Marketing your business is about finding the best ways to connect and engage with your audience. Most website owners use contact and opt-in forms (sometimes called opt-in boxes) to help them accomplish this. But wait…what’s the difference between contact forms and opt-in boxes? This is a common question I get from students in the Website Creation Workshop.
Difference Between Contact Forms and Opt-in Boxes
Contact and opt-in forms are valuable tools for marketing your business and forming relationships with potential customers. However, they serve different purposes, so it’s essential to understand the difference between the two.
When you know how contact forms and opt-in forms work – how they gather information and help you engage with your audience – you’ll be able to maximize the value of these tools.
Video About Contact Forms vs. Opt-in Forms
Contact Forms Explained
What’s the Purpose of Contact Forms?
A Contact form is where people go when they want to talk to you directly. They’re not signing up for your newsletter or free offer. They may have a specific question or comment they wish to submit. The contact form allows people to fill out their name and email to send an inquiry to you or your business.
Where is the Contact Form on Your Website?
Your contact form is on your ‘Contact Me’ or ‘Contact Us ‘page – one of the five essential pages every website must have. Most websites link to their “Contact Us” page in the top or footer menu.
A contact form can streamline communication even if your email, phone, or address is listed on your website. Remember, you should make things easier for our site visitors to take action! (Some business owners prefer a contact form because they want their email addresses to remain private.)
How Do Contact Forms Work?
Here is a typical flow of how the contact form works:
- A website visitor fills out the contact form with a question/feedback.
- You get notified about the form submission via email.
- It’s up to you to reply to the person who submitted the form.
With a contact form, you can ask the visitor for specific information you might need to help them.
A contact form typically does not add people to your email marketing list as an opt-in box does.
An Example of a Contact Form
Below is a screenshot of the contact form from the Website Creation Workshop. It’s simple and easy to submit. People who contact us through the contact form are not added to our email list. Our customer service team will email them privately with a response.
Top WordPress Contact Form Plugins
While many WordPress contact form plugins are available, here are three popular ones:
(https://www.christinasresources.com/gravityforms/) is my favorite premium/paid plugin!
This plugin lets you easily create different types of forms, like contact forms or surveys, without any technical know-how. You can customize the forms to match your style and add fields like name, email, and message. Gravity Forms is a user-friendly tool that helps you collect information from website visitors and stay connected with customers. The basic license for one website is $59 per year.
(https://wordpress.org/plugins/ninja-forms/) – a free plugin with paid options
Ninja Forms is a handy free plugin perfect for small business owners who want to add forms to their websites. With Ninja Forms, you can create all sorts of forms, like contact or order forms. It’s easy to use and customize, allowing you to add fields for names, emails, or any other information you need. Ninja Forms is a fantastic alternative if you don’t want to pay for Gravity Forms.
(https://wordpress.org/plugins/wpforms-lite/) – a free plugin with paid options
WPForms is a powerful and user-friendly WordPress plugin designed to simplify creating forms on websites. Its intuitive drag-and-drop interface lets users quickly build contact forms, surveys, feedback forms, and more. The plugin also offers various pre-built templates and advanced features like conditional logic, spam protection, and integration with popular email marketing services.
Opt-In Forms Explained (also called Opt-In Boxes):
What’s the Purpose of an Opt-In Form?
The purpose of an opt-in form is to build your email list. An Optin page, or a Squeeze page, collects the user’s email address in exchange for a free product. It is the first step of a marketing funnel and allows you to generate leads for email marketing. A person “opts in” to receive whatever you offer in the box.
Types of Opt-In Forms
Your opt-in “gift” could be a variety of things, such as a FREE:
- e-newsletter (“ezine”) subscription
- on-demand webinar
- downloadable report
- document with a checklist, tips, etc.
- video/audio recording
How Do Opt-In Forms Work?
Here is a typical flow of how the contact form works:
- A website visitor fills out the opt-in form to obtain the free offer
- The visitor’s email is added to your database in your email marketing platform
- You send the visitor all relevant content and offers from your business
- You build a relationship with the visitor, and they become a paying customer
When sending emails to your list, you must have an Unsubscribe link in case someone does not want to receive your emails anymore.
An Example of an Opt-In Form
Adjacent is a screenshot of the contact form from the Website Creation Workshop. It’s simple and easy to submit. People who contact us through the contact form are not added to our email list. Our customer service team will email them privately with a response to their inquiry.
Where is the Opt-In Form on Your Website?
It’s a good idea to have an opt-in form on every website page, either at the bottom or side. This way, no matter where someone is on your website, they can quickly sign up for your free offer, which adds them to your email list and helps you stay connected with them.
Website opt-in forms can be found in a variety of styles. Some popular types include floating bars (sticky bars that stay visible as you scroll), pop-ups (boxes that appear in a separate window or overlay), and inline forms (boxes that are embedded directly within webpage content). Various opt-in forms allow website owners to choose the form that meets their design and user experience needs.
Adding Opt-In Boxes to Your Website
Many popular email marketing tools 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 suits your needs best. This way, when someone fills out the form, their information gets automatically added to your email list.
Here are 4 Email Marketing Systems We Recommend
- Free version available with limited functions
Find out more at https://christinasresources.com/aweber
Find out more at https://christinasresources.com/activecampaign
Find out more at https://www.christinasresources.com/getresponse
Conclusion: Use Both on Your Website!
In conclusion, contact forms and opt-in boxes have different purposes for engaging with people and collecting information. You should have both on your website!
Create a contact form for direct communication on your Contact Us page, like sending messages or asking questions.
Set up an Opt-in box to build your email list and grow your audience. Why is it essential to build your email list? All of those people who have subscribed are leads. Keep in touch with your list regularly to build a strong relationship and provide value. Then, those leads will become loyal customers!
Contact forms and opt-in boxes allow you to make the most of your online presence, engage with your audience, and collect important information.
(Originally published on 2/23/2017)