Almost every freelance designer, freelance web developer and creative agency have the same project inquiry form — a single form prospects can fill out to provide some information about a new project. While some are short and sweet, and some are long and require some work to complete, most are fairly generic and only go as far as gathering the most basic information.
While a basic new project inquiry form that facilitates the collection of data from prospects about their projects is a valuable tool for any professional service provider, an inquiry form that does only that is leaving money on the table in a big way, and provides less opportunity for effective lead segmentation.
A successful new project inquiry form needs to not only collect data, but segment leads for targeted messaging, specific value add opportunities, and customized follow up.
When your inquiry form can do all of these things, you’ll close more sales faster, which means more money in your pockets.
Let me explain …
When a prospect fills out a new project inquiry form, usually one of two things happen:
- They are shown a short generic message that says something like, “Thank you for reaching out about your project. We’ll be in touch soon.”
- Or they are redirected to a thank you page with a similar message and maybe a secondary call-to-action to connect via social media or check out the company’s blog.
A generic thank you page is a decent approach, and it does work, but what if you wanted to step it up and take it to the next level? What if you wanted to provide a better, more personal experience that positioned you or your agency above every other provider the prospect was speaking with?
In this case, you need to do more with your inquiry form.
Imagine this …
A prospect comes to your website, loves what they see, and fills out your project inquiry form. They answer a few questions about their project, budget and timeline, and based on their answers they receive targeted messaging, helpful resources that are specific to their project, and a customized follow up campaign. They are so impressed with the attention to detail and care put into the experience that hiring you becomes a no brainer and when you communicate your project fee, they happily say yes without hesitation.
With this approach, the lead inquiry form is working for you to actively segment leads into specific groups or profiles instead of treating every inquiry exactly the same.
Why segmenting leads is important
Every lead is not equal because every lead doesn’t hold the same value.
There are five types of new project inquiries every service provider receives, whether you’re a freelance designer, web developer or agency:
- Tire-kickers — Prospects who aren’t serious, are spamming contact forms with generic messages, or just want to know how much a website costs without providing any information.
- Not a good fit — Prospects who aren’t a good fit for you but can be referred elsewhere.
- Might be a good fit — Prospects who have an interesting project and might be a good fit, but you don’t yet have enough information to be sure.
- Definitely a good fit — Prospects who have an interesting project and budget, and their timeline works for you.
- Direct referral — Prospects who were referred to you by someone they trust.
A generic lead collection form treats all of these inquiries the same, but an inquiry form that segments the submissions based on specific information provided will allow you to:
- Automatically provide tire-kickers a pre-written “no thanks” response and refer those who aren’t a good fit elsewhere.
- Ask for more information from those who might be a good fit.
- Provide those who are definitely a good fit and direct referrals an immediate link to schedule an appointment.
This approach better serves those contacting you about their project, by quickly providing the next best step. For example, those who aren’t a good fit get referrals to tools, resources or other providers who would be a better fit, and those who are a great fit get fast-tracked and invited to book a consult immediately.
This approach also saves a lot of time by managing leads for you. A form like this means no more time wasted on leads that never amount to new business and money in your pocket.
How lead segmentation creates more sales
Every service provider, whether you’re a web designer, web developer or agency needs clients. To get clients you need to make sales, and to make sales, you need make it a complete no-brainer for new leads to say yes.
It can also segment leads based on type of project or even budget, and when you segment leads based on project type, you can create and deliver targeted messaging, specific value add opportunities, and customized follow up.
For example, if you offer WordPress website services, you might offer packages for:
With something called conditional logic, you can change how a lead interacts with the form based on the information they provide. This means you can not only change the form fields entirely to gather information specific to the service they need, but send the lead to a different thank you page upon form completion.
This approach allows you to treat leads differently based on the service they need, which is incredibly powerful because the information you need from prospect looking for the design and development of a complex custom WordPress theme is very different than the information you need from a prospect who needs help making a few small changes on their existing website.
When your new project inquiry form segments leads based on project type, you can create a completely customized experience for your prospects that is unlike anything they experience on your competitors’ websites.
While they’re filling out generic forms and jumping through hoops on other sites, they’re moving through the process faster and easier on your site because you’re asking for only the information critical to their specific project request — which further demonstrates your professionalism, expertise and attention to detail.
How an inquiry form can make you the only choice
One of the most powerful things about conditional logic in web forms is the ability to combine different types of segmentation like:
- Segmenting leads by quality of fit and by type of project.
- Segmenting leads based on project type and budget range.
- Segmenting leads based on quality of fit, project type and timeline.
No matter how you choose to segment leads with a website inquiry form, one thing always remains constant: the ability to customize the user experience based on the information provided.
There are four primary ways to customize the experience a lead has when reaching out about their project using conditional logic:
- Custom blocks of questions: You can change the questions that appear in the project inquiry form based on the type of project or service the prospect is interested in.
- Targeted messaging: You can send prospects to different thank you pages based on the type of project or service they need, which means your thank you message can be customized to provide helpful and valuable information about next steps and your process.
- Specific value add opportunities: You can provide tips sheets, checklists, links to blog posts, eBooks and other tools and resources specific to their project and surprise and delight prospects. This can be done on the thank you page or through an email autoresponder.
- Customized follow-up: You can create custom email autoresponders based on the information the prospect provides, which will provide more information about you or your agency, what it’s like to work with you, what they should know, etc.
When you do the work up front to ensure every new prospect’s experience when contacting you is customized and tailored to their specific needs, it shows that you care, establishes your professionalism and expertise, validates that contacting you was a smart choice, and makes them wonder just what else you do better than every other provider they have talked to, which in turn, positions you as the only choice.
And, if you’re sold on incorporating this approach into your web design or web development business, check out Gravity Forms and Ninja Forms. Both WordPress plugins give you the ability to segment leads and deliver a customized experience.