Let’s imagine that your venue’s wedding webpage is in great shape. You’ve invested your time and money to make sure it has the right images, elegant (and readable) type, and all the information a prospective bride or groom could want before deciding to schedule a site visit with you. How are they going to reach you, though?
Remember: the bride or groom probably already has a bunch of tabs open, with other venue options just a click away. If there’s too much friction to contact you, they might click away and forget about you. All that is to say: getting your contact form right – to help you generate those valuable inbound leads – is a small but essential element in your marketing funnel and shouldn’t be overlooked.
Think about it – if you improve your form and see even a modest uptick of 2-5% in your form submissions, that could well have a measurable effect on the number of site visits you host and, consequently, the number of weddings you book. Here, we share five factors to consider when it comes to your contact form.
1. Remember, a Form is Better Than an Email Link
If your website has a link that says “Contact Us” or “Email Us” that links to a mailto email address, you might be unintentionally turning away leads. For example, if an engaged couple is browsing your website on their desktop and click your email link, which triggers email software they don’t use (maybe they use the Gmail website for email purposes, for example), it might cause just enough of a pain for them that they click away. Using an email link rather than a form also can limit your ability to track the source of the leads you’re getting. If you’re using social media ads to drive newly engaged couples to your website, you’ll want to track how many of them converted into actual leads. While tracking those leads is easy to do with a form (since they stay on your website and Facebook can still “see” them), it’s not as easy with a “Contact Us” email link (since it opens another app, where Facebook loses the trail.)
2. Nail the Form’s Design
Believe it or not, there is such a thing as a well-designed form. “But it’s a couple of boxes, a few words, and a button,” you may think. It turns out, there’s a lot of art and thought behind those elements. Mono has an excellent blog post, The 10 Commandments of Good Form Design on the Web, that’s well worth a read. It might not all directly apply to you unless you’re a web designer, but you’ll know what to look for (or ask for) next time your site is up for a redesign. A couple of takeaways from Mono’s blog: “provide clear, always visible labels for each field” (rather than the field’s name going in the field) and “provide easily tappable areas” – because remember, many of the people accessing your website won’t be navigating with a mouse (on their desktop browser) but with their fingers (via their phone). Also: use radio buttons where you can to make it easy for the users to respond to a query and easy for you on the back-end when you sift through the submissions to qualify the leads.
3. Place the Form at the Bottom of the Page (In Most Cases!)
Think about any landing page – like your weddings page – as a “give,” and an “ask.” The “give,” in your case, are photos and information about your venue. That’s the reason why couples are on your site. Naturally, the “ask” should only come after they’ve gotten what they were promised. Therefore, venues that have a persistent form on the side of the page (or even at the top) are misguided. Keep the form at the bottom of the page (though if there’s a convenient spot to have an in-page link that jumps to the bottom of the page, that’s OK too), and you won’t use up valuable screen real estate before visitors are ready to see the form and engage with it. Instapage has some good further thinking on this topic. Additionally, make sure to clearly title the contact form to draw people in. “Contact Us” is OK, but something more personal to the visitor’s intention and tailored to the process would be appropriate, too.
4. Adjust the Form to Turn Your Lead Volume Up or Down
We work with some venues that are so in demand, the issue isn’t getting more leads, but getting better leads – and efficiently sifting out the poor ones that come in. If you’re constantly dealing with unqualified leads (which wedding venue marketing expert Alan Berg cites as a common issue), you can add some fields to your form to better qualify your couples. Asking for details like estimated spend range, preferred wedding date, number of guests, and phone number requires more effort and commitment and can, therefore, reduce the overall volume but increase the quality of the leads you receive, saving your team time. Conversely, if you know you’re getting plenty of qualified traffic to your weddings page, but not many visitors are filling out your contact form, consider whether the form is too much work to get through and experiment with reducing it to just the basics – name and email address. Another lever to pull to affect the volume of leads: Autofill. It makes forms quicker to fill out, so adjust accordingly.
5. Tell Them What’s Next
After the form is filled out, there should be a message thanking the visitor for his or her interest and also saying what happens next. Will they get a follow-up call? Email? When will it happen? What are the next steps? Define this so that it doesn’t feel like they’re submitting their contact information into the void.