Generating leads is one of our priorities as marketers. We are on average 67%, according to Sage Frog Marketing Group, to say that it is even our number one priority! Nothing better, from this perspective, than forms to turn an anonymous visitor into a lead. Contact, demo request, download. These are key elements of our inbound marketing strategy.
Filling out a form, however, is a particularly delicate time: the more information we ask our visitors, the less interested they will be in providing it to us. To reduce these obstacles, we must transform this moment with forms designed for them, easy to fill out and relevant. We tested some forms: here is our feedback and our 12 tips for creating smart Bob forms and improving your lead generation.
In this article we will see:
1. What is a B2B form?
A form, mainly in Bob, is a block that we can install on our website to collect information on our prospects. It is often accessed after clicking on a call-to-action. Their goal? Convert visitors into leads and then gradually qualify them.
We can find several types of forms:
- contact form: to offer contacts to make an appointment and discuss;
- Demonstration Request Form: to provide a demonstration (as the name suggests) of our product or service;
- Event registration form: physical event, webinar, etc.
- Content access form: where, in exchange for information, our prospects can download a white paper, access a webinar replay, etc.
2. What does a form bring to marketing?
A form is a valuable asset for collecting information on prospects. By placing forms strategically, you can:
- generate leads and turn unknown visitors into contacts with whom we can begin to build a relationship by implementing a nurturing strategy;
- Better understand your audience and who comes to our site: industry, profession… We can thus better target our marketing campaigns, create more relevant content, which in return attracts a more qualified audience… and creates a virtuous circle
- Identify problems and adjust our communication or marketing campaigns, especially if we realize that we are not managing to attract the right type of audience.
3. How to set up good Bob forms?
To set up good forms, nothing too rocket science! It is enough to start with basic forms then to specialize little by little according to the data that we collect on our prospects.
The first forms to put in place are:
- Contact form: to generate leads, often interested. This form should be placed on a strategic page to ensure that the leads are as hot as possible;
- demonstration request form, again to be placed on a strategic page, with a call-to-action from the first page of its site;
- Commercial brochure download form, great premium content to get started.
Later, we can diversify by adding forms to download white papers, webinars, etc.
This is what we did at Plaza: we first set up two classic forms, one to subscribe to our newsletter, the second to request a demonstration of our software. Then, we associated a premium content form for our three purchasing phases: discovery, evaluation and purchase.
First, we configured each of our forms with a limited number of fields, defined according to the phase. For the discovery phase, for example, we had configured three information fields. Thanks to Plaza’s smart forms, we can qualify our prospects little by little without ever asking them for the same thing twice.
Secondly, we created specific forms, for example for our site redesign offer, for certain Landing Pages, etc.
4. Our 12 tips for creating good forms
4.1 Inspiring confidence
A visitor arrives on a landing page. He still hesitates to fill in the form that stands between him and an offer, a lead magnet or premium content (white paper for example).
If it is there, it is because it clicked on one of the call-to-action (CTA) / button of the site. Or on a link on social networks or a retargeting link. In any case, he has already taken a first step and shows an interest (still precarious) for what is behind the form.
He is no longer very far from providing the information that would make him a lead and no longer a simple visitor. But the question arises: “Can I really be confident?” ”
To encourage them to go further, you have to prove to them that you are trustworthy.
How? ‘Or’ What?
- By always offering useful and relevant content: visitors will be more inclined to complete a form on a site whose content is always of high quality.
- By taking care of the landing page: the landing page to which the form is associated must state the benefits of the offer and include reassurance elements (testimonials or an “About” section to recall the purpose of the company)
4.2 Offer a reward that is well worth it
To initiate the relationship, we need information from the Internet user. We therefore seek to obtain and receive data through our forms.
But why would a visitor agree to complete our contact form? He won’t do it for nothing.
Consider the lead generation form as a transaction. For the Internet user, the bargaining would be as follows: “If I give you my information, what do you give me in exchange?” “.
In other words, he will only be ready to “buy” the counterparty if he considers that it is worth the information that is asked of him in exchange.
Seen from this angle, it can only work if he feels he is getting his “money”. Therefore, the promised offer or content must deliver value. The visitor will have no interest in sharing their data for content that they can easily find elsewhere in self-service.
By value we mean:
- Save time
- Lift a technical or operational brake
- Bring together dispersed information, and make it more accessible
- Make a complicated concept simple
- Provide expertise
4.3 Avoid distractions
A visitor is about to complete a lead generation form? Even if it is a bit early to slash the champagne, it is already a big step in the relationship that is looming.
Having arrived there, it would be a shame if he was distracted by another request and that he went back.
This is the reason why our landing pages should not contain any distractions. We will therefore remove from its landing pages the navigation menus, links to other pages and, of course, CTAs, as here at Talen:
The goal? That the Internet user be “focused” on one action and only one: complete the form.
Example of an effective landing page because it does not contain any distraction for the visitor
4.4 Skillfully position the form on the landing page
The anatomy of the landing page greatly influences the conversion rate of forms. Not only should the landing page be reassuring and free from distractions. But we often hide another variable related to the design of the page: the location of the form.
You might think that the position of the lead generation form for disposable surgical face mask is irrelevant. Yet, according to a study conducted by Quick sprout, one site saw the conversion rate of its forms jump 24.6% simply by moving them from the left to the right of the page.
There, it’s up to us to monitor: if our prospects are more sensitive to a form immediately visible in the landing page, it is better to favor this format. If, on the contrary, our more extensive landing pages, which provide more information and offer the form below, have better results, here too it is up to us to adapt. The best: test and monitor the performance of its pages. With Plaza for example, it’s easy to find out if our landing pages are really effective.
4.5 Do not ask for a phone number (except when it is essential!)
Also according to Quick sprout, 37% of visitors to a site abandon the form if they are required to provide a phone number.
We must therefore ask the right questions:
- Do we really need the phone number at this point in the buying journey?
- Can we make it optional to generate more leads?
In inbound marketing, we will nurture the lead mainly by email. It is therefore not imperative to get a phone number right away to fuel the relationship.
If the phone number is essential for the good continuation of the relationship, it is better to encourage than to demand. For example, we can offer a faster response in return to boost conversions.
4.6 The longer it is, the less good it is?
We grew up as marketers with the idea that the shorter a form, the more likely it is to convert.
Indeed, a study dating from the early 2010s and widely repeated posed this cause and effect link between the number of questions on a form and the conversion rate.
This idea is now being undermined by new studies which show that this relationship is not universal.
A longer form does not necessarily convert less well.
More than a question of length, it is a question of balance between the level of motivation of the Net surfer to obtain the consideration and the level of effort to be accomplished to obtain it.
To put it more simply, an Internet user will adopt a “cost / benefit” approach. If he thinks he has a lot to gain, he will agree to complete a longer form. He will consider that the effort is justified by the added value of the counterpart.
4.7 Adapt button text
Here. The visitor has filled in all the fields of the form. All that remains is to click on the button. And there, he still hesitates.
What can be done better at this point?
Adapt the button text. Rather than the mundane “Send”, why not try something more in tune with the context. According to Quick sprout, “Click here” generates 30% more conversions than default text.
The idea here is to favor a text, oriented towards the action (therefore, preferably, with a strong action verb), but which implies that the user will receive something – and not have any effort to provide. Thus, we can privilege: receive rather than download, obtain rather than ask, start rather than activate…
A click trigger is a small sentence that can be added above or below the button to convince or reassure visitors to our page. For example, for a webinar registration page, the trigger can specify that if Internet users are not available on the date of the event, they can still register to receive the replay.
Example of an engaging text on a form call-to-action
4.8 Should I cover myself with a CAPTCHA?
CAPTCHA is a form protection solution against automated SPAM. To validate the form, the Internet user is invited to copy a short sequence of text visible on an image or to give the result of an addition at the CP level.
The objective of the maneuver is to differentiate human users from possible malicious bots.
The problem with captchas is that they irritate Internet users and that you can lose conversions.
Fortunately, the question of whether or not to use it no longer arises because Google has implemented NO CAPTCHA, a protection system that is only activated in the presence of a suspicious case.
Other invisible anti-spam solutions also exist, such as AKISMET, to protect your forms.
4.9 Explain the sequence of operations
If we want the user to fill out our form, we have to be transparent about what will happen next.
It is not only a question of being clear on the nature of the consideration but also of indicating how and for what purposes we will use the data collected. On the one hand, it will enhance the feeling of trust and, on the other hand, it is GDPR compliant.
4.10 Manage the proportion of required / not required fields
Nothing worse than coming across a form that immediately asks for too much information… mandatory. For this, it is up to us to determine upstream what information is most important to us, and to distribute it sparingly throughout our forms to avoid the block effect.
From experience, prospects are unlikely to fill in mandatory fields themselves. However, it does not cost anything to leave a few, as long as the required fields are clearly visible. Bold, asterisk…
The best: put some non-mandatory fields for a mandatory one, because this alleviates the completion effect for the prospect. A super motivated prospect will fill in all the fields, but a prospect who does not particularly want to expand may say to himself: “after all, I only have one field to really fill out of the four!” On a misunderstanding…
Conversely, if we consider that all our fields are required, then, no distinction to be made: we must assume!
4.11 Treat after
Afterwards, we don’t think about it often, and yet our prospect has just done something for us! We must thank him, and in the form. Small pop-up message, redirect to a landing page … In any case, you have to look at it, and work well with this little message which, in a few lines:
- thanks the prospect and makes him understand that we are in a dialogue ;
- establish our tone and our brand image;
- Makes us more sympathetic.
Example of a thank you page that appears after submitting a form for a Plaza webinar
4.12 Add labels to all your fields
Form labels are very important. These micro-contents must be clear and precise, there is no point in expanding. For accessibility reasons, you should not just complete the placeholders (this little text in gray) but do this job of titling the fields.
If ever our placeholder repeats what we say in the title, we might as well remove it to lighten the visual. However, it may be the moment to give an example, to add an indication or precision… Here, it is necessary to make the two contents work in harmony for a maximum of fluidity.
5. How do you get the right information at the right time?
Improving the conversion rate of your forms is great. This means that we generate more leads on the mass of visitors.
But a large amount of low-quality leads won’t be of much use. In the design of the forms, it is absolutely necessary to integrate this notion of quality.
Now, what makes the quality of a lead?
The richness of its profile and the fact that the information collected meets the needs of salespeople.
Let us not lose sight of the fact that the purpose of the process is to transmit the lead, duly qualified, to the sales teams.
Therefore, the first thing to do before uploading a form is to sit down with the sales reps and take stock of the information they really need to make a successful sale .
Once we have listed the necessary information, it’s a safe bet that we will have too much to collect in a single form. We will therefore proceed step by step by following the Internet user’s purchasing path.
First, only the data strictly necessary to initiate the relationship is collected. Then, as the Internet user advances in the course, information is gradually collected in order to refine preferences and enrich the profile of the lead.
Ideally, progressive profiling forms will be used so that the prospect does not have to give the same information several times.
At each step, we will take care to position the cursor correctly by collecting only the data necessary to advance the lead in the buyer journey without rushing it.
As in the fable of the goose that lays the golden eggs, if we want to get everything right away, the lead risks stepping in and we will have lost everything.
6. What tools to create contact forms?
Which application to choose to create forms that meet our needs and maximize conversions?
The management of forms in Plaza is based on the principle of progressive profiling. We will seek to enrich the profile of the lead over the course of the interactions.
With Plaza, no extended forms for the user. In practice, a form is created which groups together all the desired information, in consultation with the sales teams. But the form is administered several times throughout the purchase journey.
This gradually collects the data needed to fuel the relationship. But we do not rush the Internet user because the forms are short and he never has to give the same information twice.
Creation of a form with the intelligent fields of Plaza.
6.2 Gravity Forms
For sites that run on WordPress, Gravity Forms is a simple and intuitive form builder.
To create a new form, just drag and drop the desired fields. It only takes a few minutes to build a professional form.
In addition, the extension also allows you to easily manage your entries in the interface of your WordPress site.
The plugin is available in its basic version for the sum of $ 59 per year.
6.3 Contact Form 7
Another form creation extension popular with WordPress users, Contact Form 7 allows you to manage and customize your contact forms.
In terms of benefits, the tool is free and very easy to use. On the other hand, the design of the forms is quite minimalist. To go further and adapt the design of the forms to that of the site, it will be necessary to invest in a paid solution, or CSS training.
Forms have a big impact on lead generation. Sometimes all it takes is a seemingly benign change to positively or negatively affect the conversion rate. In this article, we’ve detailed the best practices to date. But, as we have seen about the length of the forms, nothing is set in stone. Some commonly accepted rules can be called into question. Also, in terms of forms, it is better to test for yourself different variations of form, design, content and compare the results.