Your website is your online gateway to the world. The main content of the website is like the front garden, where everyone can see it. Your website forms are the door to the house.
The problem is with many websites, they either don’t have a front door, or it’s broken.
Those websites without a door at all provide no way to connect with the business owner at all. These websites are extremely frustrating when you need to contact the business. You should always provide some method of contact on your website.
The next type of website is those with broken doors. Not enough contact information or the forms ask for far too much information. Nobody wants to provide their life story just to ask a basic question to your business. You want to make sure that any form on your website collects minimal information to achieve the purpose of the form.
Perhaps the worst version in our example is the sites with a door frame but no door. You never want your site to be in this category. These are the sites that provide an email directly on the site itself. Wide open to spam and harvesting, this is the worst thing to do with your email address.
So now that you know you want some forms on your website, where should you have them and what should you ask for? Let’s look at five forms you might want to consider.
Contact Page Form
The most common form can be found on the contact page. It’s an easy place for people to end up when they want to reach out. This form works best when you only ask for the basics. You don’t know what stage of the journey the visitor is in, so keep it simple.
I recommend asking for name, and email as the most common fields. Phone can also be useful if it fits what you need for connecting with your visitor. Don’t include a subject field. Your website can provide a default subject to the emails. Lastly include a message field so they can ask their question.
Email Newsletter Signup Form
Keeping in touch with prospects is critical in business. And your newsletter is an easy way to make that happen. The nice thing is you can sprinkle this form around the site and encourage signups all over the place. For example, I add a sign-up form at the bottom of many of my blog articles.
Newsletter forms are cold contacts in nature. You get people to sign up and then nurture them into a sale. Ideally, you should ask for their name and email. If needed, you can also include a consent box. I recommend skipping any extra fields as you could ask for these later in your email newsletter.
Sometimes it’s nice to include an easy spot for people to send you reviews. Not everyone wants to leave a review on Facebook or Google. Adding a form for them to send you a review directly can be helpful. It’s also a great way to collect testimonials for your marketing material.
When thinking about fields for these forms, make them as simple as you can. Think about how you would want to fill out a review. Don’t ask for too much extra information but provide them space to express how they feel. Include prompts if desired to help people expand their reviews and add relevant information for others.
Scheduling / Booking Form
Of course, you want a way for your prospects to connect and book your services. This could even be the second most important form on your website. Don’t leave prospects hanging with no way to reach out. You want to ensure that people can schedule services when they are ready to do so.
This form could very well be the most complex form on your site. But that’s ok because the prospect is in the right mode to fill it out. You can use the form to collect information that can help you filter prospects in your process. Or even learn about the service they are requesting so you have a better idea when it comes time to quote pricing.
Only add as many fields as you need to gather and move the prospect forward or schedule their appointment.
Customer Service Form
Sometimes it’s nice to provide a place for existing customers to request support. When done properly, you can make customers feel special and provide them with a quick way to get the information they need. Place these forms inside dashboards, or on pages that might leave customers with questions.
Depending on where the form is, will determine what information you need to collect. For example, in our project dashboard, there is a support form. But because the only people that can access the dashboard are already customers, fields such as name and email are not needed. This information is grabbed directly from the page. A subject field selection can be useful here, so you can sort requests to the proper department or person.
Forms are a critical part of an effective website. When you use them to collect minimal information and place them strategically, it can improve your customer experience.
Think about the flow of your prospects and how you want to interact. Then provide forms in the best spots to keep prospects moving along your business process.