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Written by Richard Farrell
on April 14, 2017

Do you remember how, when we were children, we went fishing at the seaside?

We weren’t particularly good at choosing the bait in the beginning, were we? The tiny fish usually grabbed it off the hook then immediately swam away with their prize. Later, as teenagers, we became more skilled at catching larger fish. Remember that successful feeling of converting them to tasty meals by barbecuing them over driftwood fires? Now, as we are paving our own individual pathways in the business world, our goal is to use lead capturing forms to catch and convert a new type of fish - online leads. 

 

How to Increase Conversion with Lead Capturing Forms?

 Lead capturing performance

Naturally, we must be subtle about our inbound marketing, especially when gathering contact information from quality leads. We want our lead generation efforts to move them down our inbound sales funnel towards conversion. But before we do that, we need to gather some personal information. And that, in a nutshell, is the purpose of a lead capturing form.

Forms are horrible things, in any circumstance. We dread them so much we leave everything until the last minute, and then it’s a scramble to meet the deadline. We may agonize over some questions for reasons I won’t disclose here. Old habits die hard, and we navigate by stereotypes. I had a traumatizing experience with sushi fourteen years ago and I haven’t touched it since. By the same token, I hate completing web forms because I expect them to be irritating. However, when I use lead generation forms to gather information for sales enablement, I think they are better than sliced bread. Let’s understand the tension between these stereotypes and see how we can make our lead generation forms more effective for our digital marketing strategies.

 

Building Lead Capturing Forms that Convert

 Lead conversions statistcs

A contact form is our first conversation with a lead. We have drawn them to our site towards our digital marketing and can analyze if they like what they see, judging by the time they spend on the page. The trigger we set pops up our contact form in the style of a questionnaire. We want to learn more about them so we can prevent them falling off the hook. A lead capture page can be utilized in a variety of ways, from offering a free trial or an e-book download to providing personalized advice or a quote for their company. 

Now, if we were speaking to a visitor at our expo stand or a customer in our shop, we would hardly ask them a plethora of questions, would we? Or else they would back away because we are being too intrusive. Therefore, the conversation should collect just enough information so we know how best to exploit the opportunity forward without invading their privacy. 

Best Practice # 1: Limit the questions to those that probe their persona and where they are on their buyer’s journey so you can gauge your inbound marketing strategy. This information helps shape your follow-up communication after the lead capture form. You can view the analytics of how effective each of your lead conversion forms is via HubSpot. 

Read: 10 Ways to Convert Free Trial Users into Customers

 

Lead Capture Form Methodology

 

Let us imagine for a moment we are entertaining a hot prospect to a business lunch. They are also ‘interviewing’ us but we are brimming over with questions. Protocol prevents us from asking about our competition. But we are keen to understand their preferences and take away their business card with their email address and phone.

Returning to our online lead capture form we should maintain a general rule of keeping it brief and only asking the basics. If we can keep the fields down to five, we are off to a good start. Clearly, the minimum we need is a name and an email address. Adding one or two questions about their project status - perhaps using drop-down options - completes the picture without the hassle of longer forms.

Best Practice # 2: Conversion is a process. We must reel the fish in slowly, or they may refuse the bait and swim away. At this stage, we just want a foot in the door to better understand their needs. Then we can keep in contact with appropriate inbound lead nurturing strategies.

 

Contact Form Design

 lead-capturing-form-fields

 

Showcasing an effective design is a vital component of any successful digital content. The goal is to be as enticing to customers as possible, using growth driven design. Lead capture form positioning and design really do matter because this is the gateway through which our customers enter our lives.

Very few people I know read through to the end of a web page. I only do when I am actually making a purchase. Hence, we are always careful to position a lead capture form above the fold so users don't have to use the scroll bar to view it. Don't forget to place lead capturing forms on landing pages to increase visibility and head them with titles like ‘Yes I Want Your Offer’ so participants know what to do. And please don’t ask users to ‘submit’ their personal information as if we are their colonial masters!

Best Practice # 3: Make your lead capturing form a pleasure to complete with as little typing as you can arrange. Ask the least possible questions clearly indicating the mandatory form fields. Your customers see themselves as doing you a favor! 

 

The All-Important Call to Action

 

I touched on this a little earlier but it’s so important I want to emphasize the point. We see many calls to action throughout digital marketing. Most times, we don’t respond to them. Every time we do, we increase the likelihood of this happening again. What makes some calls to click work? What’s this inbound marketing secret?

The secret is cutting through the ‘click here’ and ‘submit’ jargon and speaking human to human. People like that, and they like a friendly tone even better. So never demand in your lead capture form. Besides, it is not your right to. Try altering your CTA button with a phrase like, ‘Yes, rush my free offer to me’ or ‘I am really interested to talk to you’. Keep experimenting!

Best Practice # 4: Keep trying new ideas to optimize your digital marketing. Rotate your form headlines, questions, and invitations in various combinations until you find what works with A/B testing. Your most important task is to secure those clicks from quality leads to increase your conversion rates. If you don’t, nothing else matters.

 

A Click is Not a Click Without a Follow-Through

 

Do you know the theme song from ‘Casablanca’, and how a kiss is not a kiss without a sigh? I thought I’d pop the thought because this article is quite long, and it has been a while since we were considering analogies. In digital marketing, a click is also not a click without an appropriate response back to the one who sent it. Our first step is sending a thank you, and mentioning the person’s name and perhaps their sphere of interest. The next step is reaching out via email asking how we may provide them with further assistance. Our fallback position is their permission to receive our email and blog updates. When we stay in touch via these inbound marketing strategies, they will remember us for giving them the best experience when they need us.

Best Practice # 5: Never stop nurturing a good lead or a customer. Competition is tight, and they have many demands on their time, especially with how saturated digital content online is nowadays. If we do not focus on lead generation, they will wiggle off the hook and swim away with the free information we gave. Persistence is what sells.

 

Read more about Inbound Best Practices in our Guide

 

Inbound Marketing Guide 

 

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