Forms used in digital marketing have come a long way since the earliest days of simple radio buttons, one-line form fields, and dropdown options. Today’s users expect the forms they engage with to be as frictionless as possible, but they also want to know exactly how much of an investment of time they’ll need to make – and what kind of return that investment can bring.

In this modern environment, multi-step forms have emerged as a way for marketers to make forms more easily digestible for users. In turn, this increases the conversion rates typically seen on multi-step forms. According to some stats, multi-step forms can convert 300% more than forms with a single step.

Knowing the value of multi-step forms in today’s B2B marketing, it’s essential to construct them well and keep them updated as trends and best practices change. As the new year progresses, we’ll track multi-step form trends. 

Artificial Intelligence and Forms

There’s a lot of discussion in the media about artificial intelligence and what it will mean for the future of business. ChatGPT, a sophisticated text-based AI platform created by the prominent research firm OpenAI, has dominated headlines and social media posts thanks to its accuracy and authentic-sounding tone.

AI tools are exciting to discuss but are still far from being a core element of any B2B marketing campaign or funnel. One of the most common deployments of AI in multi-step forms comes with chatbots, which can be helpful tools for certain prospects but aren’t a panacea for all sales needs.    

Specifically, AI tools like chatbots can help when a visitor has a straightforward question about an element of a form but aren’t as valuable for complex inquiries. Throw in the technical complexity and high-dollar amount often associated with B2B purchases, and you can see why many prospects may not want AI heavily involved in their transactions. Despite this, we anticipate AI tools becoming more and more helpful for their predictive capabilities in the early parts of forms when users may need a straightforward clarification or additional detail.

Increase in Social Proof

Since the earliest days of business, social proof – or validation of a product or service from other buyers – has always been a valuable marketing source, especially for companies selling complex and high-dollar solutions. In the economic conditions of 2023, where budgets are likely tight due to pressure on supply chains and other global factors, B2B buyers may want even more social proof before committing to a specific vendor.

In 2023, we expect the changes to multi-step forms in this category to be more related to the specific nature of the social proof provided. For example, we’re already seeing more videos used as social proof throughout marketing funnels. Some studies show that two out of three people would be more willing to purchase after watching a testimonial video showing how a product or service helped someone else like them.      

Another important social proof indicator for 2023 will be the participation in industry groups and organizations. These associations and trade organizations are increasingly effective in certain industries – like healthcare and medical technology – and should continue to grow in importance throughout the year. If your form can remind visitors of your participation in well-respected associations or industry forums, it may increase your conversion rate and improve your overall marketing results.

Progress Indicators & Dynamic Forms

For many years, studies by major research organizations have shown the value of using progress bars, indicators, or icons somewhere on your form. These elements show people where they are in a multi-step form and how much they have left before completion. Research indicates that these elements extend the attention span of users and may make them more likely to finish the form.

Throughout the rest of the year, we expect these elements to become even more prominent throughout B2B forms. Look for leading marketers to deploy these elements in slick, user-friendly ways that don’t detract from the experience. For example, you might incorporate additional information about a form behind a hover icon near the progress bar.

Along the same lines, we’re also projecting an increase in the importance of dynamic forms. Everyone has had the experience of filling out a long form with multiple unnecessary questions that may or may not even apply to their situation. Dynamic forms that adjust based on user-provided information are a valuable solution to this problem. If your forms aren’t adaptable based on specific details that people provide, you may be adding friction to the process and making it less likely that people will complete the form.

Going forward this year, we expect dynamic forms to become even more popular and wide-reaching in their applications. One of the more popular dynamic form use cases involves providing extra content to give prospects even more details about a specific solution. Combining these ideas with technology like automated follow-up tools can create a powerful push to get prospects through your funnel.  

One last note on this point – remember that there’s a fine line between helpful form add-ons and excess clutter that distracts a user from completing the form. With multi-step forms that already require a larger investment of time and energy, it’s crucial to be mindful of clutter or wasted elements. Finding the correct balance requires testing and input from real prospects and customers.

Remember that there’s a fine line between helpful form add-ons and excess clutter that distracts a user from completing the form. Share on X

Incorporating Multi-Step Form Trends Into Your Funnel

As is always the case when we discuss trends, developments, or best practices in a particular area, we aren’t suggesting that you rush to incorporate these three ideas into your campaigns as quickly as possible. Not all of these ideas may be right for your multi-step forms, or you may already have some in current funnels.

Instead, it’s critical to identify which concepts make the most sense for your forms and then thoughtfully plan a strategy for adding them to your campaigns. Multi-step forms may not be the sleekest or most exciting elements of your marketing funnels, but they can be vital to the success of your campaigns. A minor tweak to a multi-step form can cause a significant improvement in its conversion rate, leading to massive results in your business.

If you’re looking to apply one or more of these ideas to your multi-step forms but aren’t exactly sure how getting help from an experienced advisor can be valuable. Our team at FunnelEnvy has many years of experience helping clients plan, develop, and optimize multi-step forms that move prospects along their funnel. Whether you want to improve a mid-campaign form that helps existing prospects or you want to optimize your lead capture form, we can help you incorporate all the elements your form needs to be user-friendly, concise, and persuasive to all prospects who use it.

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