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Email Marketing

What Lead Capture is, About its Channels, Mistakes, Examples

Andrey Blagov

Leading CRM Marketer

What Lead Capture is and Why You Need It

Lead capture is the process of gathering contacts who are potentially interested in a company's services. It also concerns maintaining competent communication with the clients that increases the chances of a potential sale.
Lead capture is not just a form of subscription with good conversion. It is a competent approach to gathering contacts of potential clients and working with them. This takes CPL (Cost Per Lead) and LTV (Lifetime Value of a client) into account which, as a result, leads to a rise in sales. Such a definition of lead capture helps to concentrate on the benefit to the business.
It is important to balance between quality and quantity in lead capture: you don't need to try to gather as many contacts as possible, aim for their quality - you need those who can become clients in the future.
In this article, we've gathered possible channels for lead capture and will explain how to work with the received leads.

How to Get Ready For the Lead Capture Launch

There are several things you need to think through beforehand.
1. Organizing your work with the UTM tags: you should decide beforehand what you put into 'source' and 'medium', and how you form a 'campaign'. You can create a table and insert all the possible tags variants into it:
2. Storing the lead's registration place in the user's profile. There can be many options of a lead getting into the base: they could have filled out a questionnaire offline, left an application, or subscribed via pop-up. All these things can be used to build communication with contacts from the base, that's why you need to store all of this data.

3. Choosing lead capture channels. Here you must take the maximum amount of factors into account possible. For example, if we compare push notifications in the web browser, an email channel, and text messaging, then we must pay attention to traffic on the site and expenses for each channel.

4. Planning the first communications with the leads. If the lead got into the database and the communication with them hasn't started, they will snooze fast. Creating communications for already snoozed leads is way harder than for ones who had just registered.

5. Creating the work strategy. You don't need to gather leads just for fun. First of all, you should understand what you're aiming for, and build your process keeping this in mind. Then, you will understand how to build communication when you receive a contact.

6. Understanding what integrations you may need. Several systems will probably participate in lead capture:
  • a lead will go to an email or marketing automation platform from pop-ups;
  • the leads' behavior data should be transferred to the automation system from the site;
  • at a certain stage, the contacts should get into the CRM system or vice versa, and from the CRM system, they should go to the automation platform.
If all these things are set up poorly, you can lose a huge amount of data. You should also check all of the forms at launch: how they work, what they show after being filled out, whether they are in conflict with the site's services, e.g. with web pushes.

7. Synchronizing the expectations you create while generating leads and the following communication. Roughly speaking, if in your subscription pop-up you promise to send a selection of the best kitty photos of the week and then you send photos of rabbits you will get leads, but the level of the engagement will be low (but come on, who doesn't like rabbits?)

Free Lead Capture

There are several cases of when lead capture turns out to be free.

If You Already Have a Database

For example, you've been gathering contacts, but haven't worked with them in any way - this is a real opportunity to get leads. Yes, probably, some of the contacts don't exist anymore, and another part has lost its interest in your company. On the other hand, you can still work with the remaining part. You should resubscribe them - remind them about yourself and suggest renewing their interest in your emails.
You can also suggest subscribing to the updates on another channel, for example, in a messenger.
Welcome Emails and Examples of their Design

Referral Program

The mechanics here are standard: ask the current people in your database to tell their friends about the product for a bonus. Bonus means expenses so in this case, you have to properly calculate the referral program terms for it to bring profit.

A Group in Social Networks

You should always keep in mind that a subscriber on a social network is not a lead yet. They can, or they can't (more likely) see the news on your page. They probably don't even remember that they are subscribed to you and some of the subscribers' accounts aren't active for a long time.
It's another matter if they have agreed to receive personal messages from you. Such individual communication will be much more effective and you will be able to work with the lead, for example, segment them with the help of a chatbot.

Partner Emails

Partner emails help the partner companies exchange their databases. For example, you can hold a cooperative promotion. Another thing is if a supplier sells their goods on the marketplace. They can send an email to their database and tell their subscribers that they can now buy their goods there and the marketplace can send them a message that the goods became available.

Online and Offline

Everything becomes harder when you have lead capture both online and offline as you have to glue the data together - understand when the buyer online and offline is one and the same person and when - two different people. If you don't do this then the clients' data will be incorrect so it won't be possible to calculate CPL and LTV correctly.
The regular customers' cards help to identify the client, gather data and send it to CRM. It is in the brands' interest to help the user get it as soon as possible.

Channels in Lead Capture

There are several variants of gathering data about the users online and offline.

Cookies and Webhooks

A cookie is not a lead yet as we don't get the user's contact data with their record. But via cookies you can record the visitor's behavior on the site, information about their actions will connect to the profile. Advanced platforms are used to doing this. Also, according to a concrete behavior scenario, you can suggest to the visitor to leave their or her contact data. For example, if they or she has read 2 posts in the blog or visited a certain page of the site.
Another possible scenario is purchase motivation. The client has been examining the product on the site for a long time, has read the reviews on the card, but hasn't placed an order. Knowing such scenarios, you can use a pop-up window to offer to finish a purchase.

Lead Capture Forms

Inline Forms

Inline forms are the forms built in the content of the site. They are not necessarily static and can hide or appear depending on the terms you need. For example, you can show the form for a promo-code input if a user came from an email.
Inline forms, unlike pop-ups, do not overlap the content of the site.
Here is how an inserted form may look like:

Pop-up Forms

Nobody likes the pop-up window, yet still, they are effective. It is important to notice that a pop-up will be effective for lead capture and won't scare the site visitors away.
There are special services for the pop-up windows setting: e.g. Pop Mechanic. Many CRM platforms also have such functionality within themselves and this allows you to avoid integrating several systems and to keep all of the data in one place.
There are different pop-ups options.

Standard Pop-up

Just a form that shows up under certain conditions: if the visitor left a certain channel, spent a certain amount of time, or looked through x pages.
Such forms' conversion depends on the offer in them. You can see a form in the Spa Dream internet shop in the picture above. Its conversion is good - 5% of the visitors leave their email. They are most likely attracted by the 10% discount. If this form offered to subscribe to the news, its conversion would have been lower.
Conversion also depends on the way the window looks. We had this next case. On the "Honey and Marmalade from Russia" the pop-up window showed up at the very bottom of the viewscreen as a thin strip with a suggestion to subscribe. Such a window didn't annoy the users and didn't interfere with viewing the website. 0.9-1.1% of users have subscribed through it.
Having watched through the visit record on the web visor we've discovered that the users almost don't notice this pop-up and don't interact with it. So we've made it more noticeable - now the window appears right at the center of the page and then the conversion has risen up to 3.5%. Wherein the depth of the view hasn't decreased reliably.

Two-step Pop-ups

It is a widget+pop-up bundle. For example, the official Bethesda Merch Store has a landing with a rewards program widget (lower left corner).
Clicking on the widget a pop-up form containing the call to sign up to get special rewards appears.
The widget turns out to be noticeable and doesn't interfere with viewing the page and the pop-up window is shown to the interested visitors only.

Multipage or Dynamic Pop-ups

There are pop-up windows with special functions. For example, lots of you have seen a roulette like this, that allows to involve the users into the discount giveaway and at the same time collects the contact data:
You can also use other mechanics. For example, a user is offered to take a survey and the results of it are to be sent to the email address.
This variant involves the visitors, but it is difficult to set up and implement.

Feedback Windows

These windows are generally used for more complicated products, e.g. car dealers use them. To understand the terms of the purchase and payment potential clients order a call back to ask the necessary questions. Here is an example of our own.
How to Write a Compelling Subject Line and Improve Open Rate

Providing Access to the Content

Another good way of generating leads is to offer useful content in exchange for their contact data. For example, there are materials on some websites that can be downloaded if you fill out the form:


The browser notifications subscription is a rather simple thing. There are two mechanics. The first one is when entering the website the user sees a standard browser pop-up window right away:
As people are familiar with it, they can close it or block the notifications without even looking at it. But this variant doesn't suggest any extra steps.
Another variant is a two-step one. Firstly, a widget appears on the website, suggesting you to subscribe to the notifications:
And clicking the widget will summon the standard browser window that will offer to confirm the subscription.
In this case, another step is added that can reduce the conversion of subscribers. But those who have subscribed are surely the target subscribers and not people who've accidentally clicked something.
Here are several things you should know about the browser push notifications:
- notifications deliverability cannot be 100% because of the technical features of the channel work - sometimes it is even 25% so the expected effect may not be acquired:
- notification click percentage is usually not very high, everything depends on what exactly is sent in the pushes, that's why you should send unique and interesting content;

- pushes cannot contain much information (standard: title, clarification/description, an image, and CTA);

- percentage of subscriptions from web-pushes are much lower than from other channels, that's why it is usually better to use them as an additional channel;

- it's difficult to unsubscribe from the pushes, the difficulty depends on the user's device and browser;

- in most cases, the channel is suitable to initialize the beginning of the subscriber's session on the website, but not to sell anything.


You can contact the user via online chat and offer them something. That's why the chats can be classified as a lead capture channel.
You can not only show the chat with a "We are online, ask us anything" message, but also set up a chatbot and show the chat itself under certain conditions. When using a chat you can also suggest ordering a callback and voila - you have a telephone number now.
The users' most frequent behavior with the chat during the session is closing the chat window. This is why it is recommended that you hide the chat by default, and open it with an icon on the website on the side or other panels so the user could open it on their own if needed.
You can set up automatic answers and summon the company employee into the dialogue in most of the systems. For example, you can do it on the Dashly platform.

Referral Programs

A referral program is difficult to compose, but it is transparent for a client and effective. To get new leads all you have to do is just to address your existing subscribers and offer them a bonus if they bring in their friends.
This kind of program's conversion and success depends on its working conditions and value for the user. If the program is composed correctly it will bring the new leads with the help of the activity of the current ones pretty much for free.

Partner Emails

Mutual emails from partner companies. You can come up with a mutual promotion and send an announcement to all your databases. For instance, Capcom, the owners and developers of the Resident Evil franchise, has collaborated with another videogame - Dead by Daylight, and in their newsletter, Capcom is promoting the partners' game and their mutual content.
Such promotions bring leads to Capcom's partners and sales Capcom itself.

Social Network Groups

Social networks can become a part of the lead capture process.
Firstly, when offering someone to subscribe to your page you need to think of what profit they will gain from it. Secondly, you need to understand what you will do with these subscribers, what you are aiming at with them. Just posting in the group is not enough to turn the subscribers into the product's users.
For example, the Burger King group on Facebook has nearly 9 million members that always see new content in the form of humorous posts, surveys, and special offers.
But the main goal is to transfer the subscribers to the new Burger King app. There is a special CTA in the group's description for it:
But still, you should evaluate your resources and understand if you can regularly fill the group with interesting content that will help you with achieving your goals.


Chatbots are available in many messengers:
  • WhatsApp;
  • Viber;
  • Facebook Messenger;
  • Telegram.
Chat can be successfully used for:
  • lead capture;
  • segmentation;
  • familiarizing with the product;
  • involvement;
  • retention;
  • sales increasing.
Popular platforms that can be used to set the chatbots up:
To capture the leads with the help of chatbots, the user needs motivation for the first message to the bot. The mechanics can be different depending on the product and the messenger. The important thing is after the dialogue with the chatbot in a messenger the connection with the user remains in this dialogue, even if they didn't make the target action.
Typically the users are sent to the chatbot with the help of widgets on the subscription website.

Installing an App

If a product has an app, installing it will also help to capture leads. Signing in in apps you need some contact data as email or telephone number, e.g. Zara:
Getting contact data will allow you to include the user in the communication chain. But these channels require expenses and sending push notifications is way cheaper. This is why it's not necessary to think about emails or SMS right away, you can stimulate the user to allow notifications in their phone. Besides, such notifications are way more convenient to bind with other marketing channels to build communication chains in most CRM systems.


Collecting leads offline is important for those products that are sold both offline and online. Uniting the online and offline work results is really important to understand the success (or lack thereof) of the work, but it is often expensive and difficult.
It's rather difficult to glue together the offline and online data. For example, Uniqlo has an online store and lots of offline ones all across the globe. A subscriber can get an email with a promotion, get interested, and buy something offline, and not in the online store. It turns out that the email has worked, but the senders won't know it.
Uniqlo uses promo codes that will show the items bought in the official app if scanned at the checkout at an offline store. They become a unified client's identificatior both online and offline.
The offline lead capture should be arranged in a way that you could understand its result and see the way offline and online influence each other.

A Phone Call or an SMS

If a client approached the company via a phone call or an SMS, their phone number would stay in the CRM. In order to correctly read CPL (cost per lead), you need to track the source of the phone call or SMS.
For phone calls, it is done via spoof telephone numbers. Special services capture separate telephone numbers for different offline sources. The spoof telephone numbers services are costly, so most small companies prefer not to separate offline for the different channels and calculate the CPL based on the general results.
The situation is the same with small companies and SMS. The usual scheme of lead capture looks like this: a person is suggested to send an SMS to a short number. But the short number is costly, so small companies cannot afford it.
Congratulating Your Subscribers on Your Company's Birthday

QR Codes

QR codes help to transfer people from offline to online.
Usually, they put a link that leads to the landing into the QR code. In this case, it is easy to track a channel - you just need to place UTM tags into the link.
You can create interesting mechanics with QR codes. They will involve the user and motivate them to leave their contact data.
For example, one company places the QR codes at events with great amounts of people. Scanning the QR code, people get to the page that suggests completing a quest. To complete it, they need to leave their email or phone number. Playing the quest gets the user familiarized with the product.


Nearly everyone has come across a survey that needs to be filled out when you get a loyalty card after you buy something in a shop or with an application in some tourist bureau. In such surveys, there are always spaces for a telephone number or email address and you can often see the "How did you hear about us?" question with answer options: from your friends, from the radio, internet, and so on.
The person filling these out typically doesn't understand that they become a lead at this moment and helps to identify the personal traffic source. Of course, there are no UTM tags and analytics system calculators in the survey, but it can show the general source. After transferring the survey into the electronic system, a new picture of the source of the new leads and buyers appears.
Surveys allow identifying the extent of the brand's publicity, whether people recommend it to their friends, how the radio commercial worked out, how often people come from online to offline, and many other things. This method is very important if offline takes up most part of the business, but still remains an additional, not the main, part.
Sometimes brands suggest filling out a poll or leaving a contact to get a sample of their product for free. For example, it can be done at expos where managers communicate with the visitors of the event. Such campaigns forward not only lead capture but also:
  • brand's advertisement;
  • familiarizing with the brand;
  • loyalty towards the brand;
  • starting using the brand's products;
  • familiarizing with the brand's advantages;
  • segmentation.
There are other methods of collecting leads offline and tracking their source, but they are not as important as the ones listed above. You shouldn't make the mistakes made by the large companies in the methods listed above.

Mistakes in Lead Capture

The most widespread mistakes in lead capture mostly happen in pursuit of a large number of leads. In this case, the quality is not taken into account and the product is analyzed casually. The mistakes can be of various kinds, but all of them lead to one thing - low-grade lead capture.
Mistakes in lead capture:
  • a desire to start getting leads as soon as possible;
  • setting up the standard methods independently of the product's peculiarities;
  • unwillingness to change anything in the technical part or add anything to it to increase the quality of the work;
  • a big amount of subscription forms: a tendency to get the leads by all means;
  • many subscription channels: subscribing a person to something or to everything at once;
  • no use for the visitor during and after subscribing;
  • long subscription forms;
  • launching lead capture without tests before and after;
  • not setting up the welcome or other essential chains;
  • calling to subscription deceives the buyer, doesn't correspond or highly exaggerates its value;
  • the number of the pop-up windows is not thought through and annoys the visitors;
  • subscription to only one channel or no choice for the visitor;
  • technical error: incorrect mutual work of several pop-up windows or forms;
  • the traffic source is not set up and you can't understand where the leads come from;
  • the pursuit for a high percentage of the conversion into subscription and inevitably quality loss;
  • only launching lead capture without analyzing or upgrading its work;
  • unsuitable main communication channel;
  • the subscription bonus is too big and the subscriber isn't interested in further cooperation.
All the other mistakes have their source in the ones listed above, as lead capture is the early beginning of the communication with a user.


The result you will get from lead capture, in the end, depends on many factors, the correct choice of channels, correctly formulated expectations for the subscribers, and your work with leads.
It is important to evaluate the lead capture results not only by the quantity of the gained leads but also by their quality, as in the long run, it is important how much money this work will bring. For example, if the conversion into subscription differs on two similar websites: 5% on the one and 2% on another it doesn't say that the first one is more successful. Maybe, this 2% of the second website converts into deals better than the first website's 5%.
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