As marketing automation platforms become more popular, marketing departments have the ability to build forms for all occasions. In my role, I am usually focused on the technical aspects of a form. I try to determine what UX techniques will meet the requirements and ensure that data is being collected in the proper format for any downstream integrations. Data concerns include any custom validation that needs to be addressed.
After participating in many of these discussions, I realized that building forms is more than simply adding fields to collect data. Forms should have purpose. Building forms should start with a series of questions that are different from the ones I’m used to asking. The answers to these questions can help define the true requirements for the form.
Start with three basic questions:
1. Who will this form serve?
2. For lead capture forms, what is the purpose of the form?
3. Can the user experience be optimal, while still capturing detailed information where necessary?
This helps us break the form into one of several categories.
General inquiry forms should allow users to identify themselves. It should also allow a user to indicate his/her reason for completing the form and offer several options for providing contact information and a preference.
Lead capture forms are vastly different since the goal is often high conversions. These forms may serve to either provide additional qualification information or to simply acquire leads. If the form is gating a high-value asset, the nature of the fields is likely to ask more detailed questions. A more basic asset may have a low number of questions where the fields are general. In summary, early-stage lead forms will contain the minimum fields required to create a lead, where late-stage lead forms contain qualifier fields.
Asking the right qualifier fields can be a challenge. This is a great opportunity to outline another consideration for forms. Identify any technology or custom coding which can be used in the form to dynamically present fields. For instance, the form may contain one field that triggers a specific series of fields based on the selected value.
Lastly, consider any hidden fields or tracking fields which can be used to provide inferred data. If a person requests to view a video related to a particular solution through a gated form, the form may include an inferred product interest.
Building effective forms with purpose helps provide accurate lead routing. It can also manage the balance between conversion rates and lead qualification or quality data. Begin building your forms with a specific purpose in mind and the rest will fall into place.