Do You Ask for Too Much Sign-up Data? by Mick Griffin @mickgriffin

Email Marketing : Do you ask for too much sign up data?

Do You Ask for Too Much Sign-up Data?

Here at GetResponse, we recently launched our segmentation feature, and we already have the use of personalization and dynamic content.

So we encourage you to gather as much data as you can on your clients, so you can have the ability to ‘Market to One’.

But is there such a thing as too much data?

Today I am going to talk briefly about some key points to remember when creating your web forms and the data you need to know.

Tools of the trade

First, lets talk what you need. This is of course specific to your industry, but email address and name are a given for any serious marketer. What next?

Fields that relate to location, age, or gender are normally acceptable, however the subscriber is going to be thinking, “Why do you want that data, and how are you going to use it?”

Don’t ask for gender, and then blast your entire list with offers for women’s clothing when there are men on your list. They trusted you with vital info, and you must repay that trust by making your newsletter relevant.

Plan ahead with your newsletters and autoresponders, and think where you want to make it specific. Once you have done this, you can then think about what information you will ask for.

Too many questions can result in subscribers bailing on you!

Here is a stat to show you what asking too much information can result in:

For every additional field of data you ask for, you lose 6% of sign ups. (courtesy of presentation at DMA2010)

Test your web form

That doesn’t mean testing the technology, like if your sign up form is working. It means you need to test the ease of your webform, and the commitment it takes for a subscriber to sign up.

Do you make this easy, with only a few fields, or are you driving your customer away by asking for too much data?

How best to test your web forms

I recommend asking a 3rd party to go over the form with you, and to ask them to answer honestly, giving you a real representative of how easy your form is to use.

Forms that take more than 45 seconds to fill out have a 48% fall out!


So with this in mind, if you’re close to 45 seconds after a completed form, look to make it easier somewhere. Maybe not losing a field, but change a text box for a drop down, or a tick box.

Data collection can be ongoing

My last point within this post is that you do not have to stop collecting data at the sign up form.

Once a person has committed to your campaign, you have the ability to gather more information as time goes by. Include a small survey in a newsletter, or even a questionnaire.

The key is to continue to engage your subscribers and ensure you communicate with them the information that they want.

Do you agree with this? Have you had success by removing a field from your forms like the Name field or drop-down menus and check boxes? Drop me a comment!

Until Next Time


Takeaway: Don’t ask for more information than you can use or which makes the sign up process too long.

Meet the author:

Mick Griffin

Mick Griffin

Mick is the Key Account Manager for GetResponse Email Marketing. With over 7 years of Sales and Marketing experience Mick quickly adapted to Email when joining GetResponse in 2008. Now in charge of Business Development, Mick is the primary point of contact for new and existing customers with GetResponse. He spends the majority of his time interacting with them, understanding their needs and working to see those are met. Mick is experienced in social media and still continues to be involved in that aspect of GetResponse’s business. You’ll find him posting on the GetResponse Blog. You are also likely to run into him at any number of Email marketing conferences throughout the year.

Connect with: Mick Griffin

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  • captaininbox
    November 25, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    A great idea for the “Drip Profiling” is micro surveys.

    Ask one question each week / month / quarter. Either one per regular email or less but keep it regular.
    also in order for people to be inclined to offer this extra information, make it relevant. Asking for it just so you know is not really a motivator. They signed up to your emails because you showed them relevance and they wanted it – do the same thing for collecting more info.

    I won’t recommend going so far as to offer prize draws incentives because the information you get back would not be reliable.

    If you can show that having that information from them will improve something for instance, knowing their gender could allow you to make the content or just the colour scheme better.

    Or you could have some sort of achievement as the incentive: A great example of this kind of interaction alone is Which Test Won. It’s fun and you have a little competition with yourself.

    So maybe a relevant trivia question or stat?

    • Jim Ducharme
      November 25, 2010 at 1:01 pm

      I guess the analogy might be that when you first meet someone you don’t ask them to answer ten thousand questions. Doing so is just going to alienate them. You’ve gotta get to know each other over time and try to keep it casual and not intrusive.


    • Mick Griffin
      November 25, 2010 at 1:47 pm


      I like the idea of Micro Surveys, and the key is like with sign up forms. If your running a survey, explain to the subscriber why you are running the survey, and just how much their information will impact your product or service.

      If they feel their opinion is valued, the results will be more accurate.


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