Every web form really exists for only a few reasons, and by getting clear about this we can increase profits.

Those web forms are, generally:

  1. Capture / Squeeze Page List-Building forms. The #1 job of this type of form is to grow your list, grow your audience. You’ll want as few fields as possible for this to maximize your capture ratio and cast the widest net. We don’t all buy immediately, and this is why landing pages and squeeze pages and initial free offers are so important.
  2. Qualification Forms. The #1 job of this form is segment out a small portion of your audience, and usually this sent via autoresponder or mass email to someone already on your list. At this point you’ve already captured them, and your goal is reduce your list to just people who meet certain criteria.
  3. Full Application forms. The #1 job of this form is to save you time and gather information for a full detailed transaction – for example, a mortgage application with a lot of fields. Nobody is likely to apply online until they feel warm and fuzzy and they trust you. That said, there’s no sense taking applications over the phone for something like this – it saves you time, and makes it easier for them in many cases as well, because they may need to dig out bank statements, credit card bills, etc. in order to proceed.

Now obviously there are a few other types, but they’re not too common and still technically fall into these types, generally. An appointment scheduler is either a capture form of sorts for a free initial consultation, or a qualification form to see if the client is serious enough to talk in person, or if it’s a paid appointment that’s techically a sale an open transaction.

Tell a friend scripts fall outside these above, but generally those are for raving fans who are really in your tribe and a believer in what you do.

Naturally, the types of capture forms can be all over the map – slide-up scroll-aware boxes used on blogs, timed popovers used on blogs and landingpages, sidebar offers, and pre-footer offers are all powerful ways to build your list – just see the forms on this site as an example.