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8 ways to generate more business from your web site forms

I know they are a bit boring and technical but they are a great source of enquiries and done right you’ll get MORE enquiries, and it’s an EASY WIN!  I look at many web sites during my reviews of a new client’s online properties and one area then regularly lets down a site is the way forms are handled.

Forms are so simple to get right. Let’s look at a simple enquiry form as seen on nearly every web site.  You might was to try your own form now and see what your users are seeing, then have a look at some of my points below.

1 – Keep the fields to a minimum and KEEP IT SIMPLE

What do you have to know? Name, email address, message.  Our goal is to persuade the user to get in touch so don’t ask for anything we don’t need to know, every new field is a barrier to completion.

2 – Make the form look attractive. It’s easier to fill in something you like the look of.

Layout need to be simple but easy on the eye. Fields should have labels. Field lengths should be appropriate to the data you are asking for.

3 – The form field ID’s (programming stuff) should match the content.

E.G. the EMAIL fields ID should be EMAIL. Why? Because form filling software like that found in modern browsers or applications like Roboform need to match fields, and if you use software like this (and you should as it’ll save you hours) it’s very irritating when the fields aren’t filled in automatically.

4 – Make sure you have a “Thank you” page.

When a form is completed you have the opportunity to redirect them to a new page.  Use this opportunity to look professional and make a good impression.  So don’t just say “Thank you for filling in the form”.

Here’s an idea for your thank you page:

Many thanks for sending us your enquiry. We will respond to you within 1 working day. If your enquiry is more urgent please call us on 0800 9885534 where our customer service team will be happy to deal with your enquiry immediately.

If you are looking for general information you might find your answer in our Frequently Asked Questions area here

Very best regards,

The team at WSI Web Based Marketing

5 – Customer Service systems.

Customers now expect you to deal with them through multiple channels, phone, email, forms, social, and more. If they send you an enquiry form and then phone you they will expect these two actions to be linked on your system, so the Customer Service Representative (CSR) they speak to should be able to see their case when they call. There are several online web site platforms such as WSI’s eFusion that offer automated handling of forms so you can utilise the form response as part or your internal workflow. If your web platform doesn’t support this the incoming email from the form can be added to your customer service system in most cases.

If you’re a smaller business then it’s often easier as it’s typically the same person that is dealing with incoming enquiries.  Even so respond to incoming enquiries as soon as you can as they are just as valuable as an incoming call.

6 – An auto responder.

It’s often a good idea to send the user an email thanking them for their enquiry.  This is especially important if you have a system that allocates a case number to the enquiry so the user can quote this if they call you.  It’s also an opportunity to engage so make sure if they reply to the email it comes to a person.

7 – CAPTCHA, That irritating letter and number thing you have to fill in.

It stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.

All CAPTCHA’s are irritating and the harder they are to read the less likely you are to get the enquiry.

My personal view is that they should not be used and you should deal with the span in house.  Even with CAPTCHA you’ll get spam.  If you have to use it keep it VERY SIMPLE.

8 – The SUBMIT button.  Please don’t use the word SUBMIT.

I can’t think of a less attractive work to ask someone to click on.  Use SEND US YOUR ENQUIRY or something that is a call to action, make it a pleasant experience not a submissive one!

I hope this helps and if you have time try one of your own forms now and see what your customers see.

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