You’re not alone if you’ve noticed a decrease in the number of leads your lead generation forms collect. Collecting leads through website lead generation forms is a growing challenge in this age of automated marketing spam and misleading incentives.
Unless your website makes a compelling case, your visitors may not see the value in completing your form. Or perhaps your form is too lengthy. While you might want to collect more information so you can nurture or qualify your leads, in doing so you could be driving your leads away.
This article addresses three issues:
- How to increase the completion rate of you your lead generation form
- How to collect the information you need so you can nurture your leads without putting out that “spammy” feel
- How to qualify your leads so you know when they’re ready for personal sales communication efforts.
Show Value and Build Trust
Lead generation forms used to be seen as friendly, as the start of a conversation or partnership – like reaching out for a handshake; now they’re now seen as nothing but spam generators with negative value rather than positive.
Your first challenge is to prove to your visitors that they aren’t signing up for spam when they complete your form. You need to build trust.
Your visitors came to your website looking for a solution. If your web content doesn’t convince them that you understand the issue they came to solve, then they certainly aren’t going to complete your lead form. So, before you slap that lead generation form all over your website, make sure you have clearly defined your target audiences’ most common issues, and have concisely communicated how to resolve them.
Having shown your form’s value and gained your visitors’ trust, your prospective leads will be far more willing to complete your lead generation form. People will happily provide their information if they believe you will make their life easier!
Keep It Simple
Don’t ask for too much!
There is a direct correlation between the number of fields that need to be completed on your lead generation form and the rate of completion. So keep your form short and simple and only collect the information you really need. For instance, an email address is the only field you really need on the signup form for your blog or newsletter. This is, after all, free information found on your website.
Now, it is true that the more valuable your content is, the more information you can ask for. But it has to be perceived as an even exchange.
Downloadable whitepapers, or event registrations for example, tend to have a higher value. You certainly invested more time and money in these! A benchmark study for example, can provide insightful industry metrics. Your webinar might provide valuable training information that will save your customers’ time and make their job easier. In these instances, you can ask for some basic firmographics such as organization name, size, job title, etc. But be careful, you risk losing leads with each additional field you require. Even if the field is optional, you will lose them if the form looks long or time consuming.
“But wait”, you say, “I need more”!
I get it, you want to collect additional lead information so that you can qualify the lead and nurture it. You’re interested in not just the basic demographic and firmographic information; you want to know about their actions, interests, and intentions so that you can engage with them more effectively.
But do you really need to ask for information that could already be at your fingertips?
Your visitors’ browsing data is full of information that will help you determine how interested they are in different aspects of your product or service. Using a series of cookies, you can capture how many pages and which pages each prospective leads are is consuming.
This information, which you can automatically collect, will help you identify the areas of your product or service that interests them the most – without having to ask extra questions in your lead generation form (which almost always leads to a lower completion rate)!
Once you have collected this information, you can then add hidden input values into your lead generation form that automatically get submitted with your form so you can report on the number of webpages visited and which pages they visited. These values are linked to the contact information and stored in your database so that you can access it at a later time.
For instance, you might have a hidden value that captures how many pages they visited by creating a cookie with a value that automatically increases by 1 on every page a new visitor visits. You could set this for every webpage or just the pages you deem as important in leading to a sale (the pricing page or a deeper page, for example).
You could also create a cookie that captures the page title of the visited web page and appends it in comma separated form so you know which product or features they are interested in. This will allow you to identify which leads are interested in product X and which leads are interested in product Y.
Now you have the ability to target your email message and drip campaign so you can nurture your leads. By delivering relevant content, you will change your leads’ perception of you from being “pushy” to “helpful”.
After all, nobody likes to be “sold” on something; people want to draw the conclusion themselves whether to purchase. Offering a solution that addresses their need will encourage your lead to act without making them feel forced. This will further build trust. Without trust you will never close the sale!
If there is some bickering between your marketing and sales department about the quality of leads your marketing team is passing to Sales, then you have likely had a discussion about qualifying your leads. Lead scoring removes ambiguity and helps prioritize the best leads so that they are followed up on immediately.
A lead score is another hidden value that can automatically be calculated and passed when your lead generation form is submitted. Make sure you have your Sales department’s buy-in on the criteria for scoring. For instance, if your lead visited 3 pages you may give them a lead score of 3. If they made it to a particular page that is important in the buying cycle, like your pricing page, you may add an extra point. Now they have a lead score of 4.
Based on the lead score you have defined (with the input of your sales team) you know whether you need to continue to nurture the lead or pass it to Sales. If you and your sales team have agreed that leads won’t be passed unless they have a score of 5, then you know that you need to continue to nurture this lead. Since you have passed along which pages they viewed, you know that they are more interested in product X than Y, so you know exactly which email campaign to use to nurture this lead.
Increase Your Lead to Sale Conversion Rate
If you want to your visitors to complete your lead generation form, you need to convince them that you understand their problem and can help them resolve it. Your visitors will readily exchange their contact information if they believe they will receive something worthwhile. But don’t scare them away with a lengthy form. Use your visitor’s browsing data to collect the information you need so that you can nurture and score the lead without making them fill out extra fields. Your sales team will love you for passing them qualified leads that shorten the sales cycle and improve their sales conversion rate!