Website Lightbox Forms – What, Why, When, and How - FireDrum Email Marketing

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Incorporating Lightbox Forms into your Website and Best Practices

Managing Email Memberships Series Pt. 3
When you think about it, there are two main sides to a website – user experience and lead generation. As marketers and business owners, we want to support each website objective, providing a friendly experience for our visitors while still raking in new sales. Step back and ask yourself – is that even possible?
Lightbox forms, or forms that appear on your website based on a specific user action, is a great tool to generate new leads but may conflict with your user experience if not executed correctly. Use this blog as your guide to creating the perfect lightbox form. We’re sharing the where, when, why, and hows to achieving lightbox form mastery.

What are Lightbox Forms?

Lightbox forms are special forms that will appear on top of website content to call attention to a specific deal or alert. Although more popular 10 years ago, lightboxes are still used to collect user information (name, email, phone number, etc). Popular types of lightbox forms include:

  • “Welcome mat” or overlay forms. These types of forms fill up the entire screen, blocking users from moving forward until they exit.
  • Half screen or quarter screen overlays. These lightboxes appear over half or a fourth of the page, blocking any movement until the form is dismissed.
  • Top banner forms. These top forms don’t block any content, by “stick” to the top of the page during scroll.
  • Slide-in forms. These forms don’t block any content but will slide in from the side of the bottom of the page.

Why Use Lightbox Forms?

In our observation and internal testing, lightbox forms really do work. They’re simple to set up and offer increased conversion rates across the board. On average, people incorporate lightbox forms throughout their website see 10% more signups.
These numbers are great, but we need to remember that it’s not all about lead generation. How do we keep each page user-friendly while still incorporating lightboxes?

When Should You Add Lightbox Forms?

We recommend adding lightbox forms throughout your site and blog, but only have them appear on timed based schedules or triggered action. With most form integrations, you can choose when the form is shown (i.e., 2 minutes after someone opens your website), and on what intervals.This is the “time-based” component we’re talking about. Triggered actions are based on user movements. Think of it this way, if one of your visitors click on a button or scroll to a particular part of the homepage, you can have your lightbox form appear. Common lightbox triggered actions include: Both of these display types come in handy when you’re trying to capture your user’s attention.

  • Page entrances. As soon as your visitors open the homepage or a landing page, you can have your slide-in, banner, or half screen form appear. We don’t recommend using the welcome mat form for page entrances (distorted user experience).
  • Page scrolls. Once your visitors scroll to a certain part of the homepage (maybe right after the first slider section), you can have any form type emerge.
  • Exit intents. Before your visitors leave your site, have an exit intent lightbox, lightbox. This type of form is only triggered if a user clicks the “X” in their browser. This is the best place to use the welcome mat form.
  • Element clicks. Have a form materialize as soon as your visitor clicks a certain element on your website.

To discover what type of form(s) would work best for your website, launch several tests. Monitor the results within the FireDrum app and through your form integration. Are you new to the form world? Try using one of our form integrations! We offer API integrations for Privi, MailMunch, and WuFoo.

How to Create the Perfect Lightbox Form

There is such thing as flawless. Mastering the art of lightbox forms may take time, but there are certain practices you can follow to improve the overall look and conversion rate. If you’re struggling to create these forms, connect with our email specialists. We’ll help you design, launch, and strategize.

  1. Be relevant. Advertising a discount for golf shoes in exchange for an email on a page about baby clothes isn’t relevant. Although it may take time, it’s worth it. Work with your team to develop unique forms for each page or section to appeal to that audience. If you don’t offer products, try altering your messages to promote each service. Optimize your blog by offering free education (guides, templates, etc).
  2. Be engaging. One mistake we commonly see people making is having their form appear before anyone would understand the benefit of filling it out. Think of it this way, lightbox forms are a standing salesman. They’re not trying to be intrusive, but there to answer your questions and encourage you to buy their products. With your lightbox forms, have them appear when it’s the best time. The start of a blog post isn’t the best time. Having the form materialize halfway through will prove more effective. If you’re directing people to a specific video, have an overlay appear over it right after it starts isn’t a good idea. Having the form appear once they finish watching the video might promote more interaction.
  3. Be actionable. Give your users a reason to fill out the form. Just having a lightbox appear with a subscribe form won’t generate sign-ups. Be creative with this space! First, determine what you’re offering. Once you figure out what you’re promoting, create an actionable title and description. If you’re promoting a discount, don’t just say “Get a 10% discount.” With today’s savvy audience, it’s important that you personalize and humanize each message.
  4. Be mindful of your visitors. Remember, your forms must be user-friendly. There’s nothing worse than opening a page and automatically being directed to an email subscribe form. What are they even subscribing to? Give your users time to learn about your brand before making any big decisions. When you’re configuring your forms, make sure the exit button is present and clear.

Closing Notes

Lightbox forms are a great tool for lead generation if used and targeted properly. Discover what type of lightbox form is best for your business by testing and monitoring results through FireDrum and your form provider. Work with your team to develop relevant, engaging, actionable, and mindful forms.


Get expert advise about lightbox forms from our email specialists. We’ll help you discover the best way to increase member sign-ups.

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