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How to use lead capture to grow your business

Lead capture: business owner using a laptop and drinking coffee

Key takeaways

  • Lead capture is a method of collecting information from website visitors so you can contact them later
  • Use simple lead capture forms that collect just the information you need, such as a new lead’s name and email address
  • Advanced lead capture software can help you segment potential customers into groups and identify high-quality leads

Web traffic is one way to measure the success of your small business marketing strategies—but driving visitors to your website is only part of the story. With an effective lead capture strategy, you can encourage potential customers to provide you with their name and contact information before leaving your website.

For some businesses, lead capture can be as simple as collecting an email address in return for a free PDF or e-book. For B2B lead generation, it may be useful to ask for more details so you can follow up with a customized quote or a free trial offer.

Either way, following some basic lead capture tips can help you make the most of the opportunity to generate new leads and increase your conversion rate (the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action).

What are some types of lead capture forms?

customer completing a lead capture form on her phone

The timing and placement of your lead capture form is key to its success. If you ask for a visitor’s information before they’re ready to provide it, they may click away altogether. That’s why many lead capture forms appear on a landing page that introduces prospective customers to your company and contains a call to action (CTA) at the end.

That being said, you aren’t limited to a single lead capture page. Once you’ve created a lead capture template, you can use it across your website and social media. Here are five of the most common places you can feature lead capture forms.

In-page forms

In-page lead capture forms are embedded into a page of your website. This could be a dedicated lead capture page, or the form could be embedded on multiple web pages.

Every post on your blog could end with a CTA encouraging readers to sign up for your newsletter. The challenge is that static lead capture forms are easy for readers to scroll past, so make sure this isn’t the only piece of your lead generation strategy.

Pop-up forms

Pop-up forms appear while a visitor is browsing your website. Although this can be an effective way to grab a potential customer’s attention, it can also appear when visitors aren’t necessarily ready to provide their contact information.

Pop-up lead capture forms are all about timing. You’ll want to program them to pop up after the visitor has had a chance to browse your website but before they click away. You can do this by adjusting the settings for your pop-up form, either by setting an elapsed timer or scheduling the form to pop up at specific times, like after the visitor has scrolled down the page or when they’re about to leave your site.

Multi-step forms

Lengthy lead capture forms can discourage conversions because they ask for too much information or appear overwhelming at first glance. Breaking them down into multiple steps can keep things simpler for the visitor and guide them through the process in an easy-to-follow way.

Reserve these for situations when longer forms are really necessary, such as collecting a customer’s age and vehicle type for a car insurance quote. Always put the most important form fields first in case the visitor doesn’t complete every step.

External platforms

Depending on which online business platforms you use, you can embed your lead capture form directly in your social media posts, link to a lead capture page on your website, or use the lead capture tools provided by the platform.

For example, Yelp makes it easy to generate leads with the Request a Call and Request a Quote tools. To use these features, simply add or claim your Yelp Business Page, where you can add your business description, contact details, and high-quality photos. Then when potential customers come to your page, they can choose to receive a phone call from you, or they can fill out a request form that includes questions relevant to your business type. For example, if they’re requesting a quote from a roofing business, they’ll be asked questions like, “What type of service do you need?” with options such as attic inspection, roof cleaning, skylight installation, and more. Then you’ll receive those requests directly to your Yelp inbox where you can interact with customers directly. 

For even more lead generation opportunities, you can invest in Yelp Ads, which display your business listing in a number of key places on the site and app, including above relevant search results and on your competitors’ pages—helping you capture more leads faster.

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Live chat

Live chat programs aren’t quite the same as lead capture forms, but they can still collect useful information from potential customers. Ask visitors for their name and email address when they start a chat, and you’re well on your way to gathering useful sales lead data.

If it’s after hours, prompt visitors to enter their email address to receive a reply when you (or your customer support team) is back online.

What are the best practices for lead capture?

Lead capture forms are an important part of marketing automation because they handle most of the work for you. Still, you’ll need to deploy them wisely to achieve your desired business goals. Set yourself up for success with these best practices for lead capture.

1. Only collect the information you need

Lengthy lead capture forms that ask for detailed personal information can result in less useful lead data overall. A recent survey by KPMG found that “86% of the respondents said they feel a growing concern about data privacy, while 78% expressed fears about the amount of data being collected.”

If your sales team doesn’t make outbound calls, then there’s no need to ask for a phone number. On the other hand, ecommerce businesses may need to ask for a ZIP code to add customers to the right email marketing campaign.

For B2B leads, request information like a company’s size, industry, or location to identify high-quality leads.

2. Provide a clear privacy policy

A clear privacy policy can help you reassure customers you’ll keep their information safe while also meeting your legal obligations in the regions where you operate. If you have customers in Europe, for example, you could be subject to the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), even if you aren’t based there yourself.

Make sure a link to your privacy policy is clearly visible on your lead capture form so customers can decide for themselves if they want to opt in.

3. Optimize for multiple devices

According to Pew Research, “15% of American adults are ‘smartphone-only’ internet users” and don’t have broadband internet at home. By making sure your lead capture forms are mobile-friendly, you’ll reduce the hurdles mobile customers face when using your website.

Test out your lead capture forms to ensure they retain their full functionality across a wide range of devices.

4. Use an engaging call to action

“Submit,” “join,” and “subscribe” have their place, but it’ll likely pay to be a little more inventive with your CTA. Make it as descriptive as possible while keeping in line with your brand personality and marketing style.

For example, if your lead capture form unlocks free resources, use a relevant phrase like, “Get expert advice now.” Even playful language like “Yes, let me in!” can be more engaging than a plain “subscribe” button.

5. Offer something in return

Give customers an incentive to submit their contact information by offering them a free resource when they sign up. A lead magnet can take the form of an e-book, a free trial offer, or even a discount code for a future purchase.

Other great incentives include access to a webinar that’s only available to customers who have signed up to your mailing list.

Make the most of advanced lead capture strategies

Setting up your lead capture forms is a big part of the process, but once customer data starts coming in, you can put it to use with advanced lead generation tools. Effective lead management involves knowing which leads to prioritize as well as when and how to follow up. Here are three components of lead management.

CRM integrations

A CRM (customer relationship management) platform is one of the most versatile marketing tools you can have because it can help you store and organize the customer data you collect. You can link your lead capture forms, CRM, and email marketing tools together using a series of integrations.

Plus, CRM software allows you to score your leads using specific criteria so you know which leads are most likely to turn into paying customers.

Lead segmentation

Lead segmentation is related to lead scoring, but rather than separating leads based on quality, you can group them using other criteria. If your lead capture forms include ZIP codes, you could group customers by region to send them more relevant email marketing materials.

A/B testing

Finally, consider A/B testing your lead capture forms. That means trying out two different versions of the same form to see which one gets the best results.

Should your pop-up form appear after one minute of browsing or two? Do you get more signups with a static form or with an interactive form with multiple steps?

A/B testing requires a substantial sample size to give you useful information, but it can help you optimize your lead capture forms and generate better leads.

Grow your small business with lead capture forms

Lead capture forms can be tailored to suit small businesses of all kinds. Whether you sell digital products or physical goods and services, the right lead capture forms can help you attract potential customers and generate high-quality leads.

Once you have a prospective customer’s contact information, you can follow up with helpful resources, special offers, or a customized sales pitch.

If you aren’t sure what to do with new leads once you have them, check out these digital marketing strategies for more tips.

The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.