Web Forms: Friend or Foe?

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Posted by Brenda Timm, VP of Strategic Communication & Online Services

Ever opened an email that offers a free download packed with all kinds of useful information (yes, please!) and then clicked through only to be greeted by a massive list of questions you must answer first?

Talk about a deal breaker.

Web forms can be a really great lead generator if they’re designed well and used right. But they can also send people running if they ask for too much information, and as a result, immediately overwhelm.

Some visitors will see these extra questions as a burden of their time, while others will be leery of why your company would need so many details and wonder how they’ll be used.

To avoid either scenario, it’s usually best to keep your web forms as simple and user-friendly as possible. Here’s some quick advice:

•Ask for the Basics – Keep the number of questions to a minimum and only ask for the info that you find most pertinent. If these initial contacts turn to future relationships, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to gather more insight.

•Mark the Required Fields – If you feel the need to include a few more questions, note which ones must be completed with an asterisk and give users the option to dish out details as they feel comfortable.

•Include a Comment Box – Allow visitors some space to write their own notes and encourage them to do so with a “How Can We Help?” or similar label. This removes the pressure and could result in some valuable tidbits.

•Make Contact Info Available – Maybe your lead prefers a one-on-one conversation or has additional questions. Be proactive and prominently display your company’s phone number on the form.

Getting visitors to the point of clicking through to your web content and requesting a download is a big enough challenge. Don’t make the mistake of sending them away in an attempt to squeeze out every last detail through a single form.

Think your forms through from a user’s perspective and they can have some real potential to generate new leads.

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