Social Media Fail: Response Forms that are User Nasty


Reading time ( words)

The Good Idea

Using the company website to offer free white papers or other content a prospective customer would like. This is a really smart thing to do, especially if the company makes the effort to do so on an ongoing basis. This builds credibility and trust. The reader thinks, “The people at this company really know what they are talking about.”

The Bad Execution

Making the visitor fill out a long form to get the “free” content. There’s a term that online retailers used to call this: “shopping cart abandonment,” where the process of checking out and paying for something is found to be too tedious by the customer and he abandons the purchase.

A lot of PCB manufacturers suffer from this. I have seen forms asking for everything: company info, departments, how long in this job, do you have purchasing authority, you name it. In a couple of cases, I have seen forms with 11 fields to fill out, and in one case 14! Which brings up another term that online people use: frictionless. A company wants a transaction to be as easy as possible for their followers – a smooth, frictionless interaction. An 11-field form isn’t frictionless; it’s Velcro.

When a company has a long form, it smacks of, "We are qualifying you because we want to sell you something." Manufacturers need to stop seeing these website visitors as someone they can sell something to later today and start seeing them as someone who has an interest in the company’s product or service, and wants to know more.

The Solution

How many fields are really needed in a response form? I maintain that it's two: name and an e-mail address. Three if the name needs to be entered as first name in one field and last name in a second field. That’s it. Their company should be obvious from their e-mail address. And with a name, a company, and LinkedIn, finding out just about everything about this person (title, division, responsibilities) is possible.

Slight digression and a plea: If there is only one field I can convince manufacturers to drop, it’s phone number. There is only one thing someone thinks when they are asked for a phone number, and that’s “Someone is going to call me." That’s the fastest way to stop someone from completing a form. Okay, back to my two-field form...

One thing a response form should have is a checkbox for the visitor, and some wording along the lines of “We issue similar reports to the one you have downloaded on a regular basis. Would you like to receive them via e-mail? You may opt out at any time.” Now the visitor has a non-confrontational way to opt in and receive regular correspondence from the company at no risk. The visitor is on the road to becoming a prospect.

To do this sort of thing really well, there is a lot more to it, of course. But these are the big three ideas behind getting really good response rates to content offered on a website: good content, a simple form, and an option to opt-in for future content.

Now the company has gone from “Fill out this form and a sales rep will be calling you shortly after you hit the enter button” to being a resource for technical information on the visitor’s field of interest. No more abandoned shopping carts.


Bruce Johnston is a sales consultant specializing in Social Media and especially LinkedIn. He has 30 years experience in high tech sales and management. He can be reached at brucej@practicalsmm.com or through his profile on LinkedIn.

Share

Print


Suggested Items

IPC APEX EXPO Technical Conference, Featuring Fundamentals and the Intersection

01/23/2020 | Brook Sandy-Smith, IPC
IPC's Brook Sandy-Smith brings us a preview of the Technical Conference at IPC APEX EXPO 2020. In addition to the Sessions @ the Intersection and the Technical Conference, the Fundamentals Program is new at IPC APEX EXPO 2020. The program provides curated content for industry newcomers and anyone interested in a broader view through the many facets of electronics manufacturing. Attendees will learn important concepts, terminology, and background as preparation for the detailed content on new studies and technologies presented at the technical conference.

Emmy Ross Discusses the New I-Connect007 E-Book Series

01/10/2017 | Dan Beaulieu
One thing that is long overdue in our industry is a series of guidebooks focused on helping companies with all their needs, from qualifications like AS9100 and Mil-P-31032 to various technologies, heavy copper, rigid-flex and microvias. I-Connect007 is now providing our industry with an entire series of these guidebooks, starting with the first book, "The Printed Circuits Buyers Guide to… AS9100 Certification." Authored by Imagineering Inc., this book educates readers about the AS9100 quality standard, and explains how to earn this certification.

Launch Letters: Give Your Literature Some Lovin’

07/12/2016 | Barry Lee Cohen
Collateral is such an ugly word. As the late, great Rodney Dangerfield would have put it, brochures, sell sheets, process manuals, and other sales support tools often get no respect in our digital world. Even the convenience of downloading a PDF is scoffed at by today’s millennials who rely on the “Almighty App” and the “All-Knowing Cloud” to view, digest and store information.



Copyright © 2020 I-Connect007. All rights reserved.