Project Open Robe 10 – The Form Conclusion

Statue of Sherlock Holmes - London

Hello measurement fans.

If you’ve been following  Project Open Robe you will know that one of our top targets for our B2B Marketing Manifesto has been 1000 downloads in six months.

And we’ve made it – with over 100 days or so to spare. And in true hastily-written-press-release-style: “We’re delighted!”

B2B marketing analytics form from Google Analytics

It may only be one target, but it’s a big one: if we didn’t have downloads, we wouldn’t have much to say about the other metrics –  the conversations, conversions, contagion, content (and all the other not quite so alliterative stuff).

But we’ve only gone and bloody done it, which means we’ve got shed-loads still to tell you. And here’s the next installment.

B2B Form Investigators
In Open Robe 5 we started to talk about the web form dilemma – it’s a tricky night’s sleep when you love lead nurturing, which relies on gathering leads, but hate scaring off 50% of your potential fans, advocates and prospects.

So we put on our deer stalkers, lit up our pipes, and launched a three week investigation into the Yin and Yang. Here’s what we’ve found out.

B2B Marketing Form Test Results

That’s a 39.1% conversion uplift by taking away the form. So if you click on our B2B Marketing Manifesto landing page, what do you expect to find there now?

Surprised to see the form back? The putative loser is through our, admittedly  contrary, eyes a pretty healthy winner. Sure some people run for the hills, but the form can’t take all the blame: it’s not the hideous ogre we first feared.

For us, the data the form giveth is worth more than the awareness the form taketh away.

The fact is that 40% of our traffic just doesn’t want the content even if it’s only a pushed button and a fraction of a second away. They probably wouldn’t go for it if we offered a year’s supply of the Kool-Aid.

Well, they might, but that’s another test, for yet another issue of this seemingly endless series of blogs!  There are B2B marketing mysteries waiting to be solved everywhere we look.

But there’s no doubt about it – the form stays. We’re keeping it because it serves as the start of a B2B marketing process upon which our campaign grows in strength. The figures simply don’t support taking it down.

A Few Caveats
While we hope there are lessons for everyone here, we would warn against extrapolating our experience into all campaigns. Our form:

  • Asks for the bare minimum to start nurturing leads. Downloads would drop, along with information reliability, with every additional field.
  • Is aimed at marketing people: people who build forms are more likely to fill them in – our bread and butter techies are more sceptical.
  • Uses other marketing elements – such as comments and testimonials – to overcome form reticence.

The key take-away is the value of testing itself; applied to your unique content, audience, timescales, next steps, resources…

We’ve solved the debate, for now, but only for this campaign. The next time the results just might be different.

Want to catch up on the rest of Open Robe? Here’s the full bifter.

Project Open Robe Part 1 – the one where we commit ourselves in public (Planning)

Project Open Robe Part 2 – the one where it all kicks off (Thinking)

Project Open Robe Part 3 – the one where confidence starts to rise (First results)

Project Open Robe Part 4 – the one where the trick shots start (Cross-promotion)

Project Open Robe Part 5 – the one where we share the first month’s results (Reviewing)

Project Open Robe Part 6 – the one where we toughen up (Soul Searching)

Project Open Robe Part 7 – the one where we find the world’s best marketers (Segmenting)

Project Open Robe Part 8 – the one where we show that design isn’t everything (Style v Substance)

Project Open Robe Part 9 – the one where lead nurturing proves its worth (Marketo)

Project Open Robe Part 10 – the one where the form fights back (Form v No Form)

Project Open Robe Part 11 – the one about autoDMs in Twitter

Project Open Robe Part 12 – the one about re-purposing and atomising your content

Project Open Robe Part 13 – the one with an early peek at the outcomes

Project Open Robe Part 14 – the one where it ends (before it starts again)

Photo Credit: Gregory Wake on Flickr Creative Commons


Could be worthwhile to go beyond “to form or not to form” and ask “how form?”. Many forms are framed like a deal with the devil:
“Give us your vital signs to get what you want, and give us the right to spam you for eternity.” These types of forms often don’t
tell you what you’re buying in to. Forms that appeal to the visitor as a subscriber or follower (inciting the “pull” effect) are bound to
be more successful. “Give us a way to let you know when there’s more on our site of value to you, whatever value you’re after: a),
b), c) or d)…” I’d be interested in some A-B testing with different form approaches, like this.

Hi Ryan,

Good to hear from you 🙂

I think you’re on to something. The missing link is often the benefit that we offer from an ongoing relationship with us.

There are a few potential pitfalls to the approach (extra layers and complexity) but that’s what tests are there to find out.


I really appreciate the Open Kimono series of posts. Great idea. Often it’s difficult for an agency to share specific insights about campaigns with the market, because clients want to keep a lid on their lessons. Using yourself as a test case is a brilliant way to bypass this common frustration. Great series!

That’s exactly why we’re doing this, Ryan. We get to try things some clients might not want to try and report on it freely and openly. It’s been one of the most fun things we’ve done in a while, too. Really makes me want to test more things — like your form ideas.

I thought it might be cool to put a link to this post next to the download form — a link saying, “Why do we have a form here?”. But that might drag people away from the all-important download…

Did you consider using Docmetrics to get round the form vs no-form dilemma?

Considering it now!!

Project open Kimono has been a really good source for insights in B2B marketing focusing on Strategy, Execution & Analytics in a fragmented world of Splinternet (as Forrester calls it).

Thanks to the Velocity Partners Group for sharing! 🙂

Cheers Anshul,

There’s also a wrap up post that may interest you that’s not on the initial thread.

Might be worth a look as well –

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