Almost all businesses today have some sort of lead generation form on their Website – the forms range from a simple “contact us” form to complex order forms with extensive data detail. And they are incredibly important for new business growth, as we all know. However, when site owners get to the ultimate question regarding their forms, the decision maker between success and failure, they opt for failure every time.
What’s the Ultimate Question for Web site Forms?
It seems simple. “What happens to the data when the user clicks SUBMIT?” I ask Website owners. Most of them reply, “The Website emails the form to me and four other people.”
Why it’s a bad idea to email forms
So think about your email “in” box. I’m looking at mine right now and see messages arriving at a rate of one every 90 seconds. They’re from a variety of clients about a multitude of topics, and interspersed I see announcements from my son’s school, some spam and a few coupons.
In a nutshell, it’s not the right environment to receive critical data from new clients. Inquiry forms are most often simply “flagged” and then forgotten as soon as they scroll off the bottom of my screen in the crush of more pressing requests from current clients. It’s not just me doing this; many salespeople use the same system for ignoring their new business prospects.
Why it’s bad technology to email forms?
Up to 20% of forms sent via email are lost in cyberspace. It doesn’t matter how good your coding is, or how robust your host is, it’s just a fact that email delivery is less than 100%. Much less.
The delivery success rate for email fluctuates based on variables that have nothing to do with your business – for example, if there’s a spam attack or a virus moving around the Internet, your general email delivery rate drops even more based on your ISP’s attempts to protect your machines from these threats.
Furthermore, emails sent through forms are considered “robot emails” by systems between your web site and your “in” box. Robot emails are actively destroyed at various points in the delivery chain without your knowledge. Worried yet?
How to reliably handle forms?
The most robust way to ensure the data is captured every single time is to send the forms to a queue (or database) on your server. You can receive an email that notifies you that a new record has been added, but you won’t need to rely on email to capture and manage your leads. This way, if you receive one notice for every three or four forms that have been submitted, that’s still enough of a reminder to login and see what’s what. More times than not you’ll be surprised how many leads are in there.
It’s easy to download the leads into a spreadsheet or even (gasp) a Client Relationship Management system (CRM). If you’re really sophisticated, you can have your web forms deliver right into your CRM in real time.
At any rate, what I’m asking you all to think about is having a SYSTEM instead of trying to systematize thousands of emails flying around like mosquitoes. It’s time to get organized, and that means moving away from email for things that are mission-critical for the success of your company like new business leads.
Use email to send cat videos to your mom. Let your databases do the real work.