Contact Form Design: 5 Steps to More Leads & Contacts

It’s time to talk about conversions. Your business needs them, you want them, but how do you make sure that the form on your website isn’t costing you money? Let’s talk about five steps that you can take to ensure that you’re making money and your form converts, coming up next.

If you’ve watched this blog for any length of time, you know that helping small businesses grow is the core of our message and a lot of that revolves around marketing, i.e., how do you get people to your website or how do you get people to your store? But what happens when they get there? Let’s talk about your form. What do we need to do to make sure that the form on your website, the way that people contact you is highly convertible, easy, simple, doesn’t cost you money, and increases your conversions? Let’s start with step one.

1: Intent.

Now, this is pretty basic, right? So we’re going to go a little bit beyond the typical contact us form, right? The contact us form, it’s the name, phone, email, a little message description there that they can have and then just the submit button. Yeah, sure. Maybe you understand the customer is trying to reach you, but what’s their true intent? What are they actually trying to accomplish in their efforts to reach you? Now we’re just using the contact us form as an example. This could be any form, this could be pricing, this could be help or troubleshooting. This could be contacting sales, this could be free estimates, whatever. So let’s think about what the intent of the customer truly is and craft our form to help them answer those questions. If they’re really trying to contact you for support, then that needs to be something that the form itself is built to support, right?

And ensuring that the form is getting to the right place, getting to the right people so that your customer is getting the feedback and the response that they need as fast as possible. In fact, the faster you respond to forms will have a dramatic impact on the amounts of conversions that you get, and how many of these deals actually turn into customers. So the very first thing to think about, at its most basic level, is what is your customer’s intent and what is the intent of your form? Once you’ve got those figured out, we can move on to step two.

2: Give and take.

Now getting people to come to your website is its own array of complexities, but getting them to fill out a form can be even more difficult. So you kind of want to think about this as a teeter-totter. How do you balance what the customer’s asking for versus what you are asking for in order to provide the information that they need? Think about it like this. If you’re a roofer offering a free estimate, so is everybody else. There’s nothing there that you are offering that somebody else isn’t offering already. So there’s no real incentive or value for your customer to actually fill out the form. But if you’re a roofer who’s offering free estimates and also free shingle tiles or free shingle examples so you can color match to your roof and decide what you like. Well, now it’s a little bit different. Now you’re offering something new, you’re providing more value to me.

3: Don’t be greedy.

Now, initial and basic forms that come with most websites or even a lot of website developers will create. This, is just name, phone, email, and maybe a little spot for comments, and that’s really not enough. But some business owners really have a tendency to start to ask for a lot of information. You want the name, the phone, the email, then you start asking for an address, you ask for a mobile phone and home phone, you ask for a first name and last name in maybe separate fields. You start asking for what state they’re from. How did you hear about us? You’re asking all this kind of stuff. What you really need to consider is how much of that is mission-critical. How much of the information that you’re asking for is actually business-critical. Meaning if you don’t have this information, you cannot provide a good experience to your customer after they filled out the form.

Now, there may be a good business reason for why you need to ask for some of this information. Maybe you need to know what service they’re interested in so that you can route it to the specialist who knows about that service. Maybe you need their zip code so that you can send that lead over to the territory manager in their area who needs to call them. In that situation, this is business-critical. It’s mission-critical to be able to get that info to provide a great experience. What you want to do is distill down your form as much as you can so that you’re only asking for information that you cannot get later on the phone.

If you want their address, ask them. Don’t ask them on the form, ask them on the phone, because you don’t need the address, most of the time, in order to provide the service or answer the question. This goes back to step one where we’re wondering what the customer’s intent is. If there’s information on your form that you do not need in order to achieve the customer’s intent and solve their problem and provide great customer service, get it out of there, and you’ll see your conversions go up.

4: Design for the times.

A lot of people don’t consider this, especially if you’re building your own website, but the design of the form really truly matters. We live in a mobile-first, app-driven world, and we’re looking for convenience. So if your form is not suitable or not mobile-friendly, you can just go ahead and kiss those conversions goodbye. If it’s not easy to fill out and it can’t be done on a cell phone, well I’m heading out of here, I’ll go somewhere else. Other things to consider are, how does it function on the mobile phone? If somebody is filling out their zip code, do they have to go up and switch their keyboard and go to the numbers at the top or is the form coded in a way that it just switches over to the phone number or to the number pad, so on your phone, you just hit the big buttons, the phone number there and enter in your zip code, phone number, whatever that is.

Any little aspect of convenience there really increases your opportunity for conversion. Again, when we’re thinking about mobile-first, by reducing the amount of time that somebody is spending trying to fill out your form, the complexities of filling out your form, we’re talking seconds, and seconds matter. The faster it reacts, the better it’s designed, the easier it is to use across all devices, increases your conversions and the likelihood that when you call them back, the customer will actually pick up.

5: To be upfront.

So picture this, right? You’re driving somewhere, an hour out of your way, whatever, you’ve headed that direction. As soon as you start getting closer and closer to your destination, what’s the first thing that you do? You turn off the music or you turn down the radio or you tell the person next to you, “Shh, quiet. I’ve got to figure out where I’m going,” right? Just as people, the closer we get to this level of complexity or the further that we get to accomplish our goal, the more we try to eliminate distractions.

So if your form is creating distractions, that’s where you start to find that people won’t complete the form, they won’t finish filling it out. People also see this with abandoned carts, right? If you’re an e-commerce store, you probably are familiar with this, and you’ve probably lost a considerable amount of money to people that get there, they put the product in, and then they realize that there is a shipping charge, maybe they weren’t aware of that. Or they’re not aware of this additional fee or they’re not aware of who knows what they’re aware of. You’re asking for too much information, or it’s too complex, or it’s not easy to put in their credit card information, so they abandon it. People do the same thing with forms. If they don’t know where they’re going, they don’t know what to expect, and when they encounter something unexpected, they bail.

There are some easy ways to resolve this. A lot of it has to do with design, but the other aspects of it have to do with just being upfront. This is not a submit button. You get rid of that text, get rid of that phrasing. This is a free instant estimate. Now I know if I provide the information you’re asking for and I click this button, I’m going to get a free instant estimate. If I fill out this form and I provide the information that you’re looking for, I’m going to get immediate access to download my trial or to download my e-book or something like that.

All you’re doing is creating a roadmap so that the customer understands what they’re going to experience at what time during the form. If they know what to expect, they’re not going to look for opportunities to try to get rid of distractions. They’re not going to look for reasons to bail, and they’re going to fill out the form of providing the information that you need. These are important critical steps to be thinking about. As long as you can provide a roadmap, you start to reduce some of the anxiety and reducing the anxiety and the friction in your form is critical to increasing your conversions and blowing up your sales.

So there we go. There’s plenty of other levers or dials or things that we can tinker with on forms to increase conversions, increase customer adoption rates, and just increase the interaction.