Supercharge your contact forms (Part II)

Written by Noah Coffey on July 7, 2010

Posted in Form Hacks

The first post in our short series on getting the most out of your everyday forms focuses on that staple of the internet: contact forms. Most contact forms are short and to the point–which is good. However, there are a lot of behind the scenes optimizations that can turn a plain old online contact form into a communications hub for your website.

Accept file uploads
File Upload BoxLet’s start with some easy upgrades. Today, it’s fairly common to need to either receive or send a file to someone. Yet, especially for those who are less than tech-savvy, it can still be a hassle to figure out the easiest way to send someone a file–much less a large one. One of the easiest ways to enable anyone to send you a file is to add the ability to your main contact form.

With Formstack, it’s as easy as dragging a new form field onto your form and selecting the “File Upload” option. You can even limit the types of files people can upload (only Word Documents and PDF files, for example). Now, anytime someone needs to get you an important file, just direct them to your contact form.

Multiple contact forms in one
Another common issue is needing more than one contact form for different people or departments in your company or group. You don’t have to be a Fortune 500 company to take advantage of powerful smart routing features that can turn a simple contact form into a gateway of customer emails to various parts of your company.

Simply add a drop down or select list to your contact form with a list of each department or contact person in your organization. In our example, we even added a 2nd drop down list of products. The rest is handled by setting up a few smart routing rules that tell the contact form where to send the message according to how the form was filled out.

Smart Routing 1In the above example, we use smart routing to tell the contact form to send an email to our customer support email for “Product A” whenever those options are selected on the form. We would also have another rule to route emails to a different email address for “Product B” customer support (if that was selected by the customer).

You can also set a custom email that gets sent to the customer and changes depending on how the form was filled out. For example, you could send an email to someone who filled out your contact form, selected “Tech Support” and “Product A” and a totally different email to someone who selected “Product B” (perhaps you want to brand the confirmation emails differently?).

Highrise IntegrationIntegrate with a 3rd party website
A third way to supercharge your contact form would be to funnel all your contacts into a 3rd party contact management website. Highrise, for example, lets you track your contacts, leads and helps you follow up with them. Instead of letting all the emails you receive from your contact form sit idle in your inbox, you could be automatically importing them into applications like Highrise and building your contact list.

Of course, Formstack makes this very easy to accomplish. We’ve even published a short video showing how easy it is to start syncing your contact form with Highrise.

How do you supercharge your contact forms?
Do you do something special with your contact forms to make them rise above the rest? Share in the comments below what you think makes a contact form supercharged.