Developing your form strategy
Nathan: A little bit of a strategy question. Assume they’re either using Act-On forms or they’ve connected their preferred form builder with Act-On, and they’re able to pass data but you’re not getting any form submits. Strategically what do you think is going on there? What’s happening?
Phil: When I hear the scenario you’ve just painted, the first thing I would look at is what forms do you have. If you’re not getting any form submits, chances are you have a contact form. Maybe you have a newsletter signup form buried somewhere on your website. It’s a lot easier for me just to pick up the phone and call you when I’m ready than it is for me to submit a contact form.
If the only form you have on your website is the contact us form, you probably just need to rethink your form strategy overall.
If you have more forms than that … this is where we get into a gated-content strategy, which is just a fundamental principle of any content marketing strategy. Ideally, I want to have two types of content on my website. I want to have informational content, that is, about us, about our products, about our pricing. I want to have informational content that is about us on my website. And that content I want to be open, and free, and ungated.
There should also be, in any business that’s using a content marketing strategy, types of content that will help me as the buyer. They will teach me a skill. They will help me make money. They will help me save money. They will help me understand something. They will make me better at my job.
And whatever product you sell inevitably, absolutely, in every situation, there’s a way to generate content that helps your buyer be better. Now that has intrinsic value. That intrinsic value, the price for that is information. I want that infographic that has important stats. I want that negotiation guide that helps me understand how I can work in your space better. I want that calculator that helps me understand and run scenarios. There are lots of different ways and flavors that this can take on. And that lives behind a gate.
Now you have a valuable piece of content, you have a form that serves as a gate, and you have buyers that want access to that information. And that’s when you’ll start to see a dramatic increase in your lead generation.
And the very last thing that I check is, after three form fields, for every field that I add to a form, I’m essentially halving the number of people that will submit that. So, if 100 people would submit a form with three fields, then 50 will submit a form with four fields, and 25 with five fields, and so on and so forth. And very, very often what we’re asking for in information is not proportionate to what we’re offering in information.
If you have an infographic to download and you’re asking for first name, last name, email address, company, title, phone number, business phone number, annual budget, like the more you ask, the fewer your form submissions. So, make sure the information you’re asking for is proportionate to the value you’re offering. And 9 times out of 10 all you need on these lead generation forms for this middle of funnel, these first touches, this nurture process, is first name, last name, and email address.
Nathan: Phil, is there a strategy for further down the road that you start asking those more demographic questions? Is there a way to do this in your forms?
Phil: Absolutely. This is where Act-On’s native form tools have tremendous value that something like a Gravity Forms or a Ninja Forms wouldn’t have. So, with Act-On you can use what’s called progressive profiling. And what that is, is the same tracking technology that’s aggregating behaviors and tracking what pages you visited, what content you download, what forms you’ve already submitted, what Act-On can do with progressive profiling, is it can learn what information it already has on me.
Let’s imagine the scenario where I come to the website and I download an infographic. And I give you my first name, last name, and email address. And then I come back to the website, you put me in a nurture campaign, you’re sending me some emails. And I come back to the website a couple of weeks later and now I want to use an ROI calculator. I want to download a whitepaper, or an eBook. When I go to download that asset, and that form is introduced to me again, Act-On already knows that it has my first name, last name, and email address. And so now it knows to ask me different questions.
At this point it might ask me for my company and my job title. That’s a second touch point, a second interaction. I’m intrinsically more interested and more qualified. And if I come back a third time, it might ask me what’s my annual marketing spend, what’s my annual technology spend.
And every single interaction point where we’re providing value and we’re asking for information, Act-On can be progressively growing out the profile and the data set on this individual lead. And then you can use a combination of qualifying factors, like this person has a lot of interest based on their behavior, and their marketing spend or their technology spend is at a threshold that it makes sense to say this is truly a qualified lead and I can package it up and give it to my sales team. And God bless us, that’s when the magic happens.
Nathan: This helps you better nurture those people down the road. You can start creating different segments that are just going to someone who is a CMO or an executive title, rather than just a catch-all email blast going out.
Phil: Absolutely. We all know that what matters to a CEO, or a CRO, or a CMO, and what matters to a director, and what matters to a manager, and what matters to a field-level employee, is very different. And the more segmented I can make my audience, the more personalized I can make my messaging, the higher my open rates, the higher my click-through rates, the more successful my nurture programs, my marketing programs are.
Prioritizing Form Use
Nathan: We’ve talked about this strategy and why it’s important. We talked about the benefits of using forms and progressive forms with Act-On. What are the last things that people should be thinking about with forms?
Phil: The priority. It is really easy to put this topic in the category of we’d like to do that, or we’ll get to that someday. I have worked with so many companies where because they didn’t understand how core, how fundamental this was to success, they didn’t give it the right level of priority. And I would encourage all of the Rethink Podcast listeners to just stop and think about the value that’s being lost, the amount of time, energy, effort you’re putting into the rest of your marketing program, and just prioritize both the use and integration of forms to Act-On. But also just take a look at your content strategy and make sure this is at the top of the list. Because this is the core to any modern marketing effort.
Next Month: Email Cadence
Nathan: Excellent, sir. Can you tease us on what we’re going to be talking about next month?
Phil: Absolutely. So, we started to touch into the strategy of segmentation, and personalization, and emailing the audience. Next month we’re going to be touching on email marketing strategies and why it’s so important to reach out with regular frequency. And how many companies they just lose their voice, they’re not sure what to send. But if I’m using the first two fundamentals, knowing what to send, and why to send, and how frequently to send, becomes easy and obvious.
Nathan: Phil, I’m looking forward to next month’s conversation. In the meantime, if anybody wants to learn more about you and Tactical Marketing or have a conversation about what we discussed today, what should they do?
Phil: I would recommend that they visit our website, tacticalma.com. You can submit our contact form. We also have a free consultation available. If you want to chat, hit us up, we look forward to talking.
Nathan: Excellent, sir. Thank you very much. I look forward to talking to you next month.
Phil: All right. Bye.