6 Uses for Marketing Automation Forms

A few tips for capturing customer data and keeping them engaged.
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By unlocking the potential of forms, you can gather customer intelligence and truly harness the power of marketing automation, enabling you to keep multiple customers engaged at the same time without lifting a finger. The more engaged your customers are, the more likely they are to view your company in a favorable light and do business with you.

I’ve listed below some of the many things you can do with marketing automation forms. Your capabilities and integrations will depend on the platform you choose (and there are many marketing automation providers), so please make sure to determine if the platform you are considering will allow you to do what you want to do before signing up.

1. Lead Nurturing

CRMs (Customer Relationship Management software) are the lifeblood of sales in this digital age. Getting those leads into a CRM such as Salesforce, Nutshell, Microsoft Dynamics, or whatever system you use, is crucial to most companies’ sales processes.

Now you could simply get the form scripts from your CRM and put them on your site. However, if you want to take your marketing to the next level, using forms built in your marketing automation platform will give you the ability to score your leads and pass user information into your CRM, giving you the basis for true lead nurturing.

Scenario

A prospect finds your website and is interested in your services. They fill out the contact form. The form is submitted to the marketing automation platform, which scores the lead based on criteria you have set up, and then sends the customer’s contact information and lead score to your CRM system.

2. Surveys

Want to get feedback on your products or a service that was just provided? Setting up a page that allows your users to fill out a form with some strategic questions will give you some valuable insight and potentially lead to some improved products or processes. Surveys are also opportunities to signal to your customers that what they think matters.

Scenario

A customer purchases a product through your e-commerce site. The customer’s contact information is passed into your marketing automation system and sets a trigger to send them an email 30 days after purchase. Included in that email is an offer for a discount on their next purchase if they fill out a survey. After the survey is taken, the system sends them an automated message with a discount code.

3. Drip Email Campaigns

A drip email marketing campaign is a great way to communicate with your customers persistently. When a drip campaign is triggered by a customer filling out a form to request more information about a product or service, a programmed campaign sends the user a series of pre-written emails focused on the topic that’s sparked their interest.

You can set up these campaigns to speak to general topics in your industry or users’ specific interests. You’ll know your audience best and can decide whether to send periodic, weekly, or even daily messages. Make adjustments to the schedule based on the metrics reported by your marketing automation system.

Scenario

A customer visits your site and is interested in the article you wrote on ball bearing manufacturing. He fills out a form to request more information, which triggers a series of emails about ball bearings. You can follow up with him about any specific questions he may have, but the automated series of emails will keep him engaged with your company as he continues to receive communications about the subject that sparked his interest in the first place.

4. Targeted Responses

By setting up unique marketing automation forms for each business segment or specific types of buyers, you can tailor your content to speak more directly to your audiences. Based on the information submitted to these targeted forms, response templates can also be customized and optimized to increase conversions.

Scenario

A client visits your site and, while browsing the steel fabrication page, sends a form request. Based on the information she submits, the automated message, which has content in it relating to steel fabrication, tells her about the advantages your company provides and gives her a link to download a PDF brochure so she can learn more about your capabilities.

5. Triggered Alerts

If you need to respond quickly to highly rated prospects, you can set up triggered alerts. Imagine that every time a highly rated prospect fills out a marketing automation form on your site, you immediately receive a text message on your mobile phone. Your response rate (as well as your chances of closing sales) would increase significantly. Further, automated responses can be sent to these important customers while you pull everything together to follow up with a phone call or a personal email.

Scenario

The CEO of a company is searching for services when he finds your site and submits a request through your contact form. Based on a workflow you set up in your marketing automation system, a text message is sent to your phone because the system registers that a CEO — a job title you had designated as a highly rated prospect — has made an inquiry since your marketing automation form requires that everyone who fills it out submit a job title. While the CEO receives a prompt automated thank-you email, you prepare to call him directly.

6. High-Value Assets

Getting white papers, case studies, or featured articles into the hands on your prospects can be a very valuable form of communication. These high-value assets demonstrate that you are knowledgeable in your field and, if you host them on gated landing pages equipped with forms, allow you to capture customer information. You’ll need to decide on the best strategy for building these assets and whether they should be hosted on a single landing page or a microsite, but you should be able to handle the rest of the execution with your marketing automation platform.

White Paper Download Form

An example of a gated landing page that prompts users to exchange contact information to download a high-value asset. (From www.marketstrong.com/responsive-site-guide/)

Scenario

You create a landing page that requires users to submit their contact information in order to download a white paper. The chief engineer from Acme Widgets visits your site and sees the call to action to download the paper. He believes it’s valuable enough to give you his contact information and fills out the form on your landing page. A few minutes later, he receives an email with a link to download the high-value asset. This entire sequence of events is tracked. The engineer becomes a lead with a history in your marketing automation system. You have his contact information, as well as a record of the asset he’s downloaded from your website.

Conclusion

As I mentioned at the start of this article, there are many different marketing automation platforms out there. When selecting one, it’s important to do your homework to ensure that the one you choose meets your needs.

Whatever you decide, be sure to cover one very important step or you’ll be wasting your money: measure your success (or lack thereof). Marketing automation forms allow you to capture a lot of customer data. Analyzing this data will allow you to make changes to improve conversions. Which is, after all, the entire point of marketing automation.

If you need help deciding on a marketing automation platform or developing a digital marketing strategy that makes use of marketing automation forms, please feel free to contact us at Industrial Strength Marketing.

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About the Author

Brent Lathrop


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