Ah, speed dating. A room full of jittery strangers race to get to know each other. After this, they must decide who, if anyone, they would like to meet again and learn more about. Maybe even potentially date if everything works out as planned.

Speed dating is designed for busy people who are so consumed with their careers and activities, that they have no time to waste on conventional dates. Who wants to spend an entire dinner with someone only to learn that they aren’t compatible?  You’re a dog person, he’s a cat person. You’re a Braves fan, she’s a Phillies fan. It will never work.

Lead capture forms are the speed dating of marketing automation. People sign up for speed dating to quickly make new connections; intentions and goals are clear to all who sign up – just as the intentions and goals of online forms should be clear to all who sign up.

You, the marketer, need to learn about website visitors (dates) before deciding if you should pursue them as customers (mates). However, you only need to capture basic data during this first introduction, such as:

Provide detailed, and even repetitive, instructions on lead captures. Remember, lead capture forms are how we collect data from website visitors. The forms may include as many questions as you’d like, but the less you initially ask for, the more likely visitors are to participate. Once they’ve submitted their information (usually starting with email and name), then they can proceed to the rest of the website.

Don’t be afraid to make the same statement multiple times – it may be annoying while designing the form, but is reassuring to website visitors. This establishes trust and credibility, encouraging visitors to come in and then engage in follow up interactions with additional lead capture forms.

Click through rates have a direct proportion to the number of questions on a lead capture form. Some first touch point forms only ask for email – since this is technically all the information needed to contact visitors and nurture them into leads.

Design simple lead capture forms with clear instructions, minimalist design, and brief questions (with short and obvious answers). Just like you wouldn’t ask your date for a briefing on his or her medical history or past relationships, we don’t want to scare off potential leads either. Keeping this in mind, be sure to include:

You can ask more detailed questions on secondary and tertiary touch point forms without a dramatic drop in click through rates.

Consider these follow up lead capture forms your second and third dates. You’ve started casually dating since the event and are delving into more personal conversations. You’re becoming comfortable, but if you discover unwanted information, there’s still time to end the relationship before anyone gets hurt.

Additional information needed from leads on secondary and tertiary forms:

Remember, when using lead capture forms, the ultimate goal is to engage anonymous visitors, capture their information, and keep them engaged as we nurture them from leads to customers. Stay in contact with leads through email campaigns, event registrations (like lunch and learns or speaking engagements), and outreach from Sales.

Sounds a lot like dating – introductions, awkward dates, less awkward dates, and finally marriage (or in the marketers case, closed deals)!