Lead-Gen Forms, Keep ’em Simple

Posted by on Oct 17, 2012 in Marketing | Comments Off on Lead-Gen Forms, Keep ’em Simple

Big Reg Form
Recently I came across a link in a promoted tweet that lead to a landing page with a very large reg-form that I needed to fill in to get a white paper. The form had six required fields, asking for a lot of valuable information. That’s a big form to fill our for a white paper. I didn’t fill it out, I wasn’t that interested, but seeing that form brought me back to my agency, B2B, marketing days.

Working in an agency doing marketing was fun. Project turnarounds were quick, so there was always a new project coming and the variety kept things interesting. We used to do a lot of white paper give-aways in those days. We had a very low bar to clear, no bar in fact, in order to get a white paper. Sometimes, we took user to a site where they could download the white paper. More likely than not we’d created a rich media ad unit that allowed users to grab the white paper from the unit, with no site visit necessary. We gave people seeking information, direct access to quality content in the places where they were doing their research. If we did have a lead-gen-form then first name and email were the only required fields.

Way back in 1999-2004 we were trading in the coin-of-the-as-yet-unborn-social-media-realm — freely sharing our expertise (or that of our clients in this case) with the understanding that by doing so, we were solidifying our place in customers’ consideration sets. Returning to the six field form that started this whole post: This marketer has set the bar awfully high, but this is understandable. They paid for the report that they are giving away, and they want to get something back — quantifiable and qualifiable leads.

Yet, lacking some sort of pre-existing connection to the marketer, the most many users, in my experience, will give is a first name and an email. The marketer shouldn’t look for more. Set the bar lower and work up to more. Once a user gives their basic info, it’s incumbent upon the marketer to nurture and develop the relationship. Over time the marketer will be able to pry a few more nuggets of lead-gold out of the user, but it takes time.


  • Don’t look for too much, too fast
  • Keep the initial interaction, short, sweet and to the point
  • It’s a relationship
  • Allow it to develop