Seth Godin uses only one field.
GetResponse and Aweber use two.
Try to get a free ebook from Hubspot and you’ll see more than ten fields.
Huge difference between one or two fields and ten.
So what’s the magic number of fields you should use? Any number? :)
The first impulse is to say, “That’s my blog. I can ask as many pieces of information as I want.”
The problem is that the more pieces of information you ask from prospects, the fewer will join your mailing list, and the worse your conversion rate.
Your opt-in form is not an appropriate place to play the game “I’m the master of my universe.” Leave it for your comment policy or other places. You don’t want to live alone in your tiny world. You want subscribers to your list. The more subscribers, the better.
Therefore the key point in deciding the number of fields for your opt-in forms is finding a balance between your needs and what your prospects want.
Now please note the wording “your needs.” Not Seth Godin’s needs, GetResponse’s needs, or your mentor’s needs. Your needs.
Now let’s practice…
Do You Really Need the Field “Phone Number”?
Ask me for my phone number and I’ll run away.
Or maybe I’ll give you a number that isn’t mine. What will you get? The chance to call someone else who will send you to hell right after you start your jibber-jabber.
Why do I refuse to provide my phone number? So many reasons! Here’s just one of them…
I don’t want to be bothered at 4 in the morning by people who don’t have any idea about the time gap between us, but have an urgent need to share with me their latest money making suggestions ;)
On the other hand, ask any network marketer the question from this sub-headline and you’ll get a “Hell, yes, you have to ask for the phone number!”
How to find the balance? Let me help you…
Your goal isn’t a tiny list, is it? You want a larger one, who doesn’t want that, right?
Well, what if you succeed in getting several hundreds of subscribers? Far from a large list, but still a decent size, right? Now comes my next question, be prepared…
Do you really need hundreds (then thousands) of phone numbers?
Come on, be serious! You’d need to hire someone with a full time job to contact all of them. And in the end you may find out that some phone numbers don’t belong to your subscribers, others aren’t even real, or they belong to people not wanting your calls, etc. Wasted time and money.
Do You Really Need the Field “Country”?
If you ask Robert Kiyosaki or whoever runs his site “Rich Dad,” it seems that the field Country is something important that should be known.
If you ask me, that’s hilarious!
Many decent email marketing services provide the following pieces of information about your subscribers: IP, or country, or both. Without bothering the prospects.
Such pieces of information are accurate except for the subscribers who use proxies. But if they want privacy and hide under a proxy, then they won’t tell you the actual country anyway.
Do You Really Need the Field “First Name”?
I dislike the business email messages that are addressed only to me but don’t mention my first name in any way (or “Mr. Jock,” as appropriate).
But when it comes to newsletters or any other mass mailing messages, I’m not naive, I know that nothing is personal there, even if my first name is used. Some spammers call me by my first name too. So, no, using my first name in your mass mailings doesn’t help you in any way.
The personalization in email marketing means way much more. Not saying that using the first name is irrelevant, but in many cases it’s far from being crucial.
On the other hand, the decision whether to use or not this field should be based on the type of audience you have, on the niche, and on the type of your mailings. I won’t get into more details, but I’ll give you an example …
If your mailings are targeted at newbies, they may be thrilled to see their first name there, and may find it very personal. In such a case, the use of the first names is almost a must.
Do You Really Need the Field “Name” (Full Name)?
Every time someone calls me by my full name, I can’t stop asking myself, “Are you a dumb robot, or what?”
Some people use this field. Don’t ever consider it! If you’re looking for a basic customization, then ask for the first name. And use it.
If your plan is to use the first part of the full name as the first name, that’s a plan that sometimes may get you in trouble. Not everyone’s first part of the full name is the first name. For example, the Japanese write their names the other way around. The first part of their full name is the last name :)
Other Fields. Conclusion
Some marketers, especially content marketing companies, use tons of various other fields.
When you land on their squeeze page you ask yourself whether you landed on the right page or not. The feeling is that it’s an application for a new bank account, not an opt-in form. You’re supposed to tell them almost everything about you.
Don’t follow this pattern. It cannot be right for list building. For other reasons/goals, it may be appropriate. But not for list building.
The final conclusion is already obvious…
Update – April 7, 2018. While answering to Lisa’s comment, suddenly I remembered that almost any rule has exceptions :) In some cases (for example the case of certain professional – related to a profession – newsletters), the use of Mr. Jock would be more appropriate than simply calling me Adrian.
Short Q&A session…
Q: But I ask for more than the email address and the first name, and people subscribe to my mailing list without complaining. Eh?
A: I’m sure, but the point of this article is this: if you stop asking for pieces of information you don’t really need (or information that you can get later), you’ll increase your conversion rate. In plain English, you’ll get more subscribers. Without losing anything.
To Your List Building Success!
P.S. How many fields do your opt-in forms have? What’s the reason behind you choosing that number of fields and not another one?