Contact forms are a staple on most websites, but have you ever thought of why they're there?
The main purpose of contact forms is to make it easy for someone to contact the business owner. They just type in their contact info, maybe include a message, and... send!
Another advantage is that a contact form doesn't require someone to go to their email program and compose a message like a link to an email address would do. Maybe someone is on a mobile device and maybe they don't have email set up on it. Using a form eliminates that issue.
Although having more required fields on a form lowers conversions, there are some advantages to having more. One is that you can ask for specific information.
If you think about your sales process, maybe there are 3-5 things you need to know to move things along. Getting that information up front - at first contact with a prospect - can help move the sales process along, which can lead to more conversions since there's less back and forth and some early momentum. You get to provide answers and solutions faster.
Again, it might be fine to not make these fields required and let the prospect choose if they want to hand over that information yet. You're starting a relationship with your prospect and asking too much too soon might be off-putting for some people. When giving them the choice, you could get more leads, but...
At first glance, asking if more leads from a contact form is better might seem pretty obvious but think about qualifying your leads. Pay attention here because this might be mind-blowing for some people.
Let's say you get 100 leads a month (a nice, round number for an example) from your website's contact form.
So of those 100, how many convert into sales?
Let's say 50% do, so that's 50 sales from that form per month.
How much time do you spend on each lead?
Let's say 30 minutes looking at what they say and writing them back, and then some time once they reply.
So, for 100 leads at 30 minutes each, you've just spent 50 hours getting 50 sales.
Let's say you pay someone $20/hour - times 50 hours... that's $1,000 to nurture 100 leads to get 50 sales or $20 per sale (internal time - not counting advertising costs, etc.).
Maybe that's fine, but let's change it...
Let's say the form has more required fields and you instead get 50 leads per month, but since you've qualified them by asking them more, you get 40 sales per month instead.
For 50 leads at 30 minutes each and $20 per hour, the time spent nurturing the leads is just $500. With 40 sales, this brings your internal cost per sale down to $12.50 per sale (a savings of $7.50 per sale).
Here's a summary:
That's a savings $500/month for more qualified leads but you have 10 less sales. You're paying your people less money to nurture leads.
The next questions (to complete this analysis) would be:
That extra $500/month being put into getting more leads (advertising) is like compound interest in a way because your leads will go up - plus, they'll be more qualified where your team spends less time working better leads... maybe. Again, you'll have to run the numbers yourself.
I'm not saying less leads is better. You need to complete the analysis for your own business and work in real numbers to see what's better for you.
Don't think so much about how many leads you get but the quality of the leads you get. Is your sales team wasting time working on leads/prospect that won't convert?
Do a test. You have to test this to find out.
To do that test, add a few more required fields to a form and then compare the quality of those leads to what you had before (make sure you have a baseline first, of course). Are those the kinds of customers you'd rather work with?
Boom! And now I hear minds blowing... it's loud!
I'll say it again another way... when you better qualify your leads, are you getting more of the customers you'd like to work with and less of the customers you'd rather not work with?
Consider that the customers you'd rather not want are the ones taking up even more of your team's time. They maybe don't pay on time, and maybe they're more frustrating to work with. There's also an emotional component here that might be hard to quantify.
See what we did here? These are the kinds of questions and things we think about at Webstix. We just don't want to add a contact form as just another item on our checklist but we want to find out what makes sense for your business. Maybe more leads that are less qualified is better but, most likely, the more qualified lead is better.