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4 steps to build effective intake forms for your business

effective intake forms
By James Rose. Last Updated June 17, 2024
Intake Forms for Business

Having an intake form for your business is of the most important things to have on your website to develop a client base. Obtaining any initial information about potential clients before setting up that first phone call is incredibly useful. You can do crucial research tailored to their needs before you even set up a meeting. When you do have that first meeting, you can present them with information that is likely to catch their attention. After all, getting clients can be a tricky task – there are competitors out there that offer the same or similar services as you so staying one step ahead is key. So, we’re going to take you through four steps to build effective intake forms for your clients so you can stay ahead of the competition.

Why is a client intake form important?

We’ve skimmed the surface of why a customer intake form is important – obviously staying a step ahead of the game is crucial in obtaining new clients. But what else can a client intake form do for your business? Let’s take a look:

  • It provides you with crucial information. A client intake form answers any initial questions you may have as well as making sure that you have accurate, up-to-date information. It also provides you with client usernames, URLs, and social media platforms.
  • It identifies what services the client wants. Your client lists in detail exactly what services they’re looking for. Maybe it’s one or two basic services or a slew of them. They may also want services you don’t currently offer so it’s important to know what you’re dealing with upfront. You may need to provide referrals for a particular service if that’s the case so it’s good to have that information right away.
  • It helps with risk management. Having this information on file right away is a great way to save your own butt if your client comes back and says that they didn’t ask for something or wanted something else. If a budget was discussed, this is another way of having a record of an approved budget. Of course, you want to make your client happy no matter what but making sure your own business is covered has to be your top priority.

4 Steps to Build Effective Intake Forms for Your Business

Now that you know why client intake forms are important, let’s take a look at four crucial steps to building effective intake forms for your business.

1. Format

Choose the format for your intake form, possibly before you even compile your list of questions. While there are many styles of intake forms available, decide what format you want your intake form in the first place – do you want a form on your website, a PDF version, or a paper form? You may want to create an intake form in all three formats to cover all of your bases, especially if you give the option for a potential client to have an initial consultation at your office. There are still clients that won’t be completely comfortable with technology so having a paper version is still a good option.

2. Create your questions


The next step is compiling a list of questions to ask your client. This list is entirely up to you to decide – you’re to only one who knows exactly what your business needs to move forward with a client.

That said, there are some good basics you should request on any intake form, such as:

  • Their contact information (client’s business name, address, point of contact, email address, phone number, etc.).
  • Links to their website and any social media platforms.
  • Their current marketing strategies.
  • The goals that they hope to achieve while working with you.
  • Their biggest competitors.

3. Design

Now that you’ve decided on the format of your intake form and your questions, it’s time to focus on design. Choosing a design for your intake form doesn’t have to be complicated – you don’t need to worry about learning how to code to put one on your website or anything like that. There are many online programs, both free and paid, that create your intake form for you and give you a selection of styles to choose from.

All you have to do is upload your company’s logo, contact information, and questions and let technology take care of the rest. Choose a style that fits in with your company’s website and looks simple and easy to use.

4. Putting your forms into action

It’s important to make sure you have your clients fill out your intake form before your first meeting – there’s no point in creating an intake form if you’re not going to implement it!

Having your clients complete your intake form before setting up an initial meeting is the best idea – whether on your website, through PDF, or by completing a paper form. This way, you have time to do your research and come up with a pitch tailored to your customer. If you don’t have that in-between period to get research done, have your clients fill out your intake form anyway – as we said, it provides a record of what your client is looking for and can be referenced later.

Building an effective intake form for your business does not have to be difficult – in fact, it is an easy, simple process that’s always helpful in running a business, regardless of your industry. The format, questions, and the intake form’s design can all be tailored to your business to give you the professional edge that you need over your competitors.


James Rose

James is the co-founder of Content Snare - a software platform that helps professionals collect content & files from clients.

Once an automation engineer, his new priority is to help business owners regain their lives, be more productive and get more done in less time.