Website forms are essential for your inbound marketing strategy. Used strategically, they can turn a regular site visitor into a lead you can nurture and eventually convert to a customer. And if you’re one of the 63 percent of businesses that report generating traffic and leads as their biggest marketing challenge, you’d be hard-pressed to find any reason why you shouldn’t be using forms on your site.
Like any good marketing tactic, web forms have to be done right if they’re going to get you results. Keep reading to learn what you need to know about the three most common types of website forms you should be using, including where they belong on your site and how to make sure they’re effective.
Types of Website Forms
Among today’s businesses, 74 percent are utilizing web forms for lead generation, and nearly half cite them as being their top-performing lead generation tool. Not too shabby for something that’s super easy to set up and keep active on your site.
There are three primary kinds of website forms, and each type serves the same purpose – to help you generate leads. However, they do so in different ways.
- Embedded forms – These are static forms that have a permanent place somewhere on your website, generally in a footer or sidebar.
- Value proposition forms – These are forms that offer distinct and defined value in exchange for a user’s contact information, such as forms that precede gated assets.
- Pop-up forms – These forms “pop up” somewhere on your page at a predetermined time and location and are designed to catch a user’s eye at an opportune moment.
Forms can be useful at all stages of the buyer’s journey, and certainly, all of them offer utility for lead generation. But different types of forms are more useful at certain times than others and can offer additional benefits. For example, while an embedded form can capture attention at the awareness, consideration, and decision stages, pop-up forms tend to have the most impact at the decision stage, when users have interacted with your site already and have decided they like what they see.
Where Forms Should Exist on Your Site
Just as important as including a form in the first place is making sure that you put it in the right spot.
Research on consumer behavior tells us that people have pretty distinct ways of reading and engaging with web pages. To get the most out of your forms, you want to be sure that you’re placing them somewhere the eye is likely to travel — and one that makes sense with your user’s current level of engagement.
It might seem like placing your form “above the fold” is the best way to garner attention, but users who have just made their way to your page might not be ready to give up their contact info. That’s why you’ll usually see embedded forms in the footer or in a sidebar since both placements suggest there’s already been some page interaction.
Value proposition forms and pop-ups don’t have such hard and fast rules, but in all cases, figure you’ll want to play around with placement to see where your forms have the most impact.
How to Make Sure Forms Are Effective
Last but not least, let’s talk about what makes a great website form.
The basic element, of course, is copy. It should be well-written and concise, and very clear in its purpose (i.e., don’t say you’re collecting info for one thing and then use the data for something else).
You’re rarely going to get something for nothing. Make sure you’re offering something of value in return for a user’s contact information. Examples include:
From there, deliver on your offer. Again, you never want to be misleading in your purpose since doing so will hurt your brand integrity and create a poor impression with a new lead that may be hard to overcome. And while you’re at it, acknowledge your new lead by sending them a welcome email. Welcome emails have an average open rate of 82 percent, so take advantage by including conversion-driven content.
Finally, if the form isn’t for your email newsletter, include a way for users to opt-in to your emails while providing their info for another purpose. Opt-ins are a crucial email marketing technique, and web forms are a fantastic place to stick ‘em, so put a box at the bottom of the form that users can check off if they want to hear from you more regularly.
Forms make it easier for you to collect leads and make it easier for prospects to signal to you that they’re interested in further engagement. Use them wisely, and you should have no trouble adding more fuel to your lead generation efforts.
What Not to do in Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the best ways to speak directly to your audience. You can build a relationship with them and create loyal customers. It is also a great way to generate traffic to your website, increase leads, and execute large campaigns.
With all of the benefits that your company can gain from email marketing, it’s no wonder that 64% of small businesses engage in email marketing. However, there are still a few important things to keep in mind. In order to be successful, you should avoid these 4 mistakes explained by 97 Switch when preparing an email marketing campaign.
Talk About Yourself
Many companies fall into the trap of only talking about themselves. They assume that since their audience signed up for emails, they want to hear all about the company and the sales. While marketing your products or services is important to do sometimes, your audience is still looking for value.
Failing to foster a relationship with them by being too sales-y will lead to unsubscribers and a loss of potential customers.
Instead, it’s important to give the audience something in return for their loyalty. Exclusive deals and sales codes are appreciated, but they also want to see educational or entertaining content in their inbox.
One way to do this is by creating content such as “you asked, we delivered” or “your questions answered” to show that you care about your customers and the feedback they give you, and it builds trust.
It’s also important to speak your audience’s language. Sometimes, companies get too caught up in trying to sound professional and impressive and end up using jargon that’s hard to understand.
Using more simple ways to get your message across is imperative, as it makes the email easier to consume and thus more valuable.
Email Without a Purpose
While building relationships with your customers is one of the main goals of email marketing, you should keep in mind that they don’t want to hear from your company just for the sake of connecting.
Ensure that you have a clear purpose for each email you send, whether that be to inform, entertain, or motivate.
Being intentional about when to reach out includes sending timely emails. You should respond to relevant industry, company, or world news in a timely manner. Readers would find you reminding them about the last day of a sale important, and that qualifies as a purposeful email.
Part of proceeding with a clear purpose is also including a call to action in your emails. Your readers want to know exactly what you’re asking of them, and making it simple is the best way to get it. Beware of including too many calls to action, as it can be more confusing and seem more selfish than helpful.
Personalization is one of the greatest strengths of email marketing, yet it is often overlooked. Simply including first names in an email makes it sound more personal and builds stronger relationships. This can easily be achieved using an email scheduling tool such as Mailchimp. Again, this is a way to build customer relationships. Research shows that using someone’s name in the subject line increases open rates by 26%. Be that as it may, personalization is more than just plugging in names.
Using an email marketing tool is also an easy way to utilize the segmentation aspect of personalization. By separating your audience into groups, you can categorize what they would each be most interested to hear from you.
It has been shown that segmented campaigns perform better than non-segmented campaigns. An example of this is categorizing your readers as beginners, intermediate, or advanced knowledge of your industry. Based on this category, you can send each segment a different email that would pertain to them more specifically.
Your readers will appreciate that your content is tailored to their needs. Imagine sending a beginner an email that skips over the basics of a process. They would be confused and find it very unhelpful.
Now imagine an expert who is wasting time reading the basics that they know by heart. They would become frustrated and lose interest in finishing the email. These are just two examples of using segmentation to better serve your audience.
Use Poor Subject Lines
Often, people will decide whether to open an email at all based on the subject line alone. A mistake that marketers tend to make is wording the subject in a way that sounds like spam, and thus never gets opened or reaches the audience.
As we mentioned before, it is also helpful to include someone’s name in the subject line. While it might seem like a shot in the dark to form an effective subject, there are a few tips for the best open rates you can achieve.
A good subject line should be short. The ideal length for a subject is 7 words, based on a study conducted by Marketo.
However, you also want to make it interesting so that people are curious and want to know more. This curiosity is enough to encourage people to read the email.
However, you want to avoid click-baiting your readers with interesting subject lines that have nothing to do with the content in the email. Make sure that your subject is also relevant to what you have to say. Otherwise, you will have the opposite effect you’d intended by destroying trust and losing credibility.
Simply sending out random emails is not enough to see results. You have to stick to a schedule that your readers can count on and know when to expect to hear from you in their inbox.
The frequency can vary based on your industry and from business to business, but emailing at least once a month is recommended. The more you email, the more you will be on the top of potential customers’ minds when they need what you offer.
That being said, you shouldn’t always assume more contact is better. If your company emails are flooding their inbox, you can bet that they will either block the sender or unsubscribe from future emails. Finding a balance is key to seeing the best results from your campaigns.
You should also consider the brand voice that you are using to speak to your customers. If your emails all sound like they were written by different people, then it’s hard to gain the brand-strengthening benefits of email marketing. It is also confusing to your audience and makes it harder for them to connect with the company.
A good way to remedy this is to create a company persona, where you give a personality to the company that is sending the emails.
Are you funny and witty, or are you serious and somber? Consider strengthening your branding within the company before communicating it with the world.
You can’t expect to be perfect at email marketing, so don’t get discouraged if you find that you have made these mistakes. There is always room for improvements, and every so often it’s a good idea to evaluate how your email marketing campaigns are going.
Using analytics to track your results and adjusting your strategy will help you grow as you fix any mistakes you might be making.
By taking the time to improve your strategy, you will see the success that can carry across all your marketing efforts.
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