Your contact form is arguably one of the most important elements of your website. First-time visitors have no idea if they can trust you and your product or not. They may have questions about how your product works or want to test your customer service and see what the response to a question is. Before placing that final order, most people check for contact information.
Imagine you’re a first-time visitor to your own website. You consider ordering a product. First, you want to make sure you know how to return the item if there is a problem with it. There is no contact information listed anywhere. There’s no toll-free number to call and no live chat. You can’t even find a contact form. What do you do? More than likely, you abandon the shopping cart and move on to a competitor who does have their contact information listed.
Once you place it on your home page, you’ll also want to focus on the way you present your contact information. Here are 11 ways to improve your contact form:
1. Use Fewer Fields
There are many studies that show the fewer fields you place on your form, the better it converts. As the number of form fields increases, the number of conversions decreases.
Take a close look at your contact form and figure out what information you must have to complete the conversion. If you’re signing people up for a newsletter, you only need an email and possibly a first name, so you can personalize your messages.
On the other hand, if you need to call the person back because they are a new lead, you’ll need their telephone number. Just be aware that the more information you ask for, the more the consumer may balk. After all, you might share that information. Getting too in-depth may cause some people to bounce away from your site rather than submitting the form.
Best Products is a shopping site. One way it converts browsers into customers is by getting consumers to sign up for its email list. It keeps the form for this super simple. It just wants your email and that’s it. One field and one click and it’s done.
2. Make the Form Easy to Find
While there is no solid rule about where you should locate your contact form, it needs to make sense for your site. At what point do you need the information from your site visitors? In the case of a form that only asks for an email so you can contact the customer via your mailing list, you may put it in a popup the minute the user lands on your page.
On the other hand, if you need to collect information to better understand the needs of a lead, then you’ll want to place it after the consumer’s had a chance to figure out what you offer and why they’re interested in it.
Figuring out the best placement isn’t easy. Try different positions and do some A/B testing to see which one converts best.
3. Let the Customer Call the Shots
If you don’t yet have the resources to staff a live chat but you still want to collect leads, make the process as simple as possible for your users. For example, you might list some options of how you can get in touch with them, such as through email, phone or snail mail. Also, ask how to reach them and the best times to do so. This shows the customer that you care about whether or not a phone call is convenient for them. They’ll be more likely to share their telephone number if they know you won’t abuse the privilege.
Sitech West does a good job of letting the customer call the shots on its contact page. Note how it asks for some simple information, such as name, email address and phone number. Then, it adds an option about the best times to contact the lead — morning, afternoon, or evening. It also adds a box for additional information. This shows the potential customer that they care about whether they’re calling at a convenient time.
4. Improve Your Layout
Something you might not have thought about is the length of your form fields. Researchers tracked eye movements and found that the size of input fields should be about the same length as what you expect answers to be. For a first name, this would be eight characters or less — not 20. There should be one question per row, and labels should be above the input field.
There is also a certain aesthetic to the way form fields stack on top of each other. Is everything aligned so it is easy to read and pleasing to the eye? If not, make adjustments as needed. One of the best ways to learn layout is to study what other successful sites do with their contact forms, which is why a few case studies are scattered throughout this article.
5. Make Your CTA Button Stand Out
Your call to action (CTA) has a big impact on how well your form converts. First, your button needs to contrast with the rest of the page. This makes it pop. While you don’t want the button to clash with the rest of your color palette, you also don’t want it to blend in.
The color you choose makes a difference in how often people click on your CTA button. The color red often has the best response rate from users, but this varies depending on your site and your target audience. One idea is to start with a red CTA button and then try out other colors and split test to see which one users respond to best.
Discovery Clothing Co. uses a red CTA button on its contact form. The button contrasts sharply against the white background, drawing the user’s eye and inviting them to click on the button and complete the form. A color that pops leads to more conversions than a color that blends in.
6. Delete Captcha
Captcha is great for getting rid of bot entries, but it annoys users to no end. Have you been on a site where you had to nonstop click the boxes with the cars in them, but the images aren’t really clear and you click the wrong ones? It takes several attempts sometimes to get the “click the image” style Captcha correct. Many users won’t bother with it. They’ll just leave and forget about contacting you altogether.
In one study, about 3 percent of users simply bounced away when faced with Captcha. In a world where not everyone who lands on your page converts, that adds up. Lose the Captcha, find other ways to deal with spam and keep the leads.
7. Offer Choices
Do you serve more than one type of customer persona? If so, you may need to separate your contact forms into several different versions. This allows you to present a contact form best suited for the needs of the individual customer. You present a number of options that take the consumer to the correct form for their needs. You may also want to offer a more general contact form for questions that fall outside the main areas.
Yummy Gum does a good job of offering several options to site visitors. Visitors choose from projects, meeting for coffee, or birds and bees. It presents the choices in a humorous and conversational way. When you make a choice, you’re offered additional details from which to choose, such as timeframe and project type.
8. Add Mobile Responsiveness
Is your form responsive to mobile users? More and more people are accessing the internet via their mobile devices. Mobile internet browsing makes up over 50 percent of the total online traffic around the world. As smartphones become more popular and internet service faster and more reliable, expect these stats to increase. If your form isn’t responsive to a smaller screen, you risk losing at least half of your site visitors.
You should test your contact form on various size screens. Take the time to scroll through and fill out the form on a smaller screen. Do you have to enlarge the screen to see the forms? Make the process as easy as possible to improve the user experience (UX).
9. Make the Phone Number Field Optional
Don’t make it mandatory for users to share their phone number. One study showed that people hate sharing their phone numbers online. In one study, making the phone number form field optional doubled conversion rates from 43 percent to 80 percent. If you don’t have to ask for the phone number, you may just want to remove the field completely.
Think about the times you’ve shared your personal phone number with a company and then been inundated with calls from telemarketers. It is frustrating. Today, we have our phones on us everywhere we go. Getting nonstop telemarketing calls is distracting. This is one of the reasons people are so reluctant to share their personal phone numbers with companies. You’re probably better off not asking for the number until you’ve established some other form of contact and a relationship with the client.
10. Use Descriptive Words
The words you use on your CTA button have an impact on conversions as well. Play around with different phrasing and see what converts well for your site visitors. Studies show that switching from the word “submit” to a word such as “go” or “click here” increases conversions by as much as 30 percent. Other studies show that using first-person CTAs has an impact, so if you work appropriate phrasing into your CTA, you may see even higher conversions.
For example, if your current CTA says, “Submit Form,” change it to “Get My Free Estimate.” Do a split test and see which version gets more conversions. First person is more effective and the descriptive words explain exactly what happens after the user submits the form. The two work together to increase conversions on your site.
There are samples online of appropriate privacy policies that are GDPR compliant.
Improve Your Contact Form
Creating a contact form that draws visitors in and converts them into leads is a matter of trying new techniques and testing them thoroughly. The concept that works for one site might not work for another. You’re busy growing your business. You don’t have time to worry about whether your forms convert well, but implementing these quick changes can make a huge difference in your bottom line.
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Lexie is a graphic designer and UX strategist. Her work is featured on Manta, Marketo, Website Magazine, Creative Bloq, and Sunlight Media.
Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.