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There’s a popular theory when collecting information via a web form that less is more.
The idea is that by asking for less information in your web form, you’re increasing the likelihood of someone submitting it by reducing the friction they might feel about handing over their details.
Makes sense right? It’s a good theory that has certainly proven true in my experience.
But there are times where you need to know more about customers than just their name and email. In order to build a meaningful relationship with a prospect you need to know what makes them tick and what they care about most.
It’s tempting to turn the less is more theory on its head and simply ask for all the information you might ever need to know. But this runs the risk of scaring people away from your web form altogether.
Thankfully there is a better way. A way that allows you to manage the friction whilst still collecting the information you need.
The answer is to align the data collection in your web form with your sales funnel. This helps you ease prospects gently through their interactions with your business by asking only for the most appropriate amounts of information at each stage.
Here’s how it works. The deeper someone is within your sales funnel, the more information you can request. Let’s take a look at three stages of your sales funnel and explore how each can relate to your web form’s data collection.
Top of the funnel
At this stage a prospect is usually just researching and has not yet committed in any way to your company. This is where the less is more theory is most relevant and you need to make it as easy as possible for people to provide you with their details. Here you should limit your data collection to an email address and a first name. An example of a web form that fits into this stage is a newsletter sign-up form.
Middle of the funnel
This stage is where a prospect has interacted with you in some way. Here you can ask for a moderate amount of information in your web form without creating too much friction. Just make sure that you’re only asking for information that adds to the prospect’s experience. For example, you might ask for a phone number so that you can respond to their enquiry. Web forms that fit into this stage are online enquiry forms and document download forms.
Bottom of the funnel
At the bottom of the sales funnel your prospect has become a customer and has hopefully formed a trusting relationship with your company. This is the stage where you can ask for more personal information without creating too much friction. It’s important not to go overboard though and still only ask for information that you intend to use. For example, you might ask for a customer’s date of birth, but only if you intend to communicate with them on their birthday. Similarly, you might ask for their personal interests, but only if you intend on delivering content that is tailored towards their interests. Web forms that fit into this stage include customer surveys and online preference centres.
By following this approach you will ultimately have more prospects entering your sales funnel that then go on to become customers.
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