By Erik Devaney
The lead capture form has become one of the most ubiquitous tools in a marketer’s toolbelt.
For a decade now, it has been the mechanism that makes inbound marketing and lead generation possible.
As a result, many marketers have become obsessed with optimizing forms.
It has always seemed like a given that if your conversion rate is slumping, you could fix it by making some adjustments to your forms (e.g. reducing the number of fields).
And while making incremental changes to your forms can boost conversion rates in the short-term, what happens when there’s a fundamental shift in the way people prefer to buy?
What happens when evolving customer preferences for certain technologies make lead capture forms obsolete?
A Shift in How We Communicate
Lead capture forms made sense in an era when phone and email were the dominant communication channels.
Back then, if you wanted to learn more about a product, submitting some contact info and waiting for a follow-up email or phone call seemed reasonable…because those were the only options available.
True, some companies experimented with social media as a sales channel as well. But for the most part, if you wanted to talk to a sales rep, you were filling out a form and then waiting for a phone call or an email.
Flash forward to today, and the rise of messaging has disrupted that old communication paradigm.
More and more of us are now using messaging apps like Facebook Messenger (1.2 billion monthly active users) for communicating with friends and family, and messaging-based workspaces like Slack (4 million daily users/1.25 million paying users) for communicating with coworkers.
And that same change is affecting how people want to buy and communicate with businesses.
The Rise of Messaging
Let’s be clear: Messaging isn’t some new, hot trend or magical technology. It’s been around since the mid-1990s.
- The first wave of messaging software arrived with ICQ (launched in 1996), followed by AIM (1997), Yahoo! Messenger (1998), and MSN/Windows Live Messenger (1999).
- Then came the second wave with Skype (2003), Blackberry Messenger (2005), and Google’s first incarnation of its messaging app, Google Talk (2005).
- Then came the third wave, which included WhatsApp (2010), KakaoTalk (2010), Viber (2010), WeChat (2011), LINE (2011), and Facebook Messenger (2011).
Unlike its predecessors, this latest wave has led to a mass adoption of messaging as an everyday communication technology, with billions of people around the world now using it.
According to Mary Meeker’s 2016 Internet Trends Report, 6 of the world’s top 10 most used apps are messaging apps. (They’re the six I just mentioned two paragraphs up.)
And according to a 2016 study from Twilio that looked at 6,000 consumers around the globe, the average consumer now has 3 different messaging apps on their phone’s home screen, and sends an average of 3 messages each hour.
That same study found that 3 out of 10 consumers would be fine giving up phone calls altogether if they could use messaging instead.
But phone calls aren’t the only traditional communication channel that messaging has set its sights on.
Source:: Business 2 Community