Beyond the Contact Form

by: | May 31, 2012

For such a simple tool, online forms are far more useful than simple “Contact Us” fields. For the truly marketing-savvy, online forms represent powerful marketing tools. Here’s why: forms offer a stronger resource for collecting information from your visitors.

Forms are versatile and can be used for a variety of purposes. Here are seven ways you can use online forms for marketing purposes beyond the simple contact form.

Using Forms on Your Business Site


For businesses who run on appointments or have a requirement for scheduling, you can use forms for your visitors to schedule or request appointments. By asking for their contact information and their preference of dates or times, you can give them an easy way to request an appointment without having to pick up the phone.

Product/Service Customization

If your business has a customizable product or service, online forms let your visitors select from predefined options like size, colors, add-ons, upsells, and more. For service-based businesses, these forms let your customers define the custom options they want for their appointment or purchase.


Beyond simply choosing options, forms can also be a powerful upsell technique. Show your add-ons and prices in dropdowns or check boxes in your product/service forms and give your customers a simple, simple way to spend more with you. Remember, they might not have read your whole website to know these additional options exist, so make sure they’re as visible as possible.

Customer Satisfaction Survey

Do you know if your customers are satisfied with their purchases or experiences? Stop wondering and ask them! Create a form online asking your customers to rate their experiences and send the link for the form to your email list. The answers might surprise you, but they can offer powerful insight on how to improve your business and create happier customers. To get more replies, offer them a giveaway or a coupon as a thank you for completing the survey.

Employment Application

Looking for new employees? Create a page on your website with an application form to make it easy for people to apply for the position. This way you can quickly get access the qualifying information you’re looking for, assimilating your hiring process.

Event Registration

One of the most frustrating parts of running an event can be accepting and handling registrations. Online forms can make it simpler for people to register and easier for you to manage the process. Pro tip: to make it even easier and save your personal email from overload, set up a separate email address to handle registrations.

Lead Generation

Create a “Free Quote” or “Request More Information” form on your website to collect leads from interested visitors. You can also give them an incentive like a free report in exchange for requesting more information. Remember, the more information they have to put in, the less likely they are to fill it out. This style is perfect for businesses that offer products like mortgages, law services, home improvement and more.

Recommended WordPress Plugins

These plugins allow you to create online forms from within WordPress without having to go to outside sites to manage your forms.

Contact form 7 for WordPress
Simple contact form

Form builder with more advanced features and drag and drop interface

Fast and Secure Contact Form 
Complete with Captcha spam protection

SimpleModal Contact Form (SMCF)
Popover contact form

Recommended External Form Builders

Here are some powerful form builders that integrate with your website, whether you’re on WordPress or not.




Online forms let you engage your customers far better than saying “Email us for _______”. Forms prompt them to act with less work. The ease of using online forms also has the added advantage of lowering the feeling of commitment for your users. The lower the feeling of commitment, the more likely your visitors are to give you information.

Use as many of these versions of online forms in your marketing as fit in your business. This is not an exhaustive list, so use your imagination and don’t feel limited to just these examples.Marketing Zeus

Do you use online forms in a way I didn’t list here? Are you having success with any of the examples of forms I’ve listed? Let me know in the comments. 

Posted in: B2B, B2C, E-Commerce, Engage!, Lead Generation, Usability

About the Writer:

Born in England and raised in the U.S., Charles Forster is the marketing director and partner at Vine & Grain, a company that creates management technologies for bars and restaurants. Prior to that position, he ran a graphic design company, Call Me Chaz, in Philadelphia, PA and Orlando, FL. He focused on branding, websites, print, video and marketing for small business clients up and down the east coast. He's a self-prescribed car nut and foodie. He's also the curator for This Is Visceral, a site devoted to poster art.

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