Optimizing Your Contact Form to be a Lead Generating Machine

Posted by Mark Thompson - June 6, 2008 - Design/Development, SEO - 4 Comments

There is nothing worse than leading your potential customer through a nicely designed sales funnel on your website and having them hit a huge road block when they get to the contact form. I am talking about those forms that require you to leave your complete life story, just to sign up for a newsletter.

That person is thinking…”Why do they need my address? All I want to do is receive their newsletter.

If you have a contact form that requires you to fill out 15 fields, that may be intimidating to people. If you get someone to a contact form, you want to make it as easy as possible for that person to enter their information. Now I understand that as the company, you need certain information from the customer to complete a transaction. But as a rule of thumb, have a reason for every field that you add to your contact form.

For every field someone fills out, you reduce your conversion rate by 25% for each question after three.

If you can get away with just the basic information up front and get the rest on the back-end, then by all means do that. Someone is more likely to give you their name and email address, then a mailing address or DOB. Once you have developed a relationship with that person, they will be much more inclined to give you additional information.

Example:

If you are selling real estate and someone is interested in a home, do you really need their date of birth? Odds are that person would just like some additional information about a particular home. So what information do you have to have? Name, phone number, email address and the best way of contacting them? You may also need to know which home they are interested in so you can provide the proper information. If you can, have your programmer attach the MLS number they are looking at with the form so that the customer does not have to enter it themselves.

  • Any information that you can automatically add from the back-end so that the customer does not have to, will help with conversion.

Expectations

  • Let the customer know what to expect when they fill out the form. If they give you their e-mail address, have a asterisk next to it saying “No Spamming” or “For internal use only”. This will give the customer a sense of comfort, knowing that they will not be put on a spamming list.
  • If a follow up is required, send them to a thank you page stating, “A representative will be contacting you in the next 24-48 hours”.
  • Do not lead them to believe one thing and then add a hidden charge at the end, this will only make the customer mad.
  • If they need to check their email to confirm their address, let them know that on the thank you page.
  • Adding a link to your privacy policy next to the submit button, gives them again that sense of comfort, knowing their information will not be misused.

Equal Exchange

  • Make sure you give the customer enough information for the customer to give you their information. The more information you are looking to acquire, the more you will have to give them. Maybe its a free whitepaper, free webinar, free marketing kit, 20% off coupon. These are all things you should test to see which brings you the highest conversion rate.

What To Test:

  • The Offer: Try using different verbage in your offer. “Tell Me More”, “Send me my (incentive)”, “Call Me”, “Let’s Get Started”, “Free Shipping”
  • Number of Fields: Try to limit the number of fields on your form.
  • Field Type(s): Try asking for different information. Maybe one form asks for their e-mail address and the other asks for a phone number.
  • Design: Try using different fonts, colors, layout, buttons.
  • Testimonial: Try adding a testimonial next to the form. It will help reinforce your offer and give a real life example.

Test, Test, Test:

Testing may be the most important part of optimizing your contact forms. If you do not track your conversions, you will not know which form produces a high conversion rate.

Google offers a free service called Website Optimizer that allows you to test different landing pages. Choose from a simple A/B test or a more complex Multi-variate test.


About the Author

Mark Thompson

Mark is the creator of StayOnSearch and president of Search Creatively, a full-service Internet Marketing Company located in Raleigh, North Carolina. He also contributes to many industry related blogs including Search Engine Journal and is active on Facebook and Twitter. Follow Mark on Twitter
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