Most websites these days have at least one or two forms for customers to fill out, be these a contact form, customer registration, or something else. Shopping carts are also a type of form, though we don’t tend to think of them in that way. Operationally speaking, forms help to streamline the submission of information. But many businesses are underutilizing forms as they relate to the rest of their processes.
The question to ask yourself here is, how manual vs. automated is your process when a customer submits a form on your site? Let’s take the example of a contact form.
Some companies take contact form submissions and give them to an employee to follow up with.
Others take these same form submissions and automatically upload the customer to their Customer Relationship Management system. From there, based on information the customer entered into the form, the customer is classified into a particular type, and an automated marketing email stream is activated for that particular customer. This might include a thank you email after submission, a follow-up email a few days after, and a reminder email a few days after that which is only sent if the system registers that the customer has not taken any additional actions on the site.
Clearly, we’re talking about two very different processes here. Many companies find themselves in between these two ends of the spectrum. But, adding more automation, if the resources are available, is almost always worthwhile, for a few reasons:
- It can import the customer into one or more of your systems, saving you from manually having to do that at a later time
- All of the customer’s information in your system is automatically correct, because it’s been entered by the customer themselves.
- Someone from your company does not have to manually remember to act on the form submission
- The customer experiences a more seamless and prompt experience by being seamlessly included in an email stream
- You are able to make the most of the lead generated by the form submission without actually having to expend any additional company resources. At scale, this can make a huge difference.
If you haven’t done much with website forms and email marketing, you may be wondering how to get started. The key here is the level of implementation that you’re looking for. Many email marketing providers, such as ConstantContact, MailChimp, and Emma, provide email automation and have the capacity to ingest form submissions to create new contacts. But if you actually want to implement form submissions more centrally, then you’ll want to integrate forms with your version of a customer relationship management (CRM) database, and from there link it to your email marketing provider. The CRM can then also interlink with any other company databases for further seamless customer workflows.
We hope this post has piqued your curiosity about what can be done with web form submissions and the potentially valuable data they contain!