Most businesses now realize the importance of marketing online. According to HubSpot Blogs research, 65% of business leaders believe that social media marketing efforts will increase their company’s revenue. To these companies, in-line forms represent a fantastic opportunity to engage with customers and create memorable experiences. In-line forms allow you to create one-click purchasing options, follow-up emails, and more — all without the need to leave the site.
What Is An In-Line Form?
An in-line form is a web form that appears within the flow of a website’s content. For example, let’s say you’re reading an engaging blog post on a business site that focuses on technology. Towards the end of the article, the writer pauses to ask for your email address. You’re likely to see the following prompt:
The form above appears within the content of the blog post, which means it’s in line with the rest of the article. When the blog post content pauses, it could very well be an invitation to subscribe to the newsletter or follow the business on social media.
If you have a form or any other interactive element within the flow of your content, you’re providing your audience with a moment of reflection or distraction, or you’re just plain old splitting traffic. Either way, you’re giving a bit of value for the sake of engaging with your audience.
Why Should You Use In-Line Forms?
In-line forms aren’t just limited to the moments when a blog post’s content pauses. You can use them to engage with your audience at any point in their journey. Here are a few ways you can use in-line forms to improve your marketing strategy:
Create One-Click Purchasing
In-line forms make it easy for your audience to purchase your products or services without having to leave the site. Let’s say you sell jewelry on your website, but you also have a popular blog. Your followers might notice that the prices for your jewelry are reasonable — especially compared to what you normally sell for — and decide to purchase a few pieces as a way of saying thank you for sharing your knowledge. While they’re at it, they might also decide to subscribe to your newsletter for regular updates on new arrivals.
If they’re pleased with the service and decide to give you their email address, you can send them an email confirmation and make the process even easier. After they fill out the form, the next email they receive from you will be about a new piece of jewelry they might like to try on. The process will be as easy as can be: they’ll click on the email, and there’ll be a box where they can enter their email address. After that, the purchase will be complete.
In-line forms make it easy for customers to find what they want. According to HubSpot Blogs research, 68% of respondents have had a positive experience shopping online — but only 11% have had a good experience with in-line forms. In-line forms that lead to error-free transactions reduce the risk of having a bad online shopping experience. When a customer lands on your site, you want them to feel confident that what they’re doing is safe and that they’ll be able to complete their purchase without any hassles. Having in-line forms helps with this objective. AWeber’s in-line forms also allow you to track purchases from beginning to end, which helps you identify any gaps in your marketing and sales process. This way, you can be sure that you’re delivering the best experience possible to your customers — and getting the best value out of every sale.
Interactive elements that appear mid-way through the flow of content — such as in-line forms — let you provide your audience with the best possible experience. When they’re done reading or viewing, you want them to have something to remember or share with others. Sometimes, that means you need to follow up with them to make sure they received the value proposition you were trying to deliver. Other times, it means you need to up-sale additional products or services that were mentioned in the same blog post.
If you have a trade group or association that represents businesses in your industry, you can use their website to provide your audience with valuable information. At the end of the day, you want to convert that audience into paying customers — and that means creating memorable experiences that bring them back again and again. While it might be easy to produce a static page with a form on it, adding an interactive layer to your content brings added value and can boost your conversion rates.
If you have an engaged audience, you can use your blog to drive more traffic and interest to your in-line forms. When your audience interacts with the content, products, or services you offer, you can study their behavior and decide how to improve your strategy. For example, if you notice that most of your site’s visitors are doing a lot of the talking, maybe you should consider doing more of the listening. Or, if you see that your social media audience is sharing a lot of content, and most of the content is very similar to what you already publish, you might want to take a step back and try something new. You can also use a tool like Google Analytics to track the behavior of your audience and determine the elements of your site that most engage them. This way, you can determine what types of articles and what forms of content perform the best — and build on that.
Even after your product arrives, you might want to continue engaging with your audience. According to HubSpot Blogs research, 59% of respondents would rather read about a product’s features than go through a brief sales pitch. Once your product is delivered, you have additional opportunities to continue engaging with your audience. For example, you might want to do a quick review of the product or service, or you can hand out additional coupons or special offers.
Doing product research allows you to determine if your target audience has the skills and knowledge to utilize your products and whether or not the product’s features are worth its price. If you have a complex or expensive product, this is the stage when you’ll need to do most of the “selling.” The last thing you want to do is scare your customers away with overly-prompting.
When people talk about “SEO”, they usually mean “Search Engine Optimization.” This form of SEO focuses on giving your website the best possible chance of appearing at the top of search engine results for important words and phrases related to your industry. In-line forms are a fantastic tool for SEO because they’re frequently found within the content of blogs and websites. The more structured data and interactive elements you have, the better your SEO will be. AWeber’s in-line forms include a mix of both — frequently found within the content of industry blogs and directories — which means they’ll appear more frequently in search engine results than your average web form would.
Depending on how you set up your in-line forms and what you do with them, you can increase your site’s traffic in two ways. First, whenever someone enters their email address and submits the form, you can send them an email to thank them for their interest. Second, you can track submission of the form to see how many people are interested in your products or services — which, in turn, can help you determine the strength of your marketing strategy.
As you can see above, in-line forms provide your visitors with value and help you engage with them on a deeper level. Not only that, but they make it easier for customers to complete a purchase, take a survey, or find relevant information about your industry — without ever having to leave the site.