A girl grimacing in disgust.

What to consider when you're thinking about your webforms

3 Nov 2022

Barry Fisher - Technical Director

Written by
Barry Fisher
Technical Director

Your website is likely designed to help you generate more business online. By existing online, you provide a platform for your audience to research or buy whenever your product or service may cross their mind.

Webforms are a great way to consolidate interest and turn your visitors into potential new customers. But we bet you hadn't considered the power, positive and negative, that a webform can have on your potential new customer's experience of your business.

There are a lot of small factors we think it's really important to consider when you're setting up your webform. There's no right or wrong answer - we're going to tell you our thoughts about them and arm you with some useful points to think about when it comes to using webforms on your website.

Should you have a webform?

Now this might seem silly. But do you really need a form?

Is there an alternative way to move your potential customer through the selection process.

Typically we'd encourage you to have a webform, at least on a contact page as an alternative to a phone number. But why not simply use an email address?

As it happens, we don't think there are many situations where it would be recommended to avoid a webform at all costs. However, you may want to consider how your webforms are performing in terms of qualifying the contacts you want whilst eliminating those you don't. Finding this balance is a combination of art and science. When done right, it can help improve the quality of your leads.

What information should you ask for?

This will largely depend on the type of business you are.

Commonly, the longer the form, the less likely people may be to bother filling it out. There are some useful “rules of thumb” around the number of people who are put off if they have to answer more than two or three questions.

However, a medical business may need more details in order to correctly route the enquiry compared to a company who simply needs phone numbers in order to call back a new lead.

And in line with that, people requiring information or advice about sensitive or personal medical matters may be happier to share more information in order to ensure the best possible advice, versus people who simply the price of a widget and therefore don't want to have to give more than the bare essential contact information.

What information is essential?

The answer is almost always less than you think. Also remember, that under GDPR rules, you should only collect information that is necessary for the purposes of the enquiry.

As we've said, you want to make it a no-brainer to complete this form. Don't make a visitor think twice. If you're asking for their mother's maiden name, you're doing it wrong, and will most definitely raise some eyebrows!

If you're planning on calling them back, get a phone number. Talking over email? Get their email address.

People are likely to be ok offering up multiple methods of contact if they really want to hear from you - but it's important to strike a fine balance and not over-exert when asking for their personal information.

What's the incentive?

Why should this person fill out the form? What are they going to gain from doing so?

Obviously you want someone to fill out the form so you can contact them about your services. But people are savvy to this now and can be resistant to being added to a lengthy ‘nurture sequence' email list.

Your job is to make it impossible for them to resist doing so.

From a sales perspective, it pays to try and incentivise any data capture. This could be by offering a discount voucher, free appointment or lead magnet (PDF or file download).

Important sidenote: Remember that you should get explicit consent from the person before you add them to your email list. Always be honest and upfront. Not only is it the right thing to do- in many parts of the world, it's enshrined in law. Make sure your developers aren't accidentally adding workflows that could put you at risk.

Does your form link to your CRM?

How does the form work with your sales funnel? Where does the data go? What's the sales pipeline? Does it connect to a CRM/ERP? If so, how so?

Used well, a contact form can be a vital part of providing a frictionless customer experience of buying from you, whilst also helping you maximise sales by preventing enquiries getting lost'.

There are many technicalities to consider to get the most out of your webform. So if you're going to use one, it's important that you get it working on your terms to best make use of your customer data.

How do you deal with spam submissions?

Sadly, spam submissions are almost impossible to stop completely. But if your teams are swamped with them, they'll be put off following up every lead and you could lose sales.

That's why you need to balance reducing spam without adversely impacting the sales process. Whilst there are plenty of options when it comes to CAPTCHA type systems, they can often be difficult to set up, manage and optimise. Fortunately, that's something we can help with.

Do you blanket block certain domains?

Some companies take the decision to automatically block certain domains from completing their webforms, for example, .ru and .cn domains. This is due to the high quantity of spam that often comes from domains registered in these countries, or because they simply don't operate in those regions and therefore don't need to receive enquiries.

Blanket blocking domains is possible and could be an option for your webform. Our advice is to discuss it with your developers to explore which spam patterns can be safely filtered out.

Do you use honeypots to trick bots or timers to spot bots?

CAPTCHA challenges are now, unfortunately, not always enough to stop spam getting through. Bots are getting smarter and are able to break through simple layers of protection. What's more, these prompts can put potential buyers off - remember the stress we've all felt when wondering if that tiny mark in the corner of a fuzzy image is actually a boat or a bicycle!

However, there are other ways to identify spam and block it such as a timer that spots when a captcha has been completed too quickly for a human to have done, or honeypots that are only visible to bots.

In short, with some careful development and guidance, it is possible to reduce the impact that bots will have on your incoming enquiries without annoying the traffic you do want.

Talk to an expert and get your webform right

If creating a contact form that doesn't slow the user experience, filters spam and helps you to convert more sales from web traffic is high on your wishlist, lets talk.

Barry Fisher - Director

Get in touch about your project

Give us a call or send us an email to talk through your project

telephone+44 (0) 203 743 0887

email[email protected]

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