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B2B Marketing: What an 11% drop in conversion taught a live audience about lead gen

October 28th, 2013
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Originally published on B2B LeadBlog

Recently, we ran a live test for our audience at MarketingSherpa Lead Gen Summit 2013 and as I discovered, this isn’t the easiest thing to do.

The greatest difficulty rests in thinking about lead generation and optimization in new ways – and hoping those ideas produce significant results.

For example, the design process forced us to examine two important questions: what is a quality lead, and how do we measure it?

Live test background

For the past couple of months, we’ve been planning and designing a live test for the recently held Lead Gen Summit 2013.

During that planning, we had to address a paradox that exists in lead generation.

Marketers typically want more information about their leads. This translates to more form fields on a lead generation form.

What they are also doing is adding more friction to the lead capture process, which increases the likelihood for a potential lead to say “no” to your form and abandon the entire process.

So, how do you find the right balance between lead quality and quantity?

For our test, we tried to meet in the middle.

Control

The control lead gen page design was a single offer, short form page that featured only four form fields with a free downloadable MarketingSherpa Quick Guide, a $45 value, as an incentive.

We needed to identify a baseline for comparison to the other treatments. This control allowed us the opportunity to test multiple aspects of lead generation in one test.

Does choice of incentive lead to higher perceived value which results in more lead completions? Will this perceived value be enough for visitors to battle more friction in a longer lead generation form?

 

Treatment #1

In Treatment #1, the design was also a short form layout. We hypothesized offering a choice of Quick Guides would allow visitors to perceive the incentives as having a higher value and increase overall lead captures.

And the crowd goes wild conservative

We left Treatment #2 up to the audience at Summit to design. We asked them how many additional form fields they wanted and what those form fields should be.

Surprisingly, 44% of our attendees decided to be conservative with their selection.

They chose to only add one additional form field. This could be a representation of what attendees were learning at Summit in regards to form length and completion rate.

But keep in mind, even though one additional form field was the majority vote in this case, there were still many attendees who wanted more form fields (56%). We did not have a chance to ask them why they made the decision they did, but I think it is reasonable to assume they wanted more lead information.

Now, let’s look at what type of form fields the audience wanted to add.

The audience’s choices continued to intrigue us. Job title was the top pick for the additional form. The majority may have decided a deeper context over direct contact was more valuable.

These marketers may have suspected that a phone number field was risky (phone number fields are susceptible to fake numbers) and decided to play it safe with job title.

Treatment #2

A concern our team had based on the audience’s treatment design was that the variation between the control and treatments had relatively low friction to begin with. How much friction can one additional form field about job title really add?

Apparently, it created a lot.

Results

There was no statistically significant difference between the control and Treatment #1, where the only difference was a choice of offers.

However, there was a statistical difference between Treatment #2 and the control. Treatment #2 decreased lead generation by 11.9% at a 99% level of confidence.

One form field had a significant impact and it wasn’t even a high friction question, just job title.

Our live test reiterated the point that marketers need to be strategic with lead generation forms. Prioritize the information you ask for and limit what you do upfront because it may lead to a negative impact on your overall lead generation.

Related Resources:

Lead Generation: How one additional form field decreased conversions 11% [Lead Gen Summit 2013 live test]

Lead Generation: How using science increased teleprospecting sales handoffs 304%

Lead Gen: A proposed replacement for BANT

Lead Generation: Who knows the customer better – Marketing or Sales?

Customer Relevance: 3 golden rules for cookie-based Web segmentation

September 13th, 2013
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Over the years, the Internet has become more adaptive to the things we want.

It often seems as if sites are directly talking to us and can almost predict the things we are searching for, and in some ways, they are.

Once you visit a website, you may get a cookie saved within your browser that stores information about your interactions with that site. Websites use this cookie to remember who you are. You can use this same data to segment visitors on your own websites by presenting visitors with a tailored Web experience.

Much like a salesman with some background on a client, webpages are able to make their “pitch” to visitors by referencing  information they already know about them to encourage clickthrough and ultimately conversion.

Webpages get this information from cookies and then use a segmentation or targeting platform to give visitors tailored Web experiences.

Cookies can also be used to provide visitors with tailored ads, but in today’s MarketingSherpa Blog post, we will concentrate on your website, and how segmentation can be used on your pages to provide more relevant information to your potential customers.

 

Test your way into cookie-based segmentation

At MECLABS, we explore cookie-based segmentation the only way that makes sense to us – by testing it.

It’s fairly easy to identify the different variables you would want to segment visitors by, but how to accurately talk to them should be researched. It’s also easy to become distracted by the possibilities of the technology, but in reality, the basic principles of segmentation still apply, as well as the following general rules.

 

Rule #1. Remember you are segmenting the computer, not the person

There are more opportunities for error when segmenting online because multiple people may use the same computer.

Therefore, online segmentation has some mystery to it. You can tailor your message to best fit the cookies, but that may not accurately represent the needs of the specific person sitting in front of the computer at that time.

Many segmentation platforms boast a 60% to 80% confidence level when it comes to how accurately they can segment visitors, but I think a better way to position this information is there is a 20% to 40% margin of error.

That is pretty high!

Be cautious with how you segment. Make sure the different experiences you display are not too different and do not create discomfort for the visitor.

For visitors who do not share a computer, error can still be high. They may be cookied for things that do not accurately describe them.

I bet if you looked at your browser history, it may not be the most precise representation of who you are as a person. Therefore, don’t take cookie data as fact because it most likely isn’t. It should be used as a tool in your overall segmentation strategy and not serve as your primary resource for information about your customers.

 

Rule #2. Be helpful, not creepy

People are getting used to the Internet making suggestions and presenting only relevant information to them.

Some have even come to expect this sort of interaction with their favorite sites. However, there is a fine line between helpful and creepy. Visitors probably don’t want to feel like they are being watched or tracked. Marketers should use the data collected about their visitors in a way that does not surpass their conscious threshold for being tracked.

For example, providing location-specific information to visitors in a certain region is alright, but providing too much known information about those visitors may not be.

Cookies can tell you income level, demographic information, shopping preferences and so much more. Combining too much known information could seem overwhelming to the visitor and rather than speaking directly to them, you risk scaring them off.

Instead of making it blatantly obvious to visitors you have collected information on them, I would suggest an approach that supplies users with relevant information that meets their needs.

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