Your online contact forms are the workhorse of your website. They need to do the tough job of enticing new clients to convert and contact your business. Check out these 5 mistakes we typically see companies making with their online forms design and web design – and what you can do to make sure your website forms are converting and generating new client leads for you.

Online Form Mistake #1: Not Utilizing Online Forms

Many businesses use an email address on their Contact Us page instead of a contact form. While it may seem like giving an email address makes you more accessible, in our experience, most people actually prefer to fill out a form rather than email your business. Why? It comes down to user friendliness and convenience. A form asks for their name, contact info and may ask what service or product they’re inquiring about. That extra effort in having to think and write that information in an email sometimes detracts people from actually taking the step of contacting you. Let’s face it, people are generally lazy and asking someone for extra effort in their communication provides another reason for them to go…“nah forget it, too hard!

By NOT offering an online form on your website, you end up giving users extra steps (and increasing resistance) to completing that “conversion step of contacting you. An alternative to an e-mail link is an online form that simplifies the process and increases conversions.

Forcing potential clients to send you an email instead of offering a contact form to fill out actually creates an additional step and hurdle that may prevent someone from getting in touch. An online form always offers more convenience and prompts people for their information versus the “thinking effort” required by an email they have to craft on the spot.

Online Form Mistake #2: Failing to Ask Permission to Email or State Your Privacy Policy

Canadian anti-spam legislation (CASL) requires you to ask for permission to send emails if you wish to be compliant with the law. You can achieve this compliance by using online forms that ask permission and offer an opt in for future communications. A user can opt into your email updates by checking a box on an online form, such as “Yes, please subscribe me to future updates from your firm”. This not only puts you in compliance with CASL, but also allows you to market to them in the future and nurture that relationship.

Even if you’re not marketing in Canada, it’s good practice to gather permission and evidence of that important email opt in and avoid any spam complaints in future. With FormStack forms, the record of the form submission is recorded in an online submissions database and dashboard. So you always have “proof” of the time and date of the inquiry and the opt in.

Adding a privacy statement and CASL compliant permission check box on your form means you have permission to contact that person in the future and send them any follow up messages and/ or promotions if they opt in.

Online Form Mistake #3: Lack of An Auto-response Email

One problem with many online forms is when they are filled out, the submission seemingly goes into a “black box” and the user doesn’t really know if the company received it or not. A common complaint is not hearing back from a company within a reasonable amount of time after filling out a form. If a user feels unconfident about whether their form was even received, this may prompt them to “keep shopping” and visit competitor sites, requesting multiple quotes.

One way to address that is making sure that each time someone contacts you via your online form, they get an automatic email response, confirming receipt of their inquiry and acknowledging that they will hear back from one of your team members within 1 to 2 business days.

By using Formstack forms, you can easily set up auto-response emails that are sent to users automatically after completing the form.

Always make sure your online form is set up with an auto-response email, so your potential client gets that immediate message from you when they submit their inquiry. It’s an important step in the beginning of your professional relationship with them and provides that immediate assurance that you have heard them and will be in touch soon.

Online Form Mistake #4: Failure to Make Use of Video on Your Landing Page

If a potential client visiting your site is the beginning of your “business courtship”, then filling out an online form is the digital equivalent of saying “yes” to a date with you. Before your potential client accepts dinner and a Netflix and chill, they need to know you, like you, and trust you.

A short video on your Contact Us page introducing your business, ideally with a friendly intro from the owner can instill your future client with a sense of trust, something often over looked but necessary to get someone to want to fill out your contact form. You may want to consider adding a short video that will both serve as an introduction to your firm and its services. In our marketing practice we’ve seen videos hugely increase the response rate on our clients forms. See video contact form examples here from ShiftLaw, a Toronto Trademark Lawyer and Ken Pope Law, a disability estate planning lawyer.

A video helps create trust and confidence and can help “seal the deal” and lower resistance when someone is about to fill out an online form to contact you.

Online Form Mistake #5: Not having an Appointment Scheduling Form

The process of having a user fill out a form to then schedule a consultation time with you can be time consuming. In the best case scenario, someone will contact you and you may end up having to play phone and email tag, trying to nail down the best time to meet them. Instead, many of our clients are offering an online calendar booking form. Offered by Calendly or Schedule Once, these apps typically integrate with your Google or Outlook Calendar and are highly customizable to show only the available time slots you want to offer, as your schedule permits. It’s a great way to give potential leads the “immediate gratification” of being booked in your calendar *without* having to be contacted again. You’re in their calendar immediately, without the chase.

Providing an online appointment scheduler as part of your contact form be a conversion game-changer, allowing your prospect to make an appointment immediately and be booked in your calendar.

Watch our latest video where we go through the 5 biggest form mistakes businesses make and what you can do to avoid them!

Ready to take your online forms and digital marketing to the next level? Contact us and let’s talk! napkin marketing is a digital marketing agency that supports businesses of all sizes with their web design, SEO digital marketing, social media and lead generation.

As a Google Adwords, FormStack and Mailchimp partner, napkin marketing has been supporting businesses with digital marketing since 2010. Contact us and let’s talk about your next project!

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