Multiply Lead Gen Campaign Responses by Prepopulating Your Online Registration Forms

We love the creative samples and results data from this Case Study — including direct postal mail, HTML email and email newsletter sponsorships. Plus, if you’ve wondered how to create a landing page that gets insanely high submission rates from qualified prospects, here are notes and a useful vendor hotlink. Good news, the tactic is fairly low-cost too:

It’s nearing the end of fourth quarter and your prospects have left-over budget to burn. How can you reach into their pockets and get your company’s share?

Katherine Van Diepen, Anritsu’s Director of Marketing Communications, knew she was incredibly lucky because their handheld spectrum analyzer product line “has got a cult following” among engineers.

That said, any b-to-b campaign scheduled to drop November 15th has an uphill battle what with the holidays, office parties, vacations, and year-end activities. Most b-to-b marketers won’t touch any mail date past November 1st with a ten foot pole if they can help it.

But Van Diepen had no choice. She had to drop a major promotion with high enough impact so it cut through the clutter.

First, working with the sales department, the marketing team defined precisely what a truly qualified lead looked like in this marketplace. What job title? What purchase plans? etc.

Then, the marketing team pulled out all the stops, using five specific high-impact tactics to get the maximum number of these qualified leads to respond before year-end.

Tactic #1. Use best lists in multiple media

Instead of relying on one list, or one medium alone, the team researched the entire breadth of their options and selected the very best, including:

  • House lists of past inquiries
  • Direct postal mail list rentals from the two top trade magazines in the field, selecting only the names who’d checked the past year’s subscription qualification cards saying they were planning to purchase spectrum test equipment.
  • A polybag insert purchase (where your printed marketing piece, weighing under one ounce, is placed in a plastic bag with the latest issue of a trade magazine) from a third relevant trade journal. (Van Diepen notes that the insert was far less expensive than postage to the list would have been; plus, the increased print run for the insert made her other DM campaign printing cost-per-piece lower overall.)
  • HTML email blast to a highly relevant list
  • Sponsorship ad at the top of a highly relevant third party email newsletter Tactic #2. Creative elements to increase response All of the campaigns shared the same drop date (as much as possible) to help responses. The creative elements remained identical across campaign creative as well, to boost responses among prospects who might see more than one. (Link to samples below.)

Creative elements included:

  • A photo of an engineer on site that prospects would identify with
  • A hero shot (picture) of the product itself
  • A ‘Win a Free iPod’ sweeps offer for registrants
  • Multiple calls to action throughout the creative, front, back, top, bottom… etc.

Plus, cleverest of all, the marketing team created personalized URLs for the direct mail campaign by feeding the lists to their landing page services firm which created a personal URL for each name, such as: (not a working link)

If two people had the same name, the firm created two different URLs using a number such as samplename7 and samplename8.

Tactic #3. Pre-fill landing page form when possible

The landing page services team also pre-filled the registration forms on those personal landing pages as much as possible. So anyone going to their personal page would see the street address already filled in on the form.

Tactic #4. Thank you page with useful links

The marketing team decided the thank-you page that appeared after prospects submitted their forms was prime real estate to start the sales process right away.

So instead of just saying “thank you,” the page included another hero shot of the product, plus short benefit copy (“Weighs 80% less. Costs 40% less. Delivers 100% of the performance you need…”) and, three handy links for more info:

– Download the product brochure – Download the must-have Wireless Reference guide – Access the product page

Van Diepen explains, “The reason they are visiting the site is for some kind of instant gratification. So, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t start looking at the product right away.”

Tactic #5. Don’t forget alternate response methods

You can’t count on everyone who gets a postal mailing to respond online. In fact multiple b-to-b marketers have told us its mission critical to provide phone numbers and printed reply cards in addition to URLs. Not only are some prospects not near computers (especially engineers in the field), but some may just prefer traditional response mediums.

Just as they had pre-filled online response forms whenever possible, the marketing team also had the business reply cards (BRCs) in the postal direct mail package pre-filled with the recipient’s name and address.

It costs a bit more for extra lasering and a two-way match with the carrier (envelope), but the team felt increased response rates would make the investment pay off.

86.8% of direct mail respondents who went to their personalized URL landing pages completed and submitted their forms. That’s a conversion rate of roughly five to seven times higher than average. So, yes, if you can pre-populate a reply form with basic information to save a prospect typing, you’ll get a response rate that rocks.

More useful data from the campaign:

  • 4.8% of DM recipients went online to their personalized URLs, proving nothing’s more enticing than your own name.
  • An additional 5.2% of DM recipients mailed back their pre-filled BRC cards, proving you should never assume everyone wants to respond online.
  • The HTML email got a 38.8% open rate. 5.5% of the opens clicked through to the landing page. This page was identical in all aspects to the DM landing page except none of the fields were pre-filled. The conversion rate from visitor to form submission dropped to 22%.
  • Email newsletter sponsorship results ranged from .8% click rate with a 33% conversion rate to .5% click rate with a 24% conversion rate depending on how targeted the list was.
  • The polybag insert was a moderate success with .8% of recipients going online and .4% replying via the BRC. Those who went online converted at a 60% rate — very high, but not nearly as high as the DM recipients who got pre-filled forms.

Although the polybag cost per piece was far cheaper than the direct mail campaign, the cost per resulting lead was four times higher. Van Diepen suspects this is mainly because the list wasn’t segmented for the polybag. It went to all subscribers instead of just a targeted selection.

It’s a good lesson to remember: super-cheap cost per thousand media can wind up being pretty expensive in the long run.

One last note on polybags – Van Diepen is still getting occasional responses from this mailing more than 120 days out. It’s a longer-lived medium than most.

– Final interesting factoid: Van Diepen didn’t require any of the qualification questions on her online response form to be filled out for submission. She figured that was more polite than demanding respondents answer questions about their purchase plans. Even so, only 3% of total submissions neglected to answer those questions.

Useful links related to this article:

Creative samples from Anritsu’s year-end campaign, including the personalized landing page: