How to turn your website contact form into a personal assistant

Do you ever wish you had a personal assistant replying to inquiries from your website? One that could help potential clients find the information they were looking for right when they needed it. Or an assistant that weeded out unqualified prospects so you didn’t have to waste your time dealing with them.

Your website contact form is one of the most often overlooked opportunities on your website for booking more clients. When people tell me they aren’t booking people from their website, their contact form is one of the first places I look.

It’s often the little details that make a big difference. Making a few tweaks to the lead generation process with Gravity Forms can increase your client booking rate and improve customer service quite a bit.

In this article I’m going to show you how to use the Gravity Forms WordPress plugin for creating dynamic contact forms on your website. Gravity Forms goes way beyond just creating basic contact forms that collect names. You can use Gravity Forms to create email signups, collect payments, qualify leads and much more.

I want to show you why Gravity Forms is an absolutely essential tool for your website and few simple and powerful ways to use it. It’s one of the first plugins I install on all of my client sites, and my own sites.

Here’s why.

What is Gravity Forms?

Gravity Forms is an easy drag and drop form builder that let’s you create custom contact forms for your WordPress site, and it doesn’t require any coding knowledge. It’s an incredibly flexible plugin that lets you create unlimited forms for things like surveys, email signups, payment processing and more.

Why the built-in contact form on your website is limited

The problem with most contact forms is they are limited. For example they only allow you to display one confirmation message, which is usually a ‘thank you, we’ll be in touch shortly‘ message, and in many cases you aren’t able to customize the page or form beyond that. Many of the contact form options that are built-in to a WordPress theme, or any website don’t allow you create additional fields and customize it for you business needs.

Custom Confirmation Pages

Almost all contact forms show some type of “Successfully Sent” notice when visitors submit a form on your site. Gravity Forms lets you set a custom message, and it also lets you set a specific page on your site, or another URL as a confirmation page.

Set a confirmation page in Gravity Forms

Set a confirmation page in Gravity Forms

You can also set a confirmation message with “Merge Tags” to personalize the message based on information submitted by the user.

Set a custom confirmation message

Set a custom confirmation message

 

When a prospect submits a contact form through your website they are excited about working with you. Maybe they heard about you from a friend, found your site through social media or even a Google search.

That makes your contact form confirmation page the perfect opportunity to engage with them even more while they are excited about working with you. It’s a great place for links to social media, a Facebook Like Box, links to your blog or create a more personalized message to keep that engagement going.

This is much more effective than a generic, “thanks, your form has been submitted message.

Now, what if you could take this a little further, by displaying a confirmation message or page based on the specific product or service a user is interested in?

Gravity Forms allows you to do this using “conditional logic.”

Conditional Logic – Your Personal Assistant

Say you have different product lines, like family, weddings and senior portraits. When potential clients send a form and choose a service, you can display a page or message based on that request. If a lead is inquiring about high school senior portraits, you can display a page with information on senior portraits, like session options and how to book. If a prospect selected the Family Portrait option, then you can display a family information page.

WordPress websites for Photographers

 

In the example below there are options for prospects to select based on interest. Conditional Logic is enabled to show a message for users who are interested in ‘Senior Portraits’ and want to ‘Book a Session.’

 

WordPress websites for Photographers

 

Below is a specific message for visitors who are interested in booking a senior session. You can set up as many confirmation as you need for different product lines.

 

WordPress websites for Photographers

A custom response based on user selection

Using the example above, we could direct prospects who were interested in booking a senior session, to an information page based on that selection. The image below would be one example.

WordPress websites for Photographers

Conditional logic opens up a lot of possibilities for making the most of your lead qualification and customer service workflow. It allows you to show or hide information based on what users select on your web form. Being able to display information that is relevant to your visitors makes for a better user experience and more conversions.

Let’s use conditional logic to qualify potential clients.

Weeding out prospects who aren’t a fit for your business

There’s nothing worse than spending an hour on the phone with a client who isn’t a good fit for your studio. It could be budget, it could be you don’t offer the services they are looking for.

If you are a wedding photographer for example you don’t want to waste time with someone who’s budget for a full day of wedding photos is $500. You could add a budget field to your form and display different messages based on their budget.

WordPress websites for Photographers

Conditional logic settings to show responses based on user selection

Below is an example of  messages that can be displayed if a prospect has a low budget that is not a good fit for your services.

WordPress websites for Photographers

Response that is displayed based on a selection made by the user

Now you don’t have to spend time on the phone with someone who will never be a fit for your studio. This example is very basic and there are other ways you qualify clients and incorporate that with your forms.

What about taking this even further and turning it into an opportunity. Price is always a question, and sometimes even when clients do the have the budget they still don’t understand the value of what you offer. Based on their budget response you could use it as an opportunity to educate your client and show how you bring an unbelievable experience and value for them. You could direct them to blog posts with your best sessions that showcase an experience. Or perhaps another post that details all of the things that go into a session, or why portraits are so important.

Most people have no idea what professional portraits should cost. Instead of dismissing them, you could take some time to overcome the price objection by a strategically placed field and response on your form.

Educate & prep your prospects

I was always amazed at prospects that would contact me for portraits that had never seen my work. Seriously, who hires a photographer if you haven’t seen their work?

Here is another example using conditional logic to display a message based on user input. Based on the example mentioned before, add a field with a “Have you see our work?” question.

WordPress websites for Photographers

If no, then display a message with a link to a gallery or blog post where they can see your work.

WordPress websites for Photographers

Same thing with preparing clients to book a session with you. Sometimes a client calls up and wants to book a session, but they aren’t prepared to pick a date or pay for the session. By adding a field for the booking a session and then setting conditional logic to display a page with the information they need in order to be ready to book when you call.

This makes for a better experience for clients, and more efficiency on the phone.

Automate follow-ups to keep potential clients engaged

One of the bottlenecks in my studio was the booking rate from prospects that contacted us by email. I had noticed that not only were potential clients contacting us more than once with the same questions, but they were slow to follow through to book a session.

To improve this, I created a series of 4 auto-responder emails to go out every few days over the course of two weeks. Automations are automated messages you write and schedule in advance. The idea was to use these automated emails to create repeated touches with a potential client. My goal was to increase bookings with qualified clients by building a relationship and keeping the studio in the prospects mind.

I also wanted to automate as much as I could, so we didn’t drop the ball during the busy summer months.

Gravity Forms makes setting this up easy, through integration with MailChimp and other email service providers as well.

The integration with Gravity Forms let’s you sync your contact forms to MailChimp list groups or merge fields based on specific settings and fields you set. The MailChimp integration is a premium add-on and you’ll need to purchase a Business license to use it. If you are a HiFi Ready Made or custom client, this has already been installed for you.

Fields and conditions can be set on your contact form to have new leads automatically sent to MailChimp based on specific criteria.

mailchimp-gravity-forms

Groups (or Merge Fields) can be setup on your MailChimp list for each product line. You can create a series of 3-4 automated emails to go out every few days for each product line.

Each of my automated messages had specific information that were the same type of  information we used for phone and in-person consultations. The emails directed them to key information on my website that included featured sessions, tips and other info.

Once these automated messages were created, I setup the integration and tied the contact form to specific group segments in MailChimp.

The results were an increase in not only booked clients from email inquiries, but a more consistent customer service experience and traffic to the studio blog.

See where are you getting the most inquires

Measuring your marketing is important for understanding which pages on your website or blog are sending the most traffic and booking the most clients. If your contact form is on multiple pages, like on the sidebar of your blog, you can see what pages are getting you the most inquiries by creating a hidden field.

Insert a hidden field on your form, then set the value for your form to show the Page title or URL that the inquiry was made from.

WordPress websites for Photographers

Email Notifications & Routing

If you have a multi-person studio, or even an assistant that handles email inquiries, you can set your contact form to send email notifications to different people based on the responses given in the form.

WordPress websites for Photographers

This just scratches the surface of things you can do with Gravity Forms.

Gravity forms can, collect payments, setup order forms for things like gift certificates, you can create contracts and collect electronic signatures, create surveys, testimonials and so much more. Best of all the form data is collected and stored in your website admin panel, and can be easily imported into your studio management database.

Here is what you can do right now

Create a customer journey map by writing down the key steps or touch points your clients or prospects go through when engaging with your studio. It could be online, in your studio or a session. Where could you improve the experience for potential clients wanting to work with you? Where are your leads falling through the cracks?

I’ve been working through this exact exercise here on HiFI to improve the custom website and services processes.

You will need to purchase a copy of  Gravity Forms. You’ll need a Business or Developer’s license to take advantage of  the Premium add-ons like MailChimp.

 

About Nancy Nardi

Founder of HiFi Social Web, Co-Founder of Seniors Ignite, website maker and entrepreneur. I help photographers and entrepreneurs leverage the power of the web with WordPress.

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