Great Leads from Custom Contact Forms
Contact forms are a great way to gather information from potential customers: Totally hands free! Careful form design is critical for both the business and consumer side of this information exchange. Great forms make it easy for the user to communicate their needs so the business can provide a speedy response. Effective site design will focus on providing the right information and funneling visitors to contact forms or other goal locations.
There’s nothing better than opening your inbox to see a list of new prospects ready and waiting!
This post covers how to use the Contact Form 7 plugin to build custom forms that will produce actionable information: Not just a name and phone number.
Time Saving Form Design
Good lead generation forms are designed for a specific business while keeping their objective in mind. The cookie-cutter ‘name, email, message’ contact form template is a time waster.
For example, we can look at the “Job Quote Request” form that I put together for Fleming Marine Construction.
Their form collects the basic contact information along 3 other key elements that are specific to their goals.
Location Based Input (“Job Address”):
Construction companies usually perform their services at the customer’s location. The distance from their headquarters has a huge impact on their costs and therefore pricing. Knowing this information before speaking for the first time is a huge benefit.
Being able to figure your price beforehand saves time in dealing with the customer and gives them information more quickly. Time that they could lose interest or consider going with your competitor. Location information also provides the opportunity to predetermine the value of individual leads which helps in prioritizing the responses.
Time Based Input (“Best Time to Call You”):
This may seem trivial or even unnecessary by some. However, calling them on their schedule gives you an advantage. When you take the time to call a potential customer you want them to answer or your time is essentially wasted.
Being aware of the right time makes it more likely for them to answer and be available to have a conversation that turns them into a paying customer.
Image Input (“Upload a picture of the job site”):
Adding the ability for users to upload an image of where the construction will take place has been a game changer. “A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words” is a popular cliche for a reason: because it’s true.
Reviewing an image before your conversation will give you insight beyond what’s verbalized over the phone. It is possible that you may even notice something important in their photo that they wouldn’t have thought to tell you during your conversation.
In addition to preparing you for the initial call, sharing images starts to build a sense of trust and understanding that is needed to make the sale.
I also make sure to add reCAPTCHA to prevent form submission spam.
(More on reCAPTCHA in a later post.)
You Choose: Phone Calls or Emails?
Even though forms are an invaluable tool to nearly all sites, each business has their own list of priorities when it comes to initial customer contact.
Some companies may not have a staff member available to answer phone calls all day. For those companies, it helps to be able to have the customer submit a form so they can be called back when an employee is available.
While Fleming Marine’s neatly packaged website leads give them an advantage, they acknowledge that some customers just prefer to call. Their phone number is displayed prominently at the top of the contact form page (and in the site header/footer) to assist anyone who prefers to just call first.
Funneling Users to the Form
A new sales lead is only as good as the person and intention behind it. We work to guide users to the contact form but we want them to have some information before they get there.
The Fleming Marine website goes into a lot of detail about the services that they offer. Each service category has its own page that explains the process and their advantages over the competition. These pages help educate users, giving them information about what to expect.
Users with knowledge about your services are easier to talk to and easier sell to. Their primary call-to-action on service pages directs users to the “Request A Quote” page.
After They Press “Submit”
When a website visitor fills out a form and submits it the plugin will generate an email and send it to the specified addresses. The design of this email is crucial for the ability to easily absorb the information quickly and accurately.
You can create a custom layout for how this information is presented in the email. Just go into the “Mail” tab of your specific form. The top of the page shows a list of available mail tags to insert into the email template.
Picking out a phone number or an address from a block of text takes longer and you’re more likely to misread, which is why formatting is key. Set up the notification emails to show each piece of information with a clear label and proper spacing.
In addition to an email notification you can save every customer submission using the Flamingo plugin.