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Contact Form Design Tips and Best Practices

Contact forms are an essential part to building a website for your business. Check out this guide to better understand contact form design and implementation.

There are many facets to great website design. In today’s world, having a website is critical for a business to succeed. Your website is like your home base—whether you’re selling products or services, a website is a powerful tool for establishing your brand identity and building trust with potential clients.

An effective site typically needs a home page, an about page, and a services or products page. In many cases, a blog is advantageous for interacting with your site visitors as well as building authority. Some sites may benefit from an FAQ section as well. If your goal is to expand your team, you can even have a page where you list job openings.

However, there’s another important element to have on your website: a contact form. While it may not be the first thing that comes to mind, contact forms are essential. No matter what type of business you run, people need a way to contact you. Not only that, but a website contact form can be a powerful tool for lead generation. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into contact forms, what they’re for, and how to design one.

What is a contact form?

Contact forms are basically a submittable form embedded on your website where people can get in touch with you. Customers can enter their information, questions, or comments onto a contact form, communicating with you easily. Contact forms provide a quick communication channel between your business and anyone who visits your website.

For example, they might just ask for the bare bones, asking for the person’s name and email address. Or, the form may ask more in-depth questions pertaining to what the customer is looking for.

What is the purpose of a contact form?

Contact forms essentially have two main purposes: lead generation and a communication channel for existing clients.

Website contact forms help generate leads by making it easy for a potential customer to submit a question or comment. In order to submit a contact form, the customer has to enter information like their name and email address. Depending on the contact form, they may enter more specific information about what they need or why they’re using the form.

By gathering this information, contact forms help you build leads by growing your email list. And if you do require more input from the customer, it can help you filter and sort those leads. It’s worth noting that a contact form is a bit different from an opt-in form — the latter exists specifically for customers to opt in to your email list. But depending on your contact form design, it can do much more than that.

Additionally, you want existing customers to have a way to contact you. Contact forms make it simple for a customer to contact you if they need support or more information about your services.

For example, customers might need to talk to you if they have a technical or customer service issue. Or because they have a sales or marketing inquiry. Maybe they want to book a consultation but have a question first. Or maybe they’re another business owner who wants to enter a partnership. Whatever the case, they can use your contact form to move forward.

What should be included in a contact form design?

What you include in your contact form design depends on your goals. You may have any number of reasons in mind for creating a contact form, and this will influence how it looks and what the form asks for.

Typically, contact forms always ask for the customer’s name and email address. Forms usually have a space where the person can write and submit a message. In some cases, you might have more than one contact form on your website. If your site gets a lot of traffic and business is booming, you may even have separate forms for different purposes. For example, one form might provide customer service and another might let someone request an appointment.

In addition to name and email address, your contact form may need several more fields. You might also need a brief explanation stating why a field is asking for the information if you do it this way. For example, the form may ask why a customer is making contact or what they’re interested in. A reason to set it up this way is because asking more specific questions on your form fields can help you filter and qualify your leads.

Unfortunately, contact forms can be a magnet for spam. To prevent spam messages and fake email signups from getting through, you can enable reCaptcha confirmation in the settings. Additionally, you can require people who sign up for emails to confirm their email address.

Other important components of contact form design might include legal text somewhere on the form. And of course, your form needs a submit button at the end. A contact form can live on any of your web pages. Mailchimp can help you create and embed a contact form on your website.

Types of contact forms

There are different ways to approach your form and many contact form options. Here’s a look at some common types:

Pop-Up Form

From the name, you may have guessed that this type of contact form pops up when visitors enter your website. From there, it may offer a special deal in exchange for their email address. They may need to enter their name or additional information before putting in their email and hitting “submit”.

This type of form is useful for boosting your email list as it entices visitors to leave their email address before leaving your site or right when they first land on the site. It can also boost sales by offering an incentive or discount. An example of this might be a form that offers 20% off a customer’s first order if they sign up using the form. You can easily design a beautiful pop-up form with Mailchimp.

Vertical Contact Form

This is a fairly standard format for a contact form. The fields are laid out in a vertical fashion, with spaces for the customer’s name, email, website, message, and any other details they’d like to add.

To give this contact form even more juice, you can include social proof by showcasing other businesses who work with you right next to it. This helps illustrate that you’re legitimate and trustworthy.

Additionally, you might include separate calls to action within the form. For instance, when customers fill it out, they can choose to book a call, get more information, or express interest in working together.

Multi-Step Form

This type of contact form goes further than just asking for a customer’s information up front. Instead, it takes the customer through a multi-step journey, asking them to select the answer that pertains to them.

So, for example, a customer might click on the “contact us” page. But instead of filling out the standard vertical form fields, the form may ask a series of questions. It might ask, “how can we help?” and the customer selects the best answer from the drop down menu. They might choose that they’re looking for more information, want to partner with you, or have a problem.

This type of form helps filter your leads. By asking these questions up front, you might actually be able to up your conversion rate. You’ll be able to put responses into categories and automatically prioritize them, resulting in higher quality leads.

Separate Forms for Each Type of Question

You might further organize your inquiries by setting up multiple contact forms, each one with a specific purpose. When a customer selects your “contact us” page, they are shown icons of different choices for why they want to contact you. Each icon links to a corresponding contact form. Some examples would be that they need assistance, want to share an opportunity, or want to book a call.

If your site has a thorough FAQ section, it can be useful to set up a contact form specifically for customer support that leads them to the FAQs that might answer their question. An AI tool can populate answers related to whatever question the customer types in.

If you go this route, you’ll want to make sure the customer can still submit their question to you at the end of the pipeline if the FAQ can’t answer it.

Footer Form

In some cases, you might prefer to put the contact form on your website footer instead of an actual contact page. You can even do this in addition to a contact page. Having a contact form at the bottom of all your web pages could improve UX by making it more convenient to submit the form.

Instead of having to scroll to the menu bar or navigate to a separate page, users can simply contact you from any location on your site. It doesn’t hurt to have CTAs peppered throughout your website for clarity and ease.

What makes a good contact form design?

As you can see, there are different ways of approaching your contact form design. Like many things in life, there’s more than one right way to do it, and it really depends on what works for you.

Of course, you’ll want your contact form design to look sleek and appealing. It should be clearly laid out with a logical flow. You can take a minimalist approach and have just a few fields on your contact form. Or, you can dive deeper with your customer by asking more questions of them.

You don’t want to have so many fields that it deters the customer. But this doesn’t mean you should be afraid to add fields if it makes sense. The goal is to obtain just enough information to propel your end purpose. It’s also good to avoid cluttering the form with words or imagery that are not needed.

The contact form should also be easy to find. Some websites go as far as to have a “contact us” page listed on the menu bar. That means a customer can easily navigate right to your contact form and information.

If you’ve invested time, energy, and resources into website development, you should also consider the visual impact of your contact form. There are many designs you can find online, and Mailchimp’s easy-to-use form builder can help you create your very own custom contact form or webpage. However you build out your form, make sure that the colors, fonts, and overall design are aligned with your branding.

A website footer is another important aspect of website design. This is where you should list your sitemap, which will help with SEO crawling and make it easier to navigate the website. You can also add social media icons, your business contact information, or even testimonials to your footer. It’s another place where you could put an opt-in for your email newsletter signup or a link to a contact form.

Leverage the power of email marketing

Every business should harness the power of email marketing. Emails can bring you a huge return on investment in the long run. Depending on how you structure your contact form, it can help you build a list of ideal leads. If you add a few specific questions, such as in a multi-step contact form, you can qualify the leads that sign up.

By doing so, you’ll also decrease the amount of people who aren’t truly interested in your product from using the form. This may seem counterintuitive if the goal is to build your email list. However, you’re only limiting the number of people who weren’t a good fit for your services anyway. Qualifying your leads through a multi-step contact form design is actually a great way to boost your conversions.

Without contact forms, it’s much harder to build an email list to begin with. But when they’re done right, contact forms can build your email list while you sleep. By gaining an audience that’s aligned with your brand, you can start to leverage email marketing to grow your business.

Mailchimp’s form builder can help you get started even if you don’t have anyone on your email list yet. Using Mailchimp, you can design a professional looking signup form right away. It can be used in all your online channels by just copy and pasting the form’s URL.

As part of the process, you’ll need to write signup response emails. These will go out to the customer as soon as they sign up for your list. You may want to require people to double opt in, where they confirm their email subscription in their welcome email.

It’s important to always have an unsubscribe link on your emails as well. This way, people can click it and opt out of your emails if they no longer want to receive them. If you have a contact form on your website or do any sort of email communication through your business, you should also include a privacy notice on your website. Disclosing your privacy practices helps to cover your bases for legal reasons. And depending on your type of business, you may also want to place a copyright or trademark in your website footer.

Always review your contact form submissions

Of course, you wouldn’t want to receive contact form submissions and then do nothing with them. It’s always a good idea to set clear expectations. You may want to let people know a timeframe for getting back to them right at the top of the form.

Paying attention to your contact forms ensures you don’t neglect all your valuable leads. You should set up a process to answer customer questions and address any concerns. Your contact form might also link to a scheduling software so customers can easily book calls or appointments with you.

So how do you know if your contact form is working? It’s simple to test it out. Just go to your website and fill out the form as if you’re a potential customer. Submit the form and see if it ends up where it’s supposed to.

It’s also essential to track other metrics like your website traffic and bounce rate to make sure your site is getting you results. Evaluate your conversion rates, email open rates, and Google rankings. Your business website is dynamic and ever-evolving. Having to adjust your digital marketing strategy as you go along is normal.

In short, it’s important to include a well-designed contact form on your website. The good news is, you can get one up and running in several simple steps. Whether your website is brand new or established, Mailchimp has all the tools you need to build a quality website and design a contact form that fits your brand and goals.

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