The goal of most businesses is to make sales and the goal of their website is to drive traffic and generate leads. One of the best ways to do this is with a Contact Form. But not just any contact form will do; designing a contact form that actually converts is an art.
Contact forms can be one of the easiest and most convenient ways to get in touch with people, but only if they’re designed and thought out thoroughly. I’m sure everyone of us has experienced the frustration of trying to fill in a lengthy, irrelevant, badly thought out contact form.
So to avoid your contact form being that second type, here are some tips to design the ultimate contact forms for your website:
Your contact forms need to be easy to find. Definitely include one on your Contact Us page, this gives the user options to choose how they want to contact you. A couple of other good places to include a contact form is in your sidebar or at the bottom of articles in your blog area.
Simplicity is key
Steve Jobs, once said, “Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.” and that is true too with your contact forms.
You’ve got to ask the least amount of questions in order to get the most valuable information. Name, phone and email are really all you need in order to communicate with the potential client. Once you’ve engaged with the lead, converting them becomes a lot easier.
Users will feel overwhelmed and choose not to fill in a lengthy form that looks like it will take an hour to submit or that asks for excessive and unnecessary personal information. Sticking to 2-4 easy to fill in fields will help to increase your conversion rate.
Example: A restaurant’s general enquiry form (not for bookings or reservations), will need only 3 fields. Name, phone and/or email and an optional message field. This provides the restaurant enough information to call or email the user back.
Consider the time taken to fill in your forms, the shorter the better and definitely less than 60 seconds or most users will lose interest. By keeping it concise you can show that you respect the privacy and time of your users.
Hubspot.com has actually done research on this. They tested 40,000 of their customers contact forms and by reducing the number of fields on their forms from 4 to 3 they found that conversion rates almost doubled.
When someone fills in a contact form it’s because they’re wanting some personal communication with you/ your company/ your brand; by personalising your contact form you’re conveying that you want them to get in touch with you too. Messages like: ‘Get in Touch’, ‘We love a chat’ or ‘drop us a line’ all help to personify your form and encourage users to fill it in.
Pay particular attention to your design colour choices, make sure the font is easy to read and the form fields are easily filled in. Dark and low contrasting colours can make your form feel uninviting and sterile.
Inviting and personalised form:
Dark and uninviting form:
Before you even start thinking about colours, fonts or the styling of the form, you need to be clear as to the purpose of the form. Have a brainstorming session to define exactly what information you really need from your users. If you cannot justify a field, leave it out.
Customise your thanks
By offering a customised thank you page, it will provide the user with some trust that their message didn’t just go into the internet abyss. Something like, ‘Thanks for your message/enquiry, we will give you a call/email within the next 24 hours’. Make it even more personal by saying who will contact them.
Your website is your ‘online identity’. Due to time and geographical differences, sometimes people cannot call or talk to you face-to-face. This is where a Contact Form comes in. It can be filled in anytime, anywhere by anyone by providing people with the ability to communicate with you. To increase the number of people filling in your forms, you have to have built trust with them. They are providing you with their personal details so the least you can do is assure them that as well as the contact form actually being actioned, that their information is safe.
A few great ways to build trust include:
- Evaluate if you really need some of their personal information, if it’s overly sensitive in nature, decide whether you can collect this from the user at a later date (if they become a customer or place an order).
- Make your fields clear in order to reduce confusion and invalid input errors. If some fields are required and others optional, make it clear to the user. If they do accidentally miss a field or fill it in incorrectly, tell them where they’ve gone wrong. There is nothing worse than getting the dreaded ‘your username and/or password entered is incorrect’ error message.
- Be user friendly – by insisting that phone numbers be entered a certain way with dashes or spaces or making irrelevant fields mandatory does not build trust, it just causes frustration on their end.
Offer alternate contact methods
While some people like forms, others don’t, so make sure that you offer multiple ways to get in contact with you. Whether it be a form, email address, store address, postal address, phone number (preferably not a mobile number) and social media channels, you are giving the user the option to choose how they’d like to communicate with you. Just make sure that whatever you use, someone is actually answering that phone or checking that social media channel or email address.
Design for mobile
As the majority of people these days use their phones and tablets to search for things online, by focusing on these users you can simplify your contact form design. We’ve all struggled to fill in a form on our iPhone, where the drop downs won’t scroll or you need to push the submit button but its cut off the side of the screen. Eliminate Form Rage (much like road rage) by testing that your forms are responsive on all devices. By considering mobile users throughout the design, you will most likely end up with a more concise and simple form.
There’s no doubt that Contact Forms are important, so use the tips listed above to help you create both a visually appealing AND extremely user friendly form that your customers will actually fill out.
At Fireworks, we are experts in all things Form design, so for professional advice, give us a call on 1300 660 160.