List Building: When to Require Lots of Information

Copywriters on my list have been finger-wagging me
a lot lately.

And even some of my new coaching students are
challenging my instruction!

It all revolves around the proper use of Form
Fields. And believe me, those of you who are using
them wrong are losing business.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Last month I held a FREE webinar entitled, “How to
Land High Quality, High Value Clients: 3
Transformative Secrets of the World’s Most
Successful Service Providers”.

This is the information I asked of signups (those
with an asterisk were required):

First name *

Last name *

Email *

Company phone

Address 1 *

Address 2

City *

State *

Zip *

Country *

Your occupation *

How did you hear about us?

Right after a promo email in February, one
copywriter came to my Facebook page to politely
register a complaint about having to give up so
much information. He refused to come to my webinar
because of it.

But I didn’t want to spend time educating so I
ignored it.

Then another, and yet another, joined his
conversation. And then an email came directly into
my inbox.

She said, “You ask for too much information. An
email, maybe a name.”

I could see that it was growing and I had no
choice but to address the problem.


So I reluctantly stopped what I was doing and
spent time to respond to my Facebook and email
complaints. As briefly as possible, I explained
where they were going wrong.

And while my argument was accepted as one would
allow a friend to have their say, I didn’t feel
that I’d done a great job at convincing. I had
neither the time nor the space to do an effective
job of teaching.

So I vowed to write this letter… especially
since my own coaching students occasionally fight
me on this one.


Copywriters who want LEADS are erroneously
listening to the marketing teachings of Internet
entrepreneurs who want SALES.

Most of us who live in the online copywriters
world know of the “big boy Internet gurus” who
brag of having huge lists.

Many copywriters are, or want to be, Internet
marketers. And they’re listening to the teachings
of the big boys, and they’re getting it all mixed

Ok, so let’s get some learning: what is the #1
obstacle of getting an Internet business going?
Easy. It’s building a list.

So this is the major pain point of the Internet
entrepreneur who wants to build a very large list.

His intent is to make SALES, and the larger the
list, the more the sales. Therefore he wants a low
barrier to entry.

This is why he asks only for a name and an email.
His strategy is to capture the name now, and
analyze for demographics and psychographics later.

(As an aside, these very large lists are usually
mostly made up of freebie seekers; one of my
colleagues is an Internet entrepreneur with 80,000
names but only 7% are repeat buyers.)

Ok, now let’s look at the…


For the coaching side of my business, my goal in
collecting names is vastly different from the mass
market Internet marketer whose goal it is to make
direct sales.

I want leads. And NOT crap leads. Good, high
quality leads that will convert well. I don’t want
millions on my coaching list!

A service such as mine would not survive millions
of non-paying, low-quality tire kickers (people
who want your work and knowledge for free, and
have no intent to ever work with you).

Plus it would cost me a lot more to send emails to
a million low quality prospects than a few
thousand good ones.

So the lesson here is, if your goal for a
promotion is NOT to sell a product, but to sell
your services, you want a tight list of high
quality leads who are really interested in working
with you.

This is how you convert well. And this is how you
are profitable.

Unlike the Internet entrepreneur, my goal was to
sign up 12 new coaching students (which I did).

Not only must my prospects give me a lot of
personal information to gain access to my Webinar,
but they must also fill out a probing
questionnaire and supply a bio and writing sample
before we can go to the next step, which is a free
consult with me.

Those who don’t want to share their information in
exchange for access to a presentation that took me
40 hours to build, are not good leads.

Neither are those who don’t want to complete the
paperwork that gains them a free hour of time with

Therefore my conversion rate is extremely high,
and I rarely waste time on a bad lead.

Furthermore, by capturing physical address
information I can do direct mailings, which are
also very profitable for me.

One final point here: If I don’t know who signed
up for my Webinar, how will I make changes to fit
the audience?

I have lots of copywriters on my list but I also
have many other types of service providers. And in
fact, the title of my presentation uses the words
“service provider,” not “copywriter.”

In order to give my best presentation, I need to
know who my audience is.


Copywriters, like coaches, perform a service. So
they should ask for a lot of information. Certain
information is crucial.

When you gain a lead from your website, you surely
want to know the prospect’s name, title, company
name and website.

This allows you to go to their website and learn
more about their company so you can respond to
their inquiry appropriately.

How you respond has a lot to do with starting a
conversation that turns into a successful close.

Here’s the Form Field my coaching students use:

First name *

Last name *


Company *

Website *

Address 1

Address 2




Zip/Postal Code



* = required

Now here’s something that will surprise a lot of
copywriters who read this: you can tell the
quality of the lead by how much information they
give you.

Low quality leads give you only what they must.
But high quality leads will give you all their
information, even that which is not required.

Use this format and over time you will find this
to be absolutely true, almost like clockwork.

And here’s the advantage. For a low quality lead
you now know not to put a lot of effort into a
response. But for the high quality lead, you will
study their site and carefully craft your

Perhaps you live in the same city. Or you did work
for a similar product. Or you use their software.
Or you have a Case Study that would interest them.

These days many copywriters understand they will
do best with an offer to their target market…
something like a White Paper that shows how the
copywriter can raise ROI or solve a marketing

I hope you have an offer, and that it drives your
prospect to a Contact Page that has the proper
Form Fields!


Even as I explain to my students the right way to
set up your Form Fields, they cite studies that
“prove” that the less information you ask for, the

In closing, I would like to point you to a
MarketingSherpa study that proves this to be true.

But they also explain, as I have, that it all
depends on your objective. Do you want high
quality leads? Or a mass of names?

To see a cool competition between Long Form Fields
and Short Form Fields, and MarketingSherpa’s take
on the results, visit this link for WhichTestWon:

And of course, to find out more about my coaching,

Master Copywriter and Marketing Coach Chris Marlow has helped thousands of copywriters and service professionals land the high value, high quality clients. To learn more about how Chris can help you, visit