When I began using WordPress, one of the first things I added to the website for my design company was a simple contact form with only three fields: name, email, and message. At the time, it was pretty amazing to be able to give others a way to get in touch with me without using my email address or phone number and the form worked like a charm. Most freelancers struggle to find new clients, yet almost immediately, I began receiving inquiries from new prospects through my website form. I was literally drowning in new leads.
This was incredible until it wasn’t.
While an influx of all those leads sounds amazing, privately, it was a complete nightmare. Managing the leads was draining my energy. I was so overwhelmed responding to inquiries that I struggled to actually get my paying clients’ work done. Even worse, many of the leads that were taking up my time never became paying clients because they were either price-shopping tire-kickers or not the right fit.
While my basic WordPress form allowed people to easily contact me, it did nothing to help segment and qualify the leads and gave me almost no useful information. I needed a better inquiry form for WordPress projects and a more robust solution.
Thankfully, there are a plethora of robust WordPress form plugins available today like WPForms, Ninja Forms, and Gravity Forms that make it easy and fast to create website forms of all types, including contact forms, lead generation forms, opt-in forms, and project inquiry forms.
Over the years, I have experimented with my website project inquiry form:
- First, I tried using a form with very few fields, letting the prospect choose what information to provide. This resulted in wildly inconsistent submissions and way too much back and forth by email just to get the basic information needed to assess whether or not the project was a fit.
- Then, I tried using a form with a lot of questions that required the prospect to put in some work. This approach made the prospect prove they were serious about the project and provided all of the information I needed, but the amount of work it required decimated my leads.
- Next, I reduced my website inquiry form down to about 10 questions and added budget ranges. This approach gathers the initial information needed to assess the inquiry and requires the prospect to show they are serious about the project, but minimizes the amount of work they have to do. Publishing the minimum budget ranges also weeds out the majority of the tire-kickers.
- Today, using Gravity Forms, I’m working on another update to my inquiry form, adding conditional logic to customize the form fields based on the type of project the client is inquiring about.
Creating A Website Project Inquiry Form
A successful WordPress services project inquiry form does five key things:
1. Minimizes friction and makes it easy to complete
First and foremost the form must be easy to complete, which means the form fields are visible, the form is error free, users can tab through the fields in the right order, the fields are the appropriate size for use on mobile devices, and any error messages displayed provide direction.
2. Asks clear questions
Each inquiry form field label or question asked needs to be simple, straightforward, and crystal clear. If a prospect is confused, they aren’t going to complete the form and you’ll lose out on a potential new client.
3. Gathers critical information about a prospect
The purpose of using a lead inquiry form for WordPress projects is to gather the most basic information needed from a prospect so you can quickly assess if the lead is serious and whether or not the project is a good fit, and then decide how to manage inbound leads.
Without gathering any information up front, you’ll be forced to invest valuable time and energy into manually gathering data from prospects by phone or email, even if there is no chance they’ll ever convert to a paying client.
4. Confirms the prospect is serious
The addition of qualifying questions to a project inquiry form requires the prospect to put in a little more effort when contacting you about a new project. This little bit of extra work and the quality of their responses demonstrates how serious they are about the project and how important it is to them.
5. Screens for tire kickers
When it comes to managing inbound leads, there isn’t anything more irritating than spending your valuable time reading an inquiry that completely wastes your time with responses like:
- I don’t know you tell me
- How much would it cost to build a website like Pinterest?
- I need a website for my business
- I don’t have a budget
- I’ll give you more details if I hire you
- I need a website by Friday (It’s Tuesday)
- I want to make $1M from my website
By making your prospects put some effort into completing your website inquiry form, you’ll not only dissuade most of the price-shopping tire-kickers to move on and skip your form, but be able to very quickly identify those that do complete the form so you don’t waste your time.
What to Include In A Website Project Inquiry Form
When it comes to your new project inquiry form, what form fields you include and what style website form you need will depend on the services you offer, your unique business systems, and what information you need to take action.
The non-negotiable form fields that should be included in every project inquiry form are:
2. Business Name
5. Message / How Can I Help
Depending on your audience, you may also want to ask what the preferred form of communication is and/or what time of day is best to contact them.
In addition to the core form fields, you need additional requests and/or questions designed to segment and qualify the inbound leads. These additional options will gather the initial information needed to see if the project may or may not be a great fit and may include:
- Timeline: Do they have a hard deadline or target launch date?
- Budget: Without understanding their budget, it’s impossible to clearly articulate the best solution for their project and provide an accurate proposal.
- Requirements: Does the project have specific requirements for functionality that must be met?
- Goals: Why this project and why now? What does the prospect hope to achieve from their work with you?
- Audience: Who is their target audience or ideal client? Technically you don’t need to know this, but I like asking it because it gives me insight into the clarity the prospect has about their business.
- New site or redesign: If this is a site redesign, ask for the website URL.
- How did you find us: Find out if they are a referral and who referred them.
- Anything else: Change the general message field into an “Is there anything else you’d like to share?” field to give the prospect the opportunity to provide more details or background about the project.
The very last thing that needs to be included is the actual button to submit the form. Be sure to skip the general submit button text and use a call to action like send my message or request a quote.
Track, Measure, And Refine
Remember creating a project inquiry form for your WordPress services isn’t a set it and forget it task. You need to not only track all inbound inquiries and the conversion rates, but track what is happening with your form, including:
1. How many people click to your project inquiry page
2. How many people abandon the form mid-way through
3. How many people complete a form submission
Based on the information gathered, continue to tweak and refine your inquiry form and don’t be afraid to add or remove questions to test how they impact the number of leads received and the quality of leads received.
Ultimately, your inquiry form needs to demonstrate your professionalism, help your prospect feel comfortable, and gather the information you need to take action and either refer the lead elsewhere, clarify the details provided, or book a phone call to talk about next steps.
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