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How to build effective forms for landing pages

What makes a good form? This is a question we’ve put at the centre of a lot of our work here at Knak. Today, we’re taking a look at what we’ve learned along the way.

There are so many elements to consider, and what works for one audience might not work for another. So, how do you get it right? 

Forms act as a point of conversion. They’re the place where someone becomes willing to share some of their personal information (e.g. their name, contact details, or place of work) in exchange for a webinar invite, a place on a product waitlist, or an in-depth piece of content. With that data in hand, you can better tailor your marketing efforts and come one step closer to making this person a paying customer. 

It’s also the place where a prospect becomes a lead. Once your sales team has those details about a customer, they can be better equipped to qualify that lead and pursue it if it’s the right fit. 

On the other hand, you can also use forms with existing customers to gather important feedback, improve the products and services you’re providing, and improve the overall customer experience.

As such an important part of your marketing and business efforts, it’s important to invest the time to get forms right. That’s why in this post we’re taking a look at the steps you can take to create effective forms for your landing pages.

Our 8 best practices for building effective forms

Using our first-hand experience and what we’ve learned from working with our customers, we’ve collected eight tips and considerations to keep in mind as you create forms for your landing pages

1. Prioritize good design practices

When someone arrives at your landing page, they should be greeted with a seamless design that’s consistent across the page and aligned with your brand. More specifically, it should be visually consistent with the email or asset that drove them to this particular page. When it comes to the form itself, it should be easy to follow, with a logical flow that has consistent spacing between each field. The colours, buttons, and fonts should all be on-brand as well. It shouldn’t look like you’ve pulled the form from somewhere else entirely and just dropped it into your site. 

Other design details to keep in mind are the spacing between inputs, clear alignment between a label and its corresponding field, and asterisks to indicate required fields. 

2. Choose the right spot for your form

Your form’s placement on the landing page is also important. For one, it should be easy to find and not drowned out by other information that’s not pertinent. If someone has to read a lot of content, scroll for a long time, or press a button to find the form, they might drop off before you can get their details. 

3. Make the form as easy to fill as possible

Without making the form too clunky or confusing, you should do everything you can to make the form intuitive for the user. For example, choose labels that live above or next to a field, and use shadow text within the field as an example of the type of answer you’re looking for. Where possible, create a list of pre-set answers that allow users to make a choice. (This will also make it easier for you to parse out your data later on.) 

You can also consider adding supplementary visual aids such as tooltips and features that automatically correct the format of an entry (e.g. phone number) will also simplify the experience for your users. 

4. Make sure your form is responsive 

While some people will open your landing page on their desktop, others will be using their phone or tablet instead. The form should be responsive, readable, and fillable on all devices. Check out our post on responsive content for tips on how to get that right. 

5. Consider the incentive

It’s worth thinking about your form as a place where an exchange happens. You’re asking people to give you some of their personal details, and they should get something in return. Whether it’s a discount, access to an insightful report, or an invite to a virtual event, there should be something of value for the individual at the end of the form.

In line with this, your call to action or submit button should clearly indicate what the intended action is. For instance, are they moving on to another set of questions or are they wrapping up the form? When they are done, you should also make it clear with a thank you page that leads them to the incentive or any relevant next steps. Some clear examples here include: “Sign up now,” “Get your reward,” “Continue,” and more.

6. Keep user behaviour top of mind

We live in an age of limited attention spans. To address this trend, you should ensure your forms are engaging and refrain from making them too long. Otherwise, your users might switch off and drop off before they finish filling it in. 

With this in mind, have a think around whether you can break the form into multiple sections so that it feels shorter. A progress bar can also be helpful as a visual cue for people to know how much they have left. If you have some data available already, you can also consider auto-filling that information so you’re not asking questions you already know the answer to.

Another useful consideration here is logic. People tend to respond better to forms that are structured in a logical way (e.g. people expect to have the name field at the beginning of the form, not the end). Thinking about the questions in the context of an in-person conversation can help.

7. Avoid turning people off from filling out your forms

Questions that are too vague. Poorly designed forms that don’t align with the rest of your landing page. Error messages that tell people they’ve made a mistake after they’ve submitted the form. These are all things that can encourage people to give up on filling out your form and sharing their details with you, so make sure to stray away from them as you’re designing your form.

8. Stay compliant

Your forms should be compliant with accessibility standards such as WCAG 2.1 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Make sure labels are legible for screen readers, that the color contrast is appropriate, and that your form is responsive to alternative keyboard navigation options. 

They should also be GDPR compliant, with available information on how the data you collect will be used, stored, and shared. Remember, privacy is more important than ever, and lack of compliance can pose both a financial and reputational risk. 

Set yourself up for success

Landing page forms are the actual drivers behind your campaign, so it’s always going to be worth spending time and effort in getting them right. To help ensure their success, track the performance of your forms by comparing how many form-fills you have compared to the number of landing page visits. Then, if you’ve identified an issue, use A/B testing to refine each and every element. All those efforts will be a fruitful investment into your broader marketing initiatives.

Looking for a tool that can help you seamlessly integrate fully-formed forms into beautiful landing pages? Read more about Knak or request a demo

Jack is Knak’s email development specialist and full stack developer. He works on the development team to bring innovative features that help improve the email creation process for Knak clients. In his spare time Jack loves skiing, biking, running, and exploring in the mountains.

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