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What fields should be included in your edu-marketing forms?

You've developed the perfect free resource for teachers. You've gated it behind a landing page in order to generate leads for your business. Now you just need to create a form that school leaders can fill in to download the resource. What information should you ask for? What do you want to know about the people who download the resource?

Forms are an essential feature in the convert stage of any strong inbound marketing-to-schools strategy. They allow you to capture data, turn website visitors into leads and measure the performance of your website.

But asking the right information can be tricky. How much is too much? What information is useful to you but not overly personal for the prospect to share? How do you show that you'll be responsible with the data that you do collect?

How many form fields should you include?

Your website is more than just an online brochure for your business - it's your lead-generation machine. By offering exceptional content that teachers and school leaders will value, you can build up your own list of qualified leads for your business.

But what happens to that list? Why are you collecting the data in the first place?

Ultimately, the answer comes down to business growth. Your marketing efforts are designed to fill up your pipeline with opportunities that your sales team can turn into customers. To that end, you want to be sure that you're gathering data that will be useful to your sales team, but is still proportional to the value of the free resource you're providing.

If you're offering a comprehensive scheme of work that covers every aspect of the Key Stage 2 National Curriculum for Mathematics, then teachers will be happy to provide you with a fair amount of information. You can ask for their contact details, the name of their school, and a whole lot more.

On the other hand, if you're offering a one-page checklist of things to prepare for registration time, then you'll have to settle for less data, perhaps just the teacher's name and email address.

It's all about ensuring that you're focused on delivering genuine value to the teacher, while still serving your business needs. The more valuable your free offer, the more information you can request.

What data does your sales team need?

Where suitable, you should ask the information that your sales team will want to know. Typically, this falls into the BANT framework for sales qualification.

BANT stands for:

  • Budget
  • Authority
  • Need
  • Timeline (to purchase)

That said, I wouldn't recommend putting those as form fields on your landing page - when asked in this manner, it's a little bit too up-front and feels overly salesy.

A better approach is to ask for less-sensitive information that allows you to infer the BANT of your prospect. When selling to schools, some examples of this might be:

  • School size (which gives an indication of the school's overall budget based on per-pupil funding)
  • Job role (which allows you to infer the decision-making authority of the prospect)
  • What's your biggest challenge? (which allows you to see if they have a need that your product/service meets)

Timeline can be trickier to determine from the form fields themselves and is often better determined by behavioural information, such as:

  • The buyer's journey stage of the resource they're downloading
  • The pages of your website that they've visited (e.g. if they looked at the pricing page, they're probably considering a purchase in the short- to mid-term)

If the answers provided by your form fields indicate that the teacher or school leader is a good prospect for your sales team, then you can label them as a 'marketing-qualified lead' so that a human being can reach out and make sure.

What will reassure teachers that it's okay to provide their details?

No matter how well planned your data collection is, you'll want to think about the reassurances that will make teachers feel comfortable with leaving their details. School professionals are custodians of lots of sensitive information, so they're a particularly sensitive audience when it comes to this topic.

First and foremost, you'll want to ensure that you are crystal clear about what will happen with their information. Include a plain-English description of what your plans are. Will you be sending emails? What will be the content of these emails? How often will you send them?

You'll also want to show that you've got a clear privacy policy and that you're happy to put this front and centre when asking for their contact details. Our recent Tip of the Week, explained how you can easily add your privacy policy to the label of your email address field.

With these essentials covered, it's time to think about further reassurances. How can you demonstrate that your business is trusted by others? Include testimonials, membership logos and anything else that demonstrates that your customers and partners trust you to do what you say. This social proof goes a long way to showing teachers that you'll be both responsible with their data and could become a trusted vendor in future.

Please note that the advice in the section should not be considered legal advice. We recommend checking your data collection and protection processes with a legal professional as part of your GDPR compliance.

How do forms fit into your marketing-to-schools strategy?

Have you carefully considered the purpose of forms in your marketing-to-schools strategy? Are you collecting the right data? How are you using that information to make sensible business decisions?

Our free customer persona workbook will help you to identify the common characteristics of your best customers. From there, you can speed your way to establishing the right questions to ask when establishing BANT and the right number of questions to ask on your form fields. Create your customer personas by clicking here

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