Halting the Headaches: Why Online Forms Help Measure Your ROI


Investors can measure ROI in real time. They purchase a stock, and by looking at the stock’s price at any given moment, they can instantly know if the ROI rate is positive or negative.

If only it were that easy for marketers.

Measuring ROI is one of the most important jobs in marketing. In fact, it’s one of the more challenging tasks we face on a daily basis. With all of the data that pours in from multiple sources, it should be a straightforward process. After all, we’ve been told that we have more data than ever before and we’re using the best analytics tools. However, it doesn’t matter if you’re getting lots of data if it’s incomplete and inaccurate.

It doesn’t matter how great or powerful your analytical software may be, it’s only as good as the data it receives. It’s too easy to make incorrect decisions based on inaccurate data. Plus, it can be challenging to identify the specific triggers that drive a purchase. At times, accurately measuring consumer behavior can feel like trying to nail jello to a wall. So what can you do to make sure you’re receiving the right data?

Use Online Forms

Online forms are a powerful tool since they can be filled out anywhere, including via smartphones, tablets or computers. If your customers are increasingly doing work on the go, so should you. The high levels of customization and flexibility mean you can create forms that help deliver the results you need, such as lead generation, survey and feedback forms, and event registrations. If you only need a name and email address, you can create a simple contact form that does it. Likewise, if your needs are a bit more advanced, such as an employment application, you can do that, too.

JotForm is an easy-to-use form builder:

JotForm Form Builder

Beware of using the boilerplate forms that are included with your web or e-commerce services since these usually include superfluous data fields, which usually means you’re making compromises on the data you’re collecting. As the creator, you know the specific data that you need to make important decisions, which means having the option to customize a form to suit your criteria is mission critical.

Define Your Data

An online form gives you the right tools to collect your most important data, and to ask for it in a way that helps you. Some of the data you need is mandatory, so you need to designate particular fields as required before the form can be submitted. This prevents you from receiving partial information and having to engage in a back-and-forth email frenzy with the customer to get it, which generally leads to a lost sale. A good online form provider gives you this level of control.

JotForm Sample Survey Form

Additionally, you can ensure that data must be provided in the correct format, such as including the area code with phone numbers, or that an email address has the @ sign or includes the proper .com, .net or .org, etc, suffix. The reason you want to do this is to ensure the integrity of the data. If you allow users to haphazardly type in their data, your results can be wrong, and that defeats the purpose of using online forms.

Don’t Bury Customers with Useless Questions

One of the biggest mistakes people have with online forms is displaying every data field, which can make a form seem far too long and be unwieldy. This causes visitors to abandon your form before it’s started because it appears to take too much time to complete it.

JotForm Sample Contact Form

It’s far more effective to incorporate conditional logic. This means that if a customer provides a specific response, it opens a new set of data fields. For example, if the form includes a question, such as, Is this your first time purchasing our product?, it can be answered as “yes” or “no”. A yes response can open a new series of questions that ask how did the customer learn about your product, would they recommend it and how long did they research before purchasing.  If the response is no, it opens a different set of questions.

JotForm‘s conditional logic:

JotForm Conditional Logic

The use of conditional logic means that customers will only see and respond to questions that pertain to them, and not have to skip a series of irrelevant questions. This increases response rates and improves the accuracy of answers since customers don’t feel compelled to answer every question, whether it applies to them or not.

Faster Analysis

When an online form is completed, the data can be moved instantly to your analysis tool of choice, whether it be a spreadsheet or a sophisticated CRM software. Since the information is time and date stamped, you can analyze it in real time. Plus, since each data fields is captured individually, you can review the information from the smallest granular level to the highest macro level. This means you can analyze your marketing campaign as it’s happening, in relevant detail, and make adjustments as necessary.

JotForm’s Analytics:

JotForm Sample Analytics

Taking a Deep Dive

Since an online form can serve as a front-end data collector for customer interaction, including support questions and online orders, you can easily study the customer’s history with your company. You’ll know how often the customer orders your products, or how many times there’s been contact with support, as well as the type of questions asked. The benefit to capturing this level of data is you can review it by a variety of parameters, and look for patterns and solve small problems before they become big headaches. For example, you may find that with the release of a new product line, you’re getting many questions about international shipping, so you may want to update your shipping information and/or make it more prominent on your website.

You can also use the data to study buying patterns and understand which customers always buy your products on the first day of release. This may lead to the creation of a frequent buyers club and special sneak previews or early purchase windows for your most loyal customers. The ability to micro-market to your customers is endless, as long as you have accurate data to help develop the strategy.

Online forms provide tremendous amounts of power and flexibility. This means you can quickly create a form to collect the right data you need to make business decisions. Plus, you can build and deploy these forms in a just a few minutes, which means you can analyze your ROI faster.


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