If your IT consulting website is more than just a glorified static brochure, and you hope to generate qualified leads from it consistently, you’re going to need some well thought-out landing pages that collect data via forms.
Most websites for IT consulting firms are just atrociously bad at generating leads, let alone qualified leads, in any kind of reasonable volume that moves the company towards its revenue goals.
In this article, you’ll learn where forms fit into landing pages and lead generation – and how to make sure that your forms are successful in capturing the data that you need to begin relationships with potential clients.
Why Forms Are So Important
Forms are such a big part of commerce and pop culture, it’s no surprise that they play such a vital role with Inbound marketing and lead generation.
In the context of lead generation and landing pages, forms take on some very important jobs:
- Forms collect visitor information.
- Forms add that information to a database (or via APIs to more than one database).
- Forms can trigger actions and workflows that send information automatically to website visitors.
- Forms are usually configured to transfer website visitors to a confirmation page, or thank you page, after website visitors successfully complete and submit the form.
The Role of Forms in IT Consulting Landing Pages
Now forms play an exceptionally important role in landing pages. (A landing page is a specialized kind of website page whose entire purpose is to transform website visitors into qualified leads.)
Lead generation forms usually reside on dedicated landing pages, but often also appear in shortened versions on blog and website sidebars. With these shorter forms, there’s a trade-off: less friction in the conversion process because a website visitor doesn’t have to click through to another page, but usually you’re sacrificing lead qualification data because it’s awkward to ask for more than a few fields in a website sidebar or blog sidebar, even if the offer is simply awesome.
Without forms, your IT consulting website will not collect leads. No dice!
So think for a moment about how many places there are on your website for visitors to convert to leads. No offers and no forms pretty much equal no leads.
Trade Off Between Form Length and Lead Quality
As an example, let’s consider a high-converting landing page for a middle of the sales cycle premium content offer. This is the landing page and form for 11 Ways Computer Consulting Businesses Attract the Right Website Visitors.
The conversion rate on this runs about 30%, even with eight fields (seven are required).
So anyone that tells you that having more than First Name, Last Name, and E-mail Address kills conversion rates doesn’t know what they’re talking about.
There’s an inherent trade-off though: Fewer fields can lead to more leads, but largely unqualified leads.
Best Practices for Effective Landing Page Forms
- Make the form headline text consistent with the CTA (call to action) text and landing page headline text. Consistency helps. Inconsistency hurts. And be sure to start with an action verb!
- Ask for enough data to properly qualify leads, but not so much to scare people away. Ask sales and customer service which data is most helpful to figure out (a) whether a lead is qualified and (b) likely to be a good fit long-term as a client. If you personally are both sales and customer service, in other words you wear both hats, check your support ticket database, PSA (professional services automation) reports, or CRM (customer relationship management) reports.
- Decide on required vs. optional fields. It’s expensive to maintain a database of the right decision makers. So don’t settle for garbage leads cluttering up the joint.
- Use drop-down lists, radio buttons, and checkboxes to capture more structured data. Without this, you wouldn’t believe how many creative ways there are for your IT consulting website visitors to come up with ever-so-slight variations of responses that totally mess up your segmentation and metrics. Enforcing structured data is also hugely important for marketing automation and lead scoring.
- Change the default text on the Submit button to be consistent with the form headline. No one really wants to “Submit” – except perhaps Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams who wrote the pop culture joke in 1997 about accepting EULAs (software end user license agreements) without reading and becoming Bill Gates’ towel boy.
- Consider the current and future needs of your ideal buyer personas when planning form fields. Know what data you need to segment and personalize.
- Decide which fields only need to be asked once, if you are using progressive profiling or something like HubSpot Smart Forms. If you have converted on the SP Home Run website more than once, you have likely experienced this. If you’re asked, what your business model is, or what country you’re located in, you shouldn’t have to answer this again with good software.
- Use the sales cycle stage to decide what kinds of data to gather. The general rule of thumb: Early on in the cycle, use fewer fields and be less intrusive. Later on: You’ve got to know how qualified and sales-ready leads really are to avoid wasting time and resources. So ask away!
Just a cautionary note about what to do first: Forms should usually be built before landing pages, because forms get inserted into landing pages. A landing page doesn’t have much value without a form.
Is the website for your IT consulting business successful in generating highly-qualified leads at scale? If so, what do you prioritize on landing page forms? Let us know your tips in the Comments box below.
And to learn how to implement forms and landing pages successfully throughout the sales cycle, to fill up the top of your sales funnel with more highly-qualified leads, be sure to watch the "Inbound Revenue Acceleration Webinar for Managed Services & IT Consulting."
Topics:- Computer Consulting Business