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The Importance of Online Forms and How to Get More Value Out of Them

Form submissions are a classic marketing metric—and for good reason. Whether for an email subscription, demo request, or eBook download, a form submission is a strong indication that a prospect has an interest in your brand. He or she has stepped out of the shadows and has expressed wanting to hear from you.

Despite this, many forms still go underutilized. In this article, we’ll cover how to make better use of your forms and to start closing the gap between you and your prospects.

Keep the purpose of your form clear

How you introduce your form can set the tone for the quality of leads you receive from them. Like clickbait, a flashy headline may catch someone’s eye, but if you fail to deliver on your promise, you’ll wind up with disappointed readers.

Make sure that the call-to-action (CTA) on your form is clear. Prioritize quality over quantity, keeping in mind that you’ll convert more often (and efficiently) if prospects know what they’re signing up for. Avoid throwing the word “free” into your headline or leaving out big details—like your agenda to blast sales emails—just to bait subscriptions. Be intentional with your copy.

Urban Bar-B-Que uses a clever tactic to engage high-quality leads. Their email sign-up form is a hidden gem; using the allure of humor, the company clearly defines what a subscription to their email club means. For additional clarity, the form states, “By Clicking Submit, you agree to get some SPAM from Urban Bar-B-Que.”

 

urban bar b que email club form
Source: Urban-B-Que

 

Aside from lowering unsubscribe rates (or the rate of negatively charged unsubscribes), the form has been shared on Facebook over 220 times.

Collect essential data

Simplicity is key when it comes to building your actual form. One of the biggest sins at this stage is creating a form that nobody will want to fill out.

Take, for example, the last time you went to register for a webinar but lost your enthusiasm after filling out the fifth or sixth form field. By that point, you probably began to wonder, “All this—just for a webinar?”

To avoid unnecessary drop-offs, stick to collecting the essential information. Humanize this experience as much as possible: Imagine that you’re meeting someone for the first time. In the first five minutes, you may shake the person’s hand and ask for his name, then break the ice by asking what he does for a living. If you’ve hit it off, you may exchange phone numbers to keep in touch. However, you wouldn’t ask for his home address, birthday, middle name, or his parents’ names at this point—though in the future, who knows?

Make your sign-up process easy and comfortable. Consider what you absolutely need to know about your prospect in the first five minutes of meeting him/her. What information would he/she even be willing to give you?

A QuickSprout study saw a 120% increase in conversions when a form was reduced from 11 fields down to four. The quality of submissions stayed the same—partially because people tend to lie on long forms anyways. (Interestingly, asking for phone numbers, or implying that a user would be called resulted in a 5% dip.)

The benefits of social login

Social login is a popular, modern way of simplifying registration. It enables your visitors to register in just a few clicks, saving them time and the trouble of remembering a new password (if your form is for creating a new account).
 

example of social login
Source: Razlan Hanafiah on Sketch App Sources


 

For Zoomph users, Social Login also connects you to additional information on your prospects. Zoomph leverages our Audience Database to return a report on your audience’s collective demographics, interests, and brand affinities. Note: if you want to glean more insights around your audience, make sure to receive their permission and give an opt-out option.

Make sure the follow up matches the demand

As you’re creating forms for different purposes, make sure that your follow-up strategy is tailored to each user journey. Don’t simply dump all your prospects into one big bucket.

Keep contacts organized so that you can fulfill you promises and remember what attracted prospects to your brand in the first place. You can then follow up with content that’s relevant to their interests and purchase intent.

For example, let’s say you’re a retailer. One prospect signs up for your email newsletter and another signs up for your latest campaign—an Instagram contest promising $300 worth of free athletic gear for the winner. The two audiences already have some big differences.
 

differences between email subscriber and giveaway participant

 
The above isn’t a comprehensive list, but it gives you an idea of how your messaging should vary between the two audiences. It wouldn’t be realistic to walk up to a giveaway participant and recommend registration to your store card right away.

Like in our example from earlier, your interactions should be humanized. What makes sense to ask of your consumer at this point of the conversation? What type of trust has he or she built with you? What can you say to keep them engaged rather than walking away?

This leads us to our next point…

Personalize your interactions

Once understanding how different actions may correlate with brand familiarity or purchase readiness, you can start crafting targeted messages.

Decide which channels and content types to prioritize. Gather more information around your prospects’ unique interests or pain points with follow-up questions or tools at your disposal. Don’t go straight for the hard sell—craft a customized nurture strategy.

The Economist recently increased ROI by 171% using personalization. The publication had already identified prospects in five target locations that they wanted to convert into actual subscribers. They analyzed the global issues that each audience cared about most; they then deployed “edgy” activations, such as a coffee trike that supplied water from a portaloo (referencing new tech that could turn raw sewage into drinkable water), that piqued the interest of each audience. With this strategy, they generated 27,500 subscriptions—100% against target.

In the same sense, your nurture strategy should remain people-centric. In other words, think and talk from the perspective of your prospect. Time your message so that it fits into their daily routines.

Just as The Economist used in-person activations (as opposed to traditional emailing) to get in front of their audience, think of the right setting to engage your prospects.

Remember, real relationships begin with a common connection. Find out what your prospects really care about before insisting that they need your brand. Base your relationship on more than just money; show your consumers that you care about them as people.

In conclusion…

Forms often open the door for two-way conversations. If leveraged well, they can lead to authentic relationships with the right leads.

Want to learn about Zoomph’s custom forms and social login solutions? Tweet us @Zoomph or email us at info@zoomph.com!
 

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