10 Tips To Increase Inquiries Through Your Website Contact Form
Business owners these days understand and care a lot about web design, presentation, marketing and even SEO. While design and marketing helps in attracting visitors to a website or a webpage, the business needs to convert them in order to generate sales or at least get leads from the site in question. One important factor in this conversion funnel is the action page itself. Also known as the contact page, this page carries a web contact form, which users fill to get in touch with you.
Visitors on your website would be of all types – semi-interested, hesitant and confused and any inconvenience in getting in touch with you via the contact form can turn them directly towards your competitors.
The following ten practices, if followed properly, while designing and implementing a contact form can increase the “conversion rate” of your website tremendously.
1. Less mandatory fields
If you are not bothered with Address information, do not make it mandatory. And this is true for all the other fields too that you do not care for, much. Remember that these visitors are “suspects” only and don’t even qualify as prospects, so asking for too many things, won’t really help.
2. Provide input type information
The fields in your contact form that require validation should carry the validation format near the label or towards the end of the field so that users understand what is expected of them.
ZIP Code: (enter in this format XXXX-XXXX)
3. Relevant validation alerts
For fields that require validation, display a proper validation error instead of a general message like”incorrect input”. Telling users what exactly you require is better than telling them what you do not require.
4. Input data loss upon incorrect validation
A very common problem that is found in majority of the contact forms online. This happens when a visitor spends a considerable amount of time in filling and submitting the form only to know that the validation didn’t happen properly and thus she has to return back and all the data they entered is now gone.
5. Easily Viewable and Accessible Contact Page
Do not bury the contact page deep under the hierarchy of menu and sub menu items. Making the contact form page as visible as possible is the best way to define a “call-to-action” on your website. If possible, link to the contact page from all three navigation paths – the global, footer and content navigation. Also, label the Contact page as contact page and do not try to be adventurous with naming conventions.
6. Kiss Principle
Keep it short and simple. These golden words apply to contact forms too. Use visual clues for input types like radio buttons, check boxes etc, so that visitors don’t have to think too much while filling in the values. Try and avoid jargon and bombastic labels/description. You do not want them to pick up the dictionary; you want them to contact you so that you can do business.
7. Sufficient Options
Always remember that a contact form inquiry is a real person (most of the times) having a requirement, question or a doubt. The reply fields should be forgiving enough to provide options like “Don’t Know/NA/may be/any for users to whom either the field doesn’t apply or who don’t know the reply. Don’t make them think too much.
8. Thank you pages and auto responders
For contact forms, a reassurance that the inquiry has reached to the concerned person is of importance. Else, the visitors loose direction as they are unsure of what happened after the submitted the form.
A proper thank you page is a bare minimum. Keep testing the form regularly to ensure that it is working fine and the thank you page loads correctly. If possible, mention in unequivocal terms, the time that would be required to get back in touch with them. All of us love prompt responses. If you can make it fast, tell it to them.
Auto responders are another way of assuring visitors that you will soon be getting in touch with them.
9. Readable CAPTCHA
CAPTCHA validation is an image or text (usually a formula) confirmation, without which users cannot submit. If you are a small business who receives 1-2 inquiries from your website per day, it is good to even not have the CAPTCHA implemented. But if your site is a big, popular destination, you may need a CAPTCHA validation to keep bots, malicious scripts and automatic scrapers away.
While implementing a CAPTCHA validation, make sure that the images are not distorted to an extent which makes them illegible. Audio playing options are supported these days so that the code can be read out and the users can type it in.
10. Mark Thank you page as a goal conversion in your Analytics Software
While this has nothing to do with keeping visitors happy, it is essential for you to understand how visitors interact with your website. Web analytics tools like Google Analytics let you define a “conversion” which for most of the major business types can be getting the lead, marked by viewing the thank you page.
What all can be done with Web Analytics and this goal tracking information, needs a couple of articles by themselves.
Remember that the contact form on your website is the first step that your users would be taking to get in touch with you. Making life easier for them through design, development, implementation and placement best practices can be the difference that the website brings to your business.