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So we all know how much users dislike completing forms... even when it's to get to something they see value in. We're told that, in a general sense, the shorter the form, the better the chance of getting submissions. Name, email/phone and message seems to be a common go-to for forms where all you want to do is get some contact info so your sales guy can call and work his magic from there.

I'm building a landing page for a catering company. It will be used for a holiday party focused PPC ad campaign. Their objective is pretty much what I described above... they're looking for any and all leads for people looking to have a party catered to let their sales team loose on.

Even though just collecting a name and phone number will meet this objective, I feel that it seems a little bland and doesn't communicate any sense of competency on the part of the catering company. Or that if I fill out this form, I get no sense that the person who contacts me won't just treat me like one more face in the crowd. I feel like including some additional, optional questions to further qualify the potential lead gives the user a better sense that the person who contacts him or her knows something about them and their situation. These additional questions might include timeframe for party, number of guests, venue type. Despite being optional, including these definitely lengthens the form and becomes a barrier, but I submit that anyone throwing a party most likely knows the answers to those additional questions off the top of their head and would not be phased. I'm inclined to go so far as to say that "asking the right questions" creates a better perception of the catering company than the one using the more generic name/phone/email/message form and that this perception may be the factor that determines whether or not they fill out the form at all.

Does anyone agree with me or am I better off sticking to asking for the bare minimum if the core objective is sheer number of submissions?

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How short or long a form is can be a little bit subjective (from both a user's perspective or the company's point of view), but the 'minimum' amount of information required for the purpose of the use of that information is a bit more objective.

That is, if you are strictly only collecting information that is required for what it is going to be used for (and you make it clear to the users), then it can't be 'too long'. If you are not collecting all the information that you require (because you are going to do it later), then there is a risk that the form can be too short if the user is not willing to supply this information later down the track.

The general rule of thumb is that if you can demonstrate the need to collect the information (or for the user to provide it), and you can show that there is a benefit for them, then I think you will generally have the optimal amount of content on the form.

  • In this case, I think the benefit for the user is that they are instilled with a feeling that the company asking about their party is actually interested in getting some "real" info about it... rather than what could be perceived as being lazy and just asking for their name and phone number. The additional info will definitely be useful to the sales rep following up - they will use it to prioritize these incoming leads. However, every lead produced by this form will be pursued regardless, so the extra info is in no way required. I'm torn. – Daveh0 Oct 18 '18 at 11:58
  • currently A/B testing with and without additional fields... stay tuned for results – Daveh0 Oct 31 '18 at 20:41

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