It always amazes me when I click to download a white paper or register for a webinar and am confronted by a 20-field lead generation form. Unless it's something I want very badly, I tend to click the back button and move on to something more appealing. Then again, I'm a marketer, so sometimes I fill out the form to see what the company will do in response. I have to say that I'm rarely surprised by something amazing and unexpected.
I bet I've submitted my contact information close to fifty times during the last year. Maybe more. I do a lot of research for client projects.
I've never received one direct mail piece from being required to fill out my street address.
I've received a few phone calls from inept people who had no real idea why they were calling me, except to see if I wanted to buy. In fact, not many of them that I remember even knew what interaction I'd had with the company, just that I'd had one.
What I do get is a bunch of garbage emails. You know what I'm talking about. Company focused feeds and speeds and pablum that I could care less about.
Although they've asked for my title on the form, most of the stuff I get has no relation to my role or responsibilities.
Although they know what I downloaded or registered for (they should), quite often the follow-on communications have no recognizable connection to my expressed interest.
Most forms ask for my company name, some of them my website URL. But, beyond occasionally having my company name prefill a field within the text of the email, they don't use it to learn anything about me or my company. The offers are so ridiculous that it's obvious they never used the URL information either. Even if the text says they've "browsed my website and want to discuss how their [product, solution, services] can help me" attain success by using whatever it is they're selling - that's generally not true.
My favorite thing on a form is the dropdown where I can choose "just researching." The sad part about that field is that companies use it as a way to eliminate the effort expended on their part to get to know me better. It eliminates the ridiculous sales follow-up, but what if it was used to make sure that I know about every new white paper or report they produce with related information? Why do companies assume that when I'm researching, I only need that one piece?
Here comes a radical idea:
What if forms were designed with the prospect in mind?
What if forms asked questions that actually helped companies learn more about their audience so they can create better, more relevant content?
What if a rule was made that every field of information collected had to be used to generate something valuable for gaining more prospect attention, creating interactions and propelling conversational opportunities?
Some possibilities are:
- In addition to reading this white paper, I'd be interested in reading...[drop down list of other related content]
- My biggest concern in relation to [the "offer's" topic] is [list of choices]
- I'd like information about how to talk to my [boss, CIO, end users, VP of...] about how [this topic] could impact them.
- I'd be interested in knowing about how this topic is impacting this industry [list of choices].