How to Publish Forms for Marketing Automation - dummies

How to Publish Forms for Marketing Automation

By Mathew Sweezey

After your marketing automation system is loaded with a full database, your email templates, and your content, you should build your first form and publish your form to your website or a landing page.

Building your first form should not take a significant amount of time unless you like messing with CSS or HTML. Refrain from coding when building your first forms and instead stick to the form builder in your marketing automation tool.

Connecting forms into your existing marketing workflows can be time consuming, usually because you are trying to upload a form to a website, connect the fields to your CRM, or figure out how to respond to all queries.

How to identify your questions

Choose the questions you want to ask in your form. Asking a lot of questions isn’t necessary if your marketing automation system is set up to collect behavioral data on prospects. So consider omitting the following fields from your forms because you will get it from your behavioral tracking:

  • How Did You Hear about Us?: Your marketing automation tool will tell you.

  • Job Title: You can easily get this information from a third-party source.

  • Phone Number: Marketing Sherpa states that 65 percent of people lie when asked this question.

  • Company: You’ll get the prospect’s email, which has his company name in it.

  • Last Name: You don’t need the prospect’s last name to email her.

  • Company Size: Consider using data augmentation to help with this.

How to place fields in your forms

Select the fields that map to your questions. For example, if you need “First Name,” select “first name” from your data points. You need to have all your custom fields set up before this step. This setup should involve only a simple drag-and-drop process at this point if you set up the fields beforehand.

When placing the fields in your form, start with the most logical ones first. These are usually Name and Email, with custom questions following. Custom questions are those outside the standard Name, Address, and Contact information.

How to develop form look and feel

Many solutions let you control the look and feel of your form, either by controlling the CSS and HTML or by giving you a WYSIWYG editor to control the form styling. Some solutions let you create forms that automatically take on the look and feel of your website when placed on your site.

How to set form automations

You might be able to set up automations on your form submissions, or you might have to set up a campaign that’s attached to your form. Standard automations accompanying a form submission are as follows:

  • Auto-responder email

  • Score change

  • Segmentation

  • Lead assignment

  • Campaign attribution

How to place lead capture forms on your website

You have two ways to place live forms on your website:

  • Marketing automation hosted placement: Your marketing automation tool can host both your form and landing page. This placement is usually set up during the process of building your landing page or form. The benefit of this option is that you can publish your form instantly after you are finished building it, and no other steps are required to get your form live and online.

  • Live website placement: If you want your form on your own hosted website, you need to copy the HTML code for your form using your marketing automation tool and paste the code into your website. The code for your form is usually provided to you after you have built your form. Where and how you can copy the HTML code for your form depends on your tool.


Some applications don’t allow you to place the form on your own website, requiring instead that it be built on a landing page and hosted in your marketing automation tool. Make sure to spend time educating yourself so that you know what your tool supports.

The importance of short forms with inbound marketing

The more questions you ask, the lower your engagement rates will be. In its report “The Science of Lead Generation,” HubSpot looked at 40,000 landing pages and determined that the more fields you ask people to fill out, the lower your engagement rates.

The HubSpot study suggests that each question you have beyond three decreases your engagement rates. The engagement rates were at about 30 percent at only three questions and down to 10 percent by eight questions.

So keep your forms short. You can use progressive profiling to help you get the information you need. Progressive profiling is a technology provided by almost all marketing automation tools and allows your forms to ask different questions based on what your database knows about a person. Your form can change each time a person is asked to fill it out.

The form using progressive profiling asks a limited set of questions each time, allowing you to increase your engagement rates by capturing a lot of information over many interactions. You must utilize progressive profiling as much as you can because it helps you to keep your forms short and increases your engagement rates.