Content MarketingMarketing ToolsSales Enablement

Are Lead Forms Dead?

Short answer? Yep.

At least in the traditional sense, and by “traditional” we mean demanding visitors’ information before you’ve provided value, or using stale, static content as an incentive.

Let’s back up that truck for some background:

In our work helping clients increase their online conversions, we’ve noticed a significant, consistent drop in web visitors filling out traditional lead forms. There’s a good reason for that.

Buyer behavior is changing, largely because the technology, information and connectivity available to them keeps evolving and reshaping their behavior.

As a result, your buyers have grown far more knowledgeable, discerning, demanding, and distracted. In all, they’re utterly unimpressed with static content that often misses the mark in nailing their needs, interests, or where they are in the buying journey.

Gated content that’s worked well not long ago (we’re looking at you, white papers and ebooks) are now terrible incentives to get someone’s contact information.

If you think of your website as a digital sales rep (as you should), static content sprinkled with lead forms is akin to a sales rep who hogs the conversation, sounds like a broken record, and delivers the same tone-deaf pitch to any prospect that crosses his path. Contrast that with a sales rep who ask questions, listens, and delivers helpful answers. Someone who’s remembered not as a pushy salesman, but as a trusted advisor and good conversationalist. That’s what interactive content can deliver.

Does interactive really work?

Consider these outcomes:

  • Interactive content generates 94% more conversions Source
  • Interactive content generates 300% higher consumer interactivity Source
  • Interactive content generates 60% higher retention of information. Source
  • Interactive content generates 500% more data collected. Source

Two reasons we want to stress:

  1. Information that’s customized to my interests and where I am in the buying process will always trump static, “catch-all” content crafted to please everyone, everywhere. (We all know how trying to please everyone works out. It doesn’t.)
  2. Neuroscientists tell us our “reptilian brain” (a nickname for the part of the brain driving unconscious behavior and the final say in decisions) is highly visual, and content lacking visual stimuli is far less effective.

A little anecdote to support this latter point: We once had a client test an infographic against a white paper, each sitting behind a lead form. The white paper got zero conversions, while the infographic reaped 100% of submissions. Want that reptilian brain to take action? Make your content visually compelling, for Pete’s sake.

The case for ditching an obsolete conversion path isn’t to kill forms altogether, but to nudge customers toward interactive experiences that build trust and deliver value before you ask them for a bigger commitment like sharing their contact information. (Just like you’d behave in a date if you hope to get a second date.)

What type of interactive content can do that?

Examples of interactive content include:

  • Appointment Scheduler – Invite prospects to test-drive features or benefits by setting an appointment
  • Assessments – Zoom into personal needs, and deliver helpful recommendations
  • Calculators – Help buyers gauge value
  • Chat – 1:1, real-time assistance just as a customer is evaluating a purchase
  • Custom Path/Promos – Custom tools, recommendations or promos based on buyer preferences, history, or peer purchases
  • Instant Check – Remove buying obstacles by clarifying whether they can buy now
  • Instant Win – Combine incentives with curiosity
  • Interactive Infographics – Infographics with interactive elements like motion and on-demand elements like info panes or videos
  • Pay with a tweet/social share – Reward visitors with access when they share your content with their social media network
  • Quizzes – Let visitors test and showcase their knowledge
  • Story Microsites – Online microsites that walk a visitor through pages and videos through to a conversion
  • Trivia – Satisfy their curiosity and show’em how much they know
  • Video – Show vs. tell

When planning your interactive content, it’s helpful to keep in mind psychological drivers that fuel visitor action and content consumption. Below we list a few, borrowed from our friends at Lead Forms Are Dead:

  • Curiosity
  • Love of self
  • Knowledge
  • Power
  • Competitiveness
  • Rewards

Still fuzzy on what this would look like in action? Here’s a handy guide, which you can “pay with a tweet” so you get a taste of an interactive lead-gen path.

Check Out the Interactivity Guide

Before we part ways, I do want to acknowledge and give a virtual high-five to our clients and interactive content partners—Muhammad Yasin and Felicia Savage at PERQ. Their team has developed a fantastic, interactive content software to turn your website into a digital salesperson, which you should check out and demo, stat.

Request a Demo of Interactive Content Software

What types of interactive content, if any, have you experienced with? What are your thoughts so far? Share below and let’s help each other out.
Disclosure: PERQ is a client of our agency.

Jenn Lisak Golding

Jenn Lisak Golding is President and CEO of Sapphire Strategy, a digital agency that blends rich data with experienced-back intuition to help B2B brands win more customers and multiply their marketing ROI. An award-winning strategist, Jenn developed the Sapphire Lifecycle Model: an evidence-based audit tool and blueprint for high-performing marketing investments.

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