Do you ever feel like your website’s contact form needs a metaphorical mic check? As in, “hello… is this thing on?” No, tapping the screen won’t work, but you’ll likely find the real reason few people are willing to divulge their info and take things to the “next level” with your business lies in your contact form presentation and delivery. It’s important to solve these problems quickly as the contact form is your gateway to the outside world and a major key in increasing conversions.
Why’s it so Important?
Of course, there are other places on your site where visitors can interact with your brand and provide details about themselves (i.e. ecommerce checkout forms, user account pages, comments, etc.); however, what makes the contact form so important is that people fill it out, willingly, for the sole purpose of connecting with your business.
Not only does the contact form help increase conversions by connecting you with potential new customers, but it also provides a place for everyone to reach out to you, including folks with business propositions, potential new employees, and people offering feedback (good or bad).
Essentially, the more active your contact form, the more you know your brand is making an impression — and that’s always a good thing.
Tips for Improvement
If you’re convinced your contact form could use a little help, here are some tips to amplify participation:
1. Make it Visible
Obviously, the first step in encouraging people to use your contact form is to make it noticeable. Consider putting a simple contact form, or at least a contact button, on every page of your site, because you never know at what point someone will decide your business is worth the effort.
2. Limit Form Fields
A screen covered with empty form fields looks like a chore for most people, and someone would have to be really sold on your business to take the time to fill them all out. Also, when you ask visitors for seemingly too much information, they get suspicious and start wondering why you need to know so many details. Visions of spam or identity theft will likely run through their heads and they’ll quickly click away.
So, keep it as simple as possible. Could you get by with only three fields (name, email, and message)? If not, that’s ok. However, keep it as short as possible, and when deciding what fields are absolutely necessary, be ruthless about scrapping the non-essentials.
3. Plan Mobile First
A great way to force yourself to limit fields is by designing the mobile version of the contact form first (you do have a responsive website… right?) To fit the form into the smaller screen size you’ll have no choice but to eliminate the unnecessary questions. Once you’ve slimmed down the form, use it on your main site too.
4. Earn their Trust
As mentioned, people are wary about handing out their personal info, which means it’s important to earn their trust so they feel comfortable with your business. You can do this by:
- Plainly stating you’ll never giveaway their contact info or use it for anything besides the intended purpose.
- Having a professional looking website with customer referrals, security certificates, and listing your own contact information.
- Not asking for sensitive information until absolutely needed (i.e. making a purchase)
5. Make it Easy
In addition to having a brief contact form, you should also make it simple and easy to understand. Some ways to do this are:
- Let users know exactly what they’re supposed to enter by having ghost text in each field.
- Use examples to show correct formatting for phone numbers and email addresses.
- For more complex fields, provide a brief explanation below or to the side that explains what you’re asking and why.
- Allow users to use the tab key on their keyboards to progress through the form. Highlight the field they are in and make sure the final tab always lands on the submit button.
- Use in-line validation to alert people about improper formatting before they submit the form. Although having to re-submit is only a small annoyance, it could send fence-sitters packing.
6. Let them Know the Message was Received
Don’t leave your visitors wondering if their message was lost in cyber space. After they hit the send button, direct them to a thank you screen which explains when and how you’ll respond. You can also set up instant notifications that send users an email after their submission is complete.
7. Use Conditional Logic
You may need more or less information from users depending on their reason for contact. For these situations, Conditional Logic is incredibly handy as it allows you to customize your form based on user selections. With it you can show or hide specific fields, pages, and even the submit button. And although you are still offering a simple form, you have a little more flexibility in how you interact with those who are more committed.
All things considered, the most important tips to remember are to keep it simple and to evoke trust — these are the things that drive a pleasant user experience. If you can’t do those two things, you’re never going to see any real action with your contact form, and that’s a shame because it’s a hugely effective way to spark conversations, encourage conversions, and generally grow your business.
Spark Logix Studios builds powerful WordPress Forms, check it out.