When we first start working with new clients, many of them are dropping all of the leads from their website into a single bucket called “Web Leads.” This makes it impossible for a client to know which Internet marketing channels or campaigns drove those leads. Without complete and accurate information, clients cannot evaluate performance regarding specific channels or campaigns. Furthermore, they cannot accurately calculate ROI or know what adjustments can be made to improve specific channels or campaigns.
- Using email addresses on your website.
- Not having a form.
- Hiding your form.
- Not knowing the marketing source of your form submissions.
- Relying on an email from your form to notify you of a sales lead.
- Having errors on your form page.
- Having errors in your form validation.
- Using CAPTCHA.
- Having too many fields in your form.
- Outsourcing your form to a third party (like WuFoo, Hubspot, Marketo, etc.).
- Not validating your form submissions.
- Relying on analytics platform conversion data instead of your actual form submissions.
Displaying an email address anywhere on your website is a kiss of death when it comes to lead tracking. Sales leads received over email cannot be tracked back to the marketing source of the lead. Even if you created a single email address and used it only on your website, the best position you will be in is bucketing all email leads as “Web Leads.” You will have no idea which Internet marketing channel or campaign produced the lead.
Also, many companies are not aware that email addresses on websites are a magnet for never-ending spam. Spammers have scripts that crawl the Internet looking for email addresses; once they find your email address it will be added to lists and sold over and over again. You will receive a growing daily stream of spam to that email address — forever.
If you want website visitors to be able to contact your business, your website needs to have at least one form. This can be as simple as a form on a Contact Us page. Many visitors prefer to fill out a form instead of calling. If you don’t provide a form, you will miss out on a great number of sales leads.
Make sure your form isn’t hidden in your website. Any business that relies on sales leads should have a page with a form linked from the header of all pages or in the top navigation. When your visitors are ready to make contact, be sure to make it easy for them to find the form.
Most business websites with online forms fail to track the marketing source of each form submission. Without this data, your only option is to call all of these form submissions “Web Leads.” Since you don’t know which Internet marketing channel or campaign drove each form submission, you are not able to calculate ROI data or improve your campaigns. You need to know the marketing source of each form submission. This can be done with some Web development work around the referral URL and cookies.
Most company websites have forms that do a single function: send an email when they are submitted. These companies assume that every email from their website makes its way to their inbox. Due to spam filters, this doesn’t always happen. To be sure that you are not missing sales leads from your website, be sure to use a server side programming language to store all form submissions in a database. Do continual QC checks to verify that you are getting emails of every form submission in your database.
The other issue that many businesses forget about is what email address is set up on your website as the email that all form submissions should be sent to. Many times, staff email addresses are used on the website’s forms. If that staff member leaves the company, it is commonly forgotten that the website needs to be updated with a new email address. One simple solution for this is to use an email distribution group as the email address on your website. This allows you to manage who gets these emails through your email system instead of having a developer make changes to your website.
Be sure to test and retest all forms on your website to make sure they are working properly. When you test your form, try to make mistakes so you can see how the form’s validation responds. Imagine your visitors filling out your form to generate a sales lead, but your form stopped working. Changes to a website’s code or hosting server can break your forms. Be sure to set a reminder for a monthly test to verify that all of your forms are working correctly.
Test your form validation and error messages to make sure they are simple for your visitors. Sometimes Web developers can implement complex and/or conflicting front-end and back-end validation that makes it difficult to impossible for visitors to successfully submit your form. Things like requiring a phone number field to only consist of 10 digits will cause a lot of visitors to receive an error. You would be amazed at how easy a simple form can become difficult for visitors to complete. Sometimes visitors do not notice the form validation errors when they submit the form and they just browse off the page without ever successfully submitting your form.
Using a CAPTCHA can make it problematic for visitors to complete your form, which will decrease your form’s conversion rate.
The fewer form fields your form has, the greater your conversion rate will be. Forms with many fields scare visitors away.
Many companies outsource their form to a third party because it seems like an easy solution to either building a form or integrating a form into another software application. Rarely do companies take the time to understand what they are giving up by having another company run the form on their website. A number of issues can occur if you give up ownership and hosting of your form to a third party. Forms are one of the most important parts of a lead generation campaign — be sure you keep ownership and control of all of your forms.
Most companies classify all form submissions as conversions, which is a huge mistake. Many form submissions that are submitted are spam, people looking for jobs, sales reps trying to sell their company things, etc. Some companies may be surprised to find that over 25 percent of their form submissions are not sales leads. The solution to this is lead validation, where each form submission is reviewed by a human and marked as a sales lead or not a sales lead. It is imperative that your form submissions are validated before you consider counting form submissions as conversions or sales leads.
Many companies rely on analytics to track how many form submissions were received instead of using the actual form submission data. If you rely on analytics tracking for your form submissions, you are left dealing with a count of how many times a form was submitted. If analytics tells you that there were eight forms submitted, you have no idea which forms those eight were. Two of them could have been spammers, three of them job applicants, one trying to sell you something and the remaining two are actual sales leads. Using analytics data, you would never know and you would just assume that all eight were actual sales leads. When running Internet marketing campaigns, it is very important that you are measuring those campaigns using actual form submission data and not simple counts in analytics.