Most contact pages these days include a contact form. I’m sure you’ve seen the garden variety… fill out your name, email address, message and click “Send.”
Let’s take a look at why contact forms have become so popular and why you may want to use one on your website.
It used to be sufficient to include a linkable email address on a Contact Page. But two problems emerged over time.
- Business owners began receiving large amounts of spam email as a result of “bots” scanning websites to find email addresses
- The sender’s email was getting marked as “spam” so the recipient never saw the email, leaving the sender feeling ignored
The solution was a contact form.
Advantages of Using a Contact Form
Using a contact form offers many advantages to both the sender and the receiver.
Contact forms significantly reduce the problem of emails getting marked as spam. This is especially important if visitors use an email with a non-business domain (ie Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail), as these often get filtered as spam. When a visitor sends a message using the form, it has a much better chance of reaching the recipient, regardless of what email they use.
Better response time
By using rules and filters, messages that are sent using a form can be routed to a high priority inbox instead of getting lost in the crowd with all the other emails. Thus, messages sent from the contact form can be responded to more quickly.
Contact forms can be tracked in Google Analytics to better understand where these leads originated from and what they looked at on the website before contacting you
Relevant and efficient
By using a form, you can guide people. For instance, if someone wants to contact you about working together, you can send them to a more detailed form that includes some initial questions you always ask potential clients. This keeps them on track, as well as saves time for both parties by reducing the back and forth of emails.
Set clear expectations
After the contact form is sent, you have the opportunity to communicate with the visitor immediately, via an automated email reply and / or directing them to a web page. Be sure to let the sender know when they can expect to hear from you. Tell them it may be 2 days so they aren’t disappointed when they don’t hear back within the hour. And if you get back to them faster? Well, you just exceeded their expectation!
But Some People Just Don’t Like Forms
The two arguments against using a contact form that I hear most are:
- Forms are impersonal
- Some people just don’t like to fill out forms, so they leave — and you miss a potential connection
When you click on a Contact page and are immediately asked to fill out your name, email, phone number, and message, it can feel like the email version of screening phone calls.
Here are a few simple ways to make “the form” feel more personal using copy, color, and photos.
You can add so much personality to your forms just using copy. Insert your own voice into your form. Here are a couple of examples…
I’m here to answer any questions you have about <<insert your specialty here>>. Drop me a note and I will respond as quickly as I can.
I know you may think filling out a form is kind of a drag. I get it. But it actually helps me respond to you more quickly. After you hit send, your message will be automatically routed to my TOP PRIORITY folder instead of getting lost with all the other frivolous emails of the day.
So what can I help you with today?
Or even something as simple as:
I’m accepting new clients and I am excited to hear about your project!
Always be sure to include a personal confirmation message after the form is sent. Tell them when to expect a response. And you could even include links to some resources they might find helpful.
Spruce up your form just by adding a little color to the font or the form fields. Just don’t get carried away.
Include a stunning, humorous, or other kind of photo that reflects your brand.
Try some of the suggestions mentioned above and see if you can make your form more personal. If someone still does not want to fill out your form, maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.
And if you are still really concerned about missing a potential connection, you can always include your email address, along with the form, and give the visitor of choice of how to contact you. Just be aware of some of the advantages you may be missing out on by encouraging contact outside of a form.