There are hundreds of factors, both big and small, that combine to determine a website’s conversion rate. Among the most important, and the most often neglected, of these factors is the contact form.
This little form is sometimes neglected in the website strategy and design process, getting tacked on at the end without too much thought. Below, we make a case for the importance of the contact form in securing quality leads and explain why failing to strategically design this core website feature is a lost opportunity for your company.
The stakes for the user
For any B2B brand, the contact form usually represents the last step in the conversion process. By the time the user reaches this step, your website has already done a significant amount of persuasion, enough to convince the user that they may want to get in touch.
It’s tempting to think that the job of persuading the user is done once they reach a contact page, but actually the opposite is true. The stakes for the user at this point are high: the contact form is the place where you ask them to surrender their personal information to your company. Because people guard this information carefully, and are afraid of companies mishandling it, the work of persuading the user is not done. Your contact form needs to make the user feel safe and confident handing their information over to your company.
This is a high bar, but it’s one your website must meet if it’s going to succeed in capturing the information of your most valuable leads.
Eliminating confusion to reduce abandonment
Confidence can be strengthened by eliminating confusion during the form submission process. Nothing increases abandonment like a form that is difficult or confusing to use. The one thing we can count on the user not to do is spend precious time trying to decipher a form that’s unclear.
Reducing, or ideally completely eliminating, user confusion should be your chief goal when it comes to contact form design. There are many best practices you can put in place to achieve this including employing a single column layout, validating form fields, grouping related information together, and improving action button specificity.
It can be difficult from the inside to accurately identify problems with an existing contact form. To company insiders who are familiar with internal processes and workflows, everything may seem completely straightforward. This is why it’s useful to invest in an external audit or user testing. These will quickly unearth areas of confusion or difficulty and identify possible solutions.
Setting expectations with language cues
A key job of the contact form is to set expectations for the user about what will happen after they submit the form. User uncertainty is the enemy in the form submission process, and there’s a lot that can be done with subtle language cues to properly set expectations.
For example, messaging in and around the form area can let the user know that once they’ve submitted the form they can expect a call or an email from your company within a specific timeframe.
After the form is submitted, messaging should clearly indicate that the information was captured successfully and again reiterate what the user can expect to happen next. A form submission can also trigger an automated email that includes the details or message the user submitted and assures them that the form has been received.
The user who feels secure in the knowledge of what will happen once they click “submit” is far more likely to complete the form submission process than one who feels uncertain about what to expect.
If you look at your website performance and feel that your conversion rate is lower than it should be, your contact form may be at least partly to blame. This form is one of the most important features on your website and its design should be carefully considered and strategic.
Investing in designing a contact form that instills confidence in the user will help reduce form abandonment and increase promising lead capture.