Many companies use website sign-ups for lead gathering. The challenge is to design the sign-up process so that you get not only names and email addresses, but also some indication of how likely those visitors are to convert to customers. Fewer people will fill out long forms, but they’re more motivated and thus more likely to convert; more people will fill out short forms, but you won’t know which of them really are potential customers.
You can adjust the length and complexity of your online sign-up form to get more useful information about the quality of the leads. There are three basic strategies:
Form where all fields are required to submit: This is the traditional strategy, and it is still used by 35 percent of B2B marketers.
Single-step form with optional fields: Prospects who fill out more of the optional fields are more motivated, and thus better prospects. This is an increasingly popular strategy, with 47 percent of B2B marketers using it.
Multi-step form that the user can abandon at any point: Like the single-step with optional fields, you can gauge the seriousness of prospects by how much of the form they fill out. This is the least popular of the strategies, used by 18 percent of B2B marketers.
Take another look at your sign-up form. If the current version is very short, consider adding some optional fields; if it’s long, consider making some of the fields optional.