Have you ever heard of the Seahawks’ 12th Man? Those who follow football know that only 11 players from each team are allowed on the field at any given time. However, Seattle’s fans have been branded as the “12th Man” ( or “the 12s” for legal reasons) because of the profound effect their vocal presence and support has had on the Seahawks’ games.
That’s how we feel about websites.
They might not be a living, breathing team member who can call leads and attend company meetings – but they are still an incredibly important part of a business’s sales, marketing, and customer relationship efforts.
When executed well, a WordPress website will help businesses achieve a number of those goals.
While the goals may vary based on the type of business or services offered, there is one universal goal that every website strives for:
And to generate leads, you need to offer a way for customers to engage with you – whether that be through a phone call, email, live chat, social media inquiry, or by filling out a form.
It’s the latter that we’re going to focus on today.
More specifically, we’ll be diving into the benefits of using contact forms on your WordPress site, and what type of form is the best for various occasions.
First let’s start with some contact form basics…
The Logic Behind Using Contact Forms
Today’s consumer prefers a multi-channel communication approach.
What does this mean exactly?
Well, consumers want options. Gone are the days of phone book searches in order to find a business’s contact info.
There are now more options available –and consumers expect to have access to them.
That’s why a website is an essential contact point for every business – from the independent blogger to the multi-chain retailer.
When someone Googles the type of service or information they’re looking for and finds your website, that’s the first step in their customer journey.
It’s then your job to guide them through the rest of that journey and to the end-goal: contacting you.
Regardless of which method of communication visitors to your WordPress site prefer, it’s important to have contact forms at the ready.
It’s even more important to make sure your contact forms are engaging. After all, research shows that 81% of people abandon a form after beginning to fill it out.
The good news is, once you’ve planned out your contact form strategy properly, landing those conversions should be a piece of cake.
7 Reasons You Need Contact Forms On Your WordPress Website
Every business and, consequently, every website, wants to achieve the same thing.
They want to reach the right audience—the audience who needs their services, information, or products and are willing to contact you to learn more.
There is a lot of work that goes into driving the right traffic to your site, but once they’re there, it’s your job to call them to action.
Contact forms are a very popular form of CTA as their inherent nature is to help businesses and customers (or prospects) more easily engage with one another.
And because of this, there are a number of advantages you can expect from using contact forms on your WordPress website:
The Little-Known Benefits Of Using Contact Forms
1.Increase Your Site UX / Audience Satisfaction:
By including simple forms that require minimal contact info in exchange for what visitors want, you’re giving them a no-fuss solution to reach you. It also puts the onus on you to make that phone call or send that email, which many customers will find an attractive option.
Spammers and spambots are known for sweeping websites in search of mailto: tags, so publishing your email address information on your website may be opening you up to a number of vulnerabilities. To save yourself the hassle (and possible security threats), contact forms are a great alternative for the visitors who want to message you online.
There are many ways contact forms help businesses save time: 1) Less of a need for cold calling. 2) Less data entry when contact forms are linked to a CMS. 3) Less need for back-and-forth when FAQs and next steps can be shared during or after the contact form submission process.
4.Collect Consistent Information:
Whatever information is needed from a visitor (general contact info or perhaps more comprehensive answers regarding their needs), contact forms ensure that businesses are collecting the same info from everyone, every time.
Contact forms are a great way to help businesses keep their customer and lead information organized with electronic records from every submission.
Even if you’re using forms for content giveaways, surveys, or some other more creative purpose, contact forms still provide you with a way to collect new lead information for future use. (e.g. If they signed up for a white paper in the past, they may be interested in hearing about your services when you contact them in the future).
If there’s anything social media has taught us, it’s that consumers want to engage with brands.
A contact form offers them an easy way to do that and demonstrates to your visitors that you’ll be there when they’re ready to take that next step.
Remember: when used correctly, contact forms can be a very powerful sales and marketing tool; i.e. your 12th Man.
Now it’s time to figure out what type of form will work best for your site.
How To Choose The Right Type Of Contact Form
Many websites will use a mix of contact forms in order to convert visitors through different means.
What you end up choosing for your website will depend on what you have to offer.
Consider the following WordPress form options:
The Basic Contact Form
This is the generic form you’ll find on every website. It usually appears on the Contact page, but will also be present after blog posts and at the bottom of special landing pages that want visitors to take a specific action.
If your purpose is to entice visitors to contact you, this is the form to use.
The Giveaway Form
The giveaway form is for businesses or marketers who can give something away for free and get visitors’ contact info in exchange for it. So for marketers, you usually see this in the form of a “Free White Paper” that requests an email address in exchange for the free collateral piece.
HubSpot always do a great job with their lead magnets and forms.
For other businesses, the perfect example of this is when a website offers up a chance to win a free trip [gift, assessment, etc.] in exchange for the contestant’s email address as an “entry fee.”
The Purchase Form
Any website dealing in the selling of goods or services online will have an order form.
Depending on how extensive the ordering process is, these types of forms can become quite lengthy and this is usually where you’ll find multi-page forms put to use.
The Calculator Form
When sales people talk to customers about how their product will help them save X amount of dollars every month, they will almost always have a tried-and-true formula in place to back that up.
So for websites hoping to land sales (or just get the conversation started), having a calculator form on the site is a great way to get those prospects interacting, discovering what they can gain from those services (or lose without them), and ultimately reaching out for more info.
The Login Form
For websites that offer memberships or special access to parts of their website to partners, customers, suppliers, etc., a sign-up and login form is a necessary piece of that process.
Make login forms as simple as possible to keep your audience coming back!
The Survey Form
Survey forms can serve a number of purposes. They can serve as a way to get visitors engaged with an interesting or informative topic.
They can serve as a way to help you collect information for building case studies and reports.
And they can serve as a way to learn more about what your audience wants and help you adjust your business model accordingly.
The Subscription Form
Websites that produce regular updates to their content will usually offer short subscription forms.
So for someone who produces a lot of blog posts or a regular newsletter, this form is a great way to stay top-of-mind with visitors as new updates are pushed out while collecting information for future use.
Our own subscription form for the WPMU DEV blog.
The Google Form
Google contact forms can be a handy way to put out event invites and more. (Image: https://zapier.com/learn/google-sheets/how-to-use-google-forms/)
Chances are you’ve seen a Google form recently. They’re very easy to set up and very flexible in terms of the type of information you want to collect (job applications, surveys, service requests, etc).
Stored in the cloud with all your other Google documentation, these forms provide websites with a free way to collect information from customers (as opposed to a CMS) and keep it all in one place.
The Pop-Up Form
For those trying to maintain a minimal site design or for those simply wanting to put a form in a hard-to-miss location, pop-ups are a great alternative.
The Multi-Page Form
Many of the form types above could potentially take up multiple pages (especially anything having to do with the ordering process).
The ultimate purpose is spreading a form submission out across many pages is to make the process of filling out so many fields a little less daunting for customers.
It also helps to ease them through different (but logical) phases in order to reach the end-goal.
The Easiest Way To Create Your Own Contact Forms in WordPress
Contact forms should always be reflective of what your business does and what sort of information you need from visitors in order to take the appropriate next steps in building a relationship with them.
Regardless of how extensive your needs are, the following three step guide and suggested tools will set you well on your way to getting the most out of the contact forms on your site.
Step 1: Select a Contact Form Plugin
There are plenty of great contact form plugins to choose from in the WP Directory.
If you want to create a contact form, the easiest way to do it, is to use a plugin.
You’ll want to first identify what sort of form you need from the list of form types we talked about earlier. It will also of course depend on the context of how the form fits in with your website.
To help you choose the right plugin, here are 5 of the best contact form plugins as chosen by us to get you started. Also, here’s another list of some great pop-up plugins we put together if you’re wanting to go that route.
Put off by the thought of using a pop-up on your website? Don’t worry you’re not alone. But we think you should really give them a chance!
Check out this fantastic article we put together about how to create pop-ups that don’t scare off your visitors.
Step 2: Install The Contact Form Plugin On Your Website
Once you’ve selected which plugin to use, the next step is of course setting it up on your website.
Here’s a great step by step tutorial on how you can easily build your own contact form in WordPress using our own Forminator plugin.
Even better, you can check out this full video tutorial breakdown if you’re a more visual type of guy or gal.
Step 3: Close The Contact Form Loop
The last step in the setup of any form is to make sure you’ve provided a quality experience for your site’s visitors from start-to-finish.
So that doesn’t just mean having a fully functioning form that provides them with the product, service, or phone call which they had sought out.
That means that once they submit that form, they’re redirected to another well-thought-out page.
Does the contact form leave visitors wondering what’s next? Send them to a landing page that explains next steps or contains a comprehensive FAQ.
Does the form complete a purchase? Send them to a confirmation page.
Or is the form just a subscription to your blog? Then direct them to a Thank You page or to a blog post that may be of interest.
You’ve spent so much time designing a great website. There’s no reason to lose your visitors’ interest once you’ve got their info.
Well Executed Forms Are Your Express Ticket To More Leads And a Better UX
Ultimately, the purpose of a WordPress contact form is to give visitors a chance to reach out to you when they’re ready.
Regardless of the type of form (or forms) you use, keep in mind the following before you begin to build any of these out:
- Try to only have one form on any given page. Too many competing CTAs can create a confusing and negative experience for visitors.
- Keep the number of form fields to a minimum. The less work visitors have to do, the more receptive they’ll be to give you their information.
- Create strong, but simple messaging within the form. You want to draw in their attention and hold it until they submit their information.
- Part of the reason you’re using forms is to cut down on the amount of data entry required of you, so make sure to link your forms to a CMS or payment process for easy data collection and processing.
- For some of these forms (like the Contact page form), you’ll want to include alternate contact info alongside it so your visitors are still presented with a variety of contact options.
- In terms of where to place your form, you really won’t know what works best until it’s been on your site. While above-the-fold forms do seem to perform better, that’s not always the case. Consider using A/B testing to find the optimum spot.
- If you’re ever collecting customer information (in this case, you definitely are), make sure you have a privacy statement set up and that you have provided proof of it near the form.
- Always, always, always make sure it’s responsive. If your contact form doesn’t properly work on mobile devices, you’ll be missing out on a huge opportunity to convert.
Follow most of the tips above and you’ll be well on your way to collecting new leads with ease.
As an added bonus, you’ll improve UX and potential customers will already be impressed by your brand before they officially reach your doors.