Capturing your client’s information is important; you can refresh their personal details, gain an insight into their opinions and find out what topics they enjoy reading about. To do this you need an effective form that looks good and is simple to complete.

What is the purpose?

First of all you need to determine the form’s purpose; if it is unclear to the reader then you may end up with un-interpretable data. Make sure you plan in advance and ask yourself; what is the purpose of this form? Why are you creating it? What data do you hope to achieve and how will you use it?

Use this information to introduce your form to the audience.

Think about incentivising

If there is budget and it is appropriate, a good way to attract the attention of your audience is to offer an incentive. Let’s face it, we all love a freebie! Items such as vouchers, tablet devices, smart phones and sports gadgets are generally well-received. Avoid going over the top though, you may end up with dishonest results because contacts only wish to win the prize rather than offer their opinion.

Carefully consider your questions (and answers!)

Avoid using abbreviations or jargon that the reader may not understand, it is safer to assume that they do not know the terminology.

Use closed ended questions as much as possible. Gathering opinion is important but it may lead to data that is off topic and hard to analyse. Where possible provide multiple choice answers, rating scales or straight forward yes/no questions. A few open ended questions can be used to gain more depth to an answer, for example a post-event survey you could ask ‘What part of the event stood out for you?’

If using rating questions ensure they are consistent throughout, for example we suggest only using ‘from 1-5’ or ‘Strongly Agree / Agree etc.’ not both.

Once you have planned your questions you need to make sure they are in a logical order. We usually capture pre-populated personal details first and allow readers to update any incorrect information and hopefully fill in fields that are missing.

After this, ease the reader in with some broader questions and then narrow in on the topic. If you do use open ended questions, place these at the end; this way the reader will be thinking about their earlier answers and share opinions that they weren’t able to include previously.

Keep their attention

Remember to keep your form short – readers are put off when they see page after page to complete; some may even abandon the form half-way through which will influence your final results. Ensure the topics don’t jump from one to another, keep the order logical to retain the reader’s attention.

Make it responsive

With more users opting for mobile and tablet devices to check their emails it is sensible to make all digital media responsive, including your forms. Short questions shouldn’t be hard to display; but what do you do about the larger questions like the one shown below?

Rating question non responsive

Here the information is already close together and on a mobile device it might wrap tightly and become unreadable. The reader may also be forced to scroll left or right to view the question. One way to produce device friendly rating questions is to create them as individual statements, as seen below. This may make the form longer but it will format better on mobiles and tablets.

Rating question responsive

Test, test and test!

Test your form thoroughly to make sure all fields and submissions work and that the audience get the same experience across all browsers and devices. It’s also a good idea to pilot your form on a small section of your audience; if a question isn’t receiving the results you had expected then perhaps try altering the wording or the question type (for example from multiple choice to ratings).

Ready to send?

All contacts are different and trends will show when emailing the same audience regularly. Before sending your form it is worth evaluating any past campaign data you may have; this will help you determine what day and time your audience open their emails and how they open them, for example through mobile or via Outlook. If past data isn’t available then even the more reason to test your form thoroughly by split testing your email.

Depending on your audience gentle reminder emails can help increase form submissions.

The StoneShot way

Here at StoneShot we have a section in our app that allows users to create their own forms. Some people use them to create surveys but the majority are registration forms for events.

When using our forms alongside a campaign they can appear pre-populated making the user experience a more personal one. The app also allows contacts to amend their details and feeds this data back to the database. In addition to this, the campaign and forms can also be linked to events set up in the app.

A simple form can be built within the app but if you require something a little more special our knowledgeable team are keen to assist.

For more information on how StoneShot can help you create the perfect form please get in touch at engage@stoneshot.com