Generating leads is an essential but difficult task for almost every business website.

It’s how your sales team maintains a steady flow of new prospects, and how you ultimately earn the sales and revenue you need for success.

If your business is like most, you use forms as your primary method of converting website visitors into leads. Your form likely asks visitors for their names and email addresses, along with details about their goals and the scope of their potential project with you.

And these forms can work! After all, there’s a reason they’ve been a staple of B2B websites for years — but that doesn’t mean they’re the best way to generate quality leads.

That’s especially true now that chatbots are an option.

Keep reading to learn how chatbots can replace forms as a lead generation tool, along with five reasons to make the switch on your company’s site.

How to replace website forms with chatbots

Before diving into why chatbots are the most effective tool for lead generation, it’s important to understand how they can replace static forms.

For example, when you visit a lead-based company’s website, you often see a form that looks something like this:

Depending on the company’s industry and business model, there might be additional fields for contact information, requested service, or a budget range.

But regardless of the exact fields, the form itself tends to be fairly standard on most of the websites you’ll encounter. There’s very little difference in user experience, and nothing that sets one form apart from the rest.

Each is simply designed with the goal of getting site visitors to give companies the information they need to move them to the next stage of the buying process, and convert them into customers or clients.

Now, let’s take a look at how that same goal can be accomplished with a chatbot.

For example, when a visitor opts to engage with our lead generation chatbot, the beginning of the interaction looks like this:

The bot starts off with a fun greeting, then gives the visitor the opportunity to confirm their interest (by clicking a button with the pre-written message, “Let’s go!”)

Then, once the visitor confirms their interest, the bot jumps into the process of collecting information by asking for their name.

From there, it continues asking questions that gather all of the information a user might be asked for by a standard form.

But instead of asking for data with form fields, it transforms the process into a conversation, much like the experience a visitor might have if they were speaking with another person.

This way, the company gets all of the information they need to help that visitor become a customer — with no generic form in sight.

5 reasons to use chatbots instead of forms for lead generation

In case you’re not sure whether chatbots are the right lead generation tool for your website, here are five advantages they have over static forms.

1. They’re more engaging

One of the biggest advantages of chatbots for lead generation is that they’re far more engaging than a standard, static form.

If you’ve ever been on the visitor side of this experience, you know that completing website forms isn’t exactly a fun process. It can range anywhere from boring to downright tedious.

This isn’t the kind of experience you should settle for when it comes to your potential customers.

Considering that submitting their contact information and other important details is the first step the conversion process, it’s an essential part of your success — and it’s in your best interest to make sure as many site visitors follow through with it as possible.

Chatbots are a fantastic solution for reaching this goal.

Unlike traditional forms, bots enable you to create conversational experiences for your potential leads, and all this can be done without needing artificial intelligence.

For example, take a look at how WeldLogic’s chatbot assists site visitor after they indicate that they’d like to request a quote.

First, it explains to the user that it needs some information before providing a quote. Then, it kicks off the process by asking for their name, much like the beginning of any normal conversation.

Then, it proceeds to ask for more information in a question-and-answer style format.

By the end of this brief “conversation,” the chatbot has collected all of the information the company needs to reach out to this site visitor and help them move onto the next step in the sales process — all without a single boring form.

Question and answer workflows aren’t the only way to collect information from leads, though.

Kerala Travels, for example, styles the answers to certain questions in its workflow as multiple-choice questions.

Instead of requiring the user to type in the destination they intend to visit, they give a simple list of three options from which to choose.

This not only makes it easier for the chatbot to “understand” their input and move forward accordingly, but also makes for an even more user-friendly experience.

Of course, these are only two potential approaches out of many. But regardless of the setup you choose, you can be confident that it’s more engaging for your visitors (and more interesting for them to complete) than a standard list of data fields.

2. They make the conversion process more personal

Every single visitor to a website with a standard form has the same exact experience with that form. It doesn’t change based on who’s filling it out, adjust to user preferences, or offer any level of personalization.

Now, to be fair, most consumers are used to this type of conversion experience. They expect it.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t aim higher.

And with chatbots, you absolutely can.

As a bot collects information, it can use that information to tailor the “conversation” to an individual user. For example, after asking a visitor for their name, it can address them by name throughout the rest of the interaction.

This is an extremely simple adjustment that can go a long way in making the user feel like they’re being recognized as a person — and not just another form submission in a spreadsheet.

Then, depending on how much information you collect from your leads, you can also use workflows to customize the conversation that takes place as a visitor moves through the process.

If you’re a home services provider, for example, and work with both commercial and residential clients, you might start the process by asking the user which of these two categories they fall into.

From there, you could create two unique conversation flows, tailored to each segment, then send the user down the one that’s appropriate for their needs.

They can avoid filling out fields that aren’t relevant to their project, focus on the details you’ll need before contacting them, and move through the process more efficiently.

3. They eliminate distractions

Some of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of website conversions are other distracting elements on the page.

After all, if you’ve designed your site with lots of content that’s interesting to your target audience, it makes sense that a visitor might be interested in multiple links or calls to action.

This is perfectly fine for visitors who are earlier in the research stage, and still browsing your site to get a sense of your brand and what you have to offer. But it can be detrimental to the conversion process if it prevents your visitors from getting in touch and sending you their contact information.

Unfortunately for many businesses, static forms are rarely the most exciting element on a page.

Chatbots, on the other hand, can be much more exciting, and more effective at drawing visitors’ attention.

And while this is true regardless of where you place them on a page, it’s especially true if they’re the only element on the page.

Now, this may sound like a leap if you’ve never considered using a full-screen conversion process.

We thought so, too.

But after accidentally launching a full-screen chatbot, we saw our site’s conversion rate increase from 3% to 9.6%.

That’s over triple the number of new leads — all from a complete accident. And you can learn from our “mistake.”

When a chatbot is the focus of your page (or your entire page), you have the ability to keep your visitors more focused on the conversion process than ever, and increase the chances that each of them will become quality leads for your business.

4. They simplify the process of sorting through data

Getting a visitor to convert on your site is only the first step in the process of turning them into a customer or client for your business.

The next step in that process is passing the information they submit along to your sales team so that they can learn more about each individual lead’s needs, then get in touch to tell them more about what you have to offer.

If your site sees a large volume of leads, though, sorting through the data your visitors submit can be challenging.

Chatbots can simplify this task.

As each user works their way through a “conversation” with your bot, it can tag each piece of information they enter as a variable.

As your team evaluates your leads and prepares to reach out, they have all the information they need to do so, in an organized, sortable format.

This tagging process works regardless of the order in which a user progresses through a conversation.

Plus, you can also use it to qualify leads by adding variables for different segments of your audience, different goals, and different industries.

Payment processing brand BAMS, for example, starts off its bot’s conversations by asking the visitor what they’re hoping to get out of the company’s platform.

This way, when a sales rep contacts the lead, they’ll know which aspect to focus on and can center the conversation around what’s most important to this potential customer.

5. They can get your team involved when needed

If a site visitor isn’t sure how to answer a field on a static form, or has second thoughts about giving you their contact information, they’ll most likely just leave your website without converting.

Every time this happens, you miss out a valuable new customer. And there’s virtually nothing you can do about it.

Chatbots can prevent this kind of abandonment by getting your team involved when necessary.

If a user runs into an issue, your bot can assign the conversation to an agent, so that they’re able to step in and pick up where the bot left off.

This way, you never have to worry about missing out a lead simply because the visitor is confused or frustrated — and can make your team available for help whenever they’re needed.

Conclusion

Static forms have long been a staple of online lead generation. But as chatbots have become a more accessible tool for business owners and marketers, they’re no longer the best option.

Chatbots not only provide a better user experience for potential quality leads, but are also more effective from a business standpoint.

For starters, they’re far more engaging than a generic-looking form. They transform the process into a conversation, and make for a more fun, interesting conversion process.

Chatbots also have the potential to create more personal experiences and tailor your lead generation efforts to individual users.

Plus, depending on how you structure your bot, you can either make it stand out as the most engaging element on a page, or make it the focus of a page by eliminating all of the other distracting content entirely.

Then, as a user engages with your bot, each piece of information they provide can be saved as an attribute, which you can later use to pass qualified leads on to your sales team, as well as personalize future interactions.

Finally, if a visitor runs into any issues while engaging with your chatbot, it can prevent them from abandoning the process by putting them in touch with a member of your team.

Altogether, this makes for a much more engaging and effective lead generation strategy — and one that beats standard forms by a long shot.

If you have not created your own chatbot, now is the time. Get started by creating your free Landbot account today!