Inbound Marketing: When to Use Short Form Vs. Long Form


The forms are a very important ingredient in the strategies of inbound marketing. One of the most used resources to incorporate users to our database and to be able to implement lead nurturing strategies is to offer visitors something valuable, such as a downloadable or a free trial, in exchange for filling out a form with their data.

The design of this form, therefore, is decisive for us to get the lead. One of the first questions we have to solve is how many fields we want to include, that is, if we are going to choose a long or short form. Both options have advantages and disadvantages, but we also now have a new tool that allows us to reach the next level: progressive forms.


The traditional choice: short form versus long form

Short form

In the short forms, we keep the user’s email, the essential data to be able to identify him and a few more questions that can help us qualify or discard him as a lead.

Its greatest advantage is its speed: if the user knows that it will take little time, it is more likely that they will be encouraged to fill out the form, which ends up resulting in an increase in conversions.

In addition, by containing few fields, it is less likely that errors will appear when trying to submit the form and therefore we reduce the risk of abandonment in the middle of the process.

In return, its great drawback is that we are collecting very little information about our new contact. We have to consider the form as an initial step and enrich the database with information obtained later or video animation agency, for example, from the user’s interactions with the emails we send them.

All this makes the short form suitable for situations in which a user comes into contact with us for the first time and we have not yet earned their trust.

Long form

In long forms we ask more in-depth questions, which allows us to gather much more information about the lead. This information allows us to apply lead scoring algorithms and personalize future interactions.

Another great advantage of long forms is that they guarantee the quality of the leads obtained: if they have taken the time to answer multiple questions, it is because they are really interested in what we can offer them.

In return, the downside is that long forms can put off potential leads and lead to a lower conversion rate.

Long forms are especially suitable in two situations:

  • To remarketing with users who are already in your database and collect more information about them. In this case, you have already earned their trust, so there will be fewer barriers when it comes to leaving the data with you.
  • When you offer top or premium content, for example, a registration for a free course or event. The perceived value will help motivate the user to answer all the questions.


How do progressive forms work?

The progressive or intelligent forms use cookies to detect if the user has visited the site at some time and know what forms previously filled in. This information is used to show you forms with new fields and skip the ones you have previously answered.

For example, the first time the user visits the web, we can ask:

  • Name
  • Surnames
  • E-mail
  • Company

The second time we will ask for name, surname and email again to identify you, and we will add these fields:

  • Position in the company
  • Size of the company
  • Market sector of the company

And the third time, we can add these:

  • Investment in digital marketing
  • Interest in hiring a digital marketing company

Thus, we will progressively qualify the lead by collecting the same amount of information as with a long form, but without giving up the advantages of a short form.

Advantages of progressive forms

  • Increase in conversion ratios. Using a long form can put off potential leads, who don’t want to spend as much time filling it out. With progressive forms, we can go through a series of short forms that are more likely to convert.
  • We avoid repetitions. Typically, visitors to a website are a mix of new and repeat users. Using progressive forms avoids asking the same questions to the same user over and over again, making better use of their time and yours.
  • Lead scoring improvement. If you manage to create an incentive for users to continue downloading content from your website, you will have more and more information about them and you will be able to make a   much more precise lead scoring.
  • Time saving. If you configure your progressive forms to present a series of questions in order and following an internal logic, you will save yourself having to create individualized forms for each landing page.
  • Better campaigns. By having more information about your leads, you can personalize the content much better and improve the results of your marketing actions.

How to use progressive forms in HubSpot

HubSpot offers a very comprehensive tool for creating progressive forms based on your marketing goals. Let’s see how to use it:

  • Log into your HubSpot account, go to the Marketing tab, and go to the forms section.
  • Choose the form in which you want to add progressive fields or create a new one.
  • Go to the progressive fields section and drag the field you want to show to replace the ones the user has previously filled in.
  • When you’re done updating the fields, click Save at the top right of the page.
  • To edit a field, select it and click the pencil icon. Here you can modify the logical rules that make a field display or not. Use them to adapt your progressive form to different situations.
  • Ready! Remember to use the preview option to test how your progressive form looks before publishing it.

About the author


Ashna John

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