Landing Page Form Best Practices

Carnegie Higher Ed Jul 12, 2016 Carnegie Higher Ed Persona The Visionary Frontrunner

A good landing page is paramount to a successful digital marketing campaign.

Everyone who attended the past two Carnegie Conferences knows what #NSAMCWADLP stands for: Never Start A Marketing Campaign Without A Dedicated Landing Page. And the most important part of a lead generation landing page is the form.

You are probably familiar with the gist of landing page forms: this is where you ask the user to provide some personal information in exchange for giving them something in return. Open houses, event registration, information requests, and alumni campaigns are all examples where you might collect data to follow up with the user at a later time.

There are basic rules to follow while creating your landing page form. Treat the form like it is the only thing on the page. Again, it is the most important element of the page, so make sure it stands out from the hero image and the copy. Always make sure it has a distinct border so it doesn’t blend in.

Here is a diagram with the basics of a good form design.

Landing page form design

Form headline:

This should clearly tell your user what will happen when they fill out this form.


The subhead should expand and clarify the headline and describe why the user should fill out this form.

Form fields:

Use only the fields you need and intend on using. Ask for the minimum to help conversions.

Never use inline labels (where the field name is in the field but disappears when you click into it). These are a bad user experience.

A/B test to find out which fields and how many work best for you.

Call to Action (CTA):

Your CTA should stand out the most on the whole page. Make sure it contrasts with everything else.

One trick to finding a good CTA is to finish this question from the user’s standpoint: “I want to…” For example, “Request Info,” “Register for Open House,” etc.

A common question we hear is “How many fields should my form have?“ That all depends on what you are trying to do. As a general rule of thumb, only collect the absolute minimum data that you need. You can always reach out to this person at a later point. Don’t ask for too much or that could introduce friction that will for sure decrease your conversion rate for the form.

Here is some supporting data from Unbounce that shows more detail on the number of fields in a form and their relation to completion rate.

Conversion Rate vs. Number of Form Fields

You can see that one or two fields convert a lot better than long forms. Proof that the shorter the form the better for conversion rates. The average number of fields is 4.5, but notice that there really is no difference between four and seven fields. So if you need to ask for that many fields you might as well ask for a couple more. Now with that said, every landing page is different, and this data was pulled from all types of industries, not just higher education. To really know what works for you you would need to test different variations.

Next time you start a lead generation marketing campaign, make sure you take a close look at your landing page form. It can be the difference in a successful campaign or cost you a lot more money to get the results you wanted.

You’ll find more information in our Landing Pages 101 series:

Do you have any questions or examples you want to share? Let us know in the comments. You can also follow me on Twitter @seo_george.

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