Guest post by Kamil Rextin
In the context of B2B business, the lead capture form plays a central role in the marketing/growth strategy of the company. It is the first point of contact your company has with a prospect and hopefully leads into continued engagement and revenue.
The humble form is in some ways, a gatekeeper to a deeper product experience, from signups, product onboarding, customer development surveys to downloading content like ebooks or webinars.
While I was working in the HR Technology space, the lead generation form was a vital asset in our marketing toolkit. The biggest challenges as a seed stage startup is customer development. In the process of discovering our market/customer fit, we needed data points. Our lead generation form asked for the standard information along with some open ended questions around; biggest challenges with HR related technologies and what kind of solution they were looking for.
All these data points helped us paint a more detailed persona of who our ideal customer was and what their expectations and experiences were when they signed up. This insight lead into crafting a more personalized product onboarding and marketing experience for the users, as well as helped target similar people.
But there’s a ton of studies floating around the internet that points out the inversely proportional relationship between form lengths and completion. In other words, the longer it takes someone to complete your form, the higher the odds are they’ll just bail. Not surprisingly our form completion rate was a mere 30%. Out of a 100 people who found us, only 30 actually completed the signup form and got further. The rest of the 70 left without saying anything.
This presented a big opportunity.
I extensively experimented and optimized the form length, field labels and fonts. However the limitation being, a 2 field form would negatively impact our customer development process.
What worked for us was two fold:
1) Shorter signup form to get prospects through to the product. Through testing different variants we arrived at the magic number of 5 fields.
2) Delaying asking the ‘secondary’ information ’til after they had interacted and experienced the product. This is also called progressive profiling.
Lengthy forms without delivering value are not great for conversions. We had to deliver the product value to our users to earn their trust before asking for a second date. I implemented this by shortening the form to ask only the pertinent questions. Once we had gained their trust and delivered on our product value, we could email them additional gated information on how to make the best of the product or provide helpful resources around the area of HR.
The secondary forms would present the secondary information we required. In essence, if they were actively using the product and engaging with the product, the more likely they are to download resources or watch webinars, thus ensuring we kept our product promise.
You’ve probably come across the AARRR Framework- if not it’s worth looking at. Popularized by Dave Mcclure of 500 Startups the model outlines what a marketing funnel for a startup would typically look like. The acquisition part outlines the channels that can be used to drive traffic to your site/product but the conversion point is … the form.
Whether people fill out the form or not is the core lever which determines if your visitors will convert – whether that be a trial or newsletter signup, or some form of download. Think about it. Most of the internet marketing/growth hacking movement is all about driving conversions, but we don’t often talk about the point of conversion.
Forms are a honey trap for email addresses, the currency of B2B SaaS.
I used a top marketing automation tool at a tech company but we didn’t use the native forms in the app – simply because they were not customizable enough and frankly they looked like they came right out of 1985 in terms of design. Since forms are such a crucial aspect to the growth hacking of the company, they simply have to look well designed and match the branding of the site to ensure a smooth customer experience.
Driving 100K visitors to the site would not result in a net forward momentum if no one was filling out the form to convert to a lead or signing up for your newsletter.
Blitzen is a highly customizable tool that allows you to build super slick lead generation, newsletter signup, ebook download or even customer feedback forms. Most lead generation forms come as part of the Marketing Automation suite which you have to shell out a couple of thousand bucks for. Money that frankly most smaller companies simply don’t have.
With Blitzen you can create, customize, and embed lead gen forms that are able to store, segment and gather extra intelligence on your contacts. Often the conversation around growth hacking is too focused on the color of the button but not on the user experience of filling out the form.
While in B2B context it’s harder to make it shorter since there’s a lot of important data that you as a business would need, the prospects expect to fill out certain items like their company name, job title etc. However there is a very fine and relatively unknown line between getting the right information and being really annoying.
Forms are the centre piece in growth hacking. For all the conversion geeks out there – next time you’re wondering how to optimize your CRO, take a look at the lead generation form first.