Forms are the number one lead acquisition tool in Pardot. We rely on them to gather information about prospects, with the hope of closing sales. Despite their importance, they often get neglected, leading to low conversion and submission rates. So how can we create Pardot Forms that increase conversion and submission rates?
What are submission and conversion rates?
A submission is when a visitor or prospect completes a form and submits it to Pardot. A conversion is a specific type of submission during which an anonymous visitor converts into a prospect.
The rates for these are calculated by looking at how many prospects have viewed the form, then calculating the percentage of those views that led to a submission or conversion.
Create a consistent brand journey
Many of us make use of Pardot Forms to collect data for webinars, events, gated content and contact forms, amongst many cases.
You might be thinking, ‘Why would a consistent brand journey help my form conversions’. One word – Trust. Seeing something that looks out of place, or being navigated to a site that doesn’t look right is going to put doubt in your website visitors minds as to whether they should give you their information. All it takes is one moment of wariness to put a visitor off completing one of your forms.
Even though you are choosing to utilise Pardot Forms rather than website forms, your prospects should not be able to see the difference.
Pardot Forms on your website
For prospects, completing one of your Forms shouldn’t be a separate experience to your usual brand experience. For example, if you embed a Pardot Form onto your website with an iFrame, the styling should match that of your website.
We control this styling using Layout Templates in Pardot. Make sure to consider these brand consistencies before going live with your Pardot Forms:
- Do the fonts on your Pardot Form match your website?
- Is the colour palette used consistently?
- Does your form submit button match the other buttons on your website?
- Are you utilising checkbox, radio button and drop down styles the same way as others on your website?
- If you’re using a combination of Pardot Forms and website forms, is the CSS styling cohesive?
Pardot Forms with Pardot Landing Pages
If you are choosing to use Pardot Forms in conjunction with Pardot Landing Pages, you face a slightly different brand consistency challenge.
You need to ensure that when website visitors click from your website onto a campaign Pardot Landing Page, they don’t notice that they’re looking at a Pardot Landing Page. The whole journey should be consistent.
There’s two key things that will need to be in place for this to work.
1. Tracker Domains
Tracker Domains are also known as CNAME (Canonical name), or Vanity URL in the Pardot world. They enable you to mask your Pardot hosted content (pages, form or assets) with a branded URL, which gives your visitors a seamless transition between pages you host and your Pardot assets.
For example, our website is nebulaconsulting.co.uk, so our Tracker Domain could be something like:
If you’re dealing with multiple brands, you can have a Tracker Domain set up for each of them.
If you don’t set up a Tracker Domain, all your Pardot Forms and Landing Page (as well as all other assets in Pardot) will be hosted on ‘go.pardot.com’ – not a great experience for visitors.
2. Landing Page Layout Templates
Another way we can make sure that visitors don’t realise they’re looking at a Pardot Landing Page is to create a Layout Template that is consistent with your website.
Create a personalised Pardot Forms experience
No-one wants to feel like ‘just another customer’, so why would we treat prospects that way? There are several ways we can start making our prospects experience more personalised.
1. Dynamic Content
Include Dynamic Content in the thank you, above and below copy of your Pardot Form or on your Pardot Landing Page/Website. This could be something as simple as displaying a next-step based on product preference.
2. Merge fields/HML
Use information you already hold about prospects to personalise the experience for them. For example, you could use HML to send a personal message to visitors you already know, and display a fallback message if you don’t have the personal data.
3. Dependent fields in Pardot Forms
Only showing prospects form fields that are relevant to them is another way we can personalise their experience. For example, let’s say you’ve set up a form, and this form is going to be available for prospects to fill out both in the UK and USA. For UK prospects, you may want to show the ‘First Name’, ‘Last Name’, ‘Company’ and ‘Country’ fields. But for those prospects in the States, you may also want to know what State they are in. In comes a Dependent field. You can set your form up so that when a prospect selects USA for the country, the form displays the State field. You can find out more about the set up of Dependent fields here.
Consider transaction of information
An important consideration when building forms is how much information to request. Ask for too much information and you might put a visitor off completing your form. Ask for too little information, and you might not have the information necessary to follow up, or enable your Sales team.
Making this decision involves a combination of what the business needs and what the visitor will be willing to provide, based on what they get in return. This is essentially weighing up what the transaction of information is worth. For example, if a visitor is completing a form to get a white paper on a valuable topic, they are more likely to accept filling out more fields than if they’re simply signing up to a mailing list. You’ll also need to consider which fields of data to make mandatory and which are nice to haves.
Remember, you don’t need to ask for each piece of information. You can also be collecting interest and behavioural data in the background using Completion Actions. For instance, if a visitor submits a form to download a white paper on ‘Finance in 2020’, you can make the assumption that they’re interested in Finance. You could then update an interest area field in Pardot to reflect that white paper download. This allows you to enrich the data you hold on a prospect, without having to explicitly ask for that information.
You also do not need to be asking for all the fields of data in one submission. By utilising Progressive Profiling, you can capture a full profile of data over multiple Form Submissions. In practice, this means that prospects see a small number of basic fields on their first visit. They are then shown different fields each time they complete a form. You can find out more about how to implement Progressive Profiling here.
Report on your Pardot Forms and optimise
Keep monitoring your forms over time. Make sure you are keeping an eye on form error rates. If you have high error rates, you are likely asking for too much information, and visitors are trying to provide less information before submitting the form. You may also not be making clear when fields are mandatory. (This is something you can set up in the styling of your Layout Template).
You may also want to consider testing placement of your forms on your website or Pardot Landing Pages. This will help you determine which strategy works best for your audience.
If you’re looking at setting up a Pardot Form for the first time and aren’t sure where to start, get in touch with us today.