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Contact forms have become such a common part of the website that it is easy to overlook them and their importance. People tend to choose the first solution they find for their site, not realizing that they are potentially hurting the growth of their business.

With over 66 million websites being powered by WordPress, there is a good chance that you have a site that exists thanks to the world’s most popular content management system (CMS). Everyone from the blogger next door to Variety, BBC America, and MTV News make use of the tool.

As a result, it seems all too easy to browse the plugin directory, finding a form and data-collection solution that will “do the job.” But that is not the best way forward if you want to grow your business and capture real, bona fide prospective customers. (The same can be said of contact-form add-ons for sites built on Drupal, Joomla, and others.)

Here are three reasons why you should carefully evaluate the form solution on your website.

wordpress-pluginsYou have too many fields

When a customer wants to learn more about your product or order your services, they want to cut through to the most targeted point person, whether it is sales, customer support, or the like. So why do you make every customer fill out unnecessary fields, such as address or phone number, when usually all you need to get in touch is their name and email address?

A HubSpot case study showed that conversions — that is, when someone fills in your form on your website and therefore becomes a potential lead — would increase by 50 percent when you go from four fields to three. That’s doubling your conversion rate just by removing one field.

But what if you want to ask different questions for different departments? You don’t want to ask a sales question to someone who needs technical support. In a situation such as this, conditional logic comes into play.

Conditional formatting simplifies the process of filling out your form by presenting only the questions your visitor needs to answer and no more. When you have a solution that uses conditional logic, you can simplify complex questions and route the inquiry to the best department.

To quote Steve Jobs: “Simple can be harder than complex; you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.” Putting this rationale to work means that, in order to get functional conditional formatting, you need to think through your workflow and ask the questions that each member of your team requires.

You’re not integrating with your CRM and marketing automation tools

Most contact form leads go unanswered, because there is a communication breakdown between the website admin in charge of the contact form and the sales/marketing teams. But what if your contact form could automatically pass the lead directly to your customer relationship management (CRM) solution for qualification and handover?

Syed Balkhi’s full buyer’s guide is available on VB Insight:
WordPress Forms and Data Collection – every major plug-in rated and explained

Automatic syncing would help you improve your sales workflow and increase your overall conversion rate. Often the reason businesses don’t integrate their CRM systems with their contact forms is because it requires a lot of coding. However, there are certain form solutions, like Gravity Forms and WuFoo, that offer built-in integration with providers like Salesforce.

Choosing a form solution that integrates with your CRM can save you a lot of time and money.

Similarly, good leads can get lost even after you make contact because of a lack of trust. To address this, you can integrate your form solution with your email marketing software. If you are in a position to email a useful bundle of resources to customers that showed interest but lost touch, it not only builds trust with these leads but also keeps them in the loop.

wordpress-spamYou don’t have proper SPAM protection

With the increase of spam every day, legitimate leads can get tagged incorrectly as having come from a bot rather than a human. Likewise, bots can flood your contact forms with useless data.

Having the right spam protection helps mark the bad leads and allows legitimate leads come through, saving you time and frustration.

There are a variety of anti-spam options such as CAPTCHA and “honeypot” that will help you combat the problem, but implementing the wrong solution may hurt your overall conversion. Conversely, adding the right technology may save you a lot of the hassle.

When choosing a form solution, it is important that you look at the spam control technology it uses or integrates with, as it can go a long way in protecting you from rubbish leads.

Knowing three of the reasons why your WordPress forms and data collection solutions might not be converting for you is the first step in choosing the right plugin. It is tempting to pick a plugin based on the installation numbers and user ratings shown in the WordPress Directory, but don’t be enticed. Do your homework, and make sure you choose the right solution for your needs.

syed-balkhiSyed Balkhi is a serial online entrepreneur, an online marketer with development experience. He’s the founder of the largest free WordPress resource site, WPBeginner and the co-founder of the popular lead-generation solution, OptinMonster.

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