Getting started

Building an effective contact form and 5 classic mistakes to avoid!

A checklist on a clipboard with a refresh icon superimposed, over a purple background, symbolizing effective contact forms

Adding a contact form on your website is an effective way to enable users to easily contact you, all while maintaining control over messages from your customers.

In this article, we will be looking at the advantages of using a contact form on your site, and, above all, defining five tips for making your contact form effective.

What is a contact form?

Today, contact forms are present on the majority of websites on the internet. This consists of a short form for the user to fill out that sends a message to the owner of the website. A contact form is composed of a certain number of fields to be set by the owner, making it possible to gather visitor information and comments. These fields can include, in particular: name, email, address, telephone number, a file to download for an estimate, etc. This form is the first point of contact between a website and its visitors.

With time, it makes it easier to transform a visitor into a customer and increase revenue.

The 6 advantages of an efficient contact form

1. The contact form lets you reduce spam

Bots have learned to collect email addresses from the websites. By providing an email address on your website, you expose yourself to potentially receiving a large amount of spam. A contact form avoids flooding your inbox but not necessarily 100% of it: you can still get spam from the contact form. To reduce them, you can use a CAPTCHA (tests that enable you to differentiate a human user from a computer).

You can also configure an email list to block and insert addresses from the ones coming from spam.

2. The contact form increases the number of potential customers

Want to improve your sales prospects? The contact form makes the process easier for your visitors. It makes it possible for a user to get in touch with your more easily, by entering only the requested information, as opposed to email, which requires changing platforms.

3. A contact form helps save time

As your business grows, you will get more and more requests for information on your website. With a contact form, you can organize requests by category. This makes it possible for you to organize requests automatically and keep an eye on each request, when someone has taken responsibility for it, and who.  Email alone can’t do this kind of automatic sorting, unless you know how to handle filters with an advanced level of knowledge.

4. The contact form makes it possible to request a quote

You can make it possible for visitors to attach files to a contact form in order to request a quote. That way you can receive all the information you need to be able to produce one, without additional admin work.

5. A contact form enables you to create a distribution list

Contact forms can also be used to make it easier to subscribe to your newsletter, or any form of email communication. An effect way to increase your community with customers really interested in your content and your newsletter.

At the same time, it’s important to note that any email promotion requires getting explicit consent, known as “opt in,” in order to limit abuse online.

6. A contact form can be used for customer support

Most businesses provide customer support, and a contact form is the perfect solution to:

  • provide up-front reassurance before purchasing
  • offer online support to your users after purchase

In contrast with a telephone contact option, where you will sometimes not be able to reply, a contact form makes it possible to receive requests at any time and to ensure a virtual “paper trail” of the request.

Now that you’re up to speed on some of the advantages of a contact form, it’s time to talk about how to create one.

5 mistakes to avoid when creating your contact form

Every CMS offers a feature or a plugin that makes it possible to easily implement your contact form. On WordPress, you have several plugin options, particularly WPForms and Contact Form 7. With these intuitive plugins, you’ll be able to quickly create your contact form and customize it as you see fit.

A paid version of these plugins will offer you more templates and options.

Consider customizing certain aspects of your contact form to make it more clear and attractive to your users.

Mistake #1: Decontexualizing your contact form

You should consider inserting a brief introductory text ahead of your contact form. This text will make it possible to entice your users to contact you, but also to contextualize your form, by explaining, in particular, its goal: quote request, comments, support, etc. Try to be concise, so that you don’t overload yoru users with information and discourage them.

Mistake #2: Having too many fields to fill out in order to maximize the amount of information collected

A contact form that’s too long risks causing too many people to give up in the middle of filling it out. Make your form easy to fill, and only make the absolutely essential information required fields in order to encourage your users to fill it out.

The fields on the form will change according to your specific objectives, but there are several formatting options available, that you can directly customize. You can make certain data mandatory that you deem essential, such as your email address, and other data optional that you don’t deem essential, but might help your user communicate with you.

The principle of data minimization is described in the European Union’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) as providing that:

“personal data must be ‘adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed.'”

European Data Protection Supervisor

Even if you’re not in Europe, this principle is a good rule of thumb to follow.

For example, if having your visitors’ physical addresses or birthdays is not strictly necessary for your business, you shouldn’t (and if you’re in Europe you can’t) collect it in a contact form.

Finally, for forms that let you attach files, don’t forget to set up the document types (.jpg, .pdf, .doc, etc.) and even maximum size (in MB or GB) of document accepted.

Mistake #3: Using a boring confirmation button

The form’s send button, otherwise called the CTA (Call to Action) is also important. The message on this button is generally something like “Submit this form,” or just “Submit.” However, you can add some useful information for your users, particularly about response times to ensure your users have a quick response with a message like “Send my form for a response within 24 hours.”

Sending the form is a relevant indicator for measuring the performance of your site. This is how you’ll measure how many requests you receive. It’s important, then, to give people a reason to get to the end. An attractive CTA will encourage users not to leave before submitting.

Mistake #4: Forgetting the checkbox to sign up for your newsletter

Any user who takes the time to fill out a form is a person interested by your products and services. Feel free, then, to put a checkbox in your form allowing you to sign up for your newsletter for more content. This button lets you, with time, to increase the traffic to your pages, and your newsletter for more content. This button helps you, over time, increase the traffic on your website, and as such your conversion rate.

With WPForms, notably, you can easily integrate subscription forms with email marketing services like SendinBlue, Pardot, MailerLite, GetResponse, SendFox, MailChimp, or even Drip.

Mistake #5: Skipping the post-send message

Don’t forget to include a message to appear on your users’ screens once the form is sent. The classic message that you see on a contact form is often: “Form sent,” in green.

However, you can customize this message, or redirect your user to a “Thank you” page to which you can add different content like the most recent articles from your blog or your latest promos. This will increase the time spent on your website, your SEO, and your sales!

Conclusion

You now have all the cards in your hand to be able to set up an efficient and effective contact form on your website. This only takes a few minutes thanks to plugins offered by CMSes but is still key for managing requests from your users and making your communication with them easier.

On WordPress, creating your contact formula with the plugins mentioned above will only take a few minutes, and you’ll be able to customize your form as you see fit.

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