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Data collection through your website is one of the big reasons you need a website: lead generation. And yet it’s easy to inadvertently deter people from contacting you by asking them to fill out a lengthy form. You need their data so you can address their immediate needs - an inquiry, an offer, a complaint, troubleshooting, etc. - and also want to gather contact details to market directly to them in the future. It is important that your website forms only ask for pertinent information.. People are increasingly concerned with privacy. Ask for too much, and they will become frustrated or worried about what you’ll do with all their data and never hit submit. Collect too little, and you fail to achieve your objectives. So, how much is too much? How much is just right?

Here’s how to effectively balance the amount of information you collect through your website forms.

What Are You Planning To Do With It?

First thing first, what are going to do with this data? If it’s to be used purely for email correspondence and sending direct marketing via email, all you need is a name and email address. A phone number will be needed if you plan on SMS marketing or directly calling the lead. You will need an address if you're sending them direct mail. Consider the practical data you need, and try to leave off extra information you won’t use.

For example, if you’re not planning on mailing anything to the prospect, you don’t need their full address. You can ask for their state, or country information if that will dictate who will respond to them within your organization or if it determines your ability to provide them products or services.

The one piece of contact information you should always get is their email address. This is the least invasive means of communication and the one people are most accustomed to handing over.

What do you need beyond contact info? Do you need to know the name of their business? Their website address? Job title or industry?. If you’re screening potential clients, conducting a survey, or need certain facts in order to deliver what you’ve promised, you may need to ask for a lot of data. Just remember, keep it to the information you actually need, and leave out anything else.

The more you ask for, the easier it is for them to give up before filling in the form.

What Format Do You Need It In?

You should also consider the format you need your data to take. Do you need the first and last name separate when asking for a name? If you’re planning on using personalized content that speaks to them directly by their first name, that’s a separate field you need. If you’re collecting a phone number, you will need the area or country code. Addresses require a minimum of a zip code, house number, and street name.

Can You Collect Additional Data in A Followup?

If you need answers to specific questions and contact details, you might consider asking first for the contact info and setting up an automation that immediately sends the contact a questionnaire to fill out. This makes it as easy as possible for them to sign up while still allowing you to ask all the questions needed and giving them the space to answer in their own time.

Permission To Send Them Information And Marketing

One final thing you will want is to include a checkbox with the option for them to opt in to receiving communication from your company's. This gives you permission to email them with offers, promotions, and other relevant content.

What They're Interested In

Whatever the reason for collecting a person's data, it's useful to know what they are interested in and how they heard of you. Adding a checkbox or dropdown menu that allows people to select options quickly is a great way of doing this. Need help setting up your website forms for essential data collection?


Need help setting up your website forms?

Get in touch today, and we’ll discuss optimizing your site for lead generation.

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