Website forms come in different forms, each great for different reasons. Their commonality, however, is that they’re great at gathering key information on your website visitors and encouraging them to sign up for your email list

In this blog post, we’ll be talking specifically about two kinds of website forms: online forms and pop-up forms. Both online forms and pop-up forms are important when it comes to converting leads on your website. But they differ in how they get the job done, as well as in the benefits they offer.

A comprehensive marketing strategy will include both of these tactics. However, understanding how, when, and why to employ an online form vs. a pop-up form (and vice versa) is key to making them work. To help you do it, we’ve put together a quick breakdown of what each type of form is and what it can do for you. Here’s what to know.

What are Pop-up Forms?

Pop-up forms do exactly what they say: pop up on the page at a time and place that you designate in advance. The goal is to catch leads at the most opportune moment possible, targeting both timing and placement in order to increase the form’s conversion capabilities and move more leads down the funnel.

Why Pop-up Forms are Beneficial

While it’s true that pop-up forms provide a momentary disruption to a user’s experience on the page, many marketers will tell you that their benefits outweigh the interruption. Here are some of the strategic advantages that a pop-up form offers:

  • They can engage a visitor before they exit your site. You can set a pop-up form to deploy right as someone starts to navigate off of a page, providing one last opportunity for engagement before they move on to somewhere else.
  • They can be optimized to get in front of the most people. Unlike embedded forms, which typically live on a designated page, pop-up forms can be placed anywhere they’re most likely to be seen—including your pages that receive the highest website traffic.
  • They’re fully customizable. Personalize your pop-ups based on a user’s on-site activities. Based on what they’re doing, you can arrange for the pop-up to facilitate an email newsletter sign-up, a whitepaper download, or a demo request, among other things.

What are Online Forms?

Online forms, or embedded forms, live in a permanent place on your site and serve one set purpose. They’re generally placed on the header or footer of the page, or on their own landing page, based on what you’re trying to achieve and what gets you the best results.

Why Online Forms are Beneficial

Though less dynamic than pop-up forms, you’re still likely to see embedded forms in ample use on most brands’ websites. Here’s why.

  • They’re innately data-driven. Because online forms appear consistently on certain pages, it’s easy to track their performance. You can also use data tracking techniques such as heat mapping to figure out where they’re best suited to live.
  • They’re static. You can target efforts specifically around driving traffic to an embedded form’s landing page. This includes using online promotions, organic and paid ads, and other pushes to make sure that more eyes end up on the form.
  • They can generate helpful feedback. Online forms don’t only have to be used to collect contact information. You can also utilize an embedded form as a method for garnering user feedback, such as providing a place for users to quickly and easily leave a review or rate your product or service.

Why Both Types of Forms Matter for Your Business

The question isn’t whether you should use pop-up forms or online forms — it’s how you use them together to get the best results.

Every effective marketing strategy relies on a variety of methods and approaches. A mixed approach, one that uses both types of forms, for example, is the best way to get the most out of your strategy and see more people provide their information and sign up for your email marketing.

Any comprehensive on-site marketing strategy should include thoughtfully-placed pop-up forms and embedded forms, and you should be doing regular data check-ins to see what’s working and where. Based on that information, you’ll be able to ensure you get the most bang for your buck and that any and all forms on your site are set up for success.