Continuing our discussion about requesting prospect information, if you do decide that what you have to offer is good enough that people will fill in a form, the next question needs to be: “what should that form contain?” So many companies go wrong at this point, especially by asking too much. The usual excuse for this is that “the sales department insist on having all this information”, but on many occasions, I’ve found that’s not the case. It’s just assumed. Ask only what’s relevant to the exercise.
It’s not unusual for a company to spend, say, £50 getting a prospect as far as a form (imagine you’ve placed a £500 advert, got 20 people to the website and half of them made it as far as the response mechanism). Now, let’s say the form – and the object of the exercise – is to get people to request a copy of your catalogue in the post. What a dreadful waste even if just one or two of the prospects looking at the form decide not to complete it because you’re insisting on having their telephone number, which – to them – doesn’t seem necessary in order for them to be posted something. You’re wasting £50 every time someone turns their nose up at the form.
If you simply have to ask for some information which isn’t relevant to the exercise, at least explain why you’re asking for the information. For example: “Your email address (so we can confirm receipt of your request)” is nearly always acceptable. On a related note, by telling people what you’re going to do (and not going to do) with the information, it’s often surprising how many more people will complete a form.
I’ve seen perfectly good marketing promotions ruined by sending people to a one-size-fits-all form which asks for loads of irrelevant information, forces the prospect to fill in every field, doesn’t explain why the information is required, and doesn’t say what it will be used for. It’s a huge waste of effort and money. If you do nothing else after reading this, resolve to get rid of that single contact form on your website to which all enquiries and marketing initiatives are directed. You need the right form for every occasion.