How much client data do you really want? - Showtime Digital

How much client data do you really want?

08 April 2016 Read 1233 times

If we placed 20 people in a line-up and asked you to choose the person who’ll be your next client you’d have a tough time picking them out, simply because people are not what they appear to be.

There are two levels of client information which are fundamentally important to us, their psychological motivations and their contact details.

While both are interconnected we’re going to focus on the easier part of this equation, their contact details.

We’re going to analyse how you can best elicit the information needed to start the relationship without too much effort. We’re going to look at the good, the bad and the downright rude.

 The best way to look at this is exactly the same way you would when you approach people in the street and ask for their contact details. Like any conversation, through some exchange you need to create a connection first. In principal the more value you offer the greater the chance of you achieving your goal.

Reciprocity is a staple ingredient in online conversions

If you’ve read Robert Cialdini’s book - influence: the psychology of persuasion there’s some great examples of reciprocity and how to offer value. Here’s a YouTube video about the subject matter in the book.

An example of reciprocity is when you’ve passed people in the street during your lunch hour, they’re wearing a polo top with a message on it (their uniform) stating they’re going to save the world in some way. How do they approach you? With a smile and a handshake. They offer something to you first. It’s no different when you’re meeting a potential client; you extend your hand first. This isn’t rocket science; humans have been doing this for centuries. So why, when we go online, do we get it so wrong?

Here’s an example of what not to do.


What NOT to do


The above page is asking for a commitment without any value exchange. At best you could argue someone has typed in a keyword to be served this page. At worst you could say it’s arrogant to assume just because you’re there you deserve the business. You’ve got to ask where the motivation is for the consumer to give this company their business? If they do click the ‘Enrol Now’ button it goes to a second page with 20 fields to fill in. If you were the client at which question would you say this is all a little too hard? Question 5? Question 10? Would you even bother? Is this what happens when web developers try marketing?

Let’s look at more positive hunting grounds.

In general the finance sector fits into two major groups; consumer and commercial. Depending on your audience you’ll approach a contact form differently.


Consumer focused contact form


iSelect has an excellent example of how to create a consumer focused contact form. We’ve gone into considerable detail to show you how iSelect have optimised their landing pages over the last 24 months. With only one field to start their process the approach is to open the flood gates to as many people as possible. With so many people falling further down the sales funnel they can improve friction points on the fly.

They understand simplicity works best for the majority of the people most of the time. But as we see this simplicity doesn’t work for everyone, there’s a lot of brand awareness which informs iSelect’s online strategy. The value exchange with iSelect is consumers have previously identified with them so unlike the previous example they can get away with this approach.


Defence Housing Australia


This page is still a consumer based buyer but it’s a big dollar purchase. For this reason you’ll tend to see companies using around 4-5 fields in their contact forms. If DHA used 6-8 fields their conversions would be considerably less, simply because the value exchange isn’t equitable. If they had a huge limited time offer they could possibly stretch the relationship to accommodate the extra fields. But there’s enough information here to start the conversation and populate the CRM and that’s probably all that’s needed.

There’s a very good reason I’ve attached the full length of this page. DHA have included the main value propositions of their product ‘above the page fold’ and the contact form below the fold. The blue line indicates where the fold is. If the consumer likes what they read they reciprocate the gesture by scrolling down the page. This indicates a level of consumer congruency which DHA will use to inform future page variants.

The key point here is most contact forms sit above the page fold and there’s a danger in this because you’re asking for their information without first building value. We saw HBA Learning Centres fall into this trap. In the more technical categories of the finance sector you’re best to explain the offer and have your contact form underneath this. This should also be replicated in the Mobile design of the page.

The more value you offer consumers the greater the chance of you getting what you really want.

There are two ways to represent your contact form, with a simple Call To Action button (CTA) with ‘Start Here’ written on it or as DHA has represented it, with all the fields immediately visible. The latter means the fields are a known quantity with no surprises for the consumer. You should test both types of forms to find which works best for your industry.

When you use a CTA button, the challenge can now be the consumer has to click through to another page. This now becomes another door to pass through and another hurdle to overcome. Plus they don’t know what to expect. But as I said each website is different. It all comes down to the value you offer and the need of the consumer.




This page suffers from this very rule. It’s a ‘Limited Time Offer! And Ends 15 APRIL 2016! But what is this offer and what value does it give the consumer? It’s not like they’ve run out of page space to at least give us a hint. The CTA button says, ‘Apply now with special FREE offer’. This implies we will need to offer them our contact details. But when we get to the next page we feel a little cheated. They’re trying to sell us without first getting our permission! They certainly haven’t earnt the right to ask for our details. At best it’s cheeky; at worst it’s downright rude.

Does it look like a web developer trying do to marketing to you?




This is the page we see next and it’s totally different to what we expected. There’s no value, no promise and the only party who’s giving in this relationship is the consumer.

They would have been better to say on the first page, ‘Filling in this form will help you qualify for this very limited time offer’. They should have stated what the offer was. The CTA button could have said’ ‘Get Started’. The form page could even have a countdown timer on it saying, ‘this offer is valid for the next 15 minutes’.

Transparency, simplicity and scarcity...BOOYA!

A CTA button should do what it says on the tin.

Let’s be clear, if you offer value first and are transparent about your intentions you can pretty much get what you want from your consumer. But they need to feel they can trust you.

For example, in an insurance category we’ve used a simple CTA button which leads through to a 17 field form which only gives consumers the ability to receive a quote from call centre staff. Their conversion rate over the last 18 months has averaged 34% and in the highest months of buyer intent it shoots north of 50%. So it can be done. This eBook will show you how we did it.

Insurance Form
Client privacy doesn’t permit us to divulge their identity. If you were doing as well as this you wouldn’t want your competitors to know either.


Here’s the form and its fields. The CTA button on the previous page simply says ‘get a quote’ and we’ve added enough value on the landing page for consumers to click through.

You’ll note there are only four mandatory fields; this is because we believe reciprocity is not mandatory and consumers need flexibility. Finally the CTA button says ‘Get Quote’ not Submit as so many other forms do. The word ‘Submit’ in our industry is used way too frequently. Again, does that sound like a web developer trying marketing?

On our own contact form we have mandatory fields and we make it a little bit of fun if they’re not filled in. You might not be able to do this on your website but it gives you an understanding nothing is set in stone. There are things to avoid but you do have a degree of flexibility with contact forms.


Showtime Digital contact form


There are a couple of big challenges we’ve seen throughout this analysis. We’ve shown you some good pages in the finance space which are appropriate for their audience and they’re probably getting great results because these decisions are being made by marketing people.

On some pages we’ve noted a lot of friction points on the page and these decisions appear to be made by web developers. We love our web developers and they’ll be the first one to admit they don’t communicate well with others and they certainly don’t want to get into sales.

The key point here is to treat consumers as you would in a face to face exchange. Extend your hand to them first, show them respect, build value and ask for their details in accordance with your offer.

So remember to:

  • Offer value first
  • Be transparent about your intentions
  • Be equitable about what you ask for

Do this and you can get pretty much get what you want from your consumer.

Steve Palmer

Steve Palmer is the Joint Founder and CEO of Showtime Digital. Steve has been in B2B sales since 1997 but influencing people and behavioural science has been a long-term passion.

The magic he brings to his clients is in knowing how to engage their audience. His goal is to help businesses understand the deeper reasons of why consumers convert online with them.