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Best Practices: 5 Benefits to Web Forms

Best Practices: 5 Benefits to Web Forms

Originally Published in June 2013. Updated October 2021.

Key Takeaways:

Your website should have a contact page with certain critical elements.

Offering multiple ways to contact you makes it easier for customers to reach out.

Contact and inquiry forms provide convenience to your customers.

Tailor the fields of your forms to get the information you need to expedite next steps.

No matter what industry you are in, contact pages are essential when creating your website. Additionally, the information you put on your contact page is crucial as well. While your customers will certainly be able to reach you if you simply provide an address, phone number and email, there are several distinct benefits to providing a web form, most notably that you defend yourself against spam.

Forms not only make your life easier, but they improve the user experience when implemented correctly. Let’s discuss some of the additional advantages web forms have over clickable email links and traditional contact information, and what you can do to create forms that benefit you and your users.

Customers like Options:

Some people would prefer to speak directly with a company representative while others find getting on the phone time-consuming. Providing all the possible ways to contact you (i.e. phone number, address, email, and web form) allows your customers to choose the contact method they prefer and avoids frustrating customers when their preferred method is not available.

With this in mind, you have to meet your customers where they are. Any forms you create need to accommodate mobile users as much as they serve desktop and tablet users. Statista reports that mobile accounts for about half of web traffic worldwide, a stat that has held steady since 2017. Capitalizing on the convenience and versatility of web forms requires quality checking on desktop and mobile, but the bit of extra work is well worth it when you can quickly gather the information you need to better serve your customers.

Some bots crawl the internet looking for exposed email addresses. Any email address that they find may end up in the hands of spammers. Contact form helps you keep a very secure layer around your website because it constantly works by filtering spams that get in your way!

Onat Arzoglu on Medium

Receive the Type of Information You Need:

Great [user experience] means a quality end-to-end experience for your visitors. That means your visitors need to have consistent, positive interactions with your website no matter the device they’re on.

Hubspot

Web forms are unique in that they give you the ability to control the type of information you collect from your customer. By providing specified fields and designating which of these fields is required, you ensure that your web visitors are giving you the information you need. When you simply provide an email address, your invite open-ended communication with no direction. We often explain to clients that web forms can also be leveraged as a way to pre-qualify a web inquiry.

For instance, take our client Star Kidz. They offer performance arts classes for children. Their classes are offered in five separate locations for various age levels. Thus, on their form, visitors are required to enter their child’s grade as well as their location of choice. This allows Star Kidz to better serve individuals who fill out their form, giving them a chance to review their class registrations to see if the desired class is full prior to touching base with them.

Be careful, though! Your forms should get the information you need without overburdening your customers. You don’t want to create barriers to “yes.” It’s easy to lose interest in submitting a simple inquiry when the contact form is asking for everything plus the kitchen sink. Try to keep your contact forms down to only about 4 fields. If you add more than that, be strategic about which are required fields, and which are optional; that way, patient customers can complete the whole thing, but those in a hurry can provide only the bare essentials.

Forms are Trackable:

In order to measure the effectiveness of your website, you need reliable metrics. Web forms give you just that. By setting up goals conversions from Google Analytics, you can track how many people visited your contact page and of those individuals, how many actually filled out the form. In addition, you will be able to tell what website they came to your site from, allowing you to track which of your marketing efforts is converting the most. Clickable email links do not let you drill down in the same way, making them much less trackable.

Inquiry Back-ups:

Most web forms are designed to feed into a data file and email the inquiry to the company contact designated to receive the form. Be sure that your forms are set-up this way. This will ensure that if that staff member’s emails are deleted or lost, you have a back-up on your website. This file can then be downloaded into a customer database or uploaded into your mass email service. No re-typing required.

One of our favorite tools for building forms is Gravity Forms, which keeps track of all entries in the dashboard of your WordPress website. It’s a popular choice on many of the top WordPress website, too, and we can see why:

  • Easily customize forms with a drag-and-drop style editor
  • Generate leads, take payments, create polls, and more
  • Integrate your other apps and platforms for seamless communication
  • View form entries directly from your WordPress dashboard

Gravity Forms is as confident as we are that you’ll absolutely love what they’re offering. And with a 30-Day Risk Free Guarantee, you have a whole month to see for yourself! What are you waiting for?

“Extensive research from Formstack shows that reducing the number of form fields to four or less can increase conversions by up to 160 percent. Additionally, conversions can potentially increase 50 percent when you reduce the number of fields from four to three.”

– Formstack via Percision Marketing Group

Convenience is Key:

Clickable email links automatically open your customers’ default email program. If they haven’t set up their default email or it is not the email they’d like to use to contact your business, you run the risk of the customer becoming frustrated and leaving your site without contacting you. This is more prominent than ever with so many people using Gmail. Web forms are extremely convenient as your customers do not even need to leave your contact page to reach out to you. This also increases the chance that your customers will spend additional time on your site after they have contacted you.

Though you should provide all of your relevant contact information on your contact page, a web form should be front and center. If you need help adding forms to your site or deciding on the relevant fields for your forms, reach out to us. We’d be happy to help! You can also learn more about website marketing best practices including (and beyond) web forms with our training sessions, or meet one-on-one with an expert mentor to address your specific needs. However you learn best, we’ve got you covered!

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