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Monday, Jun. 18, 2007 at 12:07 pm

Is Your Lead Generation Site Proposing Marriage on the First Date?

By Holly Buchanan
June 18th, 2007

click meIt was truly one of the scariest forms I’ve ever seen. It was an example Patricia Hursh of SmartSearch Marketing gave at Search Engine Strategies, Toronto. It was a form a B2B site (pictured) that was, like, 9 pages long, and asked everything from your company’s annual sales to your budget for the year to the social security number of your first born.

OK, I made up that last one, but it really was that bad. The even scarier thing is, I’ve seen hundreds of forms like it.

click meWhen someone does a search and lands on your website, they might have some familiarity with you if you’re a well-known brand. Or, more likely, they have little-to-no awareness as to who you are and what you do. Basically, you’ve just met. So, why ask for so much personal, sensitive information on this first meeting? Are you proposing marriage when you should be asking him/her out for coffee?

Part of the problem is, the only way many B2B or lead generation sites measure success is by the number of people who fill in a lead form. That’s a pretty big step. Many visitors to your site won’t be ready to make that kind of a commitment to you yet. So, do you just write them off? Do you consider that a failed conversion?

Don’t forget, there are other micro-conversions to consider. Your visitors might agree to a cup of coffee, or a short “date” to find out more about you. Examples of these types of conversions could be as simple as someone taking the time to read your ‘About Us’ page, or watching a short product video, or signing up for your newsletter. These are conversions. You should be planning and measuring them.

click meWhen trying to measure the ROI of your website, you need to take into account the ways you engage prospective customers when they’re earlier in the buying process. Yes, some people are ready to start some sort of relationship with you; meaning, of course, that they fill out the lead form. (You’re only asking for the least amount of information, right?).That’s a measurable success. But don’t forget those who were engaged enough to spend some time on your site, gather information, watch a video, download a whitepaper, sign-up for a newsletter, and so on.

All these micro-conversions indicate your visitors are at least engaging with your brand. They may only be willing to commit to a cup of coffee right now, but that’s an encouraging first step!

Several of the B2B panelists recommended this report by Enquiro. (Notice the wonderfully short registration form ;) ) I haven’t read it yet, but it got high marks from the panel. Let me know what you think!

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Comments (8)

  1. Great article. Found it via

    One challenge with properly measuring the micro-conversions is determining what each different type of micro-conversion is “worth”. For big businesses, with lots of lead/conversion activity, there is enough data to start looking for patterns.

    For smaller businesses, with less data, it’s hard to really get good at figuring out which micro-conversions are more valuable.

  2. [...] more technical info, then makes him fill out a ridiculously long form (like the one mentioned in Holly's recent B2B post). Do you think he'd stand for this? Or would go to the next bike shop [...]

  3. [...] While engagement has become a heated buzzword, and arguably an excuse, it's important not to be mislead. Since it's a state of mind for your visitors, and therefore not easily quantifiable, there's no simple way to measure engagement. But attempting to measure will help you to keep your site from proposing on the first date. [...]

  4. Does anyone have a reliable stat for the average drop-off rate (from beginning to end) on lead generation registration forms? Thanks!

  5. [...] ask the visitor to fill in required fields. Asking for too much information on a web form is like proposing marriage on the first date. We would all like to know our customer's age, work title, phone number and address, but if [...]

  6. [...] have them fill in required fields. Asking for too much information on a web form is like proposing marriage on the first date. We would all like to know our customer’s age, work title, phone number and address, but if [...]

  7. If you want someone to come to your site and do some business with you,I don’t think this type of lengthy forms( of 9 pages) will not help you. People will not give you all the personal information in the very first time. To get all the information you have to build a rapport with him first. It will take some time.

  8. Great article.

    Thank for sharing.

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Holly Buchanan is a marketing to women consultant specializing in marketing to women online. You can read her blog at She is the co-author, along with Michele Miller of The Soccer Mom Myth - Today's Female Consumer - Who She Really Is, Why She Really Buys.

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