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Forms, forms go away!
Over a year ago, you might recall that we ran a little survey asking for feedback regarding information request forms. We published the results of that survey in the September 21, 2005 issue of this e-newsletter. To summarize, a large percentage of respondents (46%) said they had no problem submitting information request forms (to get more info on a product or service). But, those who didn't want to submit the forms believed they wouldn't receive the information in a timely manner and they were afraid of being pestered by over-active sales people. Now, what about all those people who didn't respond to the survey? My guess is they don't fill out forms...period.
Today, I'm confirming that people don't want to fill out forms. How do I know? Because we have made it very easy to submit forms on our site. We even auto-fill the form if you've submitted one in the past (provided you allow your computer to remember). The reality is that most people don't submit forms anymore. This may not be a surprise to any of you, but let me tell you, this is not what publishers and advertisers want to hear. Some advertisers (and publishers) just can't seem to get past the days of bingo cards in magazines. Some of you may not even know what a bingo card is. For those who don't know, it's a little post card that readers filled out when they wanted to receive more information on an advertisement or product. Can you believe that readers actually used to fill them out? Those days are long gone! The days of people filling out online forms are all but gone also.
A few years ago when we first implemented information request forms, we could easily get hundreds of submissions in a matter of a few days. Today, we don't even come close to 10% of that. Since our site has become the most frequented industrial automation web site on the web, I doubt it's because we don't have enough visitors. I've banged my head against the wall trying to figure out how to get people to submit forms for more information. I've come to the conclusion that few will, but most will not.
So much has changed in just a matter of 2-3 years. Now, spam is a major concern for everyone. Some sites have abused the system by tracking you through their site and reporting your contact information to advertisers whose information you might have only glanced at. The result is you get bombarded with calls from suppliers you probably don't even know. Beware of sites that force you to register before you can view anything. We've never forced registration or tracked your browsing. We offer a "safe surfing" environment.
Now, we are all adults here, right? I trust that you know how to contact the suppliers if and when you need more information or if and when you are ready to buy. As a result, we will be making a change to our site to better serve you, our readers.
As you know, we publish a ton of product information on our site. Each product page on the site will soon have a single link that you can click for more information. This link will take you to a deeper page that will give you access to the following without submitting any information:
- Product data sheet (if available in PDF)
- Deep link to Supplier's site with more information (if available)
- Information request form (if you choose to use it)
- Complete company contact information
- Link to company profile
- Additional photos and/or product information
- Links to other products offered by this company
Our ultimate goal is to make your job easier without the fear of being followed. More to come!
Oh, and just for fun, don't forget to check out the Top 10 reasons that you know you’re an engineer put together by Bosch Rexroth.
Enjoy the rest of this eNews!
Vice President, Editor-in-Chief