Do more with your website forms

Want to get more people filling out forms on your website? Make them fast and easy for a user to fill out. I’ve worked with clients who have contact forms asking for dozens of pieces of information rather than only the necessary to start connecting with a customer. The most successful forms are always the ones that try to generate quick leads rather than conversions. When a visitor is presented with a long form asking for their name, email, phone, address, website URL, details about a project, and other personal information, he’ll look at the form as something that will take too long to fill out. Or worse, he’ll start to fill out the form, and leave the page halfway through because it’s asking for more than he’s willing to provide. Whether it’s a sign-up form for email marketing or an email contact form, take out the unnecessary information to make it as easy as possible for a visitor to fill out a form quickly. Here’s some ideas on how you can get more visitors filling out forms on your website.

  • For Email Signups, ask for just an email address. If your emails are designed to include a customer’s name as a personal touch, ask for that too – but try not to make it required if it isn’t necessary.
  • For Contact Us/Lead Forms, ask for a name, email or phone, and the message. Depending on how your customers would like a response, I’ve seen successful forms that require either an email or phone number rather than both. A short, 4-field form works best for most contact us forms; it will provide you with enough information to reply to the client, or contact them with follow-up questions if they have a more in-depth or product/service related inquiry.
  • For Project Requests or Quotes, separate this form from your basic contact form. A customer interested in your products or services to this degree will want to submit more details than the kinds of comments or questions you’ll receive from a contact us form. Here you can ask for additional information, but still keep simplicity in mind. Ask for name and preferred contact method, but customize the form to request the most basic information you need to get back to the customer. This will vary by product, service, and industry; for an insurance agent, you may need to request address/zip code/basic driving history. For a contractor, it’s helpful to provide check boxes for the area of the house the client wants work done, or leave an open field where the customer can write up a brief idea of what they’ll need done. Whatever your industry, it’s still a good idea to require only the info you need to return a contact, and ask for the rest of the information as a good starting point for when you get back to the customer. They may not know everything about your business or industry, or about what their needs are. After all, getting the lead is important part – you’ll be able to sell them on your business once you return their contact.

Finally, don’t forget the most important part: Get back to the potential customer as quickly as you can. 24 hours is reasonable, but the sooner, the better. Within a few hours is great, but your customer service reputation will explode if you can answer your online email inquiries within minutes – while the customer is still thinking about what your business can do for them. Do you have a foolproof strategy for your online forms? Share tips about what’s worked for getting contacts from your website – Start the conversation by commenting below!

SEE ALSO: Master Facebook’s new feed with EdgeRank

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