What are Data Collection Forms and How can They Help You?
If you know how to manage data collection forms, information can become one of your most valuable resources.
Statisticians and IT specialists have developed an expansive array of analytics software to help analyze everything from sales figures to staff productivity.
But even the most sophisticated software needs accurate information to make real conclusions.
Data collection forms are the cornerstone of any data gathering.
There is a large scope of tools that falls under the category of data collection forms. In short, these forms are any ‘questionnaire’ in which you use specific questions to collect data.
Data collection forms categorized by different types - Ranging from lead capture to customer support forms
Lead capture forms: Attract leads to offers, so-called lead magnets, e.g. webinar sign-up, report download, email newsletter
Inquiry forms: Contact forms for websites to collect information on problems and needs as well as personal details
Request forms: Similar to inquiry forms, but with a broader scope, e.g donation forms
Application forms: Ask questions and gather information about the suitability of applicants for a program
Research forms: Forms for data collection for the purpose of research, e.g. feedback forms or surveys
Support forms: Contact point for existing customers or clients to leave a query.
We got a series of data collection form template and live forms featured in our showcase. Click on the buttons below to check them out.
Try it out by navigating through the form steps.
Any list of questions you ask your customers or employees to fill out is a data collection form.
This could be a digital or a physical form.
For today’s purpose, we are going to explore the online questionnaires or surveys that customers fill in when visiting a webpage.
You can use forms for data collection to track spending habits, capture customer contact details, or even do market research.
Some of the common types of online data gathering forms include:
Sign up forms are those data-gathering forms that ask visitors for their personal information in order to subscribe to a particular function.
Minimal material is collected here, but it is useful to gain an emailing list that you can then use for further advertising.
Polls are quick, mini forms in which you ask a customer to vote for their preferred option.
For example, if you were an online magazine, you could ask customers their opinion on an article, or whether they would prefer more stories on business, current affairs, or celebrity news.
Long-form questionnaires ask customers to fill in more than just their personal information. When all the questions appear on the screen at once, this is known as a vertical data gathering form.
Vertical single-step form to capture client landing page design requirements for a web agency (See live form)
Multi-step forms, on the other hand, are long-form questionnaires that present only a few questions on the screen at a time.
The same landing page briefing form looks very different in a multi-step format:
Multi-step form to capture client landing page design requirements for a web agency (See live form)
The key features of a well-designed data collection form are:
Your data collection forms design must be consistent. It is jarring for the user when a form suddenly changes format or when one page of a website is drastically different from the rest. Make all your branding continuous. Using a professional to help with your data collection forms design and online platforms as a whole helps with the issue of continuity. Design teams are typically experienced in building a brand or a web presence as a whole. If you need any help in data collection form template set-up or design, contact us here at LeadGen App.
If you design a form for data collection, you must be able to get usable results from it. In most cases, you want to capture personal details such as name and email or phone number. Your lead conversion rates show how successful you convert form views to form fills. With LeadGen App, you don't need to plug into any more software to be able to understand your lead analytics. We provide a series of features that marketers love: Lead dashboard to study form performance over time, A/B testing & partial lead completion analytics.
LeadGen App dashboard with two variations of a LeadGen inquiry form
It should be overtly obvious what you want your customers to do. There should be no shred of doubt in their mind while they are filling in the form. If they are confused, they are likely to bounce off of your page and not finish it. Keep your data gathering form as simple as possible. No distractions, use multi-step forms with one question at a time and only ask for relevant information.
This is connected to the previous point. The main focus here is the language of the question. Ensure that questions in your data gathering form are in simple language and direct, so that it is easy to understand. If you were an investment firm, and you were screened potential clients, asking: “ Are you looking to make a long term or short term investment?” would be easier for the user to answer, as opposed to “How does this investment fit into the timeline of your financial plan?”.
Little things often have a big effect. For example, the use of buttons is much better than dropdown in lead capture forms. Why? Because it's one-click less for the user. You can use auto-navigation, a feature that sends users to the next form steps automatically without having to press the next buttons
Check out this LeadGen form with auto-navigation
If your data collection format appears too long, cumbersome, or complex, users will not fill it out. The user should feel as if filling in the form is ‘no fuss at all’. Do not make questions that require paragraphs upon paragraphs to answer. Multiple choice and short answers are much more manageable for respondents. It can, however, be frustrating if the user is not given enough space to answer a question that requires more explanation. Use your best judgment here.
Here is an example of a lead gen form transformation. Taking a basic lead form and turning it into a user-friendly and convenient multi-step form:
Old form design: Too many questions, redundant questions, no custom branding, tiny checkboxes, small text, generic CTA button
New form design: The right amount of questions, use of brand colours and fonts, radio checkboxes, suitable CTA button texts
Every online form with database needs a singular key objective, such as lead generation, data gathering, feedback, donation, etc.
The purpose of data collection is to get accurate data to meet business objectives is. It is of the utmost importance to ensure that the goal you set is one that you can meet. A lofty goal, such as ‘finding out more about my clients’ is not helpful when setting out to collect information from your clients.
The key features of a well-designed data gathering form are:
The goal needs to be clear, precise, and detailed.
“I want to determine if my customers are enjoying my product”, is better as it gives you a starting point from which to create a questionnaire.
Why do you want to find out this information?
Let’s say you want to find out if your customer is enjoying your product so that you can make improvements.
Perhaps a better goal would be to find out: “What aspects of my product do my customers enjoy and what aspects do they not”.
Creating an online form with a database around this objective is likely to give you better and more precise data that you can use in decision making.
LeadGen form embedded in hero section of landing page
Users are directed to landing pages after following a link from an advert, email, or web search.
This is, generally, a standalone page with a self-contained message which calls the consumer to action - for example, buying a product or signing up for a newsletter.
When a customer performs the call to action (CTA), this is called is "conversion".
A landing page differs from a website in several important ways.
Firstly, a website has many internal and external links that the user can follow.
You want to allow them to explore your brand.
On the other hand, a landing page aims to convert the customer.
Distractions, such as external links and multiple pages, are excluded.
By using a self-contained landing page for your document collection form, you create a distraction-free space for the client.
The best way of ensuring a high return on investment is focusing on converting.
If you go through the time and expense to launch a data collection campaign, you need to ensure that you have an optimized ad campaign, landing page and LeadGen form.
As highlighted earlier, Multi-step forms are a good way to drive conversions.
By showing the user only a few questions at a time, they are not overwhelmed by too much data.
Traditional or ‘vertical’ forms may spook the user and cause them to bounce back, i.e. not convert.
Micro-commitments have become a popular and well-tested tool in driving conversion.
In committing to answering only a few questions at a time, clients are more likely to follow through.
Multi-step forms also assist with streamlining your data collection procedure.
Employing conditional logic allows you to screen out users that you aren’t interested in.
For example, if you are looking for customers that are business owners, you could screen out all the users that answer ‘no’ or all those with not enough budget,
Your data collection procedure can allow for more sophisticated uses of conditional logic.
You may be able to ask a particular subset of participants different questions depending on their earlier answers.
If we continue with our previous scenario of a business owner, the multi-step questionnaire could divide the business owners by type of business. This would ask them questions related to their field.
- “Data collection forms” is a catch-all term to describe any form, physical or digital, that you use to collect information.
Using online forms with a database to learn about your clients can be a helpful tool in making evidence-based decisions.
There are many types of online forms for data collection. The most common being: lead capture form, sign-up forms, polls, long-form questionnaires, and multi-step forms.
A good data collection form has several characteristics.
It must be continuous with your brand’s online presence. Try to give data that is ready to use, understandable in both layout and language, as well as easy and convenient.
Landing pages are standalone web pages that focus on conversion.
They can be a powerful tool in increasing the number of users that complete your data form.
You need to make sure enough people are filling in your forms.
Too little data can decrease the quality of the results of your campaign.
Multi-step forms have been shown to improve the conversion rate of online forms.
By presenting questions one at a time, the user is not intimidated by lots of questions, thus decreasing the bounce-back rate.
At LeadGen App, we focus on providing an online form builder with database that allows you to build conversion-driven & user-focused data collection forms and manage your leads.
Our forms are built for data collection and interpretation, making LeadGen App the ideal choice for your data collection needs. Start here with a free LeadGen App account and build your first data collection form.
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