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Contact forms not working? Here's how to fix it

Posted Wed, April 30, 2014 by Julie Short

It seems like every single website has a contact form these days – but does that mean these forms are effective at generating more leads? As it turns out, success takes more than simply sticking a form online and hoping people fill it out. Use the following tips to make your contact form an effective way of attracting interest and leads.

1.    Keep your number of fields to a minimum. A HubSpot study showed that lowering the number of contact form fields from four to three raised response by almost 50 percent. Think about it: the more fields someone has to fill in, the more opportunities they’ll have to get bored, rethink giving out their information, and develop carpal tunnel.

2.    Don’t be nosy. To build on the minimum number of fields, avoid asking for any info that’s not totally necessary. In most cases, you can get what you need with a person’s name and some form of contact. Wait to get the more personal stuff until after you’ve already communicated with them and established trust.

3.    Loosen your grip on formatting. Don’t make your visitors angry because your form requires specific formatting. Remember that any information submitted via forms can be automatically standardized using specific coding on your back end. You can also guide users to use correct formatting in the first place by using ghost text – that light-colored suggest text that’s in the fields of some forms.

4.    Emphasize user-friendly formats. Highlight the field that the user's cursor is on; make it easy for them to debug things like incorrectly formatted email addresses; and set up all of the fields and buttons in a predictable sequence. Pay special attention to the "submit" and "cancel" buttons. Make sure that the submit button is the first thing after the last form field so that people who have been tabbing through the form don't accidentally hit cancel instead. (That’s the worst.)

5.    Let users know that you aren't a spammer. We come in peace! Tell visitors exactly what you'll do with their contact information. Assuming you don't intend to sell a list of email addresses, let people know that you won't sell, rent, or otherwise share their contact information.

6.    Make your drop-downs smarter. If you use a drop-down list for the country field, put the ones that your targeted audience comes from at the top. This is especially true if your would-be customers come from the USA or the UK. The letter "U" is a long way down from "A," and it's annoying to have to scroll so far to get to it. First world problems, right?

7.    Encourage browsing. Let people see your site before you ask them to fill out a contact form. A trend has emerged where sites will pop a newsletter signup window up right on top of the content when a visitor first arrives. While this guerilla tactic can work fine for newsletters, it's not so great for contact forms. In fact, it probably hurts your conversion rate. It makes more sense to give people a chance to see why you're worth communicating with before you ask them to do so.

If your contact forms haven't been bringing in the number of leads you're looking for, implement a few of these tips. By keeping things simple, you'll make it easy for people to fill out the form on a whim. Once they do so, your sales team can eventually turn these contacts into more customers.

Posted in : Websites , Website Content | 
Tags : contact forms , websites

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