We are all familiar with online forms. Often used for getting people to give up their email addresses, or asking questions about your products or services, the form has become as common an element of modern websites as blog posts and social media links.

But forms can be used for more than just gathering information. They can be used to provide it as well.

Modern websites can use algorithms, and even artificial intelligence, to create engaging discussions with potential customers, providing them with information, and even services, that they might have otherwise call or email to get.

Instead, you can begin the service-based interaction with your prospects, without having to use valuable staff hours, or your own.

A good example of this can be found at the Schneider Saddle online website, where they have created a horse blanket size finder that walks potential customers through the process of sizing a blanket. Apparently they get a lot of calls (or returns?) of product, so they decided to help the customers make better choices through algorithms.

They start simply with gathering the name and email address, which isn’t necessarily required for a form to function. But once that it doesn’t, it then takes a turn for the specific:

 

After that, it gives a really nice summary of the information the customer provided, to make sure they are on the right track:

The form continues through a few more screens, and ultimately delivers the ideal blanket recommendation for the size, breed and age of the horse, specifically for the geographic location where the horse is stabled. After all, the same blanket won’t be used in November if the horse is in Vermont instead of Florida.

We have built forms like this for our customers, and the usefulness in creating a strong prospect/business relationship cannot be overstated. The final page can display a product, a call to action button, or even a video that you want them to view that specifically addresses their situation.

Are you an air conditioning contractor who might want to help people with a few of the common questions they have about their air handlers? This could be a perfect way to direct them to the DIY help they are looking for, making you the first business they think of when they need a new compressor installed.

If you’re a doctor, this is a fantastic way to walk patients through some routine questions they may have, and a staff member, or yourself, record a video that gives them the answers they need about how your office operates.

Any way you look at it, the classic “online form” has come a long way, from being a passive information gathering tool to becoming a wage-free 24/7 sales associate, guiding prospective customers to the information they need. Being the source of this information can make you a trusted advisor on the subject, and their first choice when they decide it’s time to ultimately buy your product.

And isn’t that why you built your website anyway?