In the latest podcast episode, Mike sits down with Chad Reid, VP of Marketing at Jotform, an online form builder offering a suite of productivity tools.

Chad discusses what makes Jotform stand out amongst its competitors, shares which marketing tactics have proven to be the most successful and offers some top tips on how to maximise form conversions, as well as how to approach a marketing strategy when marketing to a broad audience.

Listen to the podcast now via the links below:

Transcript: Interview with Chad Reid – Jotform

Speakers: Mike Maynard, Chad Reid

Mike: Thanks for listening to marketing b2b Tech, the podcast from Napier, where you can find out what really works in b2b marketing today.

Welcome to marketing b2b technology, the podcast from Napier. Today I’m joined by Chad Reed. Chad is the Vice President of Marketing Communications at Jotform. Welcome to the podcast, Chad.

Chad: Thanks, Mike. Glad to be here.

Mike: It’s great to have you on. So I mean, we always ask people at the start of the podcast, how did they end up in the current row? So can you give us a bit of history of your, your career and how you ended up marketing a job form?

Chad: Yeah, for sure. You know, it’s funny I, my career follows a similar arc in some ways to previous guests I think you had with with Sprout Social, where I graduated into the recession in 2009, I had a journalism degree. And I kind of didn’t know what to do with it after I graduated. And once I ended up in the San Francisco Bay area, I just sort of was blindly sending my resume all over all over the place for people who were looking for writing skills. And that kind of landed me in marketing. And of course, it took to it down a long, long, dark and winding path and sort of worked my way up and to into job form. And I’ve been a job forum for the past eight years, it’s been a really remarkable journey. I joined in 2014, when we were just opening a San Francisco office. And now I lead our marketing efforts, which is again, housed in San Francisco. So it’s been, yeah, it’s been been an awesome ride.

Mike: I love those kinds of accidental careers where, you know, you end up in San Francisco look for a job and ultimately leads to running marketing, communications, and interesting marketing technology company.

Chad: Yeah, I remind myself very regularly how how lucky and fortunate I am. And we just moved into a awesome new office in San Francisco and overlooks the bay and the Ferry Building and the Bay Bridge. And I have regularly have these like, pinch myself moments like I cannot honestly, you know, 22 year old Chad would have never, ever envisioned this. And, yeah, I’m very, very grateful, very grateful.

Mike: So I would have it cheeky here. Would 22 year old Chad have dreamt of promoting software that creates forms on the web? I mean, do we need another form software company?

Chad: Do we need another? You know? No, we don’t. I’ll phrase that in a way that Jotform has been around since 2006. So we were one of the one of the if not the first, What You See Is What You Get Form Builder software’s at the time. Interestingly enough, two of our primary competitors also launched in 2006. It was kind of the year of the form, if you will, but you know, we’ve been a market leader for a long time. And I feel like we’re really carrying a lot of momentum. So I would say no, we don’t need another additional form software in addition to Jotform. But, of course, it’s not going to stop new competitors, and everything else. But we’re really well situated. I like to use the term that we’re emote business and a lot of ways because 16 years of developing Jotform means we put a lot of resources into new feature developments and integrations and just a laundry list of product improvements that that really separate us so but it’s the size of the pie is going to going to continue to grow. And it’s not really about our competitors, so much as I think as it is people still using legacy, very outdated systems and pen and paper and printing things out and writing them by hand. And we’re, that’s that’s our opportunity. So that’s a long, long, long and winding answer to your question, but for in a good spot.

Mike:  And so I’m really interested because, you know, obviously, foams are pretty mature in terms of technology. Now 16 years in internet years is a long time. Are there things you do that you think are particularly cool or different to other form providers?

Chad: Yeah, you know, for job form, it’s the suite of products. It’s not just our forms, obviously, forms are bread and butter. It’s in our name. But we offer document automation and payment collections. So we integrate with more than 30 different payment processor options, the process 10s And millions in payments, we handle that for our users. And that’s something that’s really unique about Jotform. And kind of maybe something that people aren’t expecting that, you know, it’s an easy way to get paid. But we have a an amazing database slash spreadsheet hybrid product that we launched a year and a half ago called Jotform tables that’s been really popular. We have an app builder, so people you know, a small business can launch their throne app really quickly, just a very expansive and growing list of new products that are kind of into this suite of productivity and automation and all the things that we’re allowing our customers to do so. Yeah, you know, it’s not just about forms anymore, and Honzik still kind of at the the centrepiece of what we’re allowing people to do. But it’s, it’s so much more.

Mike: And that’s really interesting that, that you’ve really looked at adding automations, as well as presumably integrating with with other systems. I mean, I’m guessing you have a pretty long list of integrations as well.

Chad: I personally believe that, you know, a forum company is really only as strong as their integrations, that has, you know, been the case for withdrawal form, I think, in the past, until we started creating things that users could basically do with their data and stay within jot form, but for a long time, you know, forms are just an entry point, right? You know, you’re not creating a form to have a form, you’re creating a form to get the information, what do you want to do with that information, maybe it’s sync it with a project management software, or a CRM, or email marketing software, or whatever, you know, if get a notification in Slack. So integrations have been really kind of a lifeblood, and they ultimately creates great partnership opportunities with these other companies, but also stickier users. They’re providing a lot of value and, and ultimately, those users are less likely to leave off on the future. So the integrations are a big, big part of what we do. And we’ve, we’ve had a very long list of Direct integrations, and we’re still continuing to add.

Mike:  And so you know, one of the things I’m interested in, you’ve got some automation capabilities yourself, you know, are there any really cool applications where people have used Jotform in a marketing context, that you’re aware of that maybe use the database or use the payments, you know, some examples of how people have taken jot form and almost built a mini application out of it, because I think that’s, that’s the exciting thing about Jotform is you can almost build an application, out of the capabilities.

Chad: You can do anything with draft form, that’s kind of the beauty of it, it’s it’s a touch point that can put the information that you want, just about anywhere. From a marketing perspective, I can talk a little bit how our marketing department uses it. And I think it’s it’s kind of a broad use case. But we funnel a lot of requests, we get requests from internally or externally. And just managing that from placing it to the correct team and putting it in syncing it with Project boards that where people can get their work started and organised. That’s a big way that marketing teams all across the country and all across the world use it. And certainly how we do it at Jotform. And it’s a big productivity saver, right, just funnelling information that you need, exactly the information that you need, and putting it where you need it is a big value add. Conventionally speaking forms, I think most marketers think about forms from a lead generation perspective, and then getting the correct customer information and making sure that’s highly visible and a big touchpoint for acquiring new business. So that’s, that’s a, that’s always a big, big drop from use cases, especially for for job or, you know, for marketers everywhere.

Mike: Yeah, that’s interesting. I mean, talking about forms for lead gen. I mean, it’s one of the marketers, you know, biggest concerns. I mean, what can marketers do to increase those form conversion rates, because that’s always a big metric. For us.

Chad: It is, and I think the biggest mistake is, when they just think having a form is enough, and not not thinking about the aesthetic of the form, or the design, the layout, the flow, the conversation, that you’re, you’re initiating with your customer, when you have it on there. So you can always tell it’s really plainly obvious when someone just, you know, a company is dropping a form on there, it does not match the the aesthetics, or the brand of the site, and it just looks like a completely different experience. But you know, that’s something that even without a great design, eye or capability, you can always do the little things, right, you know, you can always get that the hex colour code and match the fonts. And and these are things that you can do within job form without even needing a technical expertise, you know, we have a Form Designer feature that kind of lets you lets you manipulate that. So just doing the bare minimums of making it look, at least like your site is giving a signalling trust, you know, with with your potential customers, and that’s, that’s huge. And then also just don’t over ask, you know, I think that a lot of lead generation forms, in particular, think about questions to ask their potential customers that they don’t need, but they want but that might be killing your conversions, you know, so I think really just boiling down to the information you precisely need. And then sticking just to that, especially as an initial touch point. Those are two things that will go a long way. I would say one, one final tip is the submit button by default, any form builder software, especially with job form, it’s going to say a submit on it, and that’s what we think about, but think about in terms of the, again, the conversation you’re having with your customer and just tweaking the language on the best CTA it’s, it’s something that’s a little bit more personalised. interaction item, you know, even if it’s just request to speak with someone or send your information or whatever, whatever language you that makes sense for your business, injecting it into that, that standard Submit button to make it a little bit more of a personalised experience. All these are very small things, but they make a big difference when you’re, you’re looking for a high performing lead gen form.

Mike: And how much it is around experimentation? Do you see some things work for for some applications? And then then you’ll have another customer who actually, you know, something different is driving the conversion rate?

Chad: Completely Yeah, every business is different for sure. Yeah, there’s not like a one one size fits all. But if you do have the capability to do any kind of AV testing, certainly within Jotform, where there’s some analytics, and you can check the forum conversion, Google will track that you’ll be able to track the views to your form, you know, who’s who’s filling it out from, from which device type that kind of thing? Because that’s certainly helpful. But it’s, it’s great to measure these things, you know, and just just kind of see for yourself, because, yeah, I, of course, the I think the the tips I just gave her broadly applied, but it might not for your business. So see what’s working. And yeah, you know, it’s if you’re going to test anything, for sure to test your form.

Mike: That’s great advice. I think it’s really good. I’m interested as well, you mentioned something earlier about your automation capabilities around documents now. I mean, clearly, it’s obvious why you’d move into a database and start offering that where people can collect data and store it. Can you talk a little about what you’re doing in terms of document automation?

Chad: Yeah, you know, we’re, we’re just to kind of at the tip of the iceberg, I think With Jotform. But basically, at the moment, you can have your form submission, through a standard online form, spit out a beautifully designed PDF, there are a number of broad use cases, I guess, where that’s going to make sense for someone. But if you need the submission to turn into a polished, professional PDF, that’s something that you can do with jot form. And that’s really, that’s been a great feature. It’s called a PDF editor. It’s something we launched a number of years ago. Like I said, we’re still refining even just PDF capabilities in general. But that’s, that’s been something that’s been a fun, a fun value add and kind of an extension of what you can do with online forms again, sort of being the centrepiece of a lot of different capabilities yet.

Mike: So if you were organising an event, for example, it could spit out a person’s I guess, the gender and and ticket. Yeah, rather, that’s awesome. That’s really cool.

Chad: Yeah, that’s a great honestly, that’s a great example. Because I think, you know, people are looking for something a little more tangible when they fill in something related to an event. And then you can have something that’s custom branded and ready to go and that can be sent automatically to the person who just submitted it, as well as the, you know, the the form Creator as well. So it’s, it kind of goes both ways.

Mike:  This sounds like a really interesting feature. Actually, it’s not something you see with with other form builders, but I can see a lot of applications, you know, where people do want something customised in terms of PDF, particularly around events or webinars or something like that. For sure, yeah. That’s, that’s awesome. Love that feature?

Chad: Yeah, yeah. It’s been great. Definitely. Great.

Mike: So, I mean, we’ve talked a little bit about Jotform, we talked about some of the features, is this an expensive, you know, sort of large enterprise kind of product, I mean, well, the sort of cost involved to get started with Jotform,

You can use Jotform, for free, that’s kind of the beauty of it, we’re a freemium service, where the lion’s share of our of our users to this day are still still free, and, and we love them all the same, you know, and we offer a pretty robust offering for our free products, you get up to 100 form submissions per month. So if you need 50 form submissions a month, and you’re fine with that, it’s great. We’ve had users on the platform for years for free. And you get the full suite of our features and products, even at the free plan. So we’re not locking any features behind behind paid tiers, with the exception of HIPAA compliance. We locked that under our silver plan, just because of the the additional costs and resources that that runs.

But yeah, so it’s, it’s, it works great for that and but we do have, you know, free which has kind of its own set of users all the way up to major enterprises that have 100 plus paid users on administered under a single accounts, you know, so it’s, it’s the types of businesses that need forms are every type of business right it’s every every single organisation on the planet needs a way to collect some kind of information. So that’s been sort of the beauty of working at Jotform from a marketing perspective. And also the challenge is, who are our customers? You know, it’s it’s the bakery down the street who needs to collect custom cake order forms, but it’s also the major university who’s doing scholarship applications or fortune five hundreds or major governments on the state and federal and county level and it’s, and it’s everyone in between. So it’s always fascinated me looking at who’s using jot form and why. But like I said, it’s also a challenge, right? Like, who exactly are we speaking to when we’re when we’re marketing forms? Because it’s utility service? That’s great for everyone. You know,

Mike: I think that’s a that’s a really interesting point. You know, when you look at your audience, it’s almost any organisation that’s online, is really relevant to the job. I mean, how do you deal with such a broad audience? When you’re trying to plan out your marketing strategy? Do you have, you know, personas you target? Or what’s your approach

Chad: To to an extent we do, you know, we have great information on our highest value industries, and what times during the year, they’re, they’re most likely to activate or become paid users these types of things. But I’ve found it’s actually more helpful to think about the use case, and not necessarily the persona, or the type of form that they’re creating, and not necessarily the industry or the the person doing it. So we’ll do you know, a bit of marketing around promoting application forms or registration forms or donation forms, which I guess is more industry specific. We’re thinking about schools and nonprofits at that point, but because for the most part, those are used across different verticals, but the you know, that we’re still identifying how they’re using it, we have a lot of a lot of information on that, you know, and we’ve we’ve fortunately been, well, not fortunately, very deliberately, then dedicated some SEO into that. So we’re, if you look for registration form, we want you to find us, if you look for application form, we want you to find us feedback form, we want you to find us and on and on. So that’s been a big, big engine for us. And, and that’s ultimately how we get a lot of a lot of new users.

Mike: So you mentioned SEO, though, that’s interesting. I’m intrigued to know, what are the best channels or best approaches to actually driving both new users who might be free, but also particularly some of the bigger users as well? Are there particular channels that work better than others?

Chad:  You know, for bigger users, for the most part, in Jotform’s case, certainly, they started out as small users, you know, it’s so our pipeline for our, our enterprise product was really the same as it was for free and our bronze, silver gold, which is our kind of base subscription package. But usually someone starts even if with their within a larger organisation, they they take a liking the job form, and, you know, maybe that’s they want broader access, or they’ve introduced it to someone else. And then all of a sudden that, you know, there’s a IT professional who says that this needs to be centralised, and then they’ve reached out for an enterprise account at that point. So the pipeline started the same, you know, they discovered off on the same way, you know, they needed, they had the same need, they had a registration form, and that they needed or they had an application form that they needed a contact form that they needed. So it’s still kind of funnelled into the same into the same system. And then, of course, they discovered that we had more offering within an enterprise product than it did a standard. So realistically, we approach marketing from a initiation standpoint, similarly, regardless of the of the company size. That being said, we do, of course, have dedicated enterprise level marketing once, particularly once they’ve become a user, we have a lot of thought leadership around that we have a lot of more technical content that sort of resonates with that audience. But yeah, you know, from from what’s effective, it’s almost the same, it’s almost the same whether it’s a one person company or a 10,000 person company.

Mike: So your little like Dropbox almost in the way that you’re getting individuals to bring the technology into a company rather than a three selling to a big decision making unit?

Chad: Absolutely, yeah. I think that’s a good example.

Mike: So so I’m really interested in that as a marketing challenge, because in some ways, the easy bit is getting someone who loves the product to actually use it or work. The difficult bit is then getting the organisation to adopt it. And you mentioned needing some enterprise marketing content. What is it you’re you really have to do with that content? Is it about convincing the IT department that you’re enterprise ready? Or is it much more about, you know, convincing people that you’re scalable? I mean, where do you find the the issues that you have to address?

Chad: I think it’s, I think it’s the former and that’s really where the value add is, is if an individual within a large company is using Jotform. There is no administrative oversight. There’s, it’s not running through the channels that they’re it your security team probably wants, it’s not scalable, you know, and if that person leaves the organisation, then that information is gone right or that account is gone and are very difficult to read. We retrieve and it has to, it’s a pain in the neck to go through our support channels. But having that control from an administrative or, you know, a broader enterprise level, it makes it much easier to handle. And, of course, it comes with additional touch points with our security and customer support, and you just kind of getting kind of getting more of everything. So that’s that’s the sell job form is compelling. From an individual level, we don’t need to convince someone who’s already using job form that, you know, they need an enterprise plan. But we do need to convince the IT department for sure.

Mike:  That’s that’s, I mean, like, what we’re hearing is a lot of companies trying to get individuals bring yourself into a company then face the the difficulty of, of getting the IT department to accept it and roll it out globally. And it sounds like, you know, having had all this experience in the industry, that track record must really put you in a good state with the IT department.

Chad: Yeah, and sometimes the case is very easy. You know, we there are major companies, I won’t say names of companies that we’ve all heard of that have 25 plus paid Jotform accounts, just sprawling throughout their organisation, and it creates a mess, you know, that it’s much it’s much better for the organisation so centralise that, put it through the same one billing, you know, easier to track. And of course, like I said, when someone leaves the organisation, just not having to deal with the mess of, of what what you’re doing with these forms, right, because sometimes a form is deployed on a website, and you can’t make a change if if that if that account holder left the organisation or so yeah, it’s it’s super, it’s a big value add, and particularly when when Jotform is already already widely used within a company. So it’s, we’ve seen a lot of success in that too

Mike: One of the things I’m interested in, you know, as somebody, you know, running marketing for, for an organisation, how do you measure the success of your campaigns? Is it just really easy it’s number of new users? Or do you apply other metrics to get a bit more insight into the quality of those users?

Chad: Yeah, great question. And it might even depend on who you ask within within the company, I mean, paid users are always going to be the paid pay the bills, obviously, but we get a lot of free users per day, it’s in the 1000s. It’s, and that’s something that we, we actively monitor, and we want to be to be healthy, because those turn into paid users, you know, knew someone who’s just signing up for Jotform, today, most likely isn’t whipping out their credit card, they come in with a typically with a single need. And, and, you know, that’s something that they’re relying on, but within time, they’re likely to become a paid user. So we, we have some internal metrics that we kind of monitor, like how likely they are to converts how likely a channel is to convert a user to a paid user, within 30 days. So we call those p 30s. That’s kind of something that we look at. And then if that if that’s a healthy channel, and we’re getting a lot of pee 30s from a particular landing page or referral traffic on a particular campaigns and advertising, whatever it is, then we’ll double down on that and make sure that it’s working well. But you know, it needs to needs to be good. And if if we’re only getting free users from something that’s not turning into paid, you know, we kind of we have that information, too, and we’ll be able to make a good decision. And, yeah, that that tends to be that tends to be good, active users. I mean, you know, that’s as any SaaS company is going to be monitoring or any software company at all. That’s something that we watch, watch regularly. And to have any of the previously mentioned metrics working. Well, you need, you need active users. So yeah, those are all those are all things we yeah, we look for whenever we we initiate any campaign for sure.

Mike:  So in terms of getting those active and paid users, are there any campaigns you’ve run that, that have really stood out as generating? You know, particularly good results?

Chad: Not short term, but long term channels that have worked really? Well? Absolutely, I would say that the bulk of our new users are coming in via SEO or paid targeting AdWords. And that’s, that’s no accident. You know, we’ve put a lot of a lot of work into our, into our SEO, we have an enormous content marketing engine that fuels that we have a team full of SEO and content strategists who are helping identify new use cases that we can promote and things that are gonna be valuable. And we’ve worked with outside agencies for both the content production side of things and the SEO side of things and SEO. People think it’s well known people don’t think it is but it feels like it’s going to be the low cost, the free version, you know, it’s not it’s it’s a resource. It’s a huge resource investment to do it. Well. And that’s, that’s something that we’ve obviously done but yeah, you know, I think from a from an individual campaign, I’m trying to think of a good example. You know, we’ll we’ll go after a particular industry and From time to time, and we have a new feature that that makes sense for health care or something like that, or summer camps, we’ve had very targeted campaigns where we’ve partnered with major summer camp associations and got promoted content through their channels and, you know, showed up at events and kind of doubled down and over over a particular time period are found partner companies to also promote Jotform through their channels regarding, you know, this specific industry, we’ve had some we’ve had some various success, but even even those nothing quite moves the needle, like our ongoing search from both a paid and organic standpoint, we need multiple sources of users, for sure, not saying that we’re not trying other things, but the bread and butter is always going to be the organic.

Mike: think that’s interesting, because, you know, a good organic campaign is, is one that actually gets spreads over several years. It’s lots and lots of pieces of content, rather than one piece of content, something that builds rather than a particular one item of content typically.

Chad: Oh, yeah, I mean, Mike, we, we, we are currently producing, and we have been producing 100,000 words of written content per month. And for prospective, that’s about a 400 page book, worth of content that we’re producing predominantly on our blog, but also, this counts, our support pages and template descriptions, things like that, longer guides, white papers, things like that, every single month, and it starts slow, you know, you’re not gonna see a return on that after the first month that you that you do it. But over time, you know, some of these pieces that we’re writing six, nine months ago start to be crawled better, or all of a sudden, it’s become a hotter topic, and more people are searching for it and the volume increases, and then all of a sudden, we have a healthy content channel. And it, it takes a very long time to scale that up. To even get to that point, from an infrastructure level, it took a full year of hiring writers and finding freelancers that we trust, and that we want to continue working with and hiring a full time editor. And now we have multiple full time editors just to make sure everything is running smoothly. And, you know, managing the flow from a project standpoint is huge. And then we have SEOs and strategists and the whole bit. So it’s it’s a lot of a lot of build up and you know, something that, you know, we we didn’t take lightly, it wasn’t just a single blog we threw out there. We don’t do it randomly. We’ve poured a lot of a lot of time and energy, making sure it it’s something that works for us.

Mike: I think that’s very typical in most SEO projects, and sort of the multi year overnight successes. You know, people think it must be magic, but there’s a lot of hard work.

Chad: Yeah, a lot, a lot, a lot of planning. You know, I made a mistake early on, I have to say to, you know, our CEO, when he was giving the greenlight for content, he’s like, let’s scale this thing, right. And it was exciting. To me that thought, Oh, we just need people who can write in the people who can write will also come up with the ideas. Not true. You know, I mean, great, great, great if they can, but they’re a completely different skill sets to be able to have sort of a strategic awareness and research and SEO knowledge of what will work and how it will work, versus executing a really well written guide. So at the end of the day, it takes a pretty large team to even have a blog that will be effective.

Mike: So awesome. It’s been really interesting talking to you. Now, I really appreciate all these insights. Chad, is there anything you feel we should have covered about Jotform? Or about some of your marketing activities I’ve missed?

Chad: Yeah, it’s been a great, I would say one thing, just as sort of an extension of content that’s worked really well for us. And I think I’ve seen it work well, for other b2b brands is in video, you know, I think people are consuming more and more video content. YouTube is the second largest search engine for a reason. And I think the ways that people are consuming or in taking information works really well for videos, anything that you can say on your site, and your blog, and your social can also be said in video. And it’s actually not that large of an investment. If you have an iPhone, and you want to get started. You know, it’s as easy as that, frankly, you know, if you want to put more more investment into it, that that works to at scale as well. So yeah, just put a plug plug in for video. If you need ideas on that, feel free to visit the Jotform YouTube channel where we’re pumping out a lot of videos every day, I think we’re close to 25,000 subscribers for we’re seeing a lot of new new users on that channel as well. So recommend it for anyone.

Mike: So awesome. I really appreciate your time. If people want to get a trial of Java, a free pre licence, as you say people start a free theory rather than any sort of trust. Do they just go to the website?

Chad: Yep, It’ll take you less than 10 seconds to get signed up and just you know, sign up with Gmail or whatever else and then it immediately drops you in our form builder and you can create another form and in 30 seconds or less and you’ll you’ll be on your way.

Mike: That’s amazing. I’m sure a lot would people want to try it? And if anyone’s got any questions about, you know what you’ve talked about, particularly some of the marketing campaigns or maybe wants to know a bit more about video, what’s the best place to get ahold of you?

Chad: Yeah, Feel free to drop me an email. Also, feel free to find me on LinkedIn. There’s a lot of Chad Reids out there. But I think I’m popping up first, first or second in the search results and on LinkedIn. So yeah, I’d love it. If you’re, if anyone follow me or add me on LinkedIn, that’s great. I’m also on all over the Jotform blog says And you can find my author profile and contact form there as well.

Mike:  So awesome. Thank you so much for your time and all your insights, Chad. I really appreciate it. Thanks, Mike.

Chad: It’s been a pleasure.

Mike:  Thank you.

Thanks so much for listening to marketing b2b Tech. We hope you enjoyed the episode. And if you did, please make sure you subscribe on iTunes, or on your favourite podcast application. If you’d like to know more, please visit our website at Napier b2b dot com or contact me directly on LinkedIn.