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How to leverage forms at every stage of the marketing funnel

Stop adding to the overwhelming noise your customers are trying to tune out online - and start listening to them through forms instead.

Forms aren’t just about lead capture. In fact, for marketers, forms are basically a Swiss Army knife. With a well-designed, beautiful, conversational form, you can:

  • Learn more about your target market

  • Attract more leads

  • Engage those leads in conversations 

  • Qualify and segment your leads

  • Create personalized user journeys

  • Enrich and nurture your leads 

  • Improve conversion rates 

  • Increase customer retention 

And so much more. 

In this guide, we’ll break down how to use forms at every stage of the marketing funnel. With the right forms, you can stop adding to the overwhelming noise your customers are tuning out online—and start listening to them instead.

Also, when we say forms, we also mean surveys, quizzes, polls, and the like. Forms are just the raw material.

Why forms work so well across the entire sales funnel

When we think of the traditional sales funnel, most of us picture something like this: 

First coined way back in 1898, the sales funnel has been refined over the years. Still, its basic flow remains the same: Raise awareness about your products and services, transform that awareness into interest, build that interest into desire, and finally (in collaboration with the sales team) convert that desire into action—usually a purchase.

Back in 1898, you could get away with a lot:

But 21st-century digital marketers face a far more challenging marketplace than the overzealous advertisers who came up with the original Attract-Interest-Desire-Action (AIDA) sales funnel. Today’s marketing teams have to: 

Forms are essential for building a digital marketing funnel for today’s more demanding, less trusting consumers: 

1. Forms help you stand out. 

Well-designed, fun, beautiful forms catch the attention of digitally overloaded prospects. I mean, honestly, who doesn’t love a great quiz? 

2. Forms ask permission. 

Unlike pop-ups, ads, or cold pitches, forms give your prospects a choice. Nobody has to fill out your form. If they do so, they’ve given you permission to talk to them.

3. Forms add a human element. 

Instead of monologuing at your prospects, forms let you ask them questions and interact. You can use their name. You can steer them in the right direction. You can be helpful, conversational and personal, without any creepy online stalking. 

As a result, forms can make your entire funnel stronger, from market research all the way through customer support and retention.

1. Use forms for market research and lead targeting  

Thorough market research lets you: 

  • Understand your customers’ wants and needs

  • Confirm your assumptions about potential market size

  • Spot trends in your industry

  • Check in on what your competitors are up to

  • Figure out how you can stand out

The right forms give you a laser-sharp focus on your target market. Two ways you can use forms in market research:

Research surveys 

With appealing, user-friendly market research surveys, you can check your product assumptions, marketing messaging, and more. In fact, you don’t even have to make your own forms. Here are two we made for you:

Persona development 

User personas let you narrow down your target audience into a set of ideal customers. This helps you understand the needs and behaviors of the people using (or buying) your product. When someone starts using your product, ask them a few quick questions to help you align your products and messaging more closely to your users’ needs.

We’ve made a helpful little User Persona Survey template to get you started. 

2. Use forms to attract and capture more leads 

Forms are a powerful way to bring more leads into the funnel. For instance, you can: 

  • Level up your landing page 

Your landing page is the start of your relationship with your customers—and first impressions matter. So don’t spoil a thoughtfully designed landing page with an ugly contact field or irritating pop-ups. Instead, entice your leads into sharing their details with conversational, appealing landing page forms. For practical steps on how to do this, check out our 11 simple tips for creating conversational, appealing landing forms.

  • Polish up your lead capture forms 

Lead capture forms are the interfaces you use to collect lead contact details and additional qualifying data. The better the lead capture form, the more leads you’ll capture in your funnel. 

Here are a few research-backed tips for better lead capture forms: 

  • Keep them short and sweet 

Our team found that forms with fewer than six questions that took less than one minute to complete had higher completion rates.

  • Ask for an email first

Asking for a respondent’s email first thing in the form is associated with a 9% higher completion rate. 

  • Use them for segmentation 

Capture the information you need to segment your leads into different “jobs to be done.” Try questions like “What problem are you trying to solve?” or “What brought you here today?” 

Want to know more about using forms for customer segmentation? Check out our guide: Segment your audience and make your marketing more meaningful

  • Personalize

People are far more likely to complete forms when you use the information they’ve already given you to customize them. 

If you’re using Typeform, here’s a tutorial on using hidden fields to personalize the form experience.  

  • Bring more leads in with embedded forms 

You don’t only need lead capture forms at this stage. Instead of focusing exclusively on gathering contact data, your aim should be to start a conversation. If you build trust and connection with your leads from Day 1, they’re far more likely to feel comfortable giving you their data at a later point. 

To get the conversation going, try embedding forms into your Medium posts, email signature, your newsletters, order pages, About us page, Linktree page, and 404 page (yes, really).

Typeform lets you embed forms into pretty much any web page. 

  • Use forms to create lead magnets

If you want to drive serious traffic into your digital marketing funnel, lead magnet forms do the trick. A lead magnet form might be: 

  • A fun quiz

  • An app 

  • A calculator

  • A giveaway

  • A contest

  • An interactive poll 

What these all have in common is that they provide the lead with something of value in exchange for their time and data. They create an appealing, positive experience for your leads—meaning that from the word go, they associate your brand with delight and added value. 

And they work. Well-designed lead magnet forms, like quizzes and calculators, have an 11% higher completion rate than standard forms. Which makes sense—after all, would you rather download an ebook, or find out whether your management style is more like Yoda or Darth Vader?

In fact, the theory of narrative psychology suggests that we’re predisposed to engage in any activity that will help us make sense of our lives and who we are. Even a Star Wars-themed quiz can help us learn more about ourselves.

In this way, a compelling quiz is far more likely to motivate your leads to provide their details in exchange for seeing the outcome. And, if you use your quiz to find out some additional details about the user, you stream them towards a desired outcome and present them with content uniquely tailored to their preferences. 

3. Use forms to qualify your leads 

Forms also help you to attribute and qualify your leads.

Lead attribution

For starters, when it comes to marketing attribution, forms let you gather zero-party data about where leads entered the funnel. In other words, if you want to know how a lead found you, you can use a form to just ask them

Given that cookies are disappearing and tighter privacy laws are making third-party tracking more complex, forms are rapidly becoming an effective source of marketing attribution data.

Lead qualification 

Not all leads need the same treatment. Forms let you figure out which of your leads deserve some extra attention. For instance, you can assign scores to particular answers and then trigger an automatic response, such as: 

  • Redirecting leads to a custom landing page when they finish your form

  • Using a calculator to score and segment high-value leads, then show them customized content to help move them down the funnel 

Forms also allow for a more asynchronous approach to lead qualification by asking the lead to qualify themselves, so to speak. For instance, you can use forms to ask someone what their decision-making power is, or what they would pay for a service such as yours. This not only saves time on sales calls, it allows your sales team to create a more personalized purchasing process.

4. Use forms for lead nurturing and conversion

Forms are great for aligning your sales and marketing teams to convert more leads. Here are just a few ways you can use forms to increase lead conversions: 

  • Allow leads to request a phone call, then automatically share that with your sales team. For instance, when you complete a Phone Number question in a typeform, the Aircall integration lets you collect those contact details so a rep can immediately respond to call requests with Aircall’s cloud-based phone system. Survey responses are automatically surfaced in Aircall to enable your team to have better, more informed conversations. 

  • Use lead scoring to flag a lead for your sales team in Slack, instead of just adding the lead to your email list. 

Forms become a powerful tool for lead nurturing and conversion when used in tandem with integrations across your marketing tech stack. Take action on the zero-party data gathered from forms by integrating it into your CRM, automation, and collaboration platforms such as HubSpot, Zapier, and Slack. This creates a lead nurturing program built on deeper customer understanding, where the focus is on listening to them rather than talking at them. (For more, check out the top 10 most powerful Typeform integrations.)

5. Use forms for customer retention and upselling

So, you’ve converted the lead into a customer. Excellent work! But the journey isn't over there. Forms are a great way to run a quick customer health check, increase customer retention, grow your average customer value with upselling, and keep your customers happy and engaged with your brand.

Here are a few ways you can use forms to keep your customers satisfied: 

  • Get to know them better

Instead of using third-party data and deducing customer preferences, you can run customer surveys to understand more about what content will appeal to your customers. Use that information to improve your customer newsletters, emails, and web content. 

For example, we asked over 10,000 Typeform customers how they liked to learn about Typeform. Looks like we can hold off on the webinars for now: 

  • Improve your products

Want to know what users really like about your products? Go ahead and ask them. You might be surprised to learn your customers use your product differently than how you imagined. 

If you want some inspiration on what to ask, check out our product research survey template and product feedback survey template.

  • Optimize the customer experience (CX)

Use a survey to check how easy it is to interact with your company. With a customer effort score (CES) survey, you can spot any CX issues, reduce churn and boost customer loyalty.

Here’s a Customer Effort Score Survey template to get you started. 

  • Check on customer health with satisfaction surveys

Stay at the top of your customer service game by asking customers where you stand. To get the full picture, we recommend you regularly alternate between longer surveys and one-question polls.

  • Enrich CRM data 

Missing data on your customers? Use forms embedded in customer emails to make sure you have all the data you need to provide them with the best possible service. For instance, Typeform’s integration with CRM platforms like Hubspot lets you turn your customers into champions and promoters—and get the data you need to understand how best to follow up.

Forms are an essential tool for today’s digital marketing funnel. 

Forms will let you attract more leads, engage those leads in conversation, and build a relationship that will keep going through purchase and well beyond. To coin a phrase, if you’ve got a digital marketing problem to solve, there’s a form for that. 

Don’t just use forms for lead collection. Step up your marketing strategy by making a real, human connection with your leads. Forms are the perfect tool for lead gen, sure. But better forms will also help you with your market research, product development, lead attribution, lead scoring and segmentation, conversion rates and customer health. 

For ready-to-use form templates, take a look at our website. Or, if you’re ready to use Typeform to level up your marketing funnel, sign up for free.

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