By Mary Cate Spires

At the end of our marketing day, we want leads to fill out forms. Simple, right? Well, yes and no. It is simple if you don’t really care who is filling out your forms, but how many times does that actually happen? Rarely. As marketers and business people, we care about who is coming into our database. At the end of the day, we all want customers, and if you aren’t getting the right leads to start with, getting customers through inbound marketing is going to be extremely difficult.

So, What’s an MQL?

Good question! According to Hubspot, a marketing qualified lead is a lead judged more likely to become a customer compared to other leads based on lead intelligence, often informed by closed-loop analytics.

Leads are great, but for a lead to have a good shot at turning into a customer, it needs to be an MQL. But how do you know if a lead is an MQL?

Define Your Marketing Qualified Lead Criteria 

targetcustomer.jpgThe first step in your journey to more marketing qualified leads? Defining your MQL criteria. You can’t optimize for more MQLs if you don’t know what an MQL is for your company.

Sit down with your sales team and determine which demographics, activities, and behaviors make for a marketing qualified lead at your company.

For example, if you are selling real estate in South Carolina, you probably don’t want to be spending a whole lot of time nurturing leads in California down the funnel.

Once you have your MQL criteria established, you can start qualifying leads.

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Ask the Right Questions

Now that we know who our marketing qualified leads are, we have to ask the right questions on our forms. By asking the right questions, we will be able to classify our leads and in turn get more marketing qualified leads.

Once you have your marketing qualified lead criteria, you need to know what question(s) to ask on your forms to determine if a lead is an MQL. Let’s go back to our real estate example. We could qualify leads by two different ways: demographics or persona. If it were more important to us to know about the leads situation, we could ask “I am…” and then have a dropdown with choices like “Looking to Buy a Home,” “Trying to Sell My Home,” “Interested in a Career in Real Estate.” If your real estate company has an issue with a lot of leads coming from outside your target area, you may want to ask what state they are located in in order to qualify them.

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Whatever qualifications make a better lead for your company to nurture into a customer, those are the questions you want to ask to qualify the lead.

Don’t Ask Too Many Questions

Fun Fact: No one wants to give you their blood type to download an ebook, no matter how valuable you think it is.

When creating forms for your content, consider what information is vital at each stage of the buyer’s journey for you to know about the lead. Only ask those questions. Don’t ask questions just to ask questions; your submission rates will suffer and no one wants that.

As your content gets more valuable and as the lead gets further down your funnel, then you can ask more questions.

Don’t Ask the Same Question Twice

What is more annoying than filling out a super-long form? Having to fill it out again.

When creating forms, utilize smart form fields. With smart form fields, once the contact’s information is in your database, the form will not ask that question again.

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This allows you to get more information about a lead, while not annoying the mess out of them.

Value, Value, Value

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Now that you have optimized your forms to get more marketing qualified leads, you need to continue delivering them great content that they find valuable. This way, they will keep coming back to your website and will keep downloading content. With smart form fields, you will have more information on them than you know what to do with and before you know it, they will be ready to hand over to the sales team.

How else have you optimized your web forms for more marketing qualified leads?

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Mary Cate Spires

About the author

Mary Cate Spires is a Strategist at SmartBug Media. With over five years of experience running inbound programs in the technology, healthcare, fitness, senior living, and nonprofit industries, Mary Cate loves to help customers grow and achieve their business goals. She is on the Board of Directors for the Columbia Chapter of the American Marketing Association. “MC” graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in Public Relations and a minor in Sports and Entertainment Marketing. Her best friend is her 5lb Morkie, Harley, with whom she loves to binge watch any tv show. Read more articles by Mary Cate Spires.