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?

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%.

shorter forms increase conversation rates

MarketingExperiments ran a similar study that showed by reducing form fields on a landing page from nine to three increased conversion rate by as much as 300%!

Marketing automation tools can make it simple to reduce form fields using three approaches: progressive profiling, conversion paths and social login.

Progressive Profiling

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:

progressive profiling progressive profiling

Using progressive profiling, marketers are able to reduce the initial number of form fields required for the visitor to receive an asset, which as we’ve seen, improves conversion for landing pages. Progressive profiling can help marketers achieve a quick win with conversion by reducing form fields on landing pages.

Conversion Paths

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:

conversion paths

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:

Using the conversion path method for all webinar registrations over a twelve month period, on average 42.3% of prospects filled out the additional fields on the second page, even though this page was completely optional in regards to webinar registration.

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.

social form fill

Similarly, webmasters and marketers can also combine the APIs from their marketing automation tool with any number of social platform APIs to enable similar approaches using a “social login”. On Search Mojo’s site, we’ve implemented a similar approach to social form fill with social login, allowing visitors to automatically sign in to see assets on the site by providing social profile information:

social APIs

Why would a marketer want to implement social login or social form fill? In addition to making the landing page process faster and simpler for the visitor, marketers stand to receive more qualified data from the integration with social networks. A study by MarketingSherpa of technology firms indicates how often incorrect information is entered in forms:

The benefit, however, of integrating landing pages with social networks is that the information from social networks has often been verified in some way. For instance, email, which according to the survey data is listed as 68% always inaccurate, is often verified by social networks in order to ensure that the user can be contacted. Name also is often very accurate with social network profiles, as users of social networks want to ensure their profiles can be found easily by name.

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.