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Wednesday, 15 February 2017 07:50

How Your Business Should Design Online Forms

For 2017, our company is on a mission to find more ways in which our sales and marketing department can save more time at work by digitalizing and automating as much as possible. Today, I’m exited to talk to you about how your business should be using technology to capture information online from customers or prospects, and make it available to the right team member faster and at the right time.

The easiest way to gather information from your users is to create and publish an online form on your website or landing page. To help you get this done easily, without you having to contact your web designer or web master, you can use one of many online form builders. Then, once your form is published and you’re capturing your users’ information you can use web-based sync tools such as Zapier to quickly send that info to 700+ other online systems. This may include your CRM, e-mail marketing system, marketing automation, or proposals software.

At Bloominari, we choose to use JotForm as our online form builder of choice. A few days ago, their new version 4.0 launched, and the builder now included amazing new features we think your marketing and web staff will love!

Let’s explore how your business should be using online forms with the goal of creating a form super fast, being able to customize the fields, the look/style of the form and publish to your website to start capturing information.

1. Easily Create Custom Forms with Popular Input Fields

One of the best features of any good online form system, should be the ability to easily add common input fields such as name, email, phone number, date to your form. In addition to that, these fields should be formatted in such a way so that data can be verified to follow a specific format to make sure you’ll gather real data.

Example: An email field must contain an @ sign, followed by a .com or .net ending. Otherwise, it’s not a real email address. An e-mail field as opposed to a regular text-field should help you collect and verify email formats easily!

Below is a screenshot of a JotForm 4.0 form being edited. It’s new user interface is great and mobile friendly.

2. Use a form template to publish a form in 1 min!

No time to create your online forms? Then you’re like most business owners or marketing managers who just can’t find the time to do anything. A good form editor like JotForm, should offer you lots of existing form templates to choose from.

You could literally spend 60 seconds simply choosing a template, adding a few form settings and publishing your form online.

Common JotForm Template Categories:

  • Application forms
  • Order forms
  • Feedback forms
  • Surveys
  • Event registration forms
  • Registration forms
  • Contact forms
  • Evaluation forms
  • Abstract/Brief forms
  • Request forms
  • Signup forms

marketing automation tips -  jotform templates

 

3. Create or edit forms using your mobile phone

Not near your computer again? Need to change a field on your form? No problem, just open up your form’s editor and edit it on the move. This is a great new feature that was launched as part of JotForm’s new version 4 software. It even let’s you work while you’re offline – amazing right?


4. Work as a team to build your forms

If you’re familiar with Google Docs, then you might have experienced the “magic” of their documents editor – their collaboration feature. This refers to the ability to have multiple users logged in to a Google document and being able to edit it together at the same time. To this day, this great tool that our generation can now enjoy when working on group projects still super impresses me.

Now you can also have your whole sales or marketing team working on an online form all at once. Collaborating on adding fields, information, editing the design, etc.

online forms digital marketing -  jotform collaboration

 

5. Design your forms to match your branding

As a designer, web master and marketer it’s my second nature to want to brand everything our company produces with our branding. In my case, I’m able to open up Photoshop, edit HTML/CSS code, or do whatever I need to do to customize our marketing materials. But if you’re like most people, you’re not a designer and wouldn’t know where to begin to brand all your materials.

When it comes to building your online forms, most online editors let you easily modify the form’s design, colors and fonts to allow you to personalize your form. The most basic personalization should include adding your logo, and making the form match your brand’s colors. With JotForm, you can browse hundreds of themes and pick one that matches your style, or you could also use their theme editor to easily customize every little detail.

digital marketing automationg - jotform editor

 

6. Let your users share more than just text

Don’t want a boring text-only form? Or need more advanced tools to help you collect more than just words? Great, then always consider an online form builder that will let you do just that.

Advanced form fields could include items such as uploading files, showing images, star ratings, scale ratings, etc. The easier it is to collect everything you need from your users at once, the easier your work processes will be.

7. Divide your forms into multi-step sections

If you’re going to be asking for a lot of information from your online users, be sure to divide the questions into sections. People have low attention spans online, and if you want to get results from an online form, you better make it simple and super clear about how long your form will take to complete.

In fact, it’s encouraged to mention at beginning of any long form the estimated time you believe your user will take to complete it. It could say something like “This form will take approximately 5 minutes to complete”. If you set the right expectations, people will be more likely to choose to fill out your form.


8. Request only the info you need or ask for more when needed

Don’t you hate when you need to fill out form fields that don’t apply to you? I’m sure you do, and most people hate it too. So don’t be that person, and be sure to build a form that allows you to create fields that can be shown or hidden based on previous user input.

This advanced but very important feature in usually known as “conditional fields”. An example of how you could either hide/show a field on your form as necessary could look like this:

Question: Did you complete high school? Dropdown field options = YES / NO
IF YES, then show field called “High school name” [Text Input Field], IF NO, don’t show the field

The same conditional logic can be used to allow your online user to skip through online form pages/sections that are not relevant to him or her.

digital marketing - online forms jotform payments9. Accept online payments immediately

If you’re business has something that can be sold online, it’s very likely you’re going to be interested in being able to receive money from your customers. If this is the case, then take advantage of the popular feature that many online form builders have, which is the ability to take a user’s credit card information to process a payment.

JotForm’s software is pre-integrated with some of the most popular payment gateways online, including PayPal, Stripe, Square, Braintree, Authorize.net and many others. Setting them up is pretty easy, so almost anyone can do it. Learn more about payments here.

10. Need a signature? No problem!

It’s getting more and more common to “Save the Earth” by not printing documents on paper. If you’d like to join the technology and eco-friendly initiative, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to do so.

If you want to integrate e-signatures into your forms, you can add a JotForm widget that will let users draw a digital signature right on your form. It may or may not be considered a lawfully legal signature, but it might be just what you’re looking for to “legitimize” a user’s online intent. If you’re interested in signing other documents online, checkout this free tool called SignRequest, which integrates with Google Docs and Dropbox.

11. Look like a real pro, integrate fancy widgets

If a standard online form isn’t enough for you, and you want to make your form look like it cost you a few thousands bucks to develop, then widgets is the answer your looking for.

digital marketing - online forms jotform widgets

Form widgets are kind of like “Apps” for your forms, which allow your form to have some type of superpowers. We already gave away one of those superpower, the e-signature. But that’s not all, there are so many other widgets to choose from. In our case we’re using JotForm, but if you’re using a different software check what they offer.

Some of JotForm’s Widgets:

  • Checklists
  • Take a photo or upload one
  • Image slider
  • Embed a YouTube Video or SoundCloud song
  • Add “Terms and Conditions” documents to be “Checked/Accepted”
  • Tabs
  • Form calculations
  • SMS/Text Confirmations
  • PDF Embedder
  • Field Multipliers
  • Progress Bar
  • Dynamic Dropdowns
  • Maps
  • Voice Recorder and much more

 

12. Don’t work twice, easily send your data to multiple systems

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, my goal is to continue to find ways to automate our company’s sales and marketing processes as much as possible, and this includes getting form’s data where it needs to go.

Many online form editors feature native (built-in) integrations with many popular cloud-based services, and you should certainly make sure you pick one that integrates with your other online tools. Otherwise, at least make sure that you online editor of choice integrates with Zapier, which will then let you integrate your form with pretty much anything else that’s web-based. Checkout JotForm apps integrations

Popular integration methods include being able to send your form data to:

  • Blogs
  • CRMs and CRMs
  • E-mail marketing systems
  • Payment processing
  • Analytics and reporting tools
  • File sharing tools and more.

Related post about integrations and automation: 12 Ways to Save Time on Daily Sales & Marketing Tasks


It’s important for me that you know that neither me nor my digital marketing agency got paid to write this post, nor do we get compensated for promoting JotForm, we just love it and use it in our business.

Have any other ideas of how to save time on your sales and marketing?

I’d love to hear your feedback. I invite you to leave comments below or contact us.

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Jaime Nacach

Marketing Strategist

I love helping small businesses with their digital marketing and business strategy. I'm a young man with a passion in entrepreneurship and international experience in business development, marketing, sales, and web/graphic design. 

Find me on: Team Page | LinkedIn | Google+Personal Website

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