Web forms and your business…

What is the pathway of least resistance that your customers need to take to do business with you?

‘Hi, my name is Andrew.’ is a very simple statement, and yet it comes with a lot of meaning. It is a first step, it’s an introduction, and it’s a decision by me to share something about myself with you.

It’s not a big commitment, and as we get to know each other I’ll probably with share more information with you than just my name. But for now, all you need is my name.

When a customer comes to your website, what level of commitment are you asking of them to just start doing business? Are you asking them to fill out a three-stage form, to purchase, to signup? Do you really need their Twitter handle, their shipping address, or where they work? Build trust by offering the path of least resistance.

Surprisingly even asking for a title (Mr, Mrs, Dr, Reverend, etc) can reduce form completion rates by 25%. Levels of complexity will directly affect how many people decide to start a relationship with you.

Require less

You may not actually need a lot of the information you’re asking for from your customers. Take a look at the information you’re currently collecting, do you really need to know so much? Are you using that information?

If you can’t see a point in the future where you will use the information you’re gathering for any purpose at all – question wether or not you actually need to collect it.

Slowly build

The first point of contact with a customer is just that, it’s a first point. Begin with the simple pieces of information that allow you to communicate effectively. Name and email is generally an accepted amount of information.

Gradually increase the level of knowledge about your subscribers. Preferences about purchasing choices, interests, and other details can be garnered through asking for that information later.

A well managed email marketing programme will deliver further insight over the long term.

To get more, offer more.

It could be that you’re asking for more information because you are offering something of value in return.

This tends to be fair – if you want to get more make sure you’re offering an equivalent value in return.  In the end it’s just like a conversation between two people. Don’t step over the mark and you should have a good chance of getting to know each other.