Does your website have a contact form? If so, great! It’s an important tool for any effective website. Keep reading – because I’m about to share some valuable ideas to make the most of your form.
Don’t have a contact form yet? Totally fine. Keep reading – you’ll get great tips on how to set it up properly. Towards the bottom of this post you’ll find tips for each of the major website builders on how to create a contact form.
The contact page is far too often simply an afterthought on the average website. People tend to not put a lot of thought into their message or the design elements that are going to encourage engagement, viewing it as a purely functional page. It has SO MUCH MORE potential than that! Keep reading to discover all that an awesome contact page can do for you.
I hope you enjoy the tips that I include here for creating an effective contact page and let me know how it goes, especially the impact on your conversion rate from site visitors to a potential clients.
WHY YOU NEED TO PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR CONTACT PAGE
Think of the contact page is essentially the next threshold. They’ve already landed on your website, explored your content, read a few blog posts, maybe learned more about your services. Now they have seen enough that they are ready to take the next step: reaching out to connect with you in person. They are making a conscious choice to say, “Yes, I want to engage with this person on a more personal level.” That means they will need to give you key personal information so that you can get connected. For that reason, it is very important that the contact page is one that builds connection and gives them a clear understanding of what will happen next when they submit that form.
You are, essentially, laying out the red carpet. A clear pathway forward that makes them feel supported, excited, and even celebrated!
What if the Contact Page is actually one of the most important pages on your website? Rather than simply being a functional tool, what if their experience on your contact page could actually make them feel even more excited about working with you?
Ideally, their experience on your contact page will make them feel one step closer to feeling certain that they want to work with you.
WHY NOT JUST LIST YOUR EMAIL + PHONE #?
So some of you may be thinking: Can’t I just list my email and my phone number? Isn’t that enough? Well, yes, that you absolutely can do that. I am suggesting, however, that a contact form is a key component of a successful website because people these days are just plain busy, and they like things that are quick and easy. So if they’re on their phones, maybe they don’t want to take a lot of time to type out their information in an email or they don’t want to have to copy your email and paste it into their email program. A contact form makes it simple for potential clients to reach out to you – they don’t have to take too many steps or think too hard. Just fill in the blanks!
Q: Can’t I just link my email???
I hear this question ALL THE TIME.
My answer? Preferably, No. Here’s the problem: When we actively link our email by turning it into a link that will open up a blank email for someone to send us, what happens is that the linked opens up whatever the default mail program is on their computer.
Now five years ago, many more of us were using email programs installed on our devices, which meant that when we clicked on that it would open the default email program that we were actually using. These days the vast majority of us are using webmail, so when we click on a linked email it opens up a program on our computers that we actually don’t even use. We then end up having to then close that down, copy and paste the email, and then write a fresh email in our preferred program.
For this reason, I prefer to not link emails, and instead just include them as text on your contact page and in your footer, and give people the option to use it if they wish. If you are going to link it, you should link it to your contact page rather than linking it to the email itself.
NOTE: If, after reading this you still want to link your email, here’s how > Paste the following text into your website builder:
<a href=”mailto: email@example.com”>firstname.lastname@example.org</a>
Now let’s get into the good stuff – key tips for creating an effective contact page and contact form. Would you believe there is a whole world of website research out there measuring what works best? What you’ll find below are the most current guidance for your contact page and form, based on current evidence and best practice in web design. I actually learned a few new things in the process of doing the research for this post – one of my favorite benefits of blogging!
Here are a few helpful research articles if you really want to dig into it all! > (and yes, I really do geek out on this stuff – I find it fascinating in the same way that you geek out on the benefits of an essential oil, or a new way to use a birth ball…)
- Form fields that lower landing page conversions (Hubspot)
- Button colors to convert clients
- How form design affects customers
- Text choice on your submit button
- Research based tips on improving contact form submissions
TIPS FOR AN EFFECTIVE CONTACT PAGE
Your contact form should be easy to find – and ideally towards the top of the page. That means that it’s clearly linked in the navigation and there are multiple call to action buttons scattered through the site leading to it.
Let potential clients know what to expect. Just before the contact form,you should ideally have some kind of introductory text thanking them, explaining what happens when they fill out that form, and how soon you’ll get back to them. Think of this text as a contact form orientation.
Remember that the text at the top of the page doesn’t have to be stiff and professional. It can be creative and warm, helping to build connection with potential clients. It’s okay to use humor. You don’t have to be super professional on this page – remember that if they are on this page have already passed through your first couple of thresholds and are ready to learn more. They want to connect with you. So why not use a tone that helps to facilitate that?
Keep it simple. The form should be short – that means name, email and a message box. Now there are additional questions you may want to ask and you need to discern which ones for you are vital. So might might include their due date, or what town they live in, or which of your six different services there are they interested in using a checklist. What we know from research is that the more questions included in this form, the lower the conversion rate.
What about requiring them to give you their phone number? So I’m on the fence about this. I think on the whole including phone number on a contact form is a good step if that’s the right approach for your business. When we don’t have a phone number sometimes it can end up in a long back and forth email and be really time consuming. If you do choose to include the phone number, make sure that field is optional so that they don’t have to give it to you if they don’t want to.
You especially need to be careful about including personal questions which will deter people from completing the form. Some people may not want to reveal whether they’re planning a home birth or a hospital birth, where they’re having back pain, their partner’s name, or phone number. Keep it as simple and straightforward as possible. Really ask yourself with every element, is this truly something that I need in order to be able to respond to this person effectively or is it information that I can gather from them once we’ve had our first contact? Also keep in mind that this form is submitting their personal information to the backend of your website. You are at risk storing people’s personal information on your website so not only do you want to regularly go through and delete those entries on the backend of your site, you also want to make sure you’re not collecting more information than you truly need for the purposes of that form.
The text on the submit button should be engaging and motivating. So ideally rather than just saying submit, have it be a Yes, Let’s Talk! Or I’m ready to learn more, or Yes, I want to sign up. Or let’s talk. First person works best.
The color of your SUBMIT button is also important. Ideally it would be something that pops, for example if you have an accent color you’re using on your site that is a little bit brighter, that’s the one you want to use on your contact form. Research has shown that a red button gets the most traffic, but other brighter colors are fine as well! Most of us don’t have bright red as part of our color palette!
Help them get connected to you in multiple ways. In addition to your email and phone number, your contact page should ideally include links to your social media accounts. NOTE: If you don’t want to include your phone number you don’t have to! For example, I have chosen not to share mine on my website because I prefer to be able to prepare for conversations with potential clients by reviewing their information first.
Social proof. Consider including a testimonial from someone that did a free consult with you, or someone who has worked with you to give them that extra bit of social proof that it is a good choice to reach out to you.
Keep them reading… You might also find it helpful either at the bottom of the contact page or on the thank you page (I’ll talk about that in a moment!) to include links to some of your most popular blog posts so that they have a chance to engage further.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THEY SUBMIT THE FORM?
Now let’s talk about the THANK YOU page. When you create a contact form, you have two options. First, you can simply have confirmation text that pops up after they submit the form. Most form programs offer some variation on this and include a standard text when you set it up that says something like: “Thank you for reaching out. I’ll be in touch in one to two business days.” Remember that you can personalize this. Why not infuse this message with your personal voice & style?
The next level beyond this is actually creating a hidden THANK YOU page on the backend of your website. It doesn’t appear in your menu. You can only reach it when somebody actually submits the form. So think of this thank you page as kind of like a landing place, where people who have reached out to connect with you can end up feeling “Wow, I just made a really great choice!”
On this page you would have some thank you text, but you have more room to get creative with it. You could even include a video message of you speaking instead of a written message! Maybe also include a fun photo of you or a playful photo with a cute baby or funny animal photo – something that draws their attention and makes them feel good inside and reveals in some way your personality. You could also include a favorite quote about life or health or wellness.
You might also choose to include links to some of your top blog posts or a favorite article that you’d love for them to read before you connect. Including additional resources such as your top blog posts, or a free giveaway can make that potential client feel even more excited to connect with this person. Not only are you keeping them on your site longer, which is great for your SEO, but you’re also inviting them to learn even more. So by the time you talk to them, they’re already super excited. This way your job becomes that much easier when it’s time to try and convert them from an interested client or potential client into a paying client.
How do I make this, you wonder? Most form programs offer a “redirect” option instead of the standard confirmation message so you can send users to a linked hidden page upon form completion. Take a sneak peek @ my THANK YOU PAGE
Wondering how to actually do all of this? I am here to help as your website doula! Below you’ll find key links for the four major website builders to help you set up your form and thank you page correctly.
KEEP IT SIMPLE!
This post has a LOT of ideas to take in, I know. More than anything you want to make sure that your contact page and contact form don’t make potential clients have to think too hard! Keep it simple & easy. These are people that are already on the pathway to hiring you, so make it super simple for them to take the next step and help them feel held and nourished in the process. Ideally your efforts will help to nudge them a bit further into clarity that you are indeed the perfect fit for them.