Today’s post is by Janet Driscoll Miller, the President and CEO of Search Mojo, a search engine marketing firm . She has nearly twenty years of marketing experience, and in addition to her work in search engine marketing, Janet has a background in marketing communications. She is a frequent speaker at marketing conferences and writes for several blogs and print publications.
At Search Mojo we’re always looking for new and creative ways to utilize the capabilities of marketing automation software to help drive higher conversion rates for our landing pages and for those of our clients. Conversion is often driven by the effectiveness of the landing page itself. Some of the common landing page issues that affect conversion:
- Does the landing page keep the promise of the search ad?
- Is the landing page designed with a clear call to action?
- Is the offer compelling?
- Is the offer worth the exchange of information?
The last question is one that many marketers may not fully consider. All too often I see landing pages that require far too many form fields for the visitor to fill out for what may not be perceived as a very valuable offer. What is a piece of content worth? If we think of personal information as a form of currency, what is a visitor willing to “pay” to receive the content asset?
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Shorter Forms Increase Conversion Rates
What we do know is that the less we “charge” for access to an asset, the more likely a visitor will be willing to the information exchange. There are many studies available that demonstrate how reducing form fields on a landing page improve conversion rates. Marketo ran a study that concluded that reducing form fields from nine fields to five improved conversion rates by 34%.
Marketing automation tools can make it simple to reduce form fields using three approaches: progressive profiling, conversion paths and social login.
Progressive profiling is by far one of my favorite features of marketing automation. For those who may be familiar with this feature, progressive profiling simply allows marketers to update a prospect’s information over time, dynamically updating forms to reflect information that may still be missing for that individual. In essence, rather than gathering all of the information about a prospect up front, information is gathered over time and the prospect’s record is continually updated. Here’s an example of how progressive profiling works:
Conversion paths involve using multiple landing pages as opposed to a single landing page to convert visitors. Often with search advertising, keywords may not clearly define a searcher’s intent or requirement. Conversion paths, or a series of landing pages connected on a path, can help searchers drive down through pages to a more specific result.
The same is true for gaining more information about prospects in a conversion path sequence, similar to the approach with progressive profiling. For instance, Search Mojo holds regular webinars. On the initial webinar registration landing page, the prospect is presented with six fields:
Once the prospect reaches the “thank you” page after registering for the webinar, the prospect is then presented with the second page in our conversion path, offering an additional asset (in this case an infographic) in exchange for a few extra fields of information:
While conversion paths are not unique to marketing automation tools per se, these tools typically allow streamlined updates to existing prospects within its database, making conversion paths much easier and straightforward to implement without causing duplication of lead data.
Social Form Fill and Social Login
Finally, the newest tool in the collective marketing automation toolbelt is social integration. The social form fill option makes it easier for landing page visitors to complete forms with just a click of a button.
Finally, social networks often provide greater depth of knowledge about a prospect’s demographic information (professional or personal). This information can then be used within the marketing automation tool for more targeted nurturing campaigns over time.
How to Get Started
When clients ask me which of these approaches they should employ, I recommend them all! But as marketers, we must often prioritize these initiatives.
- First and foremost, if you’re not already doing so, implement progressive profiling on all of your forms. Progressive profiling provides a “quick win” for marketers to begin gathering much more information over time about prospects, and no salesperson has ever complained about having too much information about a prospect! As you implement progressive profiling, begin reducing your landing page form fields so you can put more prospects into the pipe faster and begin that nurturing process.
- Second, consider how you can begin integrating conversion paths into your current conversion process. This requires mapping out which assets can be used, like progressive profiling, to gain more information about prospects over several pages in a path.
- Third, begin by planning to add social form fill and social login to your landing pages. While this may require greater initial effort, the benefits in the end will be better conversion and more accurate prospect data.