Case Study: A Small Change to a Web Form Gets 10x The Leads


As marketers, we continually look for new ways to drive visibility, increase brand impressions, and earn clicks.

But what happens when a big increase in traffic doesn’t yield more leads?

We recently ran into this exact situation with one of our clients. This is a professional services firm in New York City. They produced a very nice whitepaper that was based on empirical data collected over the span of several months. The whitepaper had real takeaway value, was highly targeted, and offered solutions to real problems that businesses are desperately looking to solve.

To help support this whitepaper, we developed a comprehensive marketing plan. This included:

  • Individual blog posts detailing core takeaways from the whitepaper.
  • A series of social media posts outlining key bullets from the research.
  • Short 30 second videos featuring relevant tips and strategies outlined in the whitepaper.
  • Paid social media distribution targeting the core audience.
  • A custom landing page detailing the value of this whitepaper.
  • A series of email marketing blasts that keyed in on different problems this whitepaper solved.
  • A custom email signature for their internal staff’s day-to-day email.
  • And, every single marketing component included a strong call-to-action leading people back to a page to download the form.

This plan worked great at building awareness and impressions for this piece of content. The marketing activities drove thousands of impressions with a very specific target audience, in a very specific geographic market. We also did great at driving and funneling this traffic back to the landing page to download the full whitepaper. This page became one of the most visited pages on the client’s website.

So, this was a marketing success right?!

Nope. Sure we did great at driving visibility and awareness (and there is value in that). But where this fell down was on meeting the core goal of the marketing effort. We didn’t just want to get impressions. We didn’t just want to earn clicks. We wanted those impressions and clicks to lead to form submissions and people downloading the full ebook, which would hopefully lead to a strategic business conversation (and a sale).

We found everything worked great, until people got to the form submission page. Of the thousands of visits to this page, a paltry 1% of people completed the form. That wasn’t meeting the marketing and business objectives we set.

What should you do when marketing isn’t converting?

We could have just chalked this up to people not caring about the ebook. We could have highlighted the fact that we got thousands of impressions. We could have noted that at least we were getting some conversions. But that’s not what Smart Marketers do. Instead, we looked deeper to uncover a hole in the marketing and sales funnel. We had great impressions, people were clicking on our marketing messages, we were striking an initial emotional appeal. So the hole in the process was the form. The form included the following fields:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Company Name
  • Comments

At first glance, that doesn’t seem like we’re asking for too much (and half the fields weren’t even required)! But people still weren’t taking the time to fill this out. Now, of course, our client was convinced that their sales team needed all of this information. But after some rather strong persuasion, they agreed to let us adjust this form. Here’s what we ended up with:

The original form only had six fields–and the conversion rate was slightly under 1%. We combined the fields for first and last name into just a single field for “name”. We found when people filled this out, EVERYONE still included both their first and last names. So we eliminated a field and didn’t lose any data. We also found nearly everyone that completed this form used their work email address. So we captured email and we also knew what company they were with. Another field eliminated without any loss of data. Knowing the company and email address, we don’t need the phone number. I think everyone reading this is “savvy” enough to quickly find a phone number online — another field gone. Finally “comments” – why the hell was that even on the form to begin with?!

A small form change had a 10x return on conversions.

By making these minor (but smart) changes, we were able to go from a conversion rate of less than 1%, to a 10% conversion rate. They received 10 times more targeted leads and this led to a LOT more qualified conversations. In the coming weeks, we may look to make even more adjustments. Simple changes to the wording used in the button and the color of the button can impact results. Our next step will be changing “submit” to “download now”.

So don’t just scrap everything when your marketing isn’t delivering the volume of leads you want. Instead, look for the holes in the funnel and the process. Tweak and test changes to see how that impacts results. You may just find that a small (but smart) change like this can dramatically improve results.

Looking for Smart Marketing in Buffalo or Beyond?

Contact the smart marketing experts at BARQAR. From website development to SEO. Lead generation campaigns to content and social media marketing, we can help craft a smart marketing strategy that delivers results.

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