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Gated content: Don’t ask for too much info, too soon

By Giles Shorthouse on 3rd September 2020

We’re all guilty of doing it. Trying to get too much information on a landing page form fill. It’s all too tempting to ask for more, but letting greed get the better of you can be a one way ticket to form abandonment.

Behemoth forms are everywhere. I once used a well-known webinar platform for an event without checking the sign-up process – turns out I had unwittingly forced my guests to complete 13 mandatory fields if they wanted to attend.

No wonder I got this reply to our invite:
“You have the MOST complicated sign up process I have seen in a long time for a webinar. Surely this is turning people off?”

The chap who replied was politer than I would have been!

There’s no reason to start with more than just the big three:

  1. Email address
  2. Name
  3. Company

You don’t need their star sign and you certainly don’t need their shoe size. (Unless you’re selling shoes!)

According to the 2020 Content Preferences Study, the addition of Job title/Industry is one of the few fields you can get away with adding without turning people off. After that, there’s a steep steep decline in what information people are willing to share in exchange for content.

% of people who said they were willing to share the following:

Banner_gatedcontent-03Banner_gatedcontent-04

It’s also worth considering what content you gate. From the same report, webinars are actually the content format that most people would be willing to give their information to sign up for.

% of people who said they were most likely to part with their information for access to:

Banner_gatedcontent-05Banner_gatedcontent-06

The first form filled out by a prospect probably won’t be their last either, so start with the must-have information.

The majority of marketing automation systems offer “progressive profiling” or “progressive fields”, that let you instruct subsequent landing pages to capture extra information each time a prospect downloads something new. Keep this in mind when constructing your forms and how you’ll structure them.

Example:

Landing page 1 – First form fill: Email address, Company name, Name

Landing page 2 – First progressive field: Job title or Industry

Landing page 3 – Second progressive field: Business Location or Phone number

Landing page 4 – Third progressive field: Ask a question with dropdown answers – E.G. What is your biggest challenge?

Reflect on the fact that if people are willing to fill in numerous forms, they’re likely to be highly engaged contacts who will give you valuable information.

Above all else, it’s worth considering what information you actually need. Is it crucial to know their level, company size, time zone and industry? Let’s be honest: probably not.

You can buy plugins for most marketing automation or CRM systems that can complete that data. Or if you’re dealing with small numbers, a sales rep will be able to fill in a few fields when they research a valuable prospect.

Once you’ve whittled down what fields you really need, have a look at the knowledge centre for your marketing automation platform and learn about progressive profiling.

Or give us a call to we’ll sense check your plans.

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