If you want people to reach you, it just makes sense to have a contact form, right? Well, you’d be surprised at how many sites have the annoying habit of not including one. Luckily, we’ve got 9 ways you can build better contact forms and get those leads rolling in.
Despite living in a modern society where a lot of us have shucked face-to-face meetings in lieu of connecting through various digital platforms, being able to contact a person directly is still important. Sometimes we need a real person to answer our questions.
But just having a contact form doesn’t guarantee those conversions. There’s a lot more it than that. We’re talking good design, functionality and submission analysis. Here’s how you can make it happen.
1. Make it easy to find
If you don’t have to be told to look both ways before crossing the street why do you need to be told you need to have a contact form? Just because it’s 2018 doesn’t mean out-with-the-old and in-with-the-missing-contact-form. It’s just plain old common sense.
Though it’s tempting, avoid naming your contact form in the navigation menu something vague or confusing. Playing hide-and-seek is also a general no-no. Your contact page should be like a bright neon sign saying “click me!” so keep the wording simple. Calling it simply “Contact” eliminates the annoying guessing game. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
And despite what some may think, using social media accounts in lieu of a contact page is not an acceptable substitute. Not everyone has social media believe it or not.
What to do
Get a contact form if you don’t already have one. Remember that not everyone will understand that your “High Five!” button is actually your contact form, so make sure you use clear language. If you want to get fancy, use communication words like “Touch” or “Talk” instead of “Contact”.
2. Be personal
Sadly, ugly designed websites are not a thing of the past (after all, there are still sites without contact pages). A poorly designed contact page can have your visitors wondering how legit your business actually is and might decide to skip contacting you altogether.
What to do
Avoid impersonal design by channeling your brand personality into your layout. A sparsely designed or sterile looking page could give users the wrong idea about you. Instead, use your brand colors to emotionally connect with your target market. Ask yourself: “Would I contact me if I saw this design?” And naturally get a second, third and fourth opinion.
3. Make it work everywhere
If you have a form, then it better work. Over 50% of web page views come from mobile devices, so make sure your form is mobile-friendly and responsive. Oh—and this might sound basic—but make sure your form is actually in working condition. Every checkbox, form field and CTA button must function.
What to do
If your site isn’t responsive or mobile-compatible, switch to a template that is, or work with a developer to get your current site up-to-code. Test form functionality over multiple days to make sure your form is delivering messages—especially if your submissions have randomly declined. If you find an error, contact your form’s host platform or a developer to request help.
4. Don’t leave out the copy
As any copywriter will tell you, great words will inspire great action. Copy works as the greeting and direction marker for your audience, reassuring them that they’re indeed where they want to be. Copy also gives you a chance to show your brand personality.
Your contact form copy should inform and direct. Tell your audience how and why they should contact you. Is your contact information only for potential customers? Can they contact you to offer feedback? Do you accept business inquiries? When will they hear back from you?
What to do
Even a simple sentence like “Hey! Get in touch with me by using this form” can encourage users to actually reach out. Use your brand’s voice to extend the invitation clearly to your audience.
Take InVision’s contact page, for example. They only need two sentences to illustrate their brand’s friendly and relaxed personality.
5. Think about reCAPTCHA
CAPTCHA is the lady in front of you at the supermarket parking lot going 5 miles per hour with her shopping cart and blocking where you want to go. This technology helps tell robots and humans apart, but it’s no friend to the impatient.
Yes, CAPTCHAs do have a purpose, but when you consider 8.66% of users mistype their first CAPTCHA (not to mention they can cause trouble for those with visual or intellectual disabilities), you have to wonder if it’s worth it. Impatient users may abandon filling out the contact form if they see or fail deciphering a CAPTCHA resulting in a loss in conversions.
What to do
Security and spam bot prevention is definitely important, but try viable alternatives like Google’s reCAPTCHA, which simply has users check a box to confirm they’re human.
6. Keep forms short
People dread the idea of going to the DMV, so why would you think a 25-field form is a great idea? Convenience should be at the forefront of your mind when you are designing any form. Long forms increase the risk of visitors giving up and taking their business to the competition. No one wants that.
What to do
Follow the KISS method. You know, keep it simple stupid.
Generally, a form should take no more than 1-2 minutes to fill out, so strive for including only 3-6 fields. If a field doesn’t serve a purpose to your communication, then you probably don’t need it. But make sure your form will allow visitors to explain exactly what they need.
7. Beware the form killer!
You might run into a form killer without even knowing it. These are the elements that have you saying “nope” before you even finish a form. Make sure to check for these form killers and consider getting rid of them. Here are some of the biggest killers:
- Phone number
- Auto sign-ups to newsletters (with no way to opt out)
- Robotic copy
- Hard-to-read text
What to do
Look at your form and see if there are any fields that you might be hesitant to answer. The same goes for any potentially invasive fields (e.g. if you must ask for a phone number, consider making it optional). Make your form as pain-free as possible, then finish up with creative CTA copy that encourages users to actually submit their form.
8. Provide alternate contact information
Forms are a great way to easily collect information, but they should never be your only method of contact. In fact, you can’t increase your conversion rate without offering multiple methods. There’s a reason customers are trying to get in touch with you—and not everyone has the same communication style.
What to do
Provide a phone number (or two), whether it’s a private, business or mobile app number (e.g. WhatsApp or Google Voice). Consider a secondary email that people can use instead of your form or a live chat option for instant communication.
If you have a physical building and accept office visitors, mention it. And don’t forget to include links to your social media pages.
9. Always follow-up
You got the conversion! But that doesn’t mean your job is over. In fact, it’s just beginning.
No one likes to be ignored. This doesn’t reflect well on you, and the last thing you want is for people to start speaking negatively about your company. Yes, messages sometimes don’t deliver because of system errors, but most of the time it’s just because they’re not being monitored. Conversions and communication management go hand-in-hand.
What to do
Make sure your contact form delivers to an address or communication platform that you routinely check so you can manage all submissions. If you’re too busy for this, consider hiring someone to do the job for you. Remember that someone took the time to contact you, so it’s only right to respond.
Build better contact forms and get those leads!
Now you’ve got some work to do… Pull up your contact form, and start at the top of this list. Follow these nine steps, and make changes as necessary. Then, watch those submissions start pouring in!
This article was written by Gabrielle Gosha