A Quick Guide to Web Forms

web forms

Whether they’re embedded on your website, shared in emails or in social media posts, web forms can help you obtain vital data for your business. They can provide information about potential customers, collect data regarding their purchases, and even provide valuable customer feedback that will help you improve your business.

In this article we’ll explore the popularity of web forms and answer the following questions to help you determine if web forms should be part of your online marketing strategy: 

What are web forms?

If you’ve ever ordered something online, chances are you’ve used an online web form.  

Although web forms may vary in appearance, length, content or format, they always provide a way for customers to share necessary data and personal information to the business using them. Sometimes referred to as “HTML forms”, customers input information into specified fields on web forms which are then sent to a server for processing.  

One common example of a web form is when a user provides their name and address in a text field section on a website to sign up to receive a company’s newsletter.

How and where can you set up web forms?

When setting up web forms online, there are several things you will need to keep in mind. Following these tips will ensure that your company is professionally represented, help inspire trust in your leads and increase conversions:

Make sure your form has a clear purpose

It’s important to consider what information you need from your customer. The last thing you want to do is overwhelm them.

Your leads should know exactly what the form is for and why they are being asked to complete it. Some ways to ensure your purpose is clear:

  • Include straightforward headers (i.e. First Name, Address, Email, etc.)
  • Provide clear and concise instructions
  • Keep the appearance of your form clean and organized

Choose the appropriate web form type

The type of web form you use should go hand in hand with its purpose. Here are some of the most common form types and suggested fields:

  • Contact forms. This type of web form is often used to allow leads to ask you a question. It asks for basic information like their name, contact information and the best way to contact them, typically providing a field for them to ask you a question or express a concern.
  • Lead generation forms. This type of web form is intended to convert your web visitors or social media followers into leads. It asks for personal information like their name, phone number, email, company name and more.
  • Registration forms. This type of web form is used when a visitor is interested in signing up for your service. It will include their name, the best way to contact them and possibly a way for them to opt into specific services.
  • Survey forms. This type of web form is used to learn more about your customer’s experience with your product or service. They can be multiple choice, fill in the blank, or long-form responses.
  • Competition forms. Often shared over social media or via email, competition forms usually ask for an answer to a question and for the entrant’s contact information.

Implement form fields

After considering the purpose of your web form and choosing the right type of form, you should think about what answers you need from your leads. From there, you’ll be able to start labeling fields with appropriate headers and determining what questions to ask.  

Make sure to ask for basic contact information like their name and preferred method of contact.  It’s advised that you avoid specifically asking for their phone number or, if you do, make it an optional field. Research shows that asking for phone numbers often leads to high form abandonment.

After you’ve figured out how to set up your web form, the next step is to determine where to embed or share it. If you want someone to sign up for your newsletter, for instance, a common practice is to place a signup box at the top of every page of your company website or as a pop-up window when they first land on your website.

Wherever you decide to put your web form on your website, make sure it’s located in a conspicuous place, so it won’t be overlooked and the flow makes sense—but without causing frustration to the site visitor.

Most web form tools, like Pipedrive’s Web Forms, part of our LeadBooster add-on, will take the information you input into their design program to generate HTML source code for you. You can then cut and paste this code into your website or email design template to add the form.

What are the benefits of web forms?

There are several benefits that web forms can provide your business:

Initiate conversations with leads

Many people who visit your website are potential sales leads, so it’s important to find a way to proactively engage with them before they leave. Integrated web forms can be tailored to suit your needs and provide you with a way to establish a connection with your customer.

They can run 24/7 on your site and capture leads intelligently. You can even set up different web forms in different sections of your site, depending on the product and purpose of the page.

Reliability Maintenance Solutions, for example, have set up Pipedrive’s Web Forms on their training support product pages. Website visitors can order products with just a few clicks, by selecting options from dropdown menus and then proceeding to the checkout.

Automate lead generation and nurturing

Web forms not only allow you to collect contact information, they can also be set up to trigger certain follow-up actions. Say, for instance, a customer uses a web form that redirects them to a whitepaper download on your website.

Once they’ve downloaded it, a trigger can be set up to send them a targeted/personalized email with links and information pertaining to their specific interests, driving them further down the sales funnel.

Ensure data integrity

Web forms can help you automate the process of finding qualified leads. For example, say someone visits your site and wants a free download, but they misspell their email or, worse, put in a fake email.

You can set up your CRM software, which your web form is integrated with, to send them an automatic email to verify their email and, if it’s fake, you’ll know. This ultimately saves you time by automating the process of manually going through leads and making sure they’re legit, fake, or duplicates.

Send targeted and relevant information

It’s always a good idea to send the right content to the right people, but you won’t know what kind of information to send them until you know what they're interested in.

Web forms provide an excellent way to obtain that information. For example, you can design a subscription form that will allow them to opt-in to the information they are interested in, preventing you from cluttering their inboxes with information they don’t want and them either ignoring your emails, flagging you as spam or unsubscribing altogether.

How do I create great web forms?

Here are eight tips to ensure that you create great web forms that are helpful and effective for both your business and your business leads:

  1. Be direct. When creating web forms be as direct and clear as possible to help avoid any confusion. Use clear form field titles, create web form headers and place your form in a place that naturally flows with the rest of your website and/or email content. 
  2. Use the right form fields. The right form fields will make your visitors give you the answers you need. If you are creating a survey, for instance, use multiple choice responses. When you use text entry fields, make sure that the character limit of your input fields matches the expected length of the answers. 
  3. Don’t forget the “submit” button. Yes, it seems pretty obvious, right? However, it’s a common oversight. Be sure to provide a button to provide visitors with an easy way to submit their responses and avoid any confusion.
  4. Be organized. If you have a long web form, make it easy on the eyes by sticking to a one-column format. Also, make it easy to read by putting field labels above their corresponding input fields for easy reference.   
  5. Create visually appealing forms. You’ve probably heard the expression, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” This definitely applies to web forms and how they flow with the overall design of your website or marketing emails. In fact, research suggests that it takes a user 50 milliseconds (or .05 seconds) to determine whether they’ll stay or leave your website. Your web forms should be consistent with your company website’s visual appearance so it doesn’t look suspicious. You’ll also want to make sure to use a color that fits your current design but also has enough contrast to your background—which is all possible with Pipedrive Web Forms.
  6. Explain yourself. When creating web forms, it’s important to anticipate questions and ensure that you explain why you are asking for specific information (i.e. phone number). Doing so will also help your business come across as professional and trustworthy.
  7. Secure your web form. Creating secure web forms will ensure that your leads’ information is protected and a higher submission rate. One common security measure for web forms is the use of a CAPTCHA: the questions at the end of the form that have to be answered to ensure they’re not a robot, often using images or words in hard-to-read fonts. This extra layer of security will inspire trust in your leads that are submitting information.
  8. Test your web form. After you have created and embedded your web form on your website or email, it’s important to test it by looking at it from a user’s point of view. You can do this by filling in and submitting your web form yourself, making sure that the tips mentioned above were implemented correctly and make tweaks where needed. If you set up email notifications to be notified when a visitor submits your web form, now would be the time to test if that is working.

What features do I want in a web forms tool?

When it comes to deciding what tool to use to create your web form, there are several key features to consider:

1. Speed

An important consideration is how fast you’ll be able to get your web forms up and running. You’ll want to select a program that’s easy to use and allows you to quickly design an effective web form that will provide your business with the valuable information you need.

If you’re looking for forms that are intuitive and require just a few clicks to set up, we recommend you check out Pipedrive’s Web Forms for a hassle-free tool that will get you up and running in no time.

2. Multiple sharing options

It’s important to have multiple sharing options for your web forms to increase awareness. Pipedrive Web Forms, for instance, provides multiple sharing options including embedding customizable forms into a page on your website (or your partner’s website), sending an email containing your web form to your contacts or posting them on social media by sharing a link.

3. Customizable

You should select a tool that allows you to create web forms that are as unique as your business.

Like the rest of Pipedrive, our web forms are fully customizable, so that you only gather the information that’s relevant to your business needs. What’s more, you can customize your submit button and success page, allowing you to create a truly cohesive and professional experience for your visitors.

4. Automation

A web form tool should make your life easier, save you time and allow you to connect with your leads faster.

Our Web Forms feature allows you to set where submissions appear (either as leads in your Leads Inbox or a deal in your pipeline) and turn on email notifications to be alerted when new ones come in. What’s more, you can use our Workflow Automation feature to set up additional automations if desired. For example, if you have your Web Form submissions redirected to a certain stage in your pipeline, you can use Workflow Automation to automatically send an email to a contact with a deal in that stage.

5. Insights

Another important deciding factor on what web form tool to use is the ability to measure their effectiveness. Pipedrive’s tool, for instance, let’s you track views, interactions, submissions and the conversion rates of your forms.

Conclusion

Whether you’re considering ways to grow your sales database, gather feedback from existing customers or tracking customer purchases, web forms are a cost-effective and easy way to connect with current and potential customers. So don’t delay growing your business and expanding on your network, visit Pipedrive’s Web Form feature and get started creating powerful forms that convert. 

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