Today we're going to be talking about a forms app that Toby has used for many years and really enjoyed. We've tried others and they're not as good.
Why Use a Form in Your Business?
Using a form is a good way to replace paperwork. Anytime you can automate something instead of having to do it all by hand, do it, especially if it's going to make your life easier and eliminate process steps.
Instead of sending an email and waiting for a response and going back and forth gathering information, eliminate that with one form that people can fill in to answer all your questions, and then you can move forward.
You can use a form as a survey instrument to get information from your customers. Or if you're putting together a family event, you might want to ask what dates are available or what would you like to eat or what kind of activities do you prefer? You can gather all the information to create the best event possible.
One important reason that you'd want to use online forms is for increasing your credibility. In this day and age, if a prospective customer reaches out to you and says, I want to engage in some way with you, and the first thing you have to ask them is to write an email with their questions, that's a credibility issue. That's an indication that you're not up to speed on new and available technologies.
The second advantage is the forms app that we use is interconnected. Not only is it a forms app, but it sends out an email to the individual that says, thank you for filling out the form. If you have any other questions, please go to this website. It sends us the audit. It catalogs the data that's on the form by date and time. It also sends us an email with the picture of that catalog entry. We know that someone has filled out the form. It has features that help keep you organized.
Who Should Use a Forms App?
Small business owners who want to automate their business, consultants, coaches, or entrepreneurs who want to gather information about their prospective customers and clients should do it with a form to provide immediacy while saving time.
When you can send prospective clients a form, they can determine for themselves if they are a good fit for your business. You'll waste less time on qualifying and spend more time working with the clients who really need your attention.
If you have an appointment with a prospective client, you might want to ask specific questions so that you don't have to ask them at the beginning of your meeting. That way you already have that information and you can dive more deeply into getting to know each other and have that form as a reference so you can back up each point you make with the evidence of what they said in the form.
Before an Interview
If you're producing a podcast and you want to have a guest on, you can offer an application form to your guests to learn more about them, their expertise, and what they can offer your audience.
Survey Your Audience
One of my favorite things to do with forms is to collect survey information from individuals. You can make a good documentary with 10 questions and 10 subjects. If you put up a survey that asks 10 questions and you get at least 10 people to answer, you can use that as a basis for a show, article, or book.
We used to ask questions of our treasure hunting community to get a sample of between 300 and 400 responses, which is a very good sample. Not only did it help us understand more about the treasure hunting community, but we could have multiple conversations on the results of that survey.
I get requests from documentary makers and authors asking if I still have that data because the survey that we put together was revealing in a lot of different ways. They can use that information as part of their documentary and cite the survey.
If you want to know more about your markets, make a survey and post the links on your social media because people are always interested in providing their opinions on different topical areas.
Show Your Expertise
When you're doing surveys like that, it positions you as an expert. No matter what it's about, it could be anything from what kind of meditation do you do to, what apps are you using for SEO? Once you've gathered all that information, you are now a credible expert that other people will come to for your insight.
Once you've created this survey, you have the data and you interpret the data in your own way. You can share your opinions in your own podcast or articles about that data. You'll be invited to speak on podcasts or at conferences because you have this body of knowledge that other people have an interest in learning. They’ll ask could you come on our show and talk about the survey data that you collected and your opinions on the survey?
This is important from a credibility and authority-building perspective.
Make Informed Decisions About Your Content or Business
You should survey on subjects that are comfortable for you and it's fun to put together a survey and test it out to see what kind of results you get. You can see what the data tells you and make better-informed decisions.
Let's say you're asking the gender of your audience and that your audience is primarily male. Now you want to start making decisions based on that male audience and what they want from your content. But you also may ask yourself, how do I attract more females? How do I balance this out more? Because I want the audience to represent the real world as much as possible.
What is a Form?
A form can be an application. If somebody wants to apply to be a guest on your show, become a client of yours or work with you in some way, they can fill out an application to state what it is they can do for you.
Maybe you have a membership or mastermind group and you want people to apply to show they're a good fit before you accept them.
Or you can use a form for a survey for gathering information from a group of people.
We use forms for an application when we have guests who want to be on our show and we also have a talent release form. That way we have the same standard language for everybody, and they sign that before they're accepted to be guests on our show.
The talent release is important. If you have a program that's going to be presented in public, and you have a guest on that program, you need to have that release to be able to distribute your program. It sounds like a big formality but if they want to be a guest on your program, they have to do that. If they say, there's no way I'm going to do this, you don't want that guest on your show anyway.
When Do You Use Forms?
Whenever you have repetitive paperwork, a process for onboarding people who sign up for your email list, guests that go through a particular funnel, or a customer journey, you need to provide interaction at certain points and you can automate these interactions with forms.
Onboarding is the process of building a relationship by introducing yourself to a new customer or member. They get to know you and you get to know them and you can ask them things like, where did you hear about us and what do you want to get out of this training? That way you have information to make your training better and you are more likely to meet their needs and expectations.
You can send forms that if they say yes, it goes in one direction. If they say no, it goes in a different direction. Then you can narrow down what you can offer them that's going to best serve their needs.
We Use JotForm
JotForm is a product that I've used since the mid-two-thousands.
I've watched it change and grow over the past 17 years or so. They added payment collection processing several years ago. Recently they've added the ability to create a whole store from a template.
Use JotForm to Build a Storefront
If you have products that you want to sell, or that you want to repurpose and sell to other individuals, you can use JotForm to build a store from a set of templates. Then all you have to do is populate the store with the various products that you make available to your clients.
I know at least two people who use this for dropshipping. The products are actually coming from China. They take the orders on their JotForm store template, and then they dropship from China to the individual. They take their profit out front before they send the order to the Chinese manufacturer.
This is the kind of situation where you want to have your own store so that you're not having to pay different platforms, such as eBay or Etsy, a percentage of your profits to maintain a store. It also requires a little extra work because now you are maintaining the whole store instead of expecting Etsy to do that for you.
What to Look For in a Forms App
You can start using forms apps for free. Google offers Google Forms. Microsoft 365 offers forms and JotForm has a free starter plan.
Look for something that has branching logic. That means if the person answers yes or no to one of your questions, it takes them off in a different direction so that you can get more specific information. If you offer a different program for women than you do for men, you may ask what is your gender? If they answer that they identify as female, then they should go off in the direction of your program for women.
Next, look for apps that have different types of question formats such as multiple choice, yes or no, and check more than one answer. So if you have six choices and you want them to give you their top three, they can do that. Fill in the blank answers give you the opportunity to receive a lot of details so that you can use that language in your marketing copy.
Find an app that has graphics that give you a lot of choices, a lot of colors, and a lot of beautiful imagery so that when people come to your form they'll see something that looks professional and enhances your reputation.
One thing that you can do in these forms is offering an upload feature. If you expect a photo from the people filling out your form, you can ask the respondents to upload an image. We ask our subjects to upload their most recent portrait so we can add it to the YouTube thumbnail for their interview episode.
If you have a picture, video, or audio, there is a feature that presents that to your respondent and you can then ask What did you think of this video?
The benefit of these forms is it generates all the necessary HTML script or coding that enables this form to do what you've created it to do in a drag and drop entry format.
This is from Lacey J, who wrote a review on May 28th, 2022.
“JotForm is the first software that consistently does exactly what I want every single time. There's a help topic or community response for everything I've tried to create. It also integrates with our email marketing service, which makes customer communication and follow-ups a breeze. I'm a sucker for flawlessly executed, conditional logic and JotForm does this extremely well. Essentially, every feature I look for is there ready to do what I need it to without any kinks, hiccups, or workarounds. Brilliant.”
Don’t Make This Mistake!
We were actually going to tell you about a completely different forms application today. We purchased Formly based on some advice that we got from AppSumo. But last night I was preparing the demo using the product and it was not only difficult to use, but the quality of the end form was amateurish. You could use Google Forms or Microsoft Forms and produce a better-looking, more usable form.
Part of getting people to fill out your forms is what they see. They get an impression of who and what you are by seeing those forms that you've asked them to fill out.
I'm the kind of person that if I go into a restaurant and the service is bad, or the food is bad or the food and the service is bad I simply don't go back to that restaurant. I don't yell at anybody in the restaurant and I don't write an online review, which I probably should. I just don't go back.
I don't want to beat up on the app that we paid for and acquired because we thought it would be a good replacement for JotForm. As a matter of fact, it promoted itself as a credible replacement for JotForm. I discovered it was nowhere near that. I'm going to suggest if you have a choice between the free version of JotForm or even the monthly subscription version of JotForm and the product called Formly, get JotForm.
Formly is not a substitute for JotForm either in building a form or the resulting form.
I was very disappointed to the extent that I'm going to ask for my money back. The reason I wanted to purchase an app for forms is that the product we use now is subscription-based. We always like going with a flat fee, if we can find a product that works for us. We've shared several products that we've bought from AppSumo that we use in place of the products that we had before that were subscription-based.
Our Experience With Forms Apps
We're very satisfied with the forms product that we've always used and recommended to others. This product also offers a free-level subscription, so we will continue to use it and recommend it to content entrepreneurs and small business owners.
We recommend JotForm and Toby's used it for years. We have used Google Forms and Google Surveys, and we also enjoyed those. But when we need a form, the first place we go is JotForm.
There is a free version which is what we're using because we only have two forms with 100 monthly submissions, and 100 megabytes of space. If you have images or videos that you add, you have some room up there in the cloud. It also gives you 1000 monthly form views. A small business like ours will never exceed 1000. It has a total submission storage of 500. Again, we're never going to exceed that because we use it for our guests. That's once a week if we're fortunate, but we average about once a month so we can use these, and then you can start deleting them once you’ve downloaded or printed them out. Of course, unlimited reports and fields, 10 monthly payment submissions.
If you do have a form that requires the payment of something, you can have up to 10 a month of those. So the free version is capable of helping you learn the product. It has all the features. There are no features that are locked. Then you can go to the bronze version with a monthly payment of $29. There was a point we used that because we did have multiple forms, but once we didn't need the multiple forms anymore, we just went back to the free version. That's why I recommend if you're going to do a subscription, do a monthly subscription so you have the option of changing your mind.
Why We Talk About Apps
We are in the middle of a series where we're talking about all the different applications that we use every day to help our small business grow and to make it more streamlined and automated. When you first start or transition your online business, you don’t know what you're going to need. You begin to understand what you need as you build your business and start working with clients.
The forms app is really helpful for a lot of people because it's so versatile. It's a simple one-time setup, and then people can use it over and over again until you need to make a change.
JotForm is not only the best and easiest forms application to use it is the most developed. It's got the most capabilities, especially when it comes to payments integration. It has this new feature where you can build a store. So, if you've decided that a form is important to the maintenance of your business, then we strongly recommend JotForm.
The Livecast Lifestyle
Free up more of your time for working with clients or content creation by automating with forms.
We published a book on Amazon called Livecast Life: The Content Creator Lifestyle. Part of that lifestyle is automating your onboarding of clients, and your interview process for your guests and having streamlined systems in place so that you can free up your time for content creation. If you'd like to learn more about that, you can go find our book at http://book.livecast.life
Please sign up for our email list and you can get an excellent sample of what goes into an email. We have high open rates, so it's a really good example to follow. It's also full of great information like weekly personalized updates, helpful information, and links for shows, behind-the-scenes photos, free offers for training and books, digital marketing news, and insights. That’s at http://news.agkmedia.studio
That's all we have for today on our forms app, JotForm, that we recommend and we use. If you have any particular type of app that you're looking at, and you're wondering what's the best one, please let us know, write to us or reach out by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment on our blog or videos and we'll be happy to address that type of an application and tell you what we like.