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3 Posts authored by: Jason Vincik Employee

As a marketer, many of your campaigns may be built around one primary objective:  getting people to fill out a form.  Often, designing a compelling advertisement isn't enough to encourage people into handing over their details.  Many factors can deter someone from submitting a form, including the unwillingness to provide contact information.


Here are some content design strategies you can employ today to nudge people toward conversion:


Just Say 'No' to Distractions


When driving people to a form, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to distract them with detours.  Landing pages should be built as simple as possible. Here's how:


  • Drive people to a landing page - not your website.
    • You want people to do one thing, and one thing only:  fill out that form.  You must drive them with a simple and engaging email to a landing page that is specifically built for your campaign. Sending someone to your website offers a plethora of distractions, including images and text that don't apply to your campaign's appeal, multiple links to other information, and in some cases, flashing beacons of light that are begging folks to take some other action.  If you want people to drive directly to your destination, don't drop them off in the middle of Las Vegas where sparkling lights from competing assets beg for their attention.  Likewise, steer clear of cluttering your emails with the same distractions.
  • Strip out navigation from the landing page.
    • Don't offer an exit ramp when you are trying to capture a person's information on a form.  Doing so can make your lead stray away from your primary call-to-action.  Will they find their way back to your form?  Maybe.  Most of the time - no.  At that point, you may have lost their impulse to decide.  Instead, your landing page should be designed simply, and with only ONE action they can possibly take:  fill out that form.  It’s okay to include complementary information in the form of links, but those links should show/hide content on the same page, not take the lead away from the page.


Be Consistent


Emails, advertisements (online and offline), and social campaigns should all look the same. Using different images, layouts and copy between assets can create a disconnect for people, and can even make a person feel like the content is not reliable.  Instead, try to use the following techniques in design:


  • Use the same (or reasonably similar) header image in the outbound email and on the landing page.
  • Repeat copy from the email on the landing page - especially the headline.
  • Use the same color scheme in emails, landing pages, and on the form.
  • Always provide a clear call-to-action: don't make people search for it!  One of my colleagues calls this the “BOB” (Big Orange Button).  Top-converting emails and landing pages always contain some version of the BOB.


Do More with Less


All too often, I have seen emails and landing pages designed with too much text, and entirely too many images.  Asking people to read an entire encyclopedia before filing out your form will certainly contribute to losing their interest.  Here are some tips on how to do more with less:


  • Create an impulse decision.
    • A compelling headline with a short summary of details in an email can create an impulse to react.
  • Don't give up the farm!
    • Your email should be quick, to the point, and provide just enough information to drive them to the landing page - and don't forget the BOB!
    • The juicy details should be found in the downloaded content after submitting the form, not in the email, and not all on the landing page either.  Otherwise, what's the point of filling out the form?
  • Keep all the important stuff above the fold.
    • Remember old fashioned newspapers?  If you haven't heard "above the fold" in the past, it refers to everything you see on the newspaper page before the paper folds.  All of the interesting, enticing info, and your call-to-action should be above the point in your email and landing page before someone needs to scroll in their browser.
    • Just remember "If a person must scroll, it takes a toll."
  • Use a short form.
    • This may seem like a no-brainer, but I have seen a ton of long forms out there.  On average, forms with five fields or less have higher conversions.  Several factors can impact conversion on even short forms, however.  For example, making the telephone field required is a typical detour.  In some cases, simply moving the telephone field to the bottom of the form can help. Results can vary based on your content and your audience.  To optimize your forms, try an A/B test and see which one is performing the best.


In this exciting new digital age, social media has impacted consumer behavior in a way that creates multiple challenges for marketers.  Today's savvy Internet surfers are accustomed to getting all the information they need in a short social media status message or in a brief article online.  We can learn from this behavior.  These micro status messages entice people to follow links to landing pages.  Your content marketing strategy should do the same.


Creating short, simple, and actionable marketing messages using the techniques I described here can have a positive impact on conversion rates.  While this is not an exhaustive list of conversion strategies, these basics can significantly impact your results.


Do you have any conversion strategies that you use?  Please share them here!

If you are one of many companies that allows leads to manage email preferences via a Preference Center or Subscription Center page, then you have probably wondered why it's not possible for a lead to update their email address on the form.


If you display the email field on the form, and a lead overwrites their email address in this field, a NEW LEAD will be created in Marketo; that's because email address is the unique identifier for Marketo records.


I'm often asked by customers if it's possible for a lead to update their email address via a form.  Well, the short answer is yes...with a simple data management campaign and a custom field.


Before proceeding, you must first ask yourself if there are any ramifications to allowing a person to update their email address.  For example, is email address also used in other systems as a username?  Consider all scenarios before building the following solution.


Here's How to Do It


  1. Create a custom field with the field type of Email.  I named mine:  'Custom_New Email Address'.  You can do this by going to the Admin area, and selecting 'Field Management'.  Note that you must have an Administrative role to create custom fields.
  2. Create one additional custom field with the field type of Boolean.  I named mine 'Custom_General Checkbox'.  This field will be used to toggle the New Email Address field on/off on the form using visibility rules.
  3. Create a Smart Campaign, and name it 'Update Email Address'.
  4. On the Smart List tab, drag in the 'Data Value Changes' trigger, and select your new custom field as the attribute.

  5. On the flow tab, drag in the 'Change Data Value' flow step, and select 'Email Address' as the attribute.
  6. For the 'New Value' field, type in {{lead.MY CUSTOM FIELD NAME}}, replacing MY CUSTOM FIELD NAME with the name of the email field you created.

  7. Next, visit the Schedule tab, and edit the Smart Campaign Settings.
  8. Under 'Run each lead through the campaign flow', choose 'Every time'.

  9. Next, edit the draft of your Preference Center form.
  10. Add your new General Checkbox field to the form.
  11. Delete the label for the General Checkbox field, and change the label width to 0.
  12. Click the + symbol, and add a Rich Text box.
  13. In the Rich Text box, add 'Check here to update your email address'. Save to continue.
  14. Drag the text to the right of the checkbox.
  15. Add your New Email Address field below the checkbox field.
  16. Click on the New Email Address field, and select Enable next to Visibility Rules.

  17. Use these visibility rules:  IF General Checkbox IS YES, Field Label: New Email Address.

  18. Save these rules.
  19. Approve and close your form.
  20. Don't forget to activate your Smart Campaign on the Schedule tab when you are ready.

So you have the keys to this awesome new platform called Marketo; especially exciting if you are coming off of an email service provider where your marketing tools are limited.  You probably have a few programs running in Marketo already - outbound email campaigns, webinars and engagement programs.  If you are qualifying leads for a sales team, you may even have scoring campaigns and a lead lifecycle.


As you navigate Marketo, and use the system over time, your database can start to get a bit unruly.  For example, you may notice that your unsubscribes are increasing or that you have a large bucket of invalid email addresses.  Aside from ensuring that your content is absolutely relevant to your leads, and that you are sending to good, qualified data, it may also be time to design some data management campaigns to keep your data clean.


Marketable Leads


In Marketo, a marketable lead is any record that meets the following criteria:


  • Has a valid email address
  • Has not hard-bounced
  • Is not Marketing Suspended
  • Is not excluded from marketing due to data management campaigns


If the percentage of your marketable leads is less than 80% of your database, you should consider cleaning up your data in Marketo.  This frees up space, and ensures that you do not hit your database limit.  It also ensures that you are not sending to undeliverable email addresses which can negatively affect email deliverability, including damaging your sender IP reputation.


Creating a data management campaign is easy as creating a Smart Campaign with filters and flow steps.


Setting Email Invalid to True


One way to keep your data clean is to create a Smart Campaign that sets Email Invalid to True when emails permanently fail.  When an email address hard-bounces, an error response is sent to Marketo from the receiving email server.  Some responses include "Invalid recipient," "No such user," "Unknown address."  A simple Smart Campaign that uses the Email Bounced filter with a Details constraint that contains all possible permanent error permutations can help you identify bad email addresses so that you don't continue to send email to them.


Smart List filters for this Smart Campaign:




Example Error Responses (using the Contains operator):


  • invalid recipient
  • recipient invalid
  • recipient not
  • recipient unknown
  • unknown recipient
  • recipient rejected
  • Recipient address rejected
  • User address
  • user invalid
  • user not
  • invalid user
  • user unknown
  • unknown user
  • invalid address
  • Unknown address
  • Unable to verify destination address
  • Mailbox unavailable
  • no such
  • no longer
  • Non-existent
  • Bad email
  • email bad


Flow steps for this Smart Campaign:




Other Data Management Campaigns Include:


  • Setting Marketing Suspended to True/False
  • Set Black Listed to True (eg. exclude competitors)
  • Set Is Employee to True
  • Set Is Partner to True
  • Set Emailable to True/False
  • Delete CRM Deleted Records
  • Normalize Country/State Fields


When creating data management campaigns it is a best practice to use filters rather than triggers to reduce the amount of server load on the system.  You can schedule these batch campaigns to run nightly at specified times.  It's also a good practice to stagger the schedules of each Smart Campaign so that they don't all run at once.

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