I recently had a great question from a reader. After reading my posts on client vetting and looking at my business site this reader wanted to know why I don’t include my initial questions in my contact form — why I ask them in the first email instead.

Process

First off, while the reader is right that I don’t include the questions in my form, I do prep prospects for the questions on my process page. So, prospects who do some research and look through my site know what to expect when they start talking to me.

Now back to the question: Why don’t I include all my initial project questions in my contact form?

Conversions

First, let’s look at some conversion basics. In general, the longer a form is the less likely it is that a user will fill out the form at all. My goal is to get a client talking to me so I have a chance to sell them on my services.

To that end I only ask for what I absolutely require on my forms.

Two-Step Opt-in

Ever heard of a two-step opt-in process? It’s a technique where users click a link/button to bring up the form where they enter their email.

You can read more about it in this great post on LeadPages.

In short, clicking the link is an easy task with little/no commitment or friction. Only after that initial interaction do you ask users for the next step, entering their email.

Engagement

I keep my contact form easy. Put in your name, email, phone, message and submit the form. In fact, the only thing I require is the email. You can leave all other fields blank and submit the form and you’re going to get an email from me.

Only after that initial easy engagement do I ask the harder questions around success metrics, budgets and value. At that point the user is engaged with me and much more likely to answer the questions I’ve asked.

Back when I first reworked my business site I tried putting my initial questions on the form. I never got a single submission from that form. After a few months and 50 submissions from the basic form, I decided to totally drop the long version that included all my questions.

Testing

While I encourage you to build out some standard initial questions I don’t recommend that you put them on your contact form. If you do, at least test the submissions (I love Optimizely for testing) and see which form converts more.

Now you know why I don’t include my initial questions on my contact form. Any other good questions?

photo credit: brianneudorff cc

Published by Curtis McHale

I help people run a great business so they don't have to work all the time.

2 Comments

  1. Great post! Just to clarify, do you have a talk with the lead after the first step and then send over the longer form as step two, or is it an automated process, ie then send you their email/short message and they get the long form as a reply?
    Thanks for such great content!

    • No it’s not totally automatic, I do have to send it. Now I have a TextExpander snippet that does 99% of the work. I just customize a few of the questions.

      You can actually see the exact email I use here

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: