Here’s the enquiry form you should have on your website

Nobody likes web forms, as we all have experience of hitting “Send” and nothing happening, or getting an error message. Worse, we don’t get a record of the message we’ve sent. Did it go? What did I say again? Who knows? So I always recommend that you offer people a “contact form” on your website as a last resort. Give them the options which they might prefer first of all: your telephone number and your email address.

Long-time readers will also know that I despise forms which ask for too much personal information in order to send a message. You’re the one begging the prospect to make an enquiry, so why make them jump through irritating hoops? You need their name, their email address or telephone number (whichever they prefer) and their message. That is all. Anything else is for your convenience, not theirs, and should be stripped out.

If their enquiry can be reduced to a tick box, or even less, do so. That might leave us with something like this:

form

Now, I know many people will say: “Oh, but a request for literature without a phone number is no good to us, how can we give our salespeople lists of enquirers to call without one?”, or “The sales director demands to know how big their company is”, and so on. But I’d ask: if somebody sent you an email asking for a brochure, would you refuse to reply unless they provided you with their telephone number first? If somebody left a voicemail asking you to call them about a product, would you ignore the call because they didn’t give their company name?

It’s your decision: but I reckon that maximising the number of people who respond should be the priority.

Finally, don’t make your website visitors hunt around the site to find out how to make an enquiry. Contact details, and any form like the one above, should be on every product page, at the point when the next step is to make an enquiry (i.e. at the end!). The form should be unique to the product page too; don’t force the prospect to tell you what product they’re interested in. It’s the one on that page, obviously.

Bonus tip: If your enquiry form needs to include a freeform message box, put that box first, above the contact details. Once the enquirer has filled in the message, filling in their contact details underneath is a natural thing to do, rather than a chore to be gone through before they can fill in the message.

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