5 Simple Contact Form Optimization Tips To Capture More Renters

Alex Middel
October 20, 2016

The contact form is one of the most overlooked parts of any multifamily communities website. However, your contact form is crucial for conversion rate optimization and getting helpful information from leads.Your contact form is crucial for conversion rate optimization and getting helpful information from leads that your sales team can leverage during the leasing process.

If your website only has a generic contact form on one page, you’ve likely missed out on a ton of opportunities without even realizing it. You may not be able to do anything about the leads you’ve lost, but you can protect yourself from having it happen again in the future.

We’re going to give you five contact form optimization tips to help you capture more renters, improve your sales process and increase your customer base.

 5 Simple Contact Form Optimization Tips To Capture More Renters

1. Split Test Contact Forms

The first mistake multifamily sites make is having a single version of their contact form. In order to find out what works best for any aspect of your website (page layout, copy, images etc.), you need to split test. Your contact form is no exception. A/B testing helped us generate 70% more leads and decrease marketing costs by 47% for one of our clients. So we know how powerful testing can be.

Experiment with different versions of your contact form, changing things like:

  • The color
  • Text
  • Number of fields
  • Copy

There are a number of different tools you can use to help you split test your contact forms like Formidable, Formstack, or ContactUs. But if you’re not quite at the stage where you’re ready to pay for an advanced contact form builder, you can also run your own tests manually. If you go this route, make sure you’re carefully tracking everything in a spreadsheet. Note exactly what you changed and the conversion rates. If you're not sure where to start, you can use this simple email split-test overview from Optimizely to track your A/B test results, along with this split-test calculator from VWO to measure the significance of your results.

However, if you’re serious about improving your contact form performance, we highly suggest using an online form builder that provides A/B testing like the one's we mentioned above. Your reports will be far more dynamic, insightful, and accurate. It will also save you loads of time that you can use to focus on what really matters - optimizing your contact forms.

2. Make Your Contact Forms Stand Out

Have you ever been to a website and struggled to find the contact form? Maybe it blended into the design, or was buried at the bottom of the page in the footer.

It's no secret, right? Hidden contact forms don’t get filled out.

For apartment leasing sites, your contact form needs to be extremely easy to find because you never know when someone will be ready to schedule an apartment tour or send an email asking for more information.

Here are a few tips you can use to help your forms stand out:

  • Don’t match the background: If your website has a white background, give your contact form some color so it’s more noticeable instead of blending in.
  • Larger font: It’s ok to give your contact form slightly larger font than you use for your regular content. It’ll place more emphasis on what you want the visitor to do.
  • Above the fold: Your contact form should be “above the fold,” meaning users shouldn’t have to scroll down on their screen to find it.
  • Emphasize the CTA: People’s eyes are immediately drawn to certain colors. Studies have shown that red in particular tends to convert the best. Let your CTA button draw people’s eyes to your form.

BONUS: Form Background Color A/B Test

We A/B tested a few of these tips ourselves, using a few variations of our landing page for our Free Guide: 40 Apartment Marketing Ideas Guaranteed To Get More Renters (The Ultimate List!). One test we ran focused on our first tip: Don't match the background. Here are the results:

Variation A

 Contact Form AB Test 1

Variation B - 148% Improvement!

 Contact Form AB Test 2

By adding a simple white background to the contact form, we were able to make it stand out, harness the attention of those visiting the landing page, and more than double our conversions!

3. Use a Descriptive CTA Button

Keeping with the importance of your CTA button, don’t feel obligated to use “Submit” as the text. While this is usually the default option for most forms, it could also be killing your conversions.

A case study from Hubspot found that using words like “go” or “click here” increased conversions by as much as 25-20%.

 Contact Form Button Text

Some alternatives to “Submit” could be:

  • Schedule an Appointment
  • Let’s Talk
  • Get in Touch
  • Learn More

Split test a few variations and see what converts the best.

4. Be Less Strict With Your Required Fields

We’ve talked about the importance of not going overboard with the number of fields on your contact forms. But at the same time, we understand that collecting more information can be beneficial for your sales team or leasing agents.

One way to get around being an annoyance is by making certain fields on the form optional. We’ve all had the experience of trying to fill out a form and getting a dreaded validation error message because we didn’t fill out each field, or didn’t fill them out to the site’s specs.

This is a huge turnoff that can cause people to give up on your form altogether. Have the fields there for people to use, but give them the freedom to enter as much information as they want without restrictions on formatting. For instance, requiring dashes in phone numbers or needing the state name spelled out is a bit overkill.

Continental Properties does a great job of highlighting which fields are required with a star, but leaving the option for people to fill in as much information as they’d like on their Springs at Orchard Road community website.

Contact Form example screenshot

5. Test Your Forms Regularly

Have you ever gone days without receiving a new lead from your website? Your first instinct is probably that people just aren’t filling out the form. However, there could be a technical issue that’s preventing your form from working. And if your contact form is the only way people can get in touch with you, you could go weeks without realizing there’s an issue.

That’s why it’s crucial to test out all the forms on your site periodically. The only thing worse than not receiving any leads is losing leads because your contact form isn’t working.

6. Go Beyond The Contact Us Page

If you look at most apartment community websites, you’ll notice they have a contact form in two main places: The home page and contact us page. But what if someone wants to contact you on your floor plan page, or one of your blog posts?

People should be able to contact you from any page on your site. Whether that means having a lead generation form on every page or a small contact form on the sidebar, make it easy for potential leads to reach you.

7. Ditch the CAPTCHA

CAPTCHAS are those challenge/question fields you see in forms to eliminate the amount of spam you get from your contact forms.

 CAPTCHA on Apartment Site

While they can be effective against spam, they can also hurt your conversions. According to this study published on Moz where a website tested conversions with a Captcha versus without, there was a noticeable change.

Here’s the results with the CAPTCHA off.

 Contact form without captcha converts better

And here’s what happened when the CAPTCHA was enabled.

 Captcha impacts contact form conversions

While there was definitely less spam getting through, the number of conversions dropped slightly. But the worst part is the number of failed messages with the CAPTCHA on, which are essentially lost leads.

Receiving the occasional spam email (which generally gets filtered out) is worth capturing those additional leads.

8. Follow Up ASAP

This last tip isn’t necessarily about the form itself, but it’s probably the most important piece of the puzzle. How long does it take you to reply to leads from your contact form?

If it takes you days to respond, you’re significantly reducing the chances of converting them. In fact, data from Harvard Business School showed that companies that follow up with online leads within 30 minutes are 7x more likely to engage in a conversation.

It turns out a majority of companies are waiting 24 hours or more to follow up, or not following up with online leads at all.

 Response time to online leads

Optimize your sales process so that you’re able to reply to online leads quicker.

Remember, every minute you wait to contact your leads is another minute for a competitor to contact them. When people are apartment hunting, they reach out to multiple properties. If they fall in love with one of your competitor’s properties before you respond to them, you’ll be out of luck.

Aim to follow up with online leads within an hour if possible, and 24 hours at the most.

Stop Losing Leads From Your Contact Form

Put the tips above in place to reduce the number of leads your apartment community is losing from unoptimized contact forms.

In addition to leveling up your contact forms, implement an effective social media strategy. More apartment hunters are turning to Twitter and Facebook to reach out to multifamily properties rather than strictly relying on your website. You need to be ready to follow up with leads on social as well as through your contact form.

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