Contact forms for your website and how they work

Contact forms for your website and how they work

Client communication is an essential cornerstone of any business.

For your practice to thrive, you need to make sure that prospective clients can contact you easily, and that established clients can reach out at any point if they’re facing issues.

That’s where contact forms come in.

Online contact forms are one of today’s staple avenues of business communication. Most potential clients will expect you to have one on your website. Fortunately, modern plugins make them very easy to set up and maintain.

In this article, we’ll give you the run-down on how contact forms work behind the scenes, why you should put one on your website, how to set them up, and what the best form builder plugins are.

Let’s get started.

How do contact forms work?

More likely than not, you know what contact forms look like. They’re practically ubiquitous on business websites.

You can fill out a short form, providing your name, email address, and the message you want to send. Then, you click submit, and a few hours or days later, the business will get back to you. In some cases, you’ll also get an instant confirmation email, telling you that your message has been well-received and is being taken care of.

On the other end of the pipeline, this entire contact form process is being handled by a website plugin. It forwards messages submitted via the online form to the business owner’s mailbox, and automatically sends confirmation emails to you.

At this point, you might be asking yourself whether it wouldn’t just be easier to list your email address on your website instead. Then, clients could reach out directly.

However, there are quite a few advantages to handling email contacts via a form.

Why do you need a contact form on your website

1. Avoid spam, increase security

To start with, web forms help you avoid spam.

If you have listed your email address publicly on your business website before, you probably know that this strategy results in dozens, if not hundreds, of daily spam emails. Everything from dubious offers for search engine optimization to unsolicited promo codes for office furniture in shady webstores.

In addition, publicly visible email addresses are cybersecurity vulnerabilities. They expose you to a multitude of phishing emails and sophisticated social engineering attacks. And the volume of these attacks is growing. According to a study by Aura, an identity theft protection service, the majority of Americans now perceive cybercrime as a bigger threat to the future than global warming and COVID-19.

Contact forms make it easy to block spam. For example, you can add a Captcha that visitors have to tick or fill out before sending you a message. That, alone, already prevents a huge number of automated spambot messages.

2. Delegate communication, manage workflows

Another advantage of contact forms is that they help your communication workflow run more smoothly.

For one thing, you can delegate communication to various members of your team by adjusting the settings in your contact form plugin. There, you can determine recipients according to various criteria, such as the category of questions asked. Ultimately, this saves you the trouble of manually forwarding emails and deciding on who will handle them.

Additionally, many contact form plugins also offer integrations with various business tools, such as customer relationship management (CRM) software, email marketing platforms, and productivity tools.

For example, you can automatically add people who fill out contact forms to the email list for your newsletter, or you can transfer their contact data to your CRM as prospective clients to follow up with. It’s even possible to automatically generate new to-do items on platforms such as Toggl.

3. Make contacting you more attractive

A third major bonus of contact forms is simply that they’re more attractive than a plain old email address.

If you just list your email, you expect your prospective clients to go through the trouble of opening their email client to type out a message there.

In contrast, a contact form plugin makes it easy to design a visually appealing section on your site that encourages visitors to take action and reach out.

Plus, you can highlight your contact form in various ways. For example, you can make it a popup that appears if a visitor is about to leave your website.

Editor’s note: Check out part 2 of this series “How to set up a contact form for your website.”