The last episode of this series detailed some best practices for form creation. Today we’ll talk about what happens when a prospect submits that form in exchange for some of your content. What sort of content should you offer? Which content should you lock up, and what should be made public and freely available? Here are some pointers on sharing content with prospects.

Get smart with forms. As we learned in our previous installment, it pays to get smart with forms. Make sure prospects see plenty of value before asking them to fill out a form or you risk losing them entirely. Once they’re confronted with a form, it should be designed as a clean and straightforward path to conversion. For example, setting up forms to only accept valid email addresses will help you separate quality prospects from less serious visitors to your site.

Offer appropriate content. Content should be relevant and informational; leave the sales pitch to your sales reps. Examples of good types of content to offer would be articles, white papers, case studies, testimonial videos, and product demos. Think of your task in terms of educating prospects until they become ready to buy.

Set the right expectations. Transparency is always the best policy. Make sure prospects know exactly what they’re getting in exchange for a submitted form. Spell out your intentions with a concise, straightforward statement: “Please complete the form below to have this white paper emailed to you.” If they don’t know what they’re getting, they’ll be far less likely to complete the form.

Leverage the power of email. Rather than sending the requested document as an attachment, send an email with a link to the white paper or other content on your site. This way, you can track link click-throughs in order to assess a prospect’s level of interest.

Don’t lock up all of your content. Even though the conventional purpose of locked-down content is to elicit contact information from prospects who want to get at it, consider making some of your more substantial content freely available to any of your website’s visitors. Despite being otherwise qualified leads, some people are wary of filling out forms right away, so don’t completely alienate them by keeping all of your content locked up behind forms. Give them a taste of quality content–a free demo that doesn’t require registration to view, for example–and if their interest is piqued, they just might be persuaded to fill out a form requesting more information.

You might have all the fundamentals squared away–smart forms, quality content, appealing design–but you’ve just tackled the first part of the task. Your completed landing page is only a first draft. The next stage of the process involves ongoing testing and improvements to your landing page to maximize conversion rates. Check out our next installment for tips on testing and refining your landing page.

jennifer.b

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