Web Marketing: Eliminate Registration and Login Forms to Ensure Visibility - dummies

Web Marketing: Eliminate Registration and Login Forms to Ensure Visibility

By John Arnold, Michael Becker, Marty Dickinson, Ian Lurie, Elizabeth Marsten

In web marketing, one way to ensure visibility is to eliminate registration and login forms. Visitors often have to complete these forms before they can download some kind of premium content, such as a white paper, or before they can read some articles on a site. Companies put them in place because they want leads — they want contact information for interested potential customers, but there is a downside.

Eliminate registration forms

If you have any registration forms hiding white papers, newsletters, or other information, remove the forms.

Your salespeople might howl. Your head of marketing might yell. Your CEO might stamp her feet. Remain calm and ask your staff for a one-month test — and here’s why:

You spent two months writing a white paper. You put it up on your website, and you want to get something in return. So you add a little form that forces visitors to give you their e-mail address and name before they can read the paper.

That form hurts you in two ways:

  • It greatly reduces the number of people who will read the content. You wrote that content to spread the word about your company, so you want people to read it.

  • Search engines can’t fill out forms, so they’ll never see that great information. Which means, if you wrote a white paper on making a perfect carrot cake, folks searching for perfect carrot cake will never see your information. Never mind whether they call. They won’t even know you’re there.

Here are the arguments you may get in favor of keeping the forms, and the reply to each of them:

  • “We won’t get any leads. People will just read the pages without contacting us.” Actually, by eliminating the form, you expand the number of people reading this information by a factor of ten or more. Because they’re looking for information, they’re good prospects. Make sure the phone number and other contact information is in the paper, and they’ll be in touch. More openness is almost always better.

  • “Someone will steal our content.” Welcome to the Internet. That’s going to happen regardless. Place a link to your site on every page of the article or paper. That way, any would-be plagiarists create a link back to your site.

  • “We need to see a return from this.” You will. Search engines generate the lion’s share of traffic online. By removing the registration form, you gain far more leads and customers than you lose.

  • “I won’t be able to reach people who read the article, because I won’t have their contact information.” Actually, you can reach them by posting another great article. And another. You can build your reputation as an authority, reach more readers, and have far more marketing opportunities.

Dump the registration forms.

Eliminate login forms

You’ve probably already guessed that login forms are bad, too. If you haven’t, well, they’re bad.

Website owners might include login forms for the following reasons:

  • They feel that they need to add value for registered members.

  • They want to force registration.

  • They don’t want company secrets getting out.

Remove the forms anyway. If you remove your registration forms, you’ll remove the need to add value for registered members. Also, hiding a few white papers behind a login doesn’t give perceived value to members.

If you really have top-quality training content, tools, or products for sale for which you’re offering a preview, keep the login. Otherwise, you don’t need that form.

When it comes to company secrets, you need to think carefully. Is this information really a secret? Or is it just information you’d rather people didn’t know? In both cases, a login form won’t help you.