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Collecting leads online

Use your website to gather customer data

Collecting sales leads through your website is a two way process. You need to collect data from potential customers, but you also need to know what to do with it once you have it.

By sending timely and useful e-mailed information to those who input their details on your website, you can build relationships and gather market intelligence. But the first thing to do is to build your online prospect list by capturing your visitors' information. By giving you their data and 'opting-in', your site visitors are giving you permission to send information; keep them updated; announce special offers and so on. To find out how often you should reach your customers, click here.

So to build your online prospect list you need some kind of form on your site that will collect and manage the information for you.

E-commerce retail sites have security issues in collecting sensitive data like credit card and bank account numbers. However, for regular data collection, the form features provided by FrontPage are sufficient and make data and lead collection very simple, without the need for programming knowledge. Note that to store client information, you will need to register with the Data Protection Registrar.

Using Forms

Data is collected in FrontPage through an online form. When the site visitor completes the form and clicks the Submit button, FrontPage collects the data and performs a number of actions with it, including sending you the results. No programming is required.

Using Form Fields

An online form is made up of a number of fields for collecting different types of data. Think of fields as being like each individual line or box on a form or coupon. Form fields can be inserted into any web page using FrontPage. When a form field is first inserted, FrontPage automatically generates a dashed box around the form elements. This dashed box represents the form area- just like the "cut-here" dashes on a coupon. All additional form fields should be inserted within it.

Name each of the fields in your form to make the results of your data collection easier to understand. This way, when you receive the results of your form, the data is easier to sort out.

In Page view, a form is represented by a dotted line. A number of different form field options are available:

One-line text box

Use text boxes to collect a small amount of text, such as a name, e-mail address, or a phone number.

Scrolling text box

Use a scrolling text box to collect one or more lines of text, such as a comment. This field scrolls to accommodate varying amounts of text.


Use check boxes for optional items where the visitor is able to select more than option from a group; for example "Please deliver on either weekdays, Saturdays or Sundays"

Radio button (or Option button)

Use radio buttons when you want the site visitor to select only one option from a group; for example selecting between Express Courier or Normal Post delivery

Drop-down menu

Use a drop-down menu to present the site visitor with a list of choices; e.g. selecting the colour of a sofa.

Push Button

Use push buttons to let site visitors submit the form after filling it out, clear fields by resetting the form, or run your custom scripts.

For more information on designing your website, click here. To get down and dirty with coding forms, try this.

Form Field Properties

You can set the properties for each form field. Field properties include the size of the form field in addition to default data (if any) that will be included in the form.

Default data is often used to prompt the user to enter a specific type or format of information. For example, a one-line text box form field looking for an e-mail address might display yourname@yourcompany.com in the text box.

Sending the Results

Once you have collected your data, the next step is to figure out what to do with it. FrontPage offers you a number of choices that include sending the content to a file, an e-mail address, or a database. You can also choose to use your custom scripts to handle the form results.

The Confirmation Page

FrontPage automatically creates a standard confirmation page for form data. You can also create a custom confirmation form.

It is advisable to display a confirmation page once your site visitors have entered all their information. It provides reassurance to the user that their data has been received.

Server Issues

Sending your data to a file, e-mail address, or a database requires a web server with Microsoft FrontPage Server Extensions installed. Publishing your content to a specific database requires support for that database on the server side.

Security Issues

It is important to note that the process of collecting data through FrontPage forms has no security inherently built into it. Form data sent by e-mail or stored on your server can easily be "hacked" into during transmission and is not recommended for collecting credit card information or any other type of sensitive information. Click here to find out how to protect your data.

Once you have a database of information, including e-mail addresses, send your sales leads list a regular newsletter. You can use Publisher to create a newsletter, and publish it online.


When collecting leads online, please keep in mind the following tips:

Ask only for essential information. Site visitors shy away from long forms.

Backup the data that you collect. Pure data can be lost to hardware failures and disk crashes.

Check your leads on a regular basis so you can respond rapidly.

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