Form or No Form? That is the Question

Last week we shared tips on creating the most effective web form possible. Today, we’re going to tell you to stop using them.

Just kidding! Sort of. While website forms are the standard method of collecting mircoconversions from your website, we’re finding that following the same publishing method for every new piece of content actually hurts your conversion rate, not helps.

Should you abandon forms altogether? Not exactly, but here’s what you should be analyzing in order to improve them:

The type of content

The arguments are out that the B2B white paper is dead. Most of this is because too many white papers are heavy on sales language and not so much on thought leadership. While we’ll leave it to you to improve on business writing, white papers are a weaker incentive for users to exchange their contact info.

Instead consider the type of content you’re putting behind a form and ask the following:

  • Is the content I’m sharing proprietary or something that needs to be protected from my competition?
  • Is it something I’d be willing to give my contact information for?

The second question may be a bit hard to answer 100% honestly. But most of the time, white papers, tip sheets and guides would serve you better if they included calls to action within the document itself. This way, prospective clients can make the decision to contact you later—instead of abandoning contact at the first sight of a form.

Audience intention and expectation

There are some types of content that will always be accompanied with a form—it’s what your audience has come to expect. These standard items include free product trails, discounts, webinars and daily newsletters. These content marketing offers come with bigger rewards in exchange for prospect information.

On the flip side, other content marketing offers such as blog posts, articles, short guides and infographics may not convert as effectively because the audience provocation isn’t as strong. It’s ok if some of your content goes without a form—if anything it’ll create a stronger desire for users to sign up for content that has one.

Current sales process

Finally, in order to really understand what you should be “protecting” behind a form over what you shouldn’t is what your ideal prospect’s journey is.

For example, as an agency we still receive the bulk of our leads either through our “Contact Us” form or from a direct phone call. More than half of them have either visited our website previously or downloaded piece of content (white paper, guide, etc.) before reaching out. Additionally, we know that prospects we email immediately after downloading a content from our website rarely respond back.

What does this tell us? Our prospective clients are educating themselves in order to reach out later. This is in line with what many sales and marketing departments are seeing—the self-educated consumer.

With this information in mind, start creating conversion paths that speed them down that process. For example, if you know the bulk of web leads that attend a webinar will want to talk to sales afterwards, make sure there are follow ups in place to get them talking sooner.

So what should use instead of a form?

Forgoing forms on a content offer doesn’t mean you’re suddenly losing your lead capture method. Instead we recommend the following:

  • Unlock forms from content offers that are low in lead generation and are not proprietary to your business
  • Feature content directly on the landing page (without the form), paired with a stronger call to action that matches your ideal prospect’s buying journey (e.g. call us, sign up for our newsletter, email our sales team)

Have you been experiencing any “form frustration” from your web leads?


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