or Google Analytics.
Small incremental changes will improve your conversion rates!
GDPR & Affirmative Consent
Collecting lead data may come with legal responsibilities. While you may not be in the European Union, dealing with visitors from Europe makes you liable to GDPR regulations.
This article is not the best source for legal advice, but if you are worried about GDPR, it’s better to consult a lawyer in your area.
In general, GDPR was designed to counter big corporations overstepping the ethical boundaries, so, small businesses and startups are not that much in danger, but scaling up your business, you need to be aware and take actions to improve the GDPR compliance of your business as long as you operate in the EU.
It’s also the ethical way of doing business, informing your visitors, getting consent, and being transparent on how you will follow up with communications.
Great Examples of Lead Generation Pages to Get Inspired
Don’t know where to start? I have curated a list of best-in-class landing pages for lead capture per category to get you inspired.
High-Converting Lead Capture Examples – Short Form Examples
Most companies and entrepreneurs start with simple lead capture. This works incredibly well if you have an automatic lead nurturing sequence.
Offering a free download or trial is a great way to offer value first and nurture those leads to paying customers later!
Visme – Ebook Lead Capture
Visme is offering their Marketing Strategies We Used to Bootstrap Visme to over 4 Million users for free download.
They have created a landing page with a simple catchy title, a great visual of what you are getting, and a CTA to download for free. Clicking on the button will take you to complete the simple lead capture form.
For leads who like more information, there is a value proposition in the next zone, describing what the web page is about and what you are getting out of this.
A review is also added below, followed by what you will find inside the ebook.
Lastly, a very simple form with basic information and a big button to indicate the CTA of the page “DOWNLOAD THE EBOOK”, is simple, direct, and actionable.
In most cases, this kind of form does not require a last name. If you don’t need the last name of a lead, avoid including it and it will increase your form completions!
Foundr – Webinar on Autopilot Lead Capture
Educational products are a great way to capture leads. Whether that’s a webinar, a free course, or a consulting session, they are sure to add some leads to your CRM.
Foundr’s e-commerce masterclass has a very convincing landing page with all the tricks in the book to increase conversions:
- Great actionable title
- Timer on the page & form
- CTA that stands out (contrastic colour)
- Multiple CTAs (same action) across the page
- What you will learn section
- An instructor bio/success story
- Proof by numbers, media, and reviews
- Pop-up of other people registering
Clicking any of the CTAs will get you a pop-up repeating the important information and some conversion optimization tricks:
- Name of the webinar
- Your hosts
- Time of the event
- Very prominent button
The form fields are as simple as possible. That’s a top-of-the-funnel lead capture asking for a full name and email. If someone only includes their first name, it will still work.
B2B, Sales-Led Examples of Lead Capture – Long Form Examples
When there is a longer sales cycle with a high-touch approach from a sales team, then it makes sense to have a longer form. It allows us to get more information about potential customers and create a lead scoring mechanism to prioritize higher valued customers.
Two great examples of this are Salesforce & Intercom with slightly different methodologies.
Salesforce – Classic B2B Form
Salesforce uses a standard B2B form, which can be considered old-school but still works like a charm. You get this form by clicking the “Try for free” button on the home page.
The whole page is the lead capture form on the right and some additional information on the left. To allow you a 30-day free trial, you need to include some basic information and some company information.
For a big company like Salesforce, getting immediately the name of the company and number of employees allows them to focus on bigger customers. This decreases the pressure on sales teams while saving time and money.
Another field you see there is the Country/Region and Company Language. This way, they can personalize the experience and you get a call from a local representative.
This kind of landing page is suggested for large, complex, multinational organizations or high-touch sales processes.
Intercom – Modern B2B Form
On the other side is Intercom, with less fields to complete and a more modern design.
Along with the basic information of first & last name, Intercom requires a business email address, immediately filtering smaller companies or individuals out. They probably have a software to auto-assign countries of origin and an optional phone number will provide that, no need to ask that information on the form and make it slightly longer.
Then, instead of a drop-down menu you can see 4 buttons along a modern circular design, following the page’s modern style.
They do not offer a free trial, you need to request a demo, and expect a sales rep to reach out to you.
They make it very clear on the left side what you are getting by completing the form: An appointment, use cases in your industry, and how they can help.
They also use social proof by adding a line of logos and mentioning the 25,000 leading brands using Intercom.
Best Software for Lead Capture
But, which software should you use to create your landing pages?
The best choice is to build upon what works for your current website setup. If you are using WordPress, Wix, or Shopify for your website, there are features and plugins for each case.
Be sure that whatever you choose works with your email marketing and CRM.
Do you have a website already or planning to create one? These full solution website builders are the basis to start building your online presence:
Each one of them comes with a built-in form function or you can add an app/plugin to add this functionality. In most cases, forms are free but may also come with a small premium price for additional features.
Drag & Drop Landing Page Builders
If you are looking for something simpler or more suited to a one-off landing page, then, there are other solutions as well.
Those are better for adding to your existing website or having a one-page site for collecting leads without a true website.
- Instapage – Simple yet effective landing page builder
- Clickfunnels – A full marketing solution with terrible design and little customization
- Unbounce – The landing page builder that optimizes your pages with AI copywriting.
Using good software to create landing pages for lead capture is essential. Be sure to choose a landing page builder which allows for customizable templates and lead generation forms.
Hybrid Solution – HubSpot
And, a special mention to HubSpot which fits into both categories. It can be the space for your entire website or be integrated to another platform.
With Hubspot, you can embed the forms or create a pop-up form. You can send email automations, and use it as a CRM, sales tool, and customer support tool.
But, beware, one tool that does everything, usually does some things less well.
Additional Tools to Increase Conversions & Automate
Lastly, you might like to check out these tools to boost your landing page.
Social Proof Pop-Ups
Social proof pop-ups may increase conversions by showing other people downloading or registering to your lead capture.
The two most popular ones are:
Running webinars every day, week, or every 15 minutes is nigh-impossible. That’s why most companies use automated webinar software (see Foundr’s example).
Here are some of the top choices for automating a webinar for lead captures:
Connect & Automate the Process
One usual problem you will stumble upon is connecting diverse software. There are so many options nowadays that do not connect between them.
But, there is a solution!
They can also help you build complex processes and automate your workflow to lessen your day-to-day work.
The Next Steps on the Journey
Now, it’s time to get those leads to work for you. After capturing a lead, you need to nurture it, and like a seed, it needs some love and care for a while until it becomes a paying customer.
This is the job of an email marketing automation or an onboarding sequence. Remarketing can also play a role but will cost a bit more.
Remember to choose the right tool for you, you need to test a few solutions, be mindful of integrations, and focus on your specific needs before testing any of those.
Good luck with growing your business using lead-capturing tactics!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a lead capture system?
A lead capture system is a software or process that converts a visitor to your website into a lead.
What is a lead for a business?
A lead is a prospective customer of a business. A lead is considered “captured” if they have provided contact information that the marketing or sales team can use to reach them.
What are the benefits of using a lead capture system?
A lead capture system (or software) allows for the contact information of a prospective customer to be captured, pushing a prospective lead further down the funnel and closer to closing a sale.
What is the best way to capture leads?
The best way to capture a lead depends on the business. The easiest way is to provide a free but gated resource like an ebook, white-paper, template etc. But, for some businesses a more valuable lead is one that completes a longer lead capture form with the company information.
What is the difference between a conversion and a lead?
Conversion in marketing is the process of moving a prospecting customer through the sales funnel. There are multiple conversions through the funnel, from a visitor to a lead, from a lead to a trial, from a trial to customer etc.