I was recently talking to a B2B marketing professional who was doing some analysis at a startup of their first few dozen leads.  He told me that he though there was something wrong with his website form since he had a number of leads from "some foreign guy named ASDF".

If you look at your PC keyboard, you'll notice that ASDF are the first four letters on the middle line of your keyboard.  So, what was actually happening is that visitors to his website were interested in the offers he had (a whitepaper) but were not ready to give up their name, so they type the first 4 letters their fingers hit. 

Over my career, I have created myslef or manged teams that created a million leads.  So I have seen it all... ASDF QWERT, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Donald Trump, Screw You, Prisoner 1234567, Spam Yourself, and lots that are not suitable for publication here.

What can you do to limit this problem?  Here are five tips to stop gathering ASDF as a lead on your website:

1) Stop locking up important content behind a registration form.  ASDF won't have to give you his fake name if you don't ask for a name at all.  Your next question is probably "How will I get any leads?"  Well, if people are really interested in talking to you, you should have a separate form that asks them for their contact info - this is usually a "request demo" form.  This is what we do at www.hubspot.com, and we have received accurate information on 99% of the leads submitted through our demo request form.  Sure, the volume will be lower, but your sales team will be a lot more efficient since they are only working on higher quality leads.

2) Give samples of the content without registration.  If you can't completely take down your registration forms, then at least give some valuable content as a sample of what people will get.  If you have an online video demo, maybe offer a 1 minute overview without registration, then ask people to register to see all the additional videos.  Or if it is a whitepaper, maybe the executive summary can be published online and then people have to register to get the whole document.

3) Require the minimum amount of personal info.  If you ask for less, you often get more (quality) information.  If you look at the Website Grader SEO Tool all we ask for as far as contact information is your email address, and we use that to send you a link to your report.   This is very minimal information, and our completion rates on this form are quite good.

4) Make the content really valuable.  The more valuable the content, the more likely people are to give you their real information.  Make sure all your whitepapers have valuable general industry content (not specific to your products).  In addition, the content on other parts of your site that does not require registration should be valuable as well, helping to establish trust with your prospect that the content behind the registration form will be even more valuable.

5)  Have a good privacy policy.  Users who are concerned about what you will do with their information sometimes will look at your privacy policy, or at least verify that you have one.  You should include a link to your privacy policy at the bottom of every page on your website.  Here is the Small Business Hub privacy policy as an example - feel free to copy it.

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internet marketing kit

Originally published Aug 17, 2007 12:57:00 PM, updated October 01 2019