The forms on your landing pages are arguably the most important component of your company’s web presence. They are the gateway to conversion, through which all of your leads must pass. One of the most common questions we hear about forms is, “How long is too long for a conversion form?”
A Recent Example
I was recently working with a lawyer who wanted some help generating leads from his website. The form he was currently using had 15 fields , including several free-response questions. From his perspective, he needed to know a lot in order to be able to help his potential clients, so why not ask them all of upfront?
As we talked, he realized that he was following up with all of the leads anyway, so he could ask many of the questions when he called them and shorten his website’s forms. “Great!” he told me, “So all I need is an email address and phone number so I can follow up, right?”
Then I asked him the million dollar question: “Do you have the capacity and desire to follow up with everyone who fills out your form? Or would you rather have more information so you can focus on the most qualified leads?”
Lead Quality vs. Lead Quantity
At the very minimum, your form needs to collect an email address, a phone number, or some other reliable means of initiating a follow-up. But if all you know about your lead is his or her contact information, then you don’t have any way of judging the quality of your lead.
Are they a serious inquiry, or are they just browsing and not really interested in a purchase? Are they just looking for free advice? Are they a good fit for your product?
If you’re generating a significant quantity of leads, you might not be able to follow up with each of them. Adding specific questions to your form is a great way to determine the quality of your leads and make your sales team more efficient.
Think of it as a trade-off between quality and quantity. A bare bones form that asks for only an email address might generate a lot of leads, but how many of those are actually qualified enough to be worth a follow-up call? A longer form will cause more friction for potential leads, but can potentially make your organization’s sales funnel more efficient.
What should you ask for?
Think of your form questions as serving two roles:
Collecting contact information for a follow-up
Establishing how qualified a lead is
Start with a barebones form, asking just for name, email, and phone number. This should be all you need for follow up.
To establish lead quality, talk to your sales managers. Ask them which qualities fit the profile of a good lead. Ask them about the typical red flags that indicate a bad lead. These questions will be specific to your industry and organization.
At HubSpot, we use longer forms to help our sales team manage the volume of leads they receive each month. Some businesses ask fewer questions, and some ask more. It all depends on your capacity to follow up with leads.
The right length for your lead generation forms depends on the specific quality/quantity you want to strike for your organization. You don’t want to create too much friction for your potential leads, but you also don’t want to generate large quantities of unqualified leads, since you’ll waste time following up with them all.
Start with the essential contact information, and then add a few fields to establish lead quality. This is also a great opportunity to run some experiments to find what works best for your organization. Are you finding that your longer forms are sacrificing lead volume too much? Try deleting a field. Are you noticing too high a volume of leads that are unqualified? Add a few fields. It's all about figuring out what works best for your specific business.
How long are your lead forms?
Originally published Jun 15, 2011 2:15:00 PM, updated February 28 2018