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Everything You Need To know about Capturing Leads with Opt-in Forms

By The Leadpages Team  |  Published Oct 09, 2015  |  Updated Mar 31, 2023
Leadpages Team
By The Leadpages Team
Ulb Blog 795x447

What if I told you you could get your money’s worth from Leadpages without ever building a landing page? If you’d just shrug and nod, then you’re probably already making excellent use of one of our platform’s most powerful tools: Leadboxes. Even people who build lots of landing pages sometimes don’t realize all they can do with these flexible two-step opt-in forms. And while it's super easy to set up Leadboxes from within any Leadpages landing-page template, no savvy marketer should be stopping there. Plus, while all Leadboxes are set up to convert well even if you don’t change any of the default settings, we’ve seen many people achieve astounding conversion-rate gains by doing a little careful customization. In this master post, I’m going to break down exactly what Leadboxes do, how they do it, and how you can use them to get more opt-ins for your business. There’s a lot here, so you may want to bookmark this page to consult any time you want to optimize your Leadboxes. Besides all the resources here, we’ve put together a free mega-pack of Leadboxes goodies for you to download. They’ll help you with everything from design to testing, and many of them will be useful to you with any kind of two-step opt-in forms you create (though naturally we hope this post will inspire you to use Leadboxes). This mega-pack includes:

  • Our special guide, “Top 10 Tips for Leadboxes That Work”
  • 5 animated progress-bar gifs for the top of your Leadboxes
  • 10 pro illustrations to use in your Leadboxes
  • 100+ call-to-action buttons to trigger your Leadboxes on any site

Click to download all this now:


What Are Leadboxes and Why Do They Work?

LeadPages’ landing page templates didn’t always look the way they do today. Some of the early pages had opt-in forms embedded right on the page. You can think of embedded opt-in forms as one-step opt-in forms. Some sites still use them today. They look like this: [caption id="attachment_6648" align="aligncenter" width="795"]

No insult intended, Nir.

No insult intended, Nir.[/caption] A couple years ago, we began studying the effect of turning these “taking pages”—that is, pages that made an immediate and obvious grab for visitors’ contact info—into “giving pages.” Once we saw the results, we knew we had to make a big change. When we required visitors to click a trigger button in order to view an opt-in form, we found that our landing pages routinely got about 30% more effective at capturing leads. We called the opt-in forms we created Leadboxes, and they’ve only been getting better since then. Why does placing a barrier in front of the form actually get more people to complete the form? There are several psychological factors in play. In order to find that one-step opt-in form above, I had to do some digging. Not because one-step forms are all that uncommon. Quite the opposite. Most of us have seen so many form fields on so many pages by now that we can pass them by without really registering that they’re there. I knew they were out there . . . but I had trouble calling any particular form to mind. Not a great sign. Then, too, people have also become more and more wary of sharing their information online, and it can feel psychologically risky to type in your contact information “out in the open.” Many people are unlikely to do that spontaneously. But ask as part of a well-defined process and you create a stronger—and potentially reassuring—context for the request. With a two-step opt-in form, you make the first request in the form of a call to action on your page, whether it’s a text link, an image, or a button. Once someone clicks, they can easily fall under the sway of behavioral inertia: the principle that once you start down a certain pathway, you’re likely to continue. One “yes” leads to another, until visitors have completed the process you’ve set up. (Later I’ll explain one extra feature we’ve added to amplify the effects of behavior inertia within Leadboxes.) Click the button below to see a real, live LeadBox™ in action (and go ahead and download if you'd like):


Today, every Leadpages membership allows you to create unlimited Leadboxes to collect unlimited opt-ins. To get inspiration from dozens of Leadpages members’ lovely Leadboxes, browse our archive of monthly LeadBox™ roundups.

How Do I Set Up a LeadBox™?

You can build Leadboxes from inside a Leadpages landing-page template or on their own. To start building one within a template, simply click on any call-to-action button while you’re working in the builder. If you want to set up a standalone LeadBox™, choose the Leadboxes tab as soon as you log into the app and create a new LeadBox™. From here, the process is the same as when you’re working in a template: 1. First, select an integration—that is, the service you want to receive the data that the LeadBox™ will collect. This could be an email service provider, a webinar-hosting platform, or . . . you. If you select Lead Notifications, you’ll simply receive an email with the data your leads provide every time someone opts in. Otherwise, you’ll also need to select the list you’re adding your leads to in the service you’re integrating. 2. If you’re using your LeadBox™ to offer a free report or another kind of lead magnet, you can choose to have it automatically sent to your leads by turning on Lead Magnet Delivery. Choose one of the assets you’ve uploaded to your Lead Magnet Delivery library (or save, name, and close your LeadBox™ and go upload a new one; you’ll find this area under your main account menu at the right). Choose “Send An Email After Someone Opts-in” and select your lead magnet from the dropdown menu. 3. Decide what kind of information you want your form fields to collect. Your integration service may specify the available fields. If your visitors have filled out another LeadBox™ anywhere on the platform, their information can prepopulate in these fields to make conversion even easier—or you can turn on Facebook Registration to pull in info from visitors who are also logged into Facebook. 4. Customize your LeadBox™ any way you want, changing the text, images, style, colors, and border to suit your brand. (Keep reading for some guidance on this.) 5. Choose a thank-you page, or save and close your LeadBox™ and create a new thank-you page just for this offer, then come back and add the URL. This completes what we call a Micro Funnel—see our funnel-building guide for more on this concept and why it’s so important to your marketing campaigns.

publish screen

5. Now it’s time to save and publish. If you’re creating a standalone LeadBox™, you have several options here:

  • Standard LeadBox™: This is simple: you click and the LeadBox™ pops up. But you still want to choose what your visitors click. You can link your LeadBox™ to a regular snippet of text, to an image you upload, or to a basic button you create within Leadpages.
  • Pop-up LeadBox™: You can also choose to have your LeadBox™ appear automatically after a certain number of seconds and/or pageviews. A timer allows people to dismiss the box and not see it again for a number of days you choose, so you won’t risk annoying regular visitors.
  • Exit LeadBox™: When a visitor moves to exit your page, you can make one last effort to give them what you’re offering with an exit LeadBox™.

If you’d like to place different Leadboxes on the same Leadpages landing page, that’s recently become possible—our Multiple Leadboxes feature lets you do this right inside the page builder. Watch the video to see this in action:

What Can I Use Leadboxes for?

Just about anything that requires an online signup. (One caveat: although we’re always adding integrations, you can’t currently use a LeadBox™ to process credit-card payments.) You can use LeadBoxes to offer . . .

  • Newsletter subscriptions
  • Updates on a product launch
  • Lead magnets such as free reports and white papers
  • Content upgrades on your blog posts (see some content upgrade ideas here)
  • Webinar and event registrations
  • Free consultations

To see how entrepreneurs have worked Leadboxes into their larger marketing strategies, check out our case studies on business coach Shannon Lavenia and e-learning consultancy LMS.org.

Where Can I Use Leadboxes?

You can place Leadboxes on any site where you can paste a line of HTML. That includes:

Leadboxes are fully compatible with mobile viewing, though they will appear in a new window. Visitors who dismiss the LeadBox™ window will automatically land back at the original page. If you don’t want this kind of mobile experience, however, you can suppress your LeadBox™ when your landing page is viewed on a mobile device. Because businesses tend to see exponential conversion increases as they increase their number of conversion opportunities—indeed, studies suggest there’s still room for massive improvement even after you hit 40 or 50 opt-in points—it’s worth using every avenue. To trigger a LeadBox™ outside your landing page, simply copy the code from the Publish box and paste it wherever you want the LeadBox™ to appear.

The Anatomy of an Effective LeadBox™

One of the best things about Leadboxes is the ability to split-test them to learn what kind of copy, design, and even timing connects best with your audience. We’ve learned a lot about effective LeadBox™ building from our own tests and from all the data our members have supplied—see our large and growing LeadBox™ split-test archive here for tons of detailed insights. Here are some best practices we’ve gleaned for each element:

  • Headline: Remind visitors what you’re offering them. Descriptive headlines such as “Download our free guide instantly via email” tend to be more effective than transactional copy such as “Enter your email address below.”
  • Form fields: Avoid collecting more information than you’ll actually use, since in most cases more form fields mean fewer opt-ins. But not always. If it’s important for you to project authority or security, visitors may feel more confident in you if you ask for a little more info.
  • Call-to-action button: A vivid color and a snappy message put the “action” into a call-to-action button. As with the headline, it’s often best to focus less on what visitors need to do (“CLICK HERE”) than on what they’ll get (“DOWNLOAD THE GUIDE”).
  • Image: Our default download icon performs well, but you can typically get even better results with a custom image. Consider using an illustration of what you’re offering, a high-quality stock image, or even a photo of yourself.
  • Progress bar: Split tests have repeatedly shown that a LeadBox™ with a progress bar out-converts one with none, and that an animated progress bar is even better. It's that whole behavioral inertia thing we mentioned above: indicate that people are already halfway done (and moving forward with every click), and they'll be likelier to go ahead and achieve "100% completion."

To help your Leadboxes convert as well as possible, we’ve created a mega-pack of LeadBox™ resources that includes a pack of animated progress bars, images, and an extensive list of our top optimization tips. Click for a free download:


How Can I Get Unlimited Leadboxes?

Just sign up for any Leadpages membership. At every level, you can create unlimited Leadboxes to capture unlimited leads on unlimited sites. Click here to assess which membership option is right for you.

Have any lingering questions about Leadboxes, or any success stories to share? Tell us in the comments!

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Leadpages Team
By The Leadpages Team
Ulb Blog 795x447
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