People often confuse a contact form and an opt-in box and the purpose of each one.  So let me explain the difference between the two.

Contact Form

A contact form is a form on your website, usually found in a page called “contact us”,  where people can fill out their name and email to submit an inquiry to you or your company. With a contact form, you can ask the visitor for specific information that you might need in order to help them.  Even if you are already offering other contact methods such as phone or email , consider adding a contact form to streamline the process.  Remember, we should make things easier for our site visitors to take actions!  (Some business owners prefer a contact form, because they prefer their email address to remain private.)

Here is a typical flow of how the contact form works:

  1. A website visitor fills out the contact form with a question/feedback.
  2. You get notified about the form submission via email.
  3. It’s up to you to reply to the person who submitted the form.

A contact form normally does not add people to your email marketing list like an opt-in box does. See below for more on an opt-in box.

While many WordPress contact form plugins are available, here are two popular ones:

Gravity Forms (http://www.christinasresources.com/gravityforms/) – a premium plugin and my favorite!
contact form with gravity-forms

Ninja Forms (https://wordpress.org/plugins/ninja-forms/) – a free plugin with paid options
contact form with ninja-forms

 

Opt-in Box

On the other hand, opt-in box is a place on your website where the visitor opts in with their name and email address in order to receive something in return. Your opt in “gift” could be a variety of things such as:

  • free e-newsletter (“ezine”) subscription
  • a free downloadable report
  • a free document with checklist, tips, etc.
  • a free webinar
  • a free video/audio recording

When people opt in, your email list (people you can market to via email) grows. List-building itself is a big topic itself that I’m not getting into in this blog post, but you probably already know how important it is to keep building your list in order to grow your business.

There are many popular email marketing tools that offer an easy way to add an opt-in box to your website. Each one offers unique features, so I recommend checking them out to determine which one would best work for your needs.  You can read this article on “Email Marketing Systems and How They Differ From Each Other” here

Below are 2 popular Email Marketing Systems that work with WordPress:

EmailMkting-aweberAWeber Email Marketing System

aWeber Communications is a Email marketing software that’s easy to use. Send email newsletters & autoresponders. Top notch email deliverability with their tools.
http://christinahills.AWeber.com


mailchimplogoMail Chimp

Mail Chimp is an Email Marketing software system that will let you do Blog Broadcasting as well as autoresponders and regular broadcasts. They have a free version as well as a paid version.
http://www.ChristinasResources.com/mailchimp

When you’re building your website, make sure you know the difference between a contact form and and an opt-in box. They are both important, but as you see above, each plays a very different role. (another benefit of a contact form, is that you don’t have to list your email address on your website) 

Do you have a favorite email marketing system?