PLEASE check your contact form!

not listening fingers in ears optimised

Don’t close the front door

Imagine if the front door to your shop/office/studio/workshop/showroom jammed shut so nobody could get in to buy from you. Would you make it a priority to sort that out?

Of course you would.

But it never ceases to amaze me that business owners who hope to get leads or sales from their website don’t often check or know for sure that their website contact form is working properly.

That form is the “door” through which new customers could come any time - many people don’t like telephoning and don’t want the hassle of copying an email address and creating a new email, so they use your contact form for convenience.

If the form doesn’t work, your business has just lost a potential customer.

“Invalid entry”

This happened to me recently, I was filling in an enquiry form to order a sample of a customised mousemat and got this error:

contact form error screenshot

It’s very strange - the error was on the subject field and no matter what I entered in (blank, one character, a quote from Hamlet…) the error kept appearing: “Invalid entry”.

Great way to frustrate your potential customers!

I did take the time to email a screenshot of the error to the address I found on the website, and I got a reply about my enquiry, but in the end I bought from a competitor, because contacting them was just so much easier.

The most disappointing part of this story is that even several weeks after this happened and I sent in a screenshot of the problem, it’s still the same and hasn’t been fixed! I wonder how many potential orders that company have lost by now…

Check your form right now!

It’s so easy - just go and fill in your own contact form, and make sure you get the email.

That’s the bare minimum of course, if you want to be extra sure you’re not missing business, here are some other things to check and consider:

  • Check on a phone and tablet - does the form play nice with an on-screen keyboard, or is it a pain to see what you’re typing because the keyboard covers the box you’re filling in? If you have a captcha to prevent spammy entries, is it easy to use?
  • Give a tick-box option to have a copy of the message sent to the person filling it in. This is handy so they have a reference of what they sent and when.
  • Make sure the email from the form goes to an email address where someone will reply quickly. And of course make sure it doesn’t go to a junk or spam folder.
  • Make it obvious once the form has been submitted that it has been successful, e.g. redirect to a “Thank you for your message” page, don’t just reset the form to blank again.
  • Have the least number of required fields, so someone can submit with just the information that’s absolutely necessary, and not feel forced into giving away more than they’re comfortable with.

If all else fails, ditch your contact form

You might lose enquiries from people who don’t want to call or directly email, but if you can’t be confident that your form is working consistently, it’s better not to have it at all.

You don’t want to let a potential customer think they’ve contacted you but they never get a reply because you never got their message… That’s the sort of thing that leads people to write bad reviews, and if you can avoid those that’s a good thing! (Though here’s why you don’t have to be afraid of them).

Instead just have a clear phone number and email address, and perhaps a message providing assurance that all enquiries are responded to promptly.

Now, go check your contact form!

 

Geoff Todd
Author: Geoff Todd
Founder, Digital Marketing Consultant
Before founding Groweb, Geoff worked in IT for a number of years, though he originally studied Philosophy at Stirling University. Geoff lives in Stirling with his wife and two children, and helped start the new Cornerstone Community Church in Stirling in 2015.