How to Build Your Brand on a Form

build your brandKarl Long wrote this great post (11/24/2008 – no longer available) on the MarketingProfs blog today and I had to pass it along.

The topic: Forms on your website – or as he calls them, the “red-headed stepchild of touchpoints.” As he points out, “it’s probably one of the first points at which the customer is going to “experience” your company, and the experience is generally (at best) blah and (at worst) hostile.”

It’s easy to task your programming team to build your brand on a form. Don’t. You’re asking a prospect or customer to invest time to take action and give you critical information. It’s the moment of impact! And if your form is clunky, hostile, long or uses incomprehensible error messages, you’re hurting the credibility you’ve just spent so much time/energy/money creating.

Does your company’s website have any of the following forms?

  • An order form
  • Newsletter signup
  • White paper download form
  • Webinar signup (on your site or that of a technology partner)
  • A “contact us” form

Each and every form should be consistent with your brand promise & value proposition. Are they?

Build Your Brand on a Form

If you’re not absolutely positive, set aside some time today for testing. Pretend you’re a prospect and visit every form on your site.

1. Look at the number of fields. As a prospect, do you think you’re making a fair trade for your time and data? Be honest.

2. How’s the writing? Is it consistent with the rest of your site? (Karl points out how Cork’d uses humor in their form with great success.)

3. Is the layout friendly or clunky? It should look as great as the rest of your site.

4. Put garbage data into the form. What happens? Are the error messages simple and easy to understand? Or do you become frustrated and leave?

5. Submit your data and look at your thank-you page. You have a terrific opportunity to keep building your message and relationship on this page. Are you taking advantage of that opportunity?

6. Review the fulfillment email. Again, does it look, feel and sound as good as it should?

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