The enquiry or contact form is vital for engaging potential clients or customers with your website.
The better the design of the form, the better the conversion rate for your site. Conversely, the poorer the design of the enquiry form, the less likely it will be noticed.
The basic point of the enquiry form is to boost the conversion rate of your site. For those who are just starting out or have little experience with creating enquiry forms, you may be relieved to know that there is plenty of research available on how to maximise its effectiveness.
What may surprise you is just how subtle the changes may have to be in order to garner a higher conversion rate. Even changing the colour of the lettering may have a powerful impact. What follows are some basic guidelines that will help you create the best enquiry form for your site.
How Many Fields Should a Contact Form Have?
This is perhaps the most common mistake that people make when creating enquiry forms. You want as much information as possible but putting in too many fields may drive potential business away. So, you need to be judicious with the number of fields that you use for your enquiry form.
Three fields seems to be magic number. Research has demonstrated that enquiry forms with just three fields offers a possible conversion rate of 25%. Of course, your results may vary, but three fields seems to be the right amount for the most consistent results. For each additional field, the conversion rate drops by an average of 5%.
How Many Enquiry Form Fields is Too Many?
Of course, you may not be able to limit your enquiry form to just three fields. But too many fields will turn away most people. Five fields seems to be the maximum amount. You still get a decent conversion rate of 15% while still gathering enough information to make your enquiry form worthwhile.
Six fields and more are simply too many. You will not get nearly enough of a conversion rate, and you may drive away potential business. The best advice for the number of enquiry form fields is keep it at three if possible and no more than five in total.
Tips to Improve Enquiry Form Conversation
Beyond the number of fields that are recommended for your enquiry form, there are several helpful tips that will help make the form the most accessible to your audience.
Avoid Requesting Phone Numbers
It’s always best to assume that visitors are still on the fence about your site, especially when visiting your homepage. Therefore, you do not want to do anything that drives them away. By creating a form that asks for or worse, requests a phone number, you will have succeeded in driving them from your site.
Just asking for a phone number may drop the conversion rate by 5%. And while that might not seem like much, considering that conversion rates are often 15% to 20% on average for a great site, that 5% loss can be a killer.
People are far more willing to give their email address. It’s less personal and if they are interested in the information, they can always open the email and respond. Phone numbers are too personal, so you should never request or worse, require them on your forms.
Call to Action
It’s difficult to get conversions if you do not ask. The call to action is the classic, proven technique to help gain entries into your site through enquiry forms. The key is to place the call to action in a prominent place so that it will be noticed.
A simple technique is to place the call to action in the upper part of the text before you scroll down. With printed newspapers, this is called “above the fold” in which the important information is carried above the fold in the newspaper. The same is true for website information that is seen immediately on the screen before you scroll downward.
Too many people put the call to action at the bottom or mix it in with other content so that it is not clearly seen. Don’t be shy with your call to action. Put it “above the fold” and make it prominent enough so that everyone can see it.
Limit Options on Dropdown Boxes
This mistake can be quite comical, except that it affects the credibility of your business. Dropdown boxes are simple tools that provide additional options for readers without cluttering up the main content. However, if you have a long list of options that appear when the dropdown box is activated, you may find more visitors simply leaving the site.
While dropdown boxes are an excellent tool, you should limit the options each dropdown box provides to just a few. Five or fewer options will only fill up a small amount of the screen be easier to read, and more importantly help readers make the best-informed decision without being overwhelmed by choices.
Be Smart with Your Forms and with CAPTCHA
CAPTCHA is something that everyone runs into when filling out forms online. These are the programs that help distinguish you, a human being, from a robot which may have ulterior motives in accessing forms.
CAPTCHA is designed to find qualified responses and remove those that are suspect. For example, those who provide multiple entries on the same day and often within minutes of each other. CAPTCHA verifies visitors to your site on a one-to-one basis and makes it more efficient. Which is why you need to be smart when using CAPTCHA.
You also need to be smart when it comes to creating your forms. When you already have visitors in your database, you want to make the fields on your forms as short and succinct as possible. A smart form will populate areas that are already known which increases the chance that visitors will come back.
There are excellent programs that can create smart forms for your site. From developers creating cookies for your form to software that can be altered with a simple setting change. By creating smart forms and using CAPTCHA in a smart way, you can increase the efficiency and conversion rate of your site.
Build More Credibility
This seems like a tough challenge, especially when starting out. But credibility does matter, so you must focus much of your early efforts into creating a trustworthy business. This is particularly true for B2B marketers where credibility is king. Quality website branding will help with your online credibility.
One way to increase your status is by employing accreditation seals and privacy statements that are simple and direct. While these efforts alone are not enough, it is a good starting point that helps you build trust with those who might otherwise find another location. Remember that you are going to have to build trust continually throughout the lifetime of your business, so you might as well start with the simple stuff and work your way up.
Use Benefit-Oriented Language
Instead of using phrases such as “submit” when a form is to be entered, change that to a “yes” and combine it with a benefit. For example, if you offer a free eBook when a visitor submits a form, write “Send my eBook Now!” on the button instead of “submit”.
People have a negative reaction when seeing works such as “submit”, so instead turn it around with positive wording that builds anticipation in the reader.
Employing these simple concepts can help bolster the effectiveness of your enquiry form and receive more submissions as a result. Remember to start with the basics and improve as your site grows.