For many localized service providers their website contact form is nothing but a nuisance. Spammy form submissions and weak, cold leads clutter inboxes and do nothing more than overwhelm whoever is responsible for responding. Eventually, website form submissions fall to the wayside and are never responded to because the return just isn’t there. If this sounds like you, then it’s time to toss that old, basic contact form, and start using a lead generation form to capture, qualify, and convert your website visitors into clients. Here are five tips for creating and using lead generation forms on your website.
Lead Generation Form Vs. Basic Contact Form
Before we dig into tips on using lead generation forms, lets understand the difference between them and a basic contact form. We’ve all seen the basic contact form on a website. Name, email address, message; these are the three typical fields we find. Even as a website visitor I hesitate to fill these out because I never really know what all to include in the message and I assume no one is going to respond anyway. They are vague and don’t offer enough structure to guide the user through the information they need to submit so you can give a decent response.
A lead generation, or lead capture form is technically a contact form. However, they are more robust and help collect more information about the submitter. They help you identify and qualify customers who are interested in your services and are worth your time to respond to. Now, lets dig into the five bits of info for creating a great lead capture tool.
1. Create an appealing offer like a free quote or consultation
If you browse the internet looking for info on lead capture forms, you’ll see suggestions to offer freebies in exchange for a form submission. Offering things like e-books and other digital downloads is a great way to attract leads, however we’ve found that creating this kind of content can often be overwhelming, or just out of scope for many local service businesses.
If creating an e-book or other downloadable content doesn’t seem feasible for your business, you’re not out of luck. Instead, we recommend offering a free quote, estimate, or consultation for the services your customer is interested in. This is often what customers visiting a local business’s website are interested in anyway.
2. Gather the information you need to fulfill your offer
When we talk to a client about building their lead capture form we generally start with the question, “What is all the information you need to know to give the customer a thoughtful response/accurate quote without asking additional questions?”
From there we work through all the pieces to narrow down the key things that are needed to give an accurate quote, schedule a consultation, or fulfill whatever the offer may be. The form should be thorough, but only to the extent that it absolutely needs to be. Asking more than the essentials often leads to incomplete forms and users bouncing from your website. Here are a few basic things we often include in client’s lead capture forms:
– Contact Information
Of course, you want their name, email address, business name if applicable, and maybe a phone number. These are the basics.
– Qualifying Information
These are form fields that will help you filter out weak leads or ones that do not fit your target market, and gauge how strong a lead actually is. One of the most common qualifying questions we see our client’s use is physical address. If the form submitter is outside of your service area, then they are outside of your target market. Other questions could be about what services they need, help gauge how badly they need/want those services, and what type of potential customer they are (e.g., residential vs. commercial, etc.).
– Needs Information
Once you know who they are and that they are in your target market you can have a few questions that drill down into the service they need so you can give your quote or schedule your consultation. Things like job details, service frequency needed, best times for a call or visit, and timeframe for the job are all things you may need to know.
3. Use dynamic form capabilities to your advantage
Depending on the website platform and form builder you’re using you may be able to create a dynamic form that will help you generate better leads. A dynamic form looks normal at the start, but as the user answers certain questions other relevant questions appear for them to answer. It sounds like it might be annoying when you say it, but in practice it helps make your form appear shorter and only gives the form user the questions they really need to answer. It also helps you filter out people who don’t fit your target market.
A great example of a dynamic lead capture form we’ve built that serves both purposes is Heim’s Disposal’s Get a Quote form. The dynamic structure only asks the user the questions they need to ask, and it only offers them the ability to select services that Heim’s offers to that particular type of customer. For example, if it’s a residential customer they cannot pick services reserved for commercial customers. It helps filter out customers looking for services Heim’s doesn’t offer. Check out Heim’s Get a Quote form Here to see it in action.
4. Get creative with your ‘Submit’ button
When we say creative, we don’t mean crazy. However, you should try something other than “Submit” for your form submission button. Trying things like “Get Quote”, “Go”, “Get Started”, “Launch” or other various action phrases seem to show better results…and are way more fun.
5. Set up a Plan to Respond
You’ll want to have a plan in place to monitor and respond to form submissions prior to launching your form on your website. You can tailor your system as you go, but we’ve found that if you don’t have a plan to start there is often confusion and miscommunication.
We recommend having one person designated to the regular monitoring of and responding to form submission emails. They should be checking and responding on a regular basis. The quicker you get back to your form submitter the warmer the lead will be. We also recommend creating response templates so the person responding to the incoming leads can quickly copy, paste, fill in any appropriate info, and send it in an efficient manner rather than retyping email responses in their entirety every time. This helps with consistency and accuracy of the information being provided and your brand voice.
There you have it! These are our five tips for creating a lead generation form that will help local service businesses capture warm leads and have a great first contact with their website visitors. If you’re interested in developing a lead capture form for your website, or just need some guidance on how to better the one you already have, contact us today!