Marketing, PR & Advertising and Technology

Is anybody really filling out your contact form?

February 19, 2015
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You’ve spent a bunch of time, money and effort making your website just right. 

It has a great design. It’s responsive for mobile visitors and includes optimized content, following the latest SEO best practices. You have multiple touchpoints for people to contact you, including phone numbers, email addresses and a contact form for people to fill out, telling you what they need.

But is anybody filling out that form?

If the answer is no, it’s time to re-evaluate the use of forms on your website.

First, let’s back up and answer some key questions, the answers to which might provide you with insights as to why nobody is filling out your forms:

  • What purpose do my forms serve and what do I hope to achieve with it?
  • How much information do I need to gather?
  • Where are my forms positioned within my site and on-page?
  • What happens after someone hits submit?

The purpose of forms

The purpose of any form placed on a website can be as simple as providing an easy way for individuals to contact you, or as complex as a request for a quote (RFQ) for the various products and services you sell.

From the online marketer’s perspective, forms on your website provide what we call a “conversion point” or goal. When someone fills out a form on your website and hits submit, that form can then be tracked via analytics as a success metric. From the sales perspective, forms on your site provide optimal lead generation opportunities. Your site is live online, 24/7/365. It’s always working, even when you’re not. Why not have a form?

Having an understanding of your audience online will help you determine if you’re asking the right types of questions to trigger a response.

Information gathering

Aside from where to place the form, this is possibly one of the most debated elements of form creation on a website. Common information includes first name, last name, email address, company name, address, phone number, etc. Make a list of what you feel is important information you need to gather and then cut it down!

Seriously, do you really need their ZIP code, date of birth and blood type just so you can reach out to them and assist them with buying your widget? Odds are no.

When going through this exercise, the question really should be centered around what is the minimal amount of information I need to gather to get the individual to hit submit? In all reality you’ll need to obtain a name, email address, phone number and possibly an optional message or request.

In addition, think about how you’re asking for the information. Be clear and concise with your ask. Don’t get fancy with your words; just ask for the basics and move forward.

Form positioning

If having a contact or lead generation form is Step 1, then Step 2 most certainly is its placement within your site.

Most people have a form on the site’s Contact Us page, but how about putting one on a product/service specific page? Is there room to place a short form in the sidebar of those pages? These areas can be lead generation gold. Since users are already on a product/service page and thinking about how your widget will benefit them the most, providing them with a call-to-action to connect with you is sometimes all that’s needed to convert.

After submit

Success! The individual gave you his or her information and hit submit …now what? Do you lead them to a dead end, or do you take them deeper into the site? Having customized “thank you” pages are an often overlooked element of lead forms. The conversion doesn’t have to end with a form. Send them to a customized page that provides them with additional details about your brand, products or service. Perhaps they filled a form out on wheel bearings for heavy duty trucks — now is the time to repurpose that blog content and filter relevant posts into the thank you page. Or, perhaps you would like to include them in your email marketing efforts. Let them sign up right there.

Recap

Going through the steps outlined above should give you a pretty decent handle on what your forms should and should not be doing for you. The simpler the better. Ask for the least amount of information for a user to “convert.” Now it’s your job to close the deal!

Keep those forms top of mind and easy to fill out. Ask straightforward questions in language that’s easy to understand and make it snappy. Long, clunky forms will never convert. When in doubt, always fall back to who your audience is and what they want.

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