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Best Practices & Tips For Building Better Contact Us Forms

If you run a business, you need to make it easy for people to contact you. This is why most businesses have contact pages on their website that give prospects or customers information such as their phone number, address, email address and perhaps social media account information. Another option that every company should have on their website is a “contact us” form. This is a basic part of customer service in today’s world.

There are also websites where the whole objective of a given page is to get someone to fill out and submit a contact form. Beyond giving existing customers a way to contact you, it’s seen as a major method of lead generation. It, therefore, becomes important to make sure that the design of your contact forms on any pages where you may have them is as optimal as possible. The following tips will help drive up the conversions from your forms and deliver more leads to your sales force than they’ll know what to do with.

Placing Your Form in the Best Spot

If people have to do too much scrolling to run across it, then they’ll probably never see it. Web designers sometimes speak of information being “above the fold” or “below the fold” when referring to the placement of content on a webpage. This is an homage to how newspapers are folded over in the middle, and the potential buyer of a paper is only going to see the information on the top half when initially looking at it. This top half is considered to be above the fold.

In web design, “below the fold” translates to content that people have to scroll down to see. If your form requires any scrolling, make sure there’s compelling content leading to it that gets them to do that scrolling because if they don’t reach it before abandoning your page, then you just lost a lead.

Make It a Mobile-Friendly Form

Mobile web traffic has gone up by 222% from 2013 to 2018, and it now represents over 50 percent of all internet traffic. You have to design a form that is responsive, so it will render and function properly on a laptop, desktop or on any mobile device. There’s no excuse to not have a mobile-friendly website for 2020, and mobile-friendly forms on that site are just as critical. You can have one that has a splendid layout and well-sized fields on your laptop, but if it’s a jumble when someone brings it up on their phone or tablet, then you just lost a potential customer.

Make Sure User Errors Are Communicated

Form errors are a fact of life, so make sure you communicate when a user adds incorrect information to one of the form fields, or misses completing a form field that is marked “required”.

Error message best practices:

  • Don’t blame the user.
  • Write like a human.
  • Make sure errors are clear.
  • Make sure users know how to fix said errors.
  • Inline validation is a good solution.

Don’t Have too Many Form Fields

The KISS Principle or “keep it simple, stupid” is extremely relevant to successful form design and implementation. One of the biggest aspects of this is to not overdo it with the number of form fields. This makes perfect sense on an intuitive level. Longer forms take longer to fill out, and many people won’t have the patience for this in our short-attention-span world. Beyond intuitively accepting this as fact, there have also been actual studies on this. For one example, simply reducing a form from four fields to three has been shown to boost conversion by almost half.

In another case study, an 11-field contact form was replaced with a 4-field version, and form completions increased by 160%. (The quality of submissions stayed the same.)

Single-column beats multi-column forms

Using single column vs. multi column forms has been well researched in eye-tracking studies, case studies, and A/B tests. When you’re deciding between a single-column or multi-column form design, default to the single column.

In a CXL study, survey participants completed the linear, single-column form an average of 15.4 seconds faster than the multi-column form. This was significantly faster at a 95% confidence level.

In addition, instead of a first name and a last name field, just have a field that says “full name.” Instead of three fields for a phone number, use one.

Don’t Use CAPTCHA

Anyone who’s gone through a website and been asked to verify that they are not a robot has run through the process known as CAPTCHA. This is an acronym that stands for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.” It is widely used for reducing spam, but unfortunately, it also reduces the number of legitimate conversions when it comes to your forms.

There are various reasons for this. The images and text that can be impossible for a robot to make out can also be difficult for an actual person to identify. Anyone who has had to refresh the CAPTCHA image can attest to this. If you still wish to keep your spam down but your conversions up, you may want to consider implementing reCAPTCHA for your forms. This still inhibits spam but makes it easier on your actual prospects to get through this step.

Don’t Ask for Information You Don’t Need

This is related to the tip about limiting your number of form fields. A good way of accomplishing this is by not asking for information that you don’t actually need to follow up on the prospect who submits the form. Beyond this, however, there are specific types of information requests that will turn off most people filling out a form and get them to abandon it. Asking for a phone number would top this list. Having address information as a required field is also not popular with your potential customers and may cause them to leave the form before they submit it.

Test Your Form!

Don’t put it all together and assume everything should work fine because you used a certain highly recommended online form builder or had an agency handle it for you. Load up your form on your laptop, desktop, mobile phone and tablet, and make sure it looks and works right on every device.

When you fill in the fields and submit the form, does the information go where it’s supposed to? Also, make sure that any error messages are clear, so the user knows how to correct any issue they had while filling it out. Deliberately put incorrect information in a given field, and make sure the correct error message comes up that directs you on how to fix it.

Thanks for reading "Best Practices & Tips For Building Better Contact Us Forms", by the Linchpin Team in Chicago, Raleigh, and Wake Forest.

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