Carl’s Capsules: Have you filled out your own contact/subscribe form lately?

If you want a good laugh, try checking out many online contact forms. I’m talking about the forms we have our readers fill out to receive an e-newsletter or even just to ask a simple question. When readers find themselves clicking the dreaded “Contact” link on most companies’ websites, they’re holding their breath and praying they’re not sent to a page-long questionnaire.

As you know, many companies ask people to fill out 6 or 8 fields before they even get to subscribe or send their own e-mail message or question. In most cases the people trying to contact your company are potential customers—why in the world would you make it so difficult? You’re not a bank needing their mom’s maiden name. We might as well be asking for our customers’ blood types while we’re at it before we can let them have the privilege of contacting us.

On the flip side, you do want to ask some questions. When it comes to these online forms, most companies actually don’t ask for enough of the right info. (Sorry, I guess I’m hard to please, but you’ve got to play Goldilocks when it comes to your online forms and get them “just right”—not too long or too short.)

Many companies simply ask for an email address. I think this is a mistake. By gathering only an email address your organization is missing a huge opportunity to gather subscriber data for marketing efforts. We ask for only four things: full name, job title, company name, and email address. Most B2B contacts don’t have a problem providing this info. Obviously, this helps a great deal with personalization and segmentation of your audience.

Okay, forms may not be a hilarious topic, but they are incredibly important to any successful online marketer.

Carl Landau
Grand Poobah

This post is part of our monthly Vitamin E(newsletter) – a newsletter all about e-newsletters. To read more from this month’s e-newsletter:

eDistribution: Email Deliverability Tips & Myths (Part 2)

AntioxiDesign: What Pintarest Can Teach Us About e-Newsletter Design

eContent: 10 Fresh Content Ideas to Perk Up Your e-Newsletter (Part 2)

Carl’s Capsules: Have You Filled Out Your Own Contact/Subscribe Form Lately?

e-News of the Month: Pregnancy Weekly

(r)e-Run of the Month: e-Newsletter Revenue Generation

eToon: Free Doughnuts

eTube: Use Your e-Newsletter to Boost SEO!

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