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A Beginners Guide to Converting Mobile Users

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A Beginners Guide to Converting Mobile Users

Think about a time when you were on the train, sitting in the airport, or simply lying on the couch, and you had to complete an online form on your smartphone. Did you ever pay attention to the mobile form design?

Chances are you haven’t noticed. That’s the goal — to give users an intuitive experience that gets them to seamlessly fill up the form and continue with their day.

Easily create mobile-optimized pop-up forms. Get started with HubSpot’s form  builder.

In this guide, we’ll review the most effective ways to do just that. Here, you’ll learn how to design mobile forms that are not clunky or misaligned, but that help boost conversions and create a great user experience.

Table of Contents

Mobile vs. Desktop Form Design

Today, your website visitors aren’t just browsing your site, viewing your content, and completing your forms from their desktop computers. They’re also completing these tasks from their mobile devices.

Mobile was responsible for nearly 60% of global website traffic from April to June 2022. That means it’s critical for your form to be simple to review, complete, and submit via a mobile device.

Why is mobile form design important?

The best mobile form design allows for a positive user experience, which ensures a happy website visitor who’s more likely to convert to a customer and become a returning user.

The design, layout, and functionality of your mobile forms play a large part in your website’s overall user experience.

If your forms aren’t mobile-friendly, you may experience fewer conversions, a loss in mobile site traffic, and an increase in unhappy and frustrated customers. And who wants that?

Why should mobile form design differ from desktop design?

“Everything works differently on mobile, so marketers need to make sure any elements of their websites are always optimized for mobile,” says Lilach Bullock, an award-winning marketing influencer and strategist.

“And that, of course, includes forms — especially since it feels like you constantly have to complete forms while on mobile.”

Specifically, think about the difference in the display or screen size between a mobile device, such as an Apple iPhone, which typically ranges from 4.7″ to 6.7″ in size; and a Mac laptop or desktop, which typically ranges from 13” to 24” in size. It’s safe to assume a form that fits an iPhone screen wouldn’t fit a desktop screen perfectly.

If your mobile visitors cannot easily read, complete, and submit your form, you may lose their business. So creating a mobile-friendly form that fits the screen of any mobile device is crucial to creating a great user experience in order to leave a lasting impression on your visitors and help you boost conversions.

What is responsive web design?

If you want to take mobile form design a step further and ensure your entire website is functional on all types of devices, you can implement a responsive website design.

Responsive web design takes into consideration the user’s screen size, platform, orientation, and environment. This is a simple and effective way to create a great user experience since so many people are constantly visiting and browsing different websites on various devices.

There are several ways you can make sure your site has a responsive design. For example, if you’re a WordPress user, there are several responsive WordPress themes that you can install and use to design your site.

Additionally, if you’re building, or have built, your site with software such as Squarespace, your site may automatically come with responsive web design.

Today, responsive web design is a popular choice for businesses due to the sheer number of people visiting websites via a variety of different mobile devices. But for now, let’s get back to discussing mobile form design.

Mobile Form Design: 11 UX Guidelines

“When designing your mobile forms,” explains Bullock, “it’s important to keep things simple and make them as quick as possible. [Forms] are more difficult to complete on mobile and everything feels like it takes longer than it should.”

In other words, the most important thing is simplicity for the end-user. When creating a mobile-friendly form, there are some steps you’ll want to take to provide the best user experience possible for your visitors. Let’s review 11 of these mobile form design best practices that you can begin implementing today.

1. Minimize the number of form fields.

Ever heard the saying, “less is more”? Well, that’s precisely what you should be thinking while creating your mobile form.

Between the size of a mobile device’s screen and the amount of content you need to place in your form, it’s easy to accidentally make your form feel cluttered. Remember to remove unnecessary fluff. Only keep the form fields for information that you absolutely need.

To streamline the process, you’ll also want to label your form fields clearly and succinctly, and mark optional fields as “optional” or include an asterisk next to the required ones.

form design example with an asterisk used to indicate compulsory fields

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The aim is to make the form as easy as possible to fill out so that the chances of people completing the form go up.

2. Automate inputs when possible.

If you accidentally mistype your street address and the form corrects the spelling for you, the form autocorrects your response.

If you begin typing your shipping address and a box pops up with the rest of your address asking you if you want to “autofill” the rest of the form fields with your saved address, then your form is autocompleting your response for you.

By implementing autocorrect and autofill features on your mobile forms, you’ll improve user experience by making it quick, simple, and straightforward for users to enter their details.

In the below example, a person can easily autofill their information by clicking on the small pop-up that appears.

mobile form design example showing an autofill option

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3. Use a single-column layout.

When you’re creating a long or multi-step form, list all of your content in a single-column layout.

the difference between a single-column and multi-column layout in mobile form design

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Single-column form layouts are:

a. Easier to read.

Placing all your form fields in a single-column format allows your visitors to focus on only one item at a time, making your form easier to read.

b. Less daunting.

If you look at a form, especially in a tight space as you would on a mobile device, and see a large amount of content smushed together, you may feel overwhelmed. That’s why separating your content by rows and placing your form fields in a single-column format make your content look and feel less intimidating.

c. Quicker to complete.

When you place your multi-step form in a single column, leads can complete it more quickly than they would a multi-column form. That’s because the format makes the form easier to read and work through step-by-step.

Take a look at this sign-up form on the HubSpot website when viewed from a desktop or a laptop.

sign up form with a two-column layout as viewed from a desktop

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The two-column layout makes sense here, as there’s plenty of space on the wider screen to work with. Now check out the same form when viewed from a mobile device.

mobile form design, sign-up form with a single-column layout as viewed from a smartphone

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This single-column layout allows the eye to flow naturally while preventing clutter on the compact mobile screen.

4. Consistency matters (and so does form appearance).

How do you close a folder or an open tab on your laptop?

By clicking the ‘x’ button in the top-right corner.

But what if the button didn’t appear while on a particular application? How would you feel when you went to close the window?

Confused or irritated, maybe. You might spend a minute or two figuring out how to shut the application.

This is just a broad example but serves well to illustrate the importance of consistency. Watch this video to learn more.

Consistency in form design applies not just to style (colors, typography, logo, etc.) but to generally-accepted conventions that people are used to.

Here are some tips to ensure a consistent experience:

  • Match your form’s look and feel to your brand and website.
  • Ensure your form’s styling and formatting are consistent and complementary (nothing should look jarring or out of place).
  • Align your form field inputs to the left.
  • Affix each label above its corresponding input box and left-align it.
  • Use an asterisk to indicate compulsory questions.

mobile form design examples

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First impressions leave a lasting impression (in life and in business). That goes for your mobile forms. Nobody wants to complete a dark, difficult-to-read, cluttered, and unattractive form.

Your mobile form should be highly functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. Its appearance should contribute to its readability and positive user experience. To achieve this, use a simple and easy-to-read font style and size, a color palette that doesn’t feel overwhelming, and minimal form fields.

5. Keep in mind the touch experience.

Think about how you hold your phone while texting.

Most likely, gripping the phone with two hands while using your thumbs to interact with the screen. Or you might even do it single-handedly or type by using your index finger.

We interact with smartphones much differently than a laptop or desktop (cue the texting thumb), and mobile form design should reflect that.

Here are some suggestions to keep in mind:

  • Have adequate whitespace to keep the form clutter-free and avoid accidental button presses.
  • Ensure buttons are logically positioned (for example, the submit button near the bottom of the form, so users don’t have to scroll up to find it).
  • Check that the text (font size and style) is legible on the small mobile screen (no one wants to pinch their screen and zoom in to be able to read the text).
  • Make sure the form fields and buttons are large enough to be comfortably tapped with a finger.
  • Make the form pop-up towards the lower part of the screen (where possible) to make it easy to reach.

mobile form displayed in the lower half of the screen

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6. Leverage input constraints.

Input constraints restrict the type of response a person can enter in a form field. This can include a word limit (say, while filling out a job application form) or only being able to input digits (in the case of a phone number).

This is seen in the form below, where a numeric keyboard pops up when a person goes to enter their phone number.

mobile form design, input constraint displaying a numeric keyboard

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Input constraints maximize form efficiency by limiting inadvertent mistakes, delays, or confusion. For example, if someone was trying to make a reservation for a table at a restaurant and accidentally selected a date in the past, the constraint would prevent them from actually being able to select and confirm that date.

This is especially crucial when designing for mobile as smaller screens make it harder to enter information accurately. By setting input constraints, you’ll save people time while completing your form fields, and prevent yourself from receiving long-winded or invalid answers.

Here’s another example of an input constraint.

mobile form design, input constraints on two form fieldsImage Source

7. Create clear action buttons.

Buttons are an underrated aspect of mobile form design. Think about it: You get a form submission or conversion only after the right button is pressed. So you really can’t overlook this element.

This UI cheat sheet and UX Planet blog are great resources for designing effective buttons. Here’s a quick run-through of some of the mentioned principles that you can apply to your mobile forms.

  • Too many buttons spoil the broth (just like form fields, keep only the essential buttons).
  • Style and label your buttons consistently (capitalization, formatting, alignment, etc.).
  • Let the focus shine on the primary button (the main action you want the user to take) by making it stand out by size or color.
  • Right is right — a common rule of thumb for mobile is to position the main button on the right side and the second one on the left (though this can vary according to individual needs).
  • Specific labels are almost always the answer (“Edit this page” over “Edit”).

mobile form design, action button

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8. Provide card scanners for payments.

Tried entering your credit card details in a form via your smartphone? Typing a bunch of numbers on a small screen with a small keyboard can be a tedious process.

Card scanning apps, such as Microblink, have become increasingly popular for that exact reason. When making a purchase, your visitors can click a button that takes them to a screen where they can use their mobile device’s camera to take a secure photo of the front and back of their card, whether that be their license or credit card.

mobile form design, card scanning option

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With just a couple of pictures, your leads will be finished with one of the most time-consuming parts of the mobile form completion process — keeping your visitors efficient as well as frustration and error-free.

9. Explain the need for specific information.

While completing a simple email signup or a registration form, have you ever been asked to provide personal information that has nothing to do with the signup form itself?

This is a common occurrence in all types of forms (not just mobile). Asking someone for personal or other sensitive information without explaining your need for it can seem sketchy.

When asking a question that doesn’t directly relate to the reason your visitor is filling out the form, it’s essential to create a summary box (with additional information) that the person can click on to understand why you’re asking for this information.

Such indicators can also help provide extra guidance on completing a form field when the instructions are not immediately apparent. In the image below, a summary box pops up when a person hovers over the icon.

mobile form design, additional information about a form field displayed in a hovering pop-up box

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These small details will make your form feel professional and thoughtful while reducing the odds of the user leaving halfway.

10. Gather validation and feedback.

User experience is at the heart of good mobile form design. And validation and feedback play an important role in providing a great UX.

Validation lets people know if the information they’ve entered is right (or not). Notice the green ticks in the form fields below.

mobile form design, three ticks displayed next to valid form inputs

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While completing mobile forms, your visitors are bound to make a mistake here or there. The form should flag these errors in real-time so the user can correct them immediately.

For example, if someone adds the incorrect zip code alongside their street address, the mobile form should display an error message. This should indicate — in easy-to-understand language — the error location and how the person can rectify it (as seen in the image below).

mobile form design showing an error flagged due to an incorrect zip code

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It’s also crucial to give people feedback as they go through the form. For example, a progress bar on lengthy, multi-step forms can make the form-filling process more engaging by showing users how far they’ve reached and how long they have left to complete it.

mobile form design, progress bar

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Consider a person filling out the above form without a progress bar. They’ll be clicking the ‘next’ button with no idea of when the form ends, and might even abandon it just before the final step in frustration.

Once people submit their forms, you should direct them to another screen or page that says something like, “Success!” or “Thank you” so they know their submission worked.

Here’s an example of a success page on HubSpot that appears after a user signs up to receive a free Google Ads kit.

mobile form design, success page

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11. Make forms accessible.

Accessibility is fundamental to the usability of your form. Forms designed with accessibility in mind can be used by a wider range of people, including those with visual, physical, sensory, and cognitive disabilities.

Here are some specific recommendations for creating accessible forms from the World Wide Web Consortium Web Accessibility Initiative, WebAIM, and The A11Y Project Checklist).

  • Check that the text doesn’t pixelate or become fuzzy when zooming into your form (for better visualization).
  • Label your form elements in a way that can be clearly understood when read by a screen reader.
  • Ensure your form is accessible in both portrait and landscape modes.
  • Avoid the use of a time limit (where possible) to give people sufficient time to respond.
  • Include captions or transcripts for any video or audio components in your form.
  • Keep color contrast in mind. Here’s a free tool that can help with that.
  • Check that your form is fully-usable with just a keyboard.

A great way to ensure that all of the above mobile form design strategies stick is by exploring what you should not do in form design. The below video looks at some examples of what not to do when designing forms on both mobile and desktop.

Back To You

It’s no secret that your website visitors are completing and submitting your web forms via their mobile devices. That’s because it’s convenient and efficient, as most people carry some type of mobile device with them everywhere, making it crucial for your forms to be mobile-friendly.

Otherwise, your forms will be difficult to read, complete, and submit, which may frustrate your leads or cause you to lose their business altogether.

By considering your mobile form design and implementing these guidelines, you’ll enhance your mobile form user experience, build positive relationships with your leads and customers, and boost your conversions.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in Dec. 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.

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via GIPHY

To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

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Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

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So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

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  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

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So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

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The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.


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