No matter what industry you are in, if you’re running an online business, having more than just a simple contact form can really make a difference in your client intake process.
Putting together systems and processes is something most entrepreneurs struggle with, I know I have. But once I took the time to really look at the holes in my client system and got them fixed, my life became a lot less stressful.
The part of my process I want to talk about today is the very first step in client intake: your contact form.
It can be an easy thing to skip right past, by either just putting a buy-now button on your sales page, or using a simple form that only asks for name, email and message.
Why That Doesn’t Cut It
The reason those easy-fix options aren’t working for you is that they result in a lot of back & forth emailing or worst-case scenario, taking money from someone upfront who isn’t quite the right fit for you. And both of those situations aren’t ideal.
If you’re a service-based entrepreneur, getting more information up front is a must.
This allows you to find out from first contact if the potential client that’s inquiring is the right fit for you, that you can help, and that you want to help.
If you’ve thought of hiring me before (or are planning on it), you’ll see that my “Hire Me” form asks for more than just your name, email & message. This means I get to know you and your needs right off the bat, and can make a better informed decision from the first email on whether we’re a good fit for each other.
So think about all the questions you normally ask someone when they first reach out to you. Can you add any of those to your contact form to save yourself at least one extra email? (Because we all know your inbox is already busting at the seems!)
Other forms you may need to streamline your process
After you’ve decided to work with someone, you may need to get more information from them in order to provide your services. If you’re a coach, you may need to know where they are at and what they need help with most. If you are a therapist, you may need them to confirm your terms & conditions. Having all this in one convenient online form makes it easy for both you and your client.
I’m sure you already know the importance of testimonials. You’ll also likely want to get some feedback from your client once your work is complete in order to improve or adjust your services. Having a form on your website to make that easy for your client to provide, makes this sometimes awkward part of the process better for both of you. Here’s an example of the form I send to my clients.
Blog Interview Series
You may have considered (or already done) a series on your blog of written interviews. It’s a great way to make new connections, get more reach from social shares, and introduce your readers to new people. Instead of sending a Word or Google Doc with the questions, you can use a form on your website and simply send them the link with the questions. Here’s an example of a form I use for an interview series I have on The Freelance To Freedom Project.
So where could you streamline your process by adding an online form?
How To Create These Forms
I use a couple different forms in my business, but my absolute favorite is Gravity Forms. It’s a premium WordPress plugin that makes is super easy to create & customize multiple forms on the fly. The forms are all created right in your WordPress dashboard, and the responses are sent to you via email (with a copy remaining on your site).
Some other options are:
As Gravity Forms is my absolute favorite, and it’s well worth the $39 price with how much you’ll end up using it, I’ve created a tutorial to show you just how easy it is to setup and create forms. (And if you decide to grab one of my last custom website spots for 2014, you’ll get your own GF licenses and I’ll set your forms up for you!)