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How to Choose Lead Generation Form Fields

We’ve talked about whether or not to gate your content. If you require visitors to give up their information via your lead generation form, then the content you give them better be of equal worth. But how do you determine what kind of content is worth just an email address versus a phone number?

It’s not difficult, but it will take some strategy and experience to figure out what questions to ask for your offers. We’d like to share some tips to get you started.

View a form submission as a trade. Your visitor is willing to give you their information in exchange for yours. The quantity and nature of what they’re willing to share will be commensurate to their perceived value of the content you have to offer them. Finding the sweet spot between what they’re willing to give up and what you’d like to receive is the key. 

First, determine where in the buyer’s journey the content falls. Is it for the top, middle or bottom of the funnel? Ask yourself how many and what kind of questions your visitors would be willing to answer in exchange for their information when they’re in that stage. No one wants to fill out 20 form fields to download an top of funnel eBook, regardless of how great it may be. As far as kind of form questions, more sensitive fields such as project budget or timeline might be better aligned with a bottom-of-funnel offer like a Model RFP.

Next, determine which questions you need answered in order to qualify a marketing or sales lead. Qualifying leads lets your team members segment contacts into appropriate categories (personas, industries, etc.) and ensures they follow up with appropriate offers. Think fields like job title, industry and company for TOFU and MOFU offers; think fields like company revenue, budget and salary for BOFU offers.

Here are additional factors to keep in mind when choosing fields for your form:

  1. Length. If you want to generate more high-quality leads, experiment with making your forms longer to deter site visitors that aren’t interested in what you’re selling. On the flip side, if you simply need more leads, try making your forms shorter and cut sensitive questions.

  2. Required vs. unrequired fields. Providing one, two or several non-mandatory questions might encourage your prospect to convert on the form. If you want to include a non-mandatory form field, consider a lead-qualifying, open-ended question like “What is your biggest marketing challenge?”

  3. Question types. Varying the kinds of fields on your form might also reduce friction. Use open text fields for questions like name and email; consider dropdowns for fields like industry, number of employees and budget.

Here’s a list of fields you could consider for by offer, roughly listed from TOFU to BOFU:

Newsletter Subscription: Email
eBook: Name, Email, Company, Job Title (optional)
Webinar: Name, Email, Company, Job Title, Phone Number (optional)
Demo: Name, Email, Company, Job Title, Phone Number, Times Available, What Best Describes You?Model RFP: Name, Email, Phone Number, Website URL, Revenue, Number of Employees

Every industry is different, so you don’t need to treat the suggestions above as absolutes — they’re just approximations of how much each kind of offer is worth.

If you use marketing automation software like HubSpot, also keep in mind that if a contact converts on a form that already has fields they’ve previously filled out, you can hide those fields using smart field options or replace them with unanswered form fields for them.

Evaluate Your Chosen Form Fields

Once you’ve come up with the questions you want to include, take a moment to evaluate if you really need the answer to each one. We recently did this exercise with a pre-existing form belonging to one our clients. This particular form was not attracting nearly as many leads as another form for an almost-identical offer was. When we took a closer look at it, we noticed two unnecessary questions: 1. How did you hear about us? and 2. If you were referred, by whom? These two questions are not necessary in a form, especially for a top of funnel offer, and most likely caused friction. These kind of fluff questions are better suited for the sales team to ask – if the lead even gets that far.

Now that you have a better understanding of how to choose forms, go forth and gate your content and see what kind of leads you get. Or, if you already have forms on your site, take another look and ask yourself if the current form fields:

1. Ask for information of equal value to your offer.
2. Segment conversions into personas.
3. Qualify your sales or marketing leads.

If your form fields don’t do some combination of these three, then it’s best to rethink them.

If you would like to learn more about forms or if you need help with lead generation, get in touch with us!

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