Are Forms Dead? An Inside Look at How Removing Forms Might Benefit You

Are Forms Dead? An Inside Look at How Removing Forms Might Benefit You

The same thing is happening today with other marketing tactics. For example, the standard “inbound marketing playbook” that has worked for the past decade has been to put your best content behind a form. Email marketing still works. Why some people are leaving forms It’s easy to get stuck following the same old formulas that every blog post talks about. For example, you can create a custom audience for all of the people who have visited your website over the past 30-60 days. If people view your blog posts, you can send a Facebook ad for your new e-book. These people are interested in your content. Who said you couldn’t qualify leads without a form? Conclusion The typical inbound marketing playbook tells us to hook people with long-form blog content, and then use gated content and lead magnets to get their personal information. You can use live-chat and messaging tactics to qualify leads when they start to look at your Pricing or Service pages.

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forms

SEO is constantly changing.

Just when you think you’ve mastered keyword research, Google announces a new ranking factor.

The same thing is happening today with other marketing tactics.

For example, the standard “inbound marketing playbook” that has worked for the past decade has been to put your best content behind a form.

The idea is to “gate” the content to drive more inbound leads.

However, some companies seem to be moving away from this approach.

They’re saying that conversion rates continue to drop.

Basically, your potential customers are shying away from entering their email addresses into yet another form.

Instead, these companies are putting all of their best content out in the open.

And then they’re using a few clever techniques for lead generation.

Is that a good approach?

Should we get rid of forms?

Or should we stick with them because they still work to a certain degree?

That’s what we’re going to figure out together in this article.

But first, I want to explain why “gated content” is starting to die out.

Why “gated content” is dying (and what’s taking its place)

Newspaper ads used to be the cream of the crop.

They used to be an incredible place to deliver ads to millions of eager readers.

The problem, of course, is that newspaper advertising spend continues to drop like a rock.

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Why is this trend happening?

Obviously, it’s because they don’t work any longer! People don’t respond to newspaper ads like they used to.

I’m picking on newspaper ads, but the same can be said for most forms of advertising and promotion.

In the beginning, they work extremely well.

However, they work less effective over time as the number of alternatives increases and consumer behavior shifts.

So what works well today probably won’t work as well tomorrow.

That still applies to many of the same tactics we use today.

SEO used to be easy. Now it’s not.

Email marketing still works. However, it’s under strain as trillions of emails are sent and major email providers like Gmail pull most of them out of users’ primary inboxes.

Those filters exist to make consumers’ lives better.

Gmail is helping consumers remove a lot of the spam that used to fill up inboxes.

The harsh reality for email marketers is that consumers don’t want to see another templated {{firstname}} email with your weekly blog posts.

As you can probably tell, I’ve been personally struggling with this decision.

The idea of going completely formless scares me.

Incredibly, some companies like Drift have already taken this leap.

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In one year, they effectively phased out their gated content completely.

They exchanged landing-page forms for targeted live-chat and chat-bot campaigns.

Now, they might be a little biased if we’re honest. They are a live chat and messaging software app.

However, you can’t argue with some of the results they’re seeing.

This new-and-improved live chat will even automatically help customers so that you don’t have to.

Why would that be important?

Drift surveyed 433 B2B sales teams and discovered that only “7% were following up within five minutes.”

drift lead response survey pie chart

Those time frames are important because they just so happen to coincide with a Harvard Business Review study from a few years back.

companies slow to respond hbr

If you wait more than five minutes to respond to a new lead, you risk dropping your chances of qualifying them by 400%.

Now compare that to using live chat, which can net a 15x engagement increase over email.

drift live chat bot

And the beauty of it all? You can still use content mapping techniques to segment consumers based on different personas and funnel stages.

Instead of publishing gated content sections for the consideration and decision stages, you can nurture leads via targeted messaging.

You can even have live-chat bots automatically schedule appointments with potential leads:

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Going formless can be a scary proposition for most marketers who are used to using gated content and lead-magnet techniques.

However, there’s a reason some people are leaving them behind.

Here’s why.

Why some people are leaving forms

It’s easy to get stuck following the same old formulas that every blog post talks about.

Someone blogs about a “great new hack,” and everyone follows it to a T.

For example, most of us right now are all following the same “inbound marketing” playbook that was introduced over a decade ago.

We churn out high-quality blog posts to catch people’s attention and interest.

But we save the best of our content for lead magnets like e-books, white papers, checklists, and other long-form content.

Then, we create a few stellar CTAs to lure visitors into our gated content.

And next thing you know, we’ve got dozens of new leads.

It’s that easy!

We take an evergreen blog post and then repurpose that content into social media posts, emails, and ads that point back to our lead magnet.

People fill out the form and love our content. We can then nurture them with emails until they make a purchase.

Here’s a prime example:

I’m reading about lead magnets on an industry blog, trying to improve my own.

I come to the end of the post and see the following CTA:

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Pretty compelling, right?

I just read an entire post about lead magnet types, so it’s pretty likely that I’d want a free e-book with templates to get started.

So I click on the “Download Now” button and I’m greeted with this:

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It’s a perfect example of gated content.

If you want the good stuff or the entire strategy or full guide, you have to give the company at least your email address in return.

Now, let’s be honest with each other here.

You have absolutely no interest in this company’s product or service just yet. You’re just looking for that e-book.

So you decide to play ball. You give them your email address. However, you seriously doubt if you’ll continue reading what they send you.

We’re all guilty of this same approach.

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It’s what has always worked.

So we might update…

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