How to handle data overload with GetResponse web forms


Here at GetResponse, we recently launched our advanced segmentation feature, and we already have the use of personalization and dynamic content. So we encourage you to gather as much data as you can on your clients, so you can have the ability to ‘Market to One’. But is there such a thing as too much data?

Today I am going to talk briefly about some key points to remember when creating your web forms and the data you need to know.

Tools of the trade

First, let’s talk what you need. This is of course specific to your industry, but Email Address and Name are a given for any serious marketer. What next?

Fields that relate to location, age, or gender are normally acceptable, however the subscriber is going to be thinking, “Why do you want that data, and how are you going to use it?”

Don’t ask for gender, and then blast your entire list with offers for women’s clothing when there are men on your list. They trusted you with vital info, and you must repay that trust by making your newsletter relevant.

Plan ahead with your newsletters and autoresponders, and think where you want to make it specific. Once you have done this, you can then think about what information you will ask for.

Here is a stat to show you what asking too much information can result in:

For every additional field of data you ask for, you lose 6% of sign ups.

(courtesy of presentation at DMA2010)

The second part of this, is to test your web form. That doesn’t mean testing the technology, like if your sign up form is working. It means you need to test the ease of your webform, and the commitment it takes for a subscriber to sign up.

Do you make this easy, with only a few fields, or are you driving your customer away by asking for too much data?

The only way to do this is to test it. I recommend asking a third party to go over the form with you, and to ask them to answer honestly, giving you a real representative of how easy your form is to use.

Forms that take more than 45 seconds to fill out have a 48% fall out.

So with this in mind, if you’re close to 45 seconds after a completed form, look to make it easier somewhere. Maybe not losing a field, but change a text box for a drop down, or a tick box.

Don’t stop collecting

My last point within this post is that you do not have to stop collecting data at the sign up form. Once a person has committed to your campaign, you have the ability to gather more information as time goes by. Include a small survey in a newsletter, or even a questionnaire.

The key is to continue to engage your subscribers and ensure you communicate with them the information that they want.

Do you agree with this? Have you had success by removing a field from your forms like the Name field or drop-down menus and check boxes? Let us know in the comments. We read every one.

  • I really like the last point. That’s a great idea to send some sort of survey to gather more info. The better we know our customers, the better offerings we can provide.

  • I totally agree I have tested results myself over several years.
    The less people have to fill in the better.
    I tested FIRST_NAME + EMAIL
    against an additional SURNAME, the sign up rate fell.
    an additional COUNTRY, the sign up rate fell.
    Personally I stick to Name + Email.
    After establishing a relationship with my list I have no problem getting additional information.