Regardless of your website’s business objectives, having a contact form is an integral part of enabling your visitors to get in touch with your organization. In those instances where a phone call might be considered too much effort, and an email too vague, having a contact form allows your website’s visitors to leave a brief message, and leave their contact information so that not only will the message get to the most appropriate contact, but leaves a way for you to reach out to them when the time is right. By opening this channel of communication, you eliminate the need for personal contact for smaller issues, while keeping the door open so that any potential clients, current customers, or prospective partners can get in touch with you.
In instances where your website operates as a lead generation website, the importance of contact forms grows significantly.
Online contact forms can allow for a less obtrusive way for potential clients to get in touch with your organization
As stated earlier, contact forms act as an alternative to phone numbers or emails. When debating whether it would just be easier to leave an email address that clients can reach you at, contact forms provide a number of benefits.
By using a contact form, instead of openly displaying your email address, you can prevent instances of spam, either by crawlers that collect stray emails on the internet, or by malicious users who may add you to a newsletter about cats, which may bog down your productivity.
Another benefit, and one that ties in with productivity, is that with a form you can build the framework with which information is gathered. This means you express which information you think is most important to collect from your website visitor, and they can then fill in the relevant information. By integrating this uniformity into your contact requests, you can more productively filter through your messages, knowing exactly what relevant information will be provided — improving your overall online marketing efforts.
Another great benefit of using a contact form, especially if you’re using your website for lead generation, is that depending on the information you decide to collect you can help screen and qualify potential clients before they even contact you. For instance, if you are trying to get in touch with as many people as possible, with every person being a potential client, you may only request that they leave an email address. Once they submit their email, you can reach out to them at a convenient time. On the other hand, if your industry has a large volume of individuals who are price-sensitive, and likely to go around kicking tires for the lowest cost, you may want to request additional information like their name, phone number, and a short description of what it is that they’re looking for. By requesting more information (and subsequently the users’ time and effort), you can pre-qualify potential clients, because more patient clients who are more willing to explain their problem and schedule a time to speak are much more qualified than someone who isn’t.
With that said, how can you determine when you’re asking for too much on your contact form, or when you’re asking for too little?
When building your contact form and considering what information you want to collect, put yourself inside the shoes of your ideal target audience. Go through the process of envisioning why they’re on your site, what information you have, and what else they might want to find out more about. Now that you’ve got this in mind, consider what information you’d be willing to provide in exchange for more information if you were in their position.
In an industry where someone on your site might just be asking a simple question, it may be best to make the process as easy as possible, and request only their name and email address. If you’re using a more powerful customer relationship management platform, or are collecting data from all your leads, it is likely in your best interest to ask for a first and last name to go with that email address.
If your industry is something a bit more complicated, with email being a viable option to provide a detailed answer, but a phone call making it easier to discuss specific scenarios, people would likely be more inclined to provide a phone number. It should be noted that in instances where a phone number field is required, it is often accompanied by a decline in conversion rates. This stems from visitors not wanting to be called, however, as noted earlier this field can be used as a tool to screen out less qualified customers.
In some cases, if the contact form you have in place is requesting a specific type of work, you might want to include a field on your form where visitors can attach images that would better help express what they’re looking for, or help you in the quoting process. Any information you can collect at this point can only help save you time down the road in the sales cycle, and make your job easier to close that deal. An example of this is providing an image of someone’s yard in order to provide them with a landscaping quote.
If someone is willing to take the effort to fill out your contact form, it usually indicates that they have an existing interest in your product or service, or are at least interested in learning more about what you have to offer. In this instance, if you have regular newsletters as part of your marketing mix, it might be a good idea to indicate what information, or specials and promotions the visitor might be eligible to receive if they subscribe to your newsletter. This helps build your funnel for drip marketing to clients who are likely in for a longer sales cycle. This also helps you keep your processes in accordance to Canada’s CASL regulations.
Another method of acquiring leads once you have contact forms in place on your site is through content marketing. Much like the process of enrolling visitors for additional information that might interest them, content marketing works on the theory of building relevant content that drives qualified leads to your website, and provides access to your content for them in exchange for their information. The information can then be used to get in touch and take the discussion offline, where your sales team can further identify how your solution can work best for them.
A common example of this is white papers and case studies geared towards professionals that explain how a certain business objective was achieved. This self-selected targeting would work best for companies that help companies solve business problems with their products or services.
Place the document on your website, and put a contact form in front of it before visitors can access the content, and you would then be providing them with something of value in exchange for their information. These case studies are often geared towards promoting your own products or services, but this should be toned down, and allow the visitor to come to that conclusion on their own through your quality content.
Once you’ve got the contact form in place, you can experiment with what works best. We might all want our contact forms to do the work for us, but in order to get the most out of them we’ll need to perform a series of incremental changes.
A great place to start with contact form conversion optimization is visibility. The more visible and easily accessible your contact form, the more likely that your visitors may use it. Large colorful buttons with calls-to-action driving users to fill out the form work well in this case. These buttons can find prime real-estate in your website’s header or at the bottom of your pages where the visitor has just read some good content that may drive them to engage with your company.
After having your contact form up for some time, you should monitor how many people are visiting the page, how many people abandon the form after starting it, and how many successfully complete the form. With this data, you can identify particular fields that might be scaring people off from completing the entire form, and help you tailor it towards the goal of increasing conversions. A/B testing of multiple forms might also be of interest if you have the resources to run a trial and monitor results.
Contact Forms can be a difficult tool to master, but are definitely beneficial for all companies when optimized correctly. Whether you’d like a fresh set of eyes to help you with your contact form conversion optimization, or need help setting up your first WordPress contact form, ABORG can help. Contact us, or request a consultation, and we’d love to start working with you today!