Are Contact Forms Outdated?
We stumbled upon an idea according to which people aren’t using contact forms anymore. According to some, the preferred method of contact is (and has always been) email.
We’re not saying that’s not true. However, declaring contact forms completely dead is false – not just because we deal in the realm of contact forms ourselves, but because those who claim it to be true bring little actual evidence to support the claim.
There are four primary forms of contact for users who want to interact with businesses online:
- Contact forms;
- Phone calls;
Out of these options, it is likely that phone calls will not die out very soon. They didn’t die when the email came along, so why would they now? Email is obviously still popular as well. Furthermore, chatbots are still young – so we can’t talk about their demise just yet.
So how about contact forms, then? Are contact forms necessary? Are contact forms outdated? What is the importance of contact form on a website? And why do you need (or not need) a contact form?
We’ll tackle it all in the article ahead – so read on if you want to find out more.
Prologue: The Contact Form Is Dead, Long Live the Contact Form
Now and again, humankind loves to announce the death of something big.
It doesn’t even matter what it is: there was the death of the disco age, and then punk died, and then there was the death of the radio star.
Truth be told, none of those mentioned above have ceased to exist, no matter how loud it has been shouted out in the world. Disco is alive and well, reshaped in nightclubs and music festivals, for example. And punk music is alive and well too (maybe in a different form, but the spirit is there). Not sure about radio stars, but with the popularity podcasts are gaining these days, who knows?
We really love the drama. When something dies, we’re ready to take it over to the next stage, to demolish entire worlds, to build them anew, to reinvent the wheel, and then forget about it all over again.
It doesn’t happen in technology and pop culture only. The high-brow culture has been experiencing it ever since it became a thing. Nietzsche himself had a theory about the cyclical death and rebirth of Apolollonian vs. Dynonisian cultures.
Are Contact Forms Necessary?
We’re not here to talk about the rise and fall of chaos culture, in any case. The whole point here is that there might be people happy (and eager) to pronounce the death of contact forms. As you will see further on, though, things are quite different.
More specifically, there are four main verticals you should consider before ditching the idea of a website contact form to the trash bin:
- The Lead Generation Dilemma
A website form (be it a contact form or any other type of registration form) can act as a valuable lead generation tool. When people contact you via email or phone, it will be infinitely more challenging to hold on to their data and use it for marketing and sales purposes from thereon.
- The Myriad of Uses for Contact Forms
Let’s say you have zero interest in collecting information from your users for future campaigns of any kind. Even so, even if you completely ignore the revenue dimension of data collection and data hygiene, you can still make better use of contact forms than email, chatbots, or phonecalls.
Let’s say you’re a teacher who needs easy to build questionnaires for your students. Or an NGO that collects donations. Or an event organizer collecting information from your participants.
Being able to easily mold your contact form or questionnaire according to your needs is crucial – and it is equally essential that you make sure your forms are easy to use, easy to store, and that the data collected by them is easy to manage as well. It’s far more challenging to do all of this with emails or chatbots, for example.
- You Don’t Have to Choose
Whoever said you have to choose between email and a contact us form?
Here’s the thing: you don’t have to. Moreover, if you look at most websites, the vast majority don’t either. In fact, it is more than typical to see email, phone, and contact forms all on the same contact page – precisely because you want to make sure it is easy for your users/ customers to initiate communication.
- Your Target Audience Matters
Different businesses have different target audiences – and the people in these target audiences might have different ways to communicate. For many, email is the easiest and safest solution. For others, contact forms are better. And for others, the human touch of a phone conversation is all that matters.
Consider your target audience and study their behavior in their interactions with you – you might learn some pretty exciting things, and you will be able to decide which contact page design suits them better!
The Preferred Method of Contact
The death of contact forms has been speculated, to some extent at least, in the cyberspace. We couldn’t find, but one piece of research on the preferred method of contact these days (which we have already linked at the beginning of this article).
While the points made by the article are fair and valid, there is (at least) one item you might want to take into consideration: statistical relevance.
According to the article mentioned above, there are two significant points brought forward to support the thesis according to which contact forms are not used any longer:
- The numbers revealed by the survey. The entire research was run using 307 respondents. We are not informed on their background, who they are, what their jobs are, or what social group they pertain to. We are told they range between 25 and 45 years old (which is a very considerable period).
While some conclusions can be definitely drawn from the research, its statistical significance may not be just right. Three hundred and seven people will be widely considered to be too narrow a pool of respondents for the enunciation of such a general statement. Moreover, if you don’t know who these people are, it is even less likely that the study will be statistically significant.
Might the study be partially true?
Sure, for some. However, the study is missing those specific vital ingredients that will allow marketers and business owners to take it to heart and incorporate it in their further decisions.
- The specific arguments respondents gave. The most common one was related to a lack of trust in contact forms – which might make sense, but if an email notification is added to confirm the receipt of the form, there’s literally no reason to consider this argument any longer.
Epilogue: Are Contact Forms Still Used?
The short answer is yes.
The long answer is yes, but they are not the only method of contact out there (it would be a bit silly to deny that, right?). Whether or not you use contact forms should depend on a variety of factors, such as:
- Your business
- Your target audience
- The purpose of the data collection
- How organized and hygienic you want that data to be
If you don’t care about the data you are collecting, then sure, go ahead and rely on good, ol’ email or phone. However, if you do care about the information you are collecting, a contact form will definitely help.
Of course, we will recommend using forms for your needs – we have a pretty awesome contact form generator right here, at 123FormBuilder which can be used to create any other online forms. Check it out – there are so many things you can use it for, there are so many contact form templates you can use, and there are so many features you can incorporate that it will be impossible not to love it!