Website forms are still the lead generation engines of the solopreneur website. Regardless of what type of business you run, you will most certainly have some kind of funnel or revenue pipeline that looks like a reverse pyramid, something like this:
If we take this model to heart (and millions of sales and marketing professionals certainly have), we get the sense the main factor for revenue success is, at least to an extent, a numbers game. Pack the funnel as much as you can at the top with as many visitors or prospects as possible, and this will increase the chances that more of them eventually become customers.
Need more convincing about the importance of loading the top of the sales funnel? Check out this explanation from Red Canoe Media.
For the solopreneur, this means you’ll need an efficient way to pack that pipeline at the top – one that doesn’t take too much time or resources. Enter gated website forms. Tried and true methods for lead generation, these are still the primary way that small businesses and startups can passively generate leads and grow their sales pipeline. (This obviously requires effective lead nurturing and sales, but that is a separate discussion.) Here, let’s talk about how to set up those forms on your website that are going to pack the top of the marketing and sales funnel.
I’ve written elsewhere about the benefits of Mautic for the solopreneur, small business, and entrepreneur. Big picture – it’s free, and it gives you a quick, easy way of creating website forms, which can then be used to manage your email subscribers, trigger auto-responders and drip email marketing campaigns, and ultimately, grow revenue.
Let’s go over the process of how to setup these forms with Mautic. First, you’ll want to make sure you have the Mautic system installed.
Create your new form in Mautic
Now that Mautic is correctly installed, you’re ready to go. From the main menu in Mautic, click Components > Forms. This screen should have a button (currently in my Mautic in the upper right) that says +New. Click this to add a new form.
You’ll likely be prompted to select Campaign Form or Stand Alone form here. I usually select Stand Alone here. “Stand Alone” in my opinion is not very aptly named, because there are many actions that you can perform with this type of form, including send an email to the person completing the form. Also, you are actually able to add contacts who complete Stand Alone forms to campaigns – you just need to make sure they are added to the relevant segment or have the proper tag applied for your campaign. There are even a couple of functions with Stand Alone forms that are not available in Campaign forms.
That said, if you want to experiment with Campaign forms, please feel free. In this example, we’ll go with the Stand Alone.
Configure the form details, fields, and actions
Once you select your form type, you’ll get a lot of great options to configure your form. There are three tabs here, which are Details, Fields, and Actions, plus some additional settings in the right sidebar menu. All of these are pretty straightforward and intuitive. Here is a brief breakdown on how I use each.
In this example, I am creating a simple newsletter subscribe form. Therefore, I’m not going to redirect to another location. I might have done this, however, if I wanted to gate some content, direct the user to a “Thank You” page with the content, and record that URL as a goal conversion in Google Analytics. Since I’m not doing this, I’ll just record a simple display message, and leave the Successful Submit Action to remain at form.
Another area where Mautic is a powerful and fully functional – free – marketing automation system is their form field options. These are as robust as any field available in an expensive enterprise solution. You can select any type of data to collect from your users, and this will get recorded on their contact record and made available for you to report and act on. So, depending on what the goal of your specific form is, you’ll want to consider which data to collect.
I am just creating an email subscribe form here, with the goal of packing as many new leads into my sales funnel as possible, so I will not collect anything other than email address. This will maximize my conversion rate due to the low barrier of entry. However, if the goal of the form were to gate a lengthy ebook, or to allow the prospect to request a quote or demo, then I would likely want to take additional information from them.
The available actions on Mautic forms are equally dynamic and helpful. I could notify a user when someone completes the form (essential for quote and contact requests), I could let them download an asset (great for ebooks or case studies), and I could update their tags or send them an email, such as a welcome or confirmation email. In this example, I’ll update their segment to “Subscribers”. I can then use this segment to create my newsletter send list, or add everyone with this segment to an automated drip email marketing campaign.
On the right sidebar, there are some additional options. Most of the time, you will want to have Kiosk mode turned off, as this will not allow your prospects activity to be tracked. The only time you would likely want to have this on, is if you are using one device to collect leads on this form, as would be the case with an ipad at a trade show or similar scenario.
Also, I would experiment with different themes to test which one looks best when embedded in your website.
Embed the Mautic form on your website
Now that you’ve created the form, you are ready to embed it on your website. To do this, select Components > Forms again from the main menu in Mautic. Then click on the name of the form you want to add to your website. From there, you’ll see a turquoise colored block (I think that’s the color, but I might be color-blind) that says “Form HTML”.
There are two options: manual and automatic. I am not an expert enough web developer to understand why someone would want to use the manual method. I know that if you select that option, there is *much* more code that needs to be embedded in different locations. Suffice it to say, I use the automatic method every time, and it’s worked out fine.
Depending on what platform you are using for your website, the process for pasting the embed code into your site will differ. Since I’m a pretty big advocate for combining Mautic and WordPress, I’ll note briefly the process for added the form to WordPress.
That’s it! Once you’ve saved your sidebar widget in WordPress, you will see the form displayed on the sidebar of every page for which that sidebar is assigned.
Once your form has been made live, you can view the results of form completions over time in Mautic. There are many ways to do this, but since this example adds everyone to a segment (called Subscribers), I’ll access them through the Mautic Segments option in the main menu. Simply click on Segments, and once there, you will see how many people you have in that given segment. Click on the button that says “View x members” and this will take you to a table view of all the contacts in this segment. This Mautic table will intelligently display the data that is collected for this contact segment.
There you go, you now have an entry point to kick start the lead generation and pipeline engine on your website – for free.