Multi-Step Forms Guide: How to Get the Best Conversions
18 minutes read
Christopher Lier Data collection
Convert 5X More Traffic using Multi-Step Forms: The Ultimate Guide
Multi-step forms are a great alternative to typical web forms that we still see everywhere on the internet. They help you make form experiences interesting and engaging. Most importantly, multi-step forms are excellent at growing lead conversions, helping you get more results from your online forms. With this guide we share light and provides answers on:
- What makes multi-step forms so effective
- Giving inspiration with form design examples
- Showing how to easily build forms for your own website within just minutes
Seamless User Journeys To Capture Leads That Convert Into new Customers
User-friendly multi-step form design
Multi-step forms are tools to capture responses or to convert site visitors into leads. They play an enormously important role in websites and digital marketing campaigns. Particularly in the Business-to-Business (B2B) sector, companies are built on digital lead capture campaigns.
Industries like mortgage lead generation, life insurance, financial advisory services, private healthcare services are highly driven by online lead capture forms. Multi-step forms are important for lead generation, but also very clever tools to educate and engage website visitors.
Over the next years, online content marketing, e.g. via blogs, will shift towards more engagement-driven media. Form-builders like LeadGen App make it super easy to build not just any kind of form, but also interactive tools.
For example, a fitness site can create a nutrition calculator or body-mass-index generator, using multi-step forms. Brands in finance can build ROI calculators, credit score assessment tools and educational forms.
Multi-step form examples and creative tools show the variety of what can be built
That's why multi-step forms have great potential to help maximize user engagement and lead generation from your website, blog articles and landing pages.
Multi-step lead form designed To boost conversions, using visual image buttons
Loosing even a single lead because of compromised user journeys is a big problem for brands, and the worst part: Many brands are not yet aware of it.
In most cases, websites use the most basic solutions for forms that are available: Web forms that are asking for name, email, company name, phone number, etc.
Example of a bad online form with a lower conversion rate
If you are lucky, you can leave a message with more explanation that you can add to your inquiry.
What you can achieve with multi-step forms: - Putting your user first (using choice buttons to select service requirement) - Reduce cognitive load (overload of information because of too many questions on a single form step) - Increase lead conversion rates - Creating better visual experiences - Saving website space - Creating beautiful forms on just on web, but also on mobile
Visual web form start screen asking about user interests to get engagement going and capture more form completion for increased lead generation
In retail you see the same trend. Think of restaurants in your local town. You probably find your food from a menu, but is this actually the smartest way to find the right meal?
McDonald’s screens show you limited information on the screen, based on your needs. The classical menu in a restaurant contains a big list of all kinds of foods, snacks, beverages, no matter if they interest you or not.
Multi-Step Checkout Vs. Traditional Menu
Multiple step checkout vs. traditional menu
We have nothing against a good old restaurant experience with a menu, but there is really a lot we can learn comparing those different user journeys.
Another benefit of the self-checkout is the increased efficiency. When you get shown the foods of your interest in a visual and clear, you make your choice selection much quicker. Let’s look closer into digital user journey and how you can use multi step forms as a B2B business to unlock up to 5x more lead generation from your website.
What are Multi-step forms?
Step forms present different questions on different form steps rather a single page. This way, you can provide an easy and simple user journey for even more complicated inquiry processes, lead forms and surveys.
Multi-step forms are based on the foot-in-the-door technique. The more questions you get a visitor to answer, the more likely it becomes the form gets filled.
An interactive form that presents questions on different steps rather than a single page, creating a complete user journey that only shows the relevant information at the step.
Why Step Forms Can Increase Conversions?
Think about it yourself: If you get into a conversion with a good salesperson, you’ll get ask about your need first. You’ll explain what you need, what you expect and before you’ll get asked about personal details, you have already taken your time to share a lot of information. Because you spent this time, even if it doesn’t take long, you are way more likely to take the last final steps. You are happy to provide your email, phone number or address to get more information.
Why do humans do this? Well, there’s a few important points that come into effect here. Firstly, every question you answer is a micro-commitment. In real life, every “Yes” and answered question makes you less likely to stop. Online, the more you go through the form, the more reward you feel because you already invested in the process.
This is an effect that you can’t really experience in a simple web form.
A multi-page form often has a progess bar which indicates how far you’ve come which plays into this tendency to continue the journey.
Secondly, multi-page forms are simply much easier to process. If you see 10 questions at the same time, you feel more overwhelmed than having everything nicely presented on different stages.
Users step by step process of filling a multi-step page form for lead collection
Finally, you can personalise multi-step journeys which you can’t do with single-step forms. For example, you can ask a service requirement question with 5 choices on step 1. When clicking on a certain choice, you can send the onto a different path than for other choices.
This way you provide a chatbot-like experience in a form, providing relevant and personalised information that makes your web visitor feel understood.
Chatbots Vs. Step Forms
Speaking of chatbots, can these not be an to an alternative to lead forms?
Chatbots are great for support requests and two-way interaction, they even work while promoting coupons. However, chatbots have limitations when it comes to more defined offers and lead capture.
A lead might be ready to inquiry and just wants to get in touch. A chatbot would not be appropriate here because there is no need for a conversion, especially not for a human-like bot with possibly irrelevant answers that makes things more complicated than they have to be.
Who should use Multi-step forms?
A multi-step form example built with LeadGen App
Multi-step lead forms are a great solution for any type of business that needs to capture more quality leads. No matter how big your organization, lead inquiry forms greatly benefits from step forms because of the user-centric and structure way of presenting information.
Step forms are perfect for B2B brands because these are type of companies which have a huge needs for lead capture. Especially if you are a Small-or Medium-sized business that only works with a limited number of clients, multi-step forms can enhance the customer experience and be a great fit. You can use them for increasing lead quality at the same time.
There is not just a good case for using multi-step forms for lead capture. They are also great for capturing client project details in a briefing. Also, you can use them for hiring processes, questionnaires, conditional forms, calculators, quote generators and more.
If you are a B2C brand, you can use multiple-step forms for the same purposes, including e-commerce checkouts, linking the form to a payment gateway.
Marketing and web agencies use these forms on their own presence, but even more so across their client campaigns.
What factors help me increase conversion rates in multi-step lead forms?
Above all, you can increase conversion rates through rigorous testing. Test your lead forms as much as you test your web designs and online ads. This is exactly where most marketers stop. They invest a ton of money into high-quality web design that looks good, but actually doesn’t convert. They invest a ton of money in blog content that has no love and just use simple forms.
You can now imagine the result of all this: You are missing out on a ton of conversions because there wasn’t enough focus on the different conversion-driving elements, including the lead forms.
You might have the most beautiful lead form, but it just doesn’t convert well. Or you might have a form that ticks all the boxes for conversion-friendliness, but your web-page is unoptimized, contains poor text copy or you simply have the wrong type of traffic.
Comparing two similar, but different LeadGen multi-step form variants using A/B testing to find the best converting form
This now sounds like a huge mountain to climb, looking at all these different factors. Sure, there is a number of factors, but the lead form is a big one of them, so it’s a good place to start purely with the form.
Create two different form variations and run a form A/B test via LeadGen. It’s important you don’t mix form variations with landing pages variations. Focus on just one factor: Your form.
Different form variations to perform A/B test
Simple things that in theory should get you better conversions are a lower number of questions performs and personalization (starting with service need before asking for personal details).
Other factors that matter are form design (match it with your website and brand identity) and fast form load time (dependant on image and content files used in form).
Are Multi-Step Forms Better than Single-Step Forms?
How to Create The Best Online Form To Generate Conversions
Example of a LeadGen App multi-step form design
It's not an easy question to answer whether single-step or multi-step forms generate the most results in terms of lead collection and conversions.
If there was a clear answer as to which one is better, then probably only one type would be used on the internet.
Single-step forms just have one form step that contains all questions and content:
Long single-step online form to collect web design project requirements
Multi-step forms present questions on different form steps, one at a time on different screens.
Best online form design with service selection buttons
First of all, let’s define how to measure the effectiveness of an online form. In nearly every use case, the objective of an online form is to get people to submit the form. The higher the conversion rate (Form submissions/ page visitors), the better.
LeadGen App dashboard with form and conversion rate metrics
Every Web Form Has a Different Use Case
Another thing to consider is that online forms are used in a wide range of purposes. These include lead capture, contact forms, employee feedback forms, surveys, etc.
To know how the LeadGen App form builder helps to build different and the best online forms in the healthcare industry click here.
Just by comparing a lead capture form to an employee feedback form, it becomes clear how different lead forms can be. The lead capture form which is the key to generating leads for businesses should ideally be as simple as possible. Less questions and fewer distractions are more likely to drive conversions than long and complicated forms.
In terms of length, a more compact and concise form will win over a long form with unnecessary questions, e.g. “How did you hear about us?”. Such questions can still be asked later but within a lead capture form, it's a distraction from your main goal.
It doesn't mean that a form design with a lot of questions doesn't work. Those forms can be very useful when you have the luxury problem of capturing too many leads to ask a lot of qualifying questions to achieve less but quality leads.
Importance of Testing
To find out which type of form design works better for your page, the answer can only be found with testing. Form A/B testing is a great way of understanding what type form is likely to generate more conversions over time. An A/B test is a commonly used tactic by marketers when comparing landing pages and website variations with each other.
Two similar online multi-step form variants competing in an AB test
With the LeadGen App form builder you don't even need two different page variations. All you need is to do is create two form variations and start a experiment inside the app. Give it enough time and a significant amount of conversion data to draw conclusions.
For example, a web form with under 500 visitors will give you "only" 10 leads with 2% conversion rate. Still, this is not sufficient data to confidently understand which form type converts better.
Based on experiments of forms that we have run in our digital marketing campaigns, the multi-step form design is the better choice for B2B lead capture forms. It gives the user complete focus on one question at a time rather than showing a long-form with many fields.
When Single-Step is a good Choice
When you just ask for name, email and message, then a simple single-step form could also do the job well.
Multi-step forms are great for lead capture campaigns. If we look at employee feedback forms, it could be better to use a single-step form rather than a multi-step form design. This is because a more formal form design would be appropriate for it.
Trust The Data and Avoid Common Mistakes
The effectiveness of a form varies depending on the purpose of the form. A good tactic is testing two variations for each form until you found a winner. The winner can be tested again with a new challenger variant. This way, you will ensure that forms are most user-friendly and will help you drive better conversions. You can build any kind of form with LeadGen App and also test them using A/B form testing.
How Can Multi-Step Forms Help Improve Online User Experiences?
Let's look at some more example of how multi-step lead forms can make form filling a lot more intuitive. This is an enquiry form for a digital agency, providing landing page design services:
Start screen, landing page with two Call-to-actions, find out more on page + enquiry (talk to a specialist)
Let’s assume you are ready to talk to the specialist to get in touch. Upon button click, a multi-step form opens that features different questions in a very simple and user-friendly 3-step format.
Firstly, it asks a qualifying question on the service you are interested that you can choose via a dropdown.
The page also shows a pop-up of the most recent leads to create authentic urgency for more conversions (Built with LeadProof in LeadGen App)
Form design with service requirement gathering screen
Secondly, it features an open text field, asking you to provide project details. This shows the potential lead that you are interested in hearing about the project first before asking for personal information such as email and phone number. The order of questions can really make a difference in forms.
Second screen, taking project information requirements in multi-step lead form
Finally, it will ask for personal information which at that point you are likely to fill in as well after completing the first steps. With the step form, you can get micro-commitments and a few buttons clicks to complete steps, which you couldn’t do on a classical web form. That’s why it’s not only great for user experience but also increased conversion rates.
Final form screen, personal contact information and customized “Book now” button
How I can create Multi-Step forms?
Multi-step form creation used to be really cumbersome. We created LeadGen App to allow anyone to build multi-step forms quickly and without any coding skills. We put all our experience in digital marketing into the tool, helping marketers, entrepreneurs and B2B brands get more conversions from their forms, helping them build long-lasting lead and customer relationships.
We share more about of the story behind LeadGen App later on in the article. First, let's look into the steps of how to create multi-step forms with LeadGen App:
LeadGen App dashboard to track form performance
Step 1: Start Creating Your Form
Create a LeadGen App account, head over to the forms section and click on “Add new form”.
With the intuitive form-builder you can easily add new steps by clicking on the red plus button when hovering on a form step.
Alternatively, if you want to use more than one question per step, you can add individual questions by clicking on the orange plus button.
Step 2: Add All Your Questions and Form Steps
Add a series of steps with questions to create the best online forms
Add your series of form steps and choose from different pre-set questions that already give you the type of question content you need. You can use question types like multiple choice, email address, phone number, first name, last name, calendar selection, address questions and more.
Within questions, you can choose from style variations. For example, you can choose between show radio boxes, horizontal or vertical buttons or visual image buttons in multiple choice question. Also, you can add text boxes with custom text, graphic and GIFs to catch your user’s attention.
Step 3: Design Your Form
Once you have added all your questions, head over to the design tab where you can set customize pretty much everything about your form design: Form sizing and shapes, button call-to-action text, fonts, borders, shadows and much more. It’s super handy for designers and any marketer who doesn’t want to touch any code. LeadGen App is built for anyone without coding experience and makes it easy to create a beautiful form designs.
Easily Design Your Form with LeadGen App Form Generator
Step 4: Embed Form into Website
Finally, copy the form embed code and place it in your website, e.g. your contact page or a landing page. LeadGen App works with an HTML snippet which you can pretty much use in any website builder with HTML editor, like WordPress, Instapage, Unbounce, Clickfunnels, Wix, Squarespace and so on.
Embed Your LeadGen Form in Your Website or a Landing Page
Before starting to build our multi-step web form generator LeadGen App, we ran web design services for business clients. Our website contact page was one of the key channels that helped us generate leads.
Back in 2016, our founder Waseem had two pain points: how to get more leads, but also to ensure he gets the right quality of leads. In making those two components work, he could crack the code to consistently generate new business and grow his web agency.
Our Founder Waseem on the evolution of the LeadGen App form-builder Inspired by Apple’s online support forms with user-friendly navigation, he thought multi-step forms would be a good fit for his agency website contact form as well.
Apple's online support form - multi-step form with visual buttons
Step forms existed on few websites back then, but there wasn’t really any tool to quickly create forms for web pages. To create a step form, there wasn't an alternative to building it from scratch. He asked his web developers to create a contact form with a series of different questions before asking for any kind of contact details and personal information. To this day, this same form generates leads for his agency!
Apexure's web form design for lead collection
Keep in mind that this web form was built using custom code which is a big pain if you want to roll out multi-step forms on a larger scale, including client campaigns. After testing and optimizing the new contact form back then, Waseem saw tremendous potential in providing the same online experiences for his clients. After all, 80% of his business came from B2B companies that measure online marketing success in lead generation.
How LeadGen App Was Born?
In late 2016, Waseem worked on creating a very lean backend solution to create multi-step lead forms. He gave this first web app the name “Mailer”.
Mailer - A simple web app to creates multi-page forms without code
It did the job well, but was really not more than an internal agency solution that still needed a bit of skills to create step by step forms. That’s why in 2017, Waseem thought of building a self-service solution that anyone in the agency, including account managers could use. That's when LeadGen App was born.
Launching LeadGen App beta: Multi-step Form Generator Dashboard
It wasn’t until 2018 until we started rolling out a beta version of LeadGen App to the world, allowing any marketer to create their web forms in a multi-step style. In summary, we got in love with multi-page forms because of huge improvements in user experience and better chances to increase conversion rates. Our main agency contact form converts at a staggering 13%. Out of 100 visitors on the contact page, we get 13 leads. Most importantly, these are qualified and real leads that we can actually work with.
Apexure's step by step form for lead collection
Our contact form filters out spam, makes it practically impossible for a bot to cause spam issues, and provides us with details about a project inquiry.
Multi-Step Form Examples
Here is an overview different multi-step form designs for inspiration. If you like any of these designs, just message us directly via the little red chat window at the bottom right of this page. You can use these step by step form designs as templates in LeadGen App and make your own edits before putting it into your website.
Briefing/ Survey Form
Lead Qualification Form
Grow Multi-Step Conversions
While forms typically convert best with a low number of questions, multi-step forms have a high engagement even with long forms and are more predictable for lead generation compared to single-step forms because of the improved user experience.
Whenever you need to ask for a lot of questions, send users onto different paths or qualify leads: Multi-step forms should be your preferred choice for highest conversions.
Multi-step conversions can also be improved via tools like A/B testing. LeadGen App provides A/B testing features and automatically finds out the winning form variant after presenting form visitors different forms. Most importantly however, the character of using steps instead of a long vertical forms is a powerful tool that encourages a lot more people to complete forms.
How to use Multi-Step forms on Mobile
Due to the format of just showing one or few questions per step, multi-step forms can provide a better mobile experience than classical web forms. With LeadGen App you can effortlessly build multi-step form designs for mobile devices. Our forms are responsive and provide a seamless mobile experience.
Using all the various design customization options, e.g. choosing between different question styles, you can also build forms specifically for mobile screens. For example, when using image buttons, it's a good practice to use 2 or a maximum of 3 button columns, otherwise the button description text is likely not going to fit mobile screens.
Two examples of mobile-optimized LeadGen forms. On the left a form using a 2-column image button style. On the right, horizontal buttons using the full page width width for better readability.
About the Author
Christopher Lier, CMO LeadGen App
Christopher is a specialist in Conversion Rate Optimisation and Lead Generation. He has a background in Corporate Sales and Marketing and is active in digital media for more than 5 Years. He pursued his passion for entrepreneurship and digital marketing and developed his first online businesses since the age of 20, while still in University. He co-founded LeadGen in 2018 and is responsible for customer success, marketing and growth.