On the one hand you know you should keep sign up forms for those subscribing to your email marketing list as short possible, and on the other you want to know everything about the person as quickly as possible. So you are in a bit of a quandary.
It is easy enough to find extremes. Many companies limit the demand to just two boxes: name and email address. Others run to a dozen and even more. The question is, naturally, which is best for you.
First of all consider that you will receive information on a subscriber’s preferences via the returns from every email marketing campaign. Further, visits to your website will indicate what interests them.
This information is pure, in the sense that it does not require subjective interpretation. If you ask a person if they enjoy golf, then if it is a favourite of their immediate boss, they could feel obliged to follow suit.
Whilst this might seem unimportant at that level, someone wanting to appear modern and forward thinking might express an interest in technical matters that they find confusing.
On the other hand, what they click on is what they want.
In essence, it means that what they answer in a sign up form should be viewed as temporary, to be replaced by confirmed preferences.
We do not want to waste any opportunities of course, and when someone is that convinced that they may benefit from becoming a subscriber, they are in a positive state of mind, one where they might be willing to contribute. They are trusting you with their email address so they are already in the right frame of mind.
With B2B you will want to know their position and their company. It might be useful to know how long they have been in that position. Newcomers could well feel that signing up to your newsletter as well, with all the information delivered to their inbox, will be of benefit.
One last plea: the language of many sign up forms is dry and prescriptive. Try changing the tone, be welcoming and use the form to encourage them to think that you are that little bit different.