Proof that Testing is Key to Creating Successful Opt-In Forms

Creating the most effective opt-in form on a landing page requires finesse. Sometimes a small, seemingly insignificant change can make a big improvement in conversions, while other times a major overhaul may have little effect, or even a detrimental effect. There's really no substitute for testing different sign-up forms over sufficient sample sizes to draw conclusions you can be confident of. Once you do, however, your opt-in form becomes a much more effective lead generator.

The Importance of the Copy Used in Sign-Up Forms

How you word the information in and around your opt-in form affects how effective a lead generator it is. Sometimes small changes in wording can influence people's decisions, for good or ill. Essentially, when you ask a visitor to do something like complete an opt-in form, you prompt an internal dialogue in their minds. Immediately they will weigh whether what you're offering them is worth what you're asking of them to get it. Your value proposition should be clear, so visitors will have a definable reason to carry out your call to action.

Ideal Form Placement May Not Be Where You Think It Is

It makes intuitive sense that a form placed "above the fold" (so it can be seen without scrolling down) is ideal, and often this is true. But it's not true in every case. Problems occur when you try too hard to keep everything above the fold and end up with an unappealing or cluttered layout, which can completely overshadow your message. If clearly stating the value of your proposition pushes your form down on the page a bit, that's fine. Particularly with complex offers, people don't mind scrolling as long as they're reading interesting and relevant information.

Call to Action Wording Is Important

A sign-up button that just says "Sign Up" may not be as effective as a button with other wording. If people are asked to "sign up" and they don't have a clue what they're signing up for, they may wonder why they should bother. Ideally, your sign-up button should say something about what the visitor will receive ("Sign up and get free design tips every week"). This can be even more effective when the headline on the form echoes this wording.

Additional Form Fields Help When They Appeal in the Right Way

Conventional wisdom says to keep opt-in forms brief. Someone may not want a free e-book dearly enough to fill out an extensive form. Occasionally, however, the right additional form field can actually increase conversions. For example, a "comments or questions" field can personalize what otherwise feels like a very impersonal form. Rather than being all about the website owner, the form suddenly becomes an opportunity for visitors to state their needs in their own words.

How You Word Your Privacy Policy Is Important

Adding a privacy policy statement to your opt-in form can increase conversions, but only if you do it properly. People can be reluctant to give up details about themselves if they are unsure whether you'll share those details with others. However informal or fun the rest of the page is, privacy policy wording should be serious and straightforward. Saying "Your information will not be shared" is more effective than saying "We will never spam you," (wording which actually decreased conversions over not stating a privacy policy at all in one test).


Turning your landing page into an effective lead generator requires testing the effectiveness of different layouts and wording choices. Sometimes it's hard to predict which changes will turn a ho-hum page into an outstanding lead generator, and testing is the only sure way to find out. Know what landing page best practices are, but don't be afraid to try something different if you're not getting the results you want.

One certainty is that your landing page won't be an effective lead generator if the data you collect on it is of low quality. You can keep opt-in forms brief, yet still collect sufficient information for solid lead generation and qualification by using data enrichment technology like that provided by SmartForms.

With SmartForms, the information entered by visitors is verified and enriched in real time using data from over 200 million global records that are regularly cleansed, updated, de-duplicated, and verified. SmartForms gives you confidence that your opt-in forms provide you with accurate data that maximizes return on your marketing investment. To see for yourself how powerful SmartForms is, check out our demo, or sign up for a free trial and envision just how far your landing pages can take your marketing efforts.

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