You’ve heard it before — forms are the gold standard when it comes to capturing leads, learning about industry trends, doing market research, and even just getting some customer feedback. It might be one of the older methods in the book, but old is gold.
Before we dive into the best form builder tools for 2020, though, let’s talk about what a form builder exactly is.
With no shortage of options, the best form builder apps tend to be quite similar and user-friendly. Whether you want to make a contact form, a sign-up form, or a survey, form tools are the easiest way to create web forms, with drag and drop questions, multiple form fields, and different color and structure options.
Once your responses start coming in, most forms will also import each entry into a spreadsheet or centralized database and send you notifications when people complete them.
Regardless of the form builder you choose, there are a few key steps you’ll want to follow when creating a form for the purpose of lead generation:
How to Create Online Forms
Identify goals of the form.
Pick a form builder tool.
Include a name field.
Request any demographic information you might need.
Include an area where the user can identify a role.
Ask for contact information such as an email or phone number.
Include a company box.
Ask about company size.
Create a follow-up email that’s triggered when forms are completed.
1. Identify goals of the form.
Are you aiming to generate sales leads, or are you merely planning to add contacts to your email list. Once you identify what you’re looking for from your prospects, you’ll be able to determine what information you’ll need to get from them on the form.
2. Pick a form builder tool.
Many online form builders are free or very affordable, but they might not have all the features you need. For example, some might not embed well on to the site you use because of your CMS. Meanwhile, others might not link up to your email marketing software or CRM. Figure out which tool is the best match for your business needs.
3. Include a name field.
This step is pretty self explanatory. As you begin creating a form, you’ll obviously want to get your visitor’s first and last name.
4. Request any demographic information you might need.
If you’re simply looking to add people to your email list, you probably won’t to need too much about them. But, if you’re sending out a form to generate leads or learn more about your target audience, you might want to ask a few more specific questions, such as age, gender, or location, to get a feel for who your prospects are.
5. Include an area where the user can identify a role.
Along with demographic information, you might want to find out information about your prospect’s role. This can give you added insight on the daily life of your prospect and signal how much buying or decision power they have within their company. For example, if a CEO fills out your form, they might be a stronger lead than an intern with no purchasing power.
6. Ask for contact information such as an email or phone number.
Obviously, you’ll need to get in contact with a prospect or lead at some point. However, keep in mind that you’ll want to ask for an appropriate amount of contact information. For example, if someone’s signing up for your marketing newsletter, they might just want to give their email. Meanwhile, if someone is interested in getting a demo of your product, they’ll be more likely to give their phone number or work address.
7. Include a company box.
Along with learning about a person’s role, you might also want to learn more about their company to get an idea of organizations that might be interested in your product or service. For this reason, include a form area where they can note where they work, where there office is located, and what type of business category their company falls within.
8. Ask about company size.
While a startup might not be able to buy an enterprise product, an enterprise company might want a more intricate or advanced product. Knowing the size of the company you’re going to try to sell to is important For this reason, it can be helpful to have the company size box on a form.
9. Create a follow-up email that’s triggered when forms are completed.
After someone takes the time to fill out your information, it looks polite, credible, and professional to send a thank you email or have a “Thank you.” appear on the screen. This shows the visitor that you value their information and have received their form.
Online Form Builder Tools
Form tools today usually offer many different features too, like progressive profiling, smart fields, and interactivity.
HubSpot’s online form builder is one of the most powerful form builder tools available. The tool combines the foundations of form creation with cutting-edge technology to give you much more capability than a normal online form builder can — and it’s also free.
Even though it’s one the more advanced form builder tools, you don’t need any technical expertise when you use HubSpot’s form builder. You can quickly create forms with the drag-and-drop form builder and convert anonymous website visitors into leads with unlimited forms, fields, submissions, and custom forms that all connect to your contact database.
Once someone fills your form out, they’re automatically routed to HubSpot CRM. Once they’re in your CRM system, you can set reminder tasks, call them, and send them one-to-one personalized emails, letting you better manage and nurture relationships with your contacts.
HubSpot’s form builder also has data enrichment for contact profiles and deep integration with HubSpot’s marketing hub, making it a good option for teams who want a single system to manage their forms, contacts, and marketing efforts.
Have a WordPress site but still want to leverage HubSpot tools to generate leads? With HubSpot’s WordPress plugin, you can create forms, assign them within a workflow, and use them to generate landing-page leads. Contacts generated with your forms can also be stored in your HubSpot CRM.
The tool also makes the form creation process easy. Although it’s from HubSpot, you don’t need to leave your WordPress dashboard to get the same form-building experience that you can find on our Marketing Hub.
Another WordPress-powered plugin, Gravity Forms helps you create amazing forms with the help of multi-page/multi-step forms and a number of time-saving features.
With this tool, you have access to a variety of integration options and add-ons for email software, messenger platforms, payment options, and automation software. You can also create advanced forms, but, for non-techies, they can be a little complicated to set up.
Pabbly Form Builder offers unlimited form submissions, file uploads, payment collection tools, users, storage, multi-page forms, conditional logic, and conversion rate optimization features.
The tool includes a highly customizable form builder that enables you to create, customize, personalize each form you build. You can adjust the spacing between different form fields, customize colors, shadows, borders, background, font styling, and much more.
Pabbly also offers multiple types of forms to embed on your website, sliding and pop-up forms you can use to capture leads for your business.
When it comes to organizing your form submissions, you can easily manage incoming submissions with a variety of pre-built filters, like “new” or “needs response”.
Paperform is a powerful form builder with a modern UX that makes it easy to create a form in a matter of minutes. With a focus on customization, Paperform is a great solution for creating beautiful and advanced forms that suit your specific needs.
The tool features a wide range of question types, as well as conditional logic and calculation fields to help you create a smart form that interacts with your respondents in real-time. It also offers fully customizable elements, including media, typography and the ability to add custom HTML and CSS as needed.
Paperform also supports online payments and offers 1000+ app integrations to fully automate your workflows. Easily embed and share your forms, access advanced form analytics and set up automatic email responses.
Forminator is a WordPress plugin that allows you to create highly customizable forms using its drag and drop form builder. What makes Forminator unique compared to all the popular modern forms plugins out there is that it’s completely free. At this time, all features and integrations are included out of the box.
That’s not to say it lacks functionality either. Common premium form features such as polls, quizzes, frontend posting, calculations, and even accepting payments via Stripe and PayPal are all free. It is one of the most feature-rich free form plugins out there.
Google Forms’ unique selling point is that it’s fast, free, and easy to use, with unlimited forms and entries. It’s also built into the Google Docs suite, so it automatically pulls your data into a Google Sheet for you to analyze.
While Google Forms’ design may not be customizable, this form tool is best for quick market surveys, rather than a professional survey or lead capture form placed on your website.
Ultimate Form Builder Lite is a free WordPress plugin. The tool includes five beautiful pre-designed form templates you can choose from. You can create as many forms as you want and you can also preview them before using them on your site. The forms are stored in a database that can be exported to .csv.
JotForm is an online form builder with an intuitive visual editor, known for making form building faster than ever.
The tool has all the normal form building capabilities as well as unique fields to customize your own forms. It also integrates with almost every marketing platform.The free plan caps out at 5 forms, with up to a 100 entries per month.
Typeform takes an innovative approach to the world of form building. With an intuitive design, the tool guides you through the form creation process one question at a time and makes the experience of building a survey fun and interactive.
Typeform is also great for customer surveys and user research — you can create and send standalone survey links out to your list. If you want to try something with an engaging, straightforward user experience, the tool is a solid option.
Microsoft Forms is a simple, easy-to-use form creator that integrates with the Microsoft Office suite. With full customization options, users can quickly make surveys, feedback forms, quizzes, and lead forms.
Since Microsoft forms doesn’t integrate directly with an online CMS, the tool might not be the best option for lead generation. But the form builder can collect data in real-time and import all your responses in an Excel spreadsheet, so you can perform powerful yet simple analysis with Excel filters and pivot tables.
Form Crafts is a basic form builder tool that has a user-friendly interface and simple design.
The WordPress plugin allows you to create moderately customizable lead capture forms, email sign-up forms, surveys, and feedback collection forms. One of Form Crafts’ best features is that it’ll send you email notifications about your lead generation process, so you don’t need to constantly monitor your results anymore.
FormTools is a flexible form creator that focuses on feedback, data, insights, and beautiful form building.
The form builder tool allows you to create most types of forms and tracks your results on a visually appealing dashboard. FormTools also give you an option to integrate their app with a third party provider of your choosing, like Salesforce or Dropbox.
Part of the SurveyMonkey family, Wufoo is one of the oldest form tools in the space. You can design some appealing online forms with it and it’s super easy to use.
The app also allows you to embed forms on your website, set up payment fields that are compatible with a number of payment processing services, and turn on automatic email notifications to alert you when someone fills out your form.
Ninja Forms is a powerful WordPress form tool that’s used by wide range of marketers, from novices to gurus.
The tool is free, integrates quickly and easily with a number of different tools, and it can greatly boost your marketing efforts. Ninja Forms also offers unlimited forms, fields and submissions. But, sometimes, the tool lacks clear documentation and can be difficult to use when you want to customize your forms.
If you’re looking for a form builder with sound logic branches and robust payment fields, Cognito Forms is for you. The form tool also offers calculated fields, conditional logic, repeating fields, and more, making it easy and simple to create advanced forms.
Cognito Forms integrates with Stripe, PayPal, and Square and offers a free version that includes unlimited forms with 500 entries per month.
FormStack is mostly focused on building business and professional style forms. The tool’s best features include intelligent forms, built-in workflows, and seamless integrations with Google Sheets, PayPal, and MailChimp (and others through their API).
One of FormStack’s more sophisticated features is an A/B testing tool that can compare different versions of your forms and tell you what performs better.
The tool also offer electronic signatures and payments, and users can save their form drafts and return later to finish them.
Clearbit Forms lets you leverage smart forms and flexible data enrichment technology to automatically collect specific user information. This lets you create shorter forms with less fields, and, in turn, produce happier customers (because who doesn’t love a short survey?)
With two plans designed for startups and enterprises, Clearbit can definitely meet your modern marketing needs.
SurveyAnyPlace has proven that surveys don’t have to be boring. With their gamification elements, interactive features, and incentives like coupon codes, you can make all your surveys and quizzes fun and enjoyable.
By leveraging SurveyAnyPlace’s unique approach to form building, you can easily collect leads, information, and insights from visitors.
One of the most popular WordPress plugins, Contact Form 7, has upwards of 5 million active installations on the CMS.
A free tool for everyone to use, it’s a super simple and basic form creator with a heavy focus on contact forms. But it’s also important to note that the tool has some limitations, especially with its customization options.
An open source platform, Conversational Form lets you transform your web form into a simple chatbot.
By using a novel and clever way to gather data, this form builder is bound to drive user engagement. At the same time, though, due to its new entrance into the marketing space, it might be difficult to learn your way around the tool.
As one of the easiest drag and drop form tools out there, FormBakery lets you build professional forms in the most straightforward way possible.
For those looking to build a super simple form in under 5 minutes, the tool is a great choice. You can quickly customize forms with your own designs, with no coding necessary. If you’re looking to build a more advanced form, though, FormBakery may not be the right choice for you.
DeviceMagic is a mobile form solution on a mission to ditch all paperwork, automate lead generation processes, and enhance data collection.
Since the tool solely focuses on building mobile forms, it has a number of great benefits over other form builders, like quick and accurate data collection, lower operations costs, and less time wasted on administrative work.
Most form builders offer all the essentials needed to make a basic form, but your options start to narrow down when you want better customization and deeper data analysis. Ultimately, for you, the best form tool depends on your team’s purpose and particular business needs.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2019, but was updated for comprehensiveness in March 2020.