9 hacks to collect free entries for your form

Do you love ‘free’? I do! Especially, when free refers to a no-cost solution to a tough problem.

Let’s say you have a great online form, ready to collect amazing amounts of data thanks to a thoughtful design, a carefully-selected theme, and the enhanced mobile experience that Wufoo provides. You’ve published it and now you’re just itching to open Report Builder and start analyzing the data you collect!

Cue chirping from one sad, lonely cricket.

The entries are trickling in slowly, if at all, and you need that data for yesterday. What to do?

Well, dear Wufriend, as usual we’ve got your back. Here are the greatest 9 hacks for collecting more form entries without spending a dime, using social networks and other distribution channels.

Keep in mind that not every channel will work for every type of form, so use this list as a cheat sheet to refer to when you need to grow your form completion rate.

1) Emails, especially personalized ones

When we all thought email was dying as a distribution mechanism, email messages and newsletters have a made a great comeback in the last few years. But here you need to apply your own user experience to your strategy: You know all those emails you never open and delete straight from the inbox? Well, you want to make sure you don’t fall in that group.

Write a personalized message to the people you’ll ask to share your form and explain how valuable that will be for you and for them. Ask them to share with like-minded persons and groups and emphasize the value everyone will find in filling your form.

2) Facebook groups and business pages

Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently announced changes to the social network’s news feed algorithm which are meant to prioritize content that sparks a “meaningful interaction” with users. So, if you share a link to your form on Facebook you need to be careful to write an engaging introduction which lets people know what the form is for and makes them interested in filling it. Facebook Groups are a great interest-based channel, so find the ones where your form may be relevant and ask members you may know to share your form. Your own company page is, of course, very valuable—so it’s important to ABA, always be asking, your audience to “like” you on Facebook. This way, you will be able to broadcast your forms to a big audience whenever you need to by linking to them from your page.

3) Twitter

Twitter is a great venue for sharing links quickly and widely, if you get users and communities interested in your content. Check what hashtags are trending to see if any would be relevant to your form’s goals, and use them in your tweets. Also, send personalized tweets to key users who are influential in your community and ask them to retweet them. You can also repeat your message a few times a day, since different users log on at different times.

4) Instagram photos

Usage of this Facebook-owned app has increased steadily over the last few years, to the point that it’s now bigger than Twitter and Snapchat. In this case, you have to be mindful that Instagram is mostly a platform where people go to see beautiful or compelling images, so you should ensure to have a great photo or graphic to share before you try to call their attention to your form.

Pro tip: Instagram doesn’t allow clickable links in the photo caption (unless you pay for an ad), so you have to either post the url and ask people to copy and paste it in a browser or include the link to your form on your profile bio and call people’s attention to the link from the caption.

5) Messaging apps like WhatsApp or Messenger

You know very well that a recommendation is way more powerful when it comes from a friend, relative, or acquaintance. This is what WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, and other messaging apps are great for. Create a nice, brief message about your form and test it to make sure that it looks good when someone shares it forward. Then, ask your connections on messaging apps to share it with their relevant groups and contacts.

6) LinkedIn feed or groups

Hundreds of millions of professionals spend time on this career-oriented social network, so depending on what your target market is this could be an awesome channel for lead generation campaigns, promoting conferences and events, and other projects. Since this audience is more likely to put a high price on their own time, you may want to give them something in exchange for filling out your form, like a downloadable case study or e-book. You can post a link to your form on your own feed, your company page, or through a group—as long as the group’s internal rules allow it.

7) Influencer marketing

In any of the channels mentioned above, there’s a straightforward way to multiply the reach of your message: Getting someone with a lot of followers to re-send it. But so-called influencers trade on this power and therefore it’s hard to convince them to help you out. Try to find the major influencers within your network or community and ask them to share your form link, giving them a strong reason to do so. What could this be? Maybe you’ll share the data from your responses with them, or they get to help out a charity if you’re organizing a benefit.

8) Reddit, “the front page of the internet”  

This site is wide-reaching and can be a bit unwieldy, but the good thing is it’s organized by very specific channels (“subreddits”)—so finding an audience that considers your form relevant should be easier than on other platforms. You do need an account to post there and, if members of a given community find your link interesting, they will ‘upvote’ it so that more people can find it. Beware, though: They also have the power to ‘downvote’ your content, so read the subreddit guidelines before you post.

9) Your form’s own end page

You can encourage users who already filled your form to share the link with others by adding a social sharing widget in the “Thank you” page. Your advantage here is that these people found your form so relevant as to spend time on it, so you are closer to turning them into advocates for spreading the word. Here’s how you can add social media sharing options to your confirmation page.

That’s it! Now you have more options than ever to multiply the reach of that beautiful form you worked so hard on. If you have any additional hacks you’d like to share with the Wufoo community, please leave us a comment below.

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