The following transcript was taken from InSights, a staffing and recruiting podcast from Haley Marketing Group dedicated to providing quick-hitting takeaways on Social Recruiting, Content Marketing, and Employer Branding. To listen to the episode, click play on the player above or visit the episode page [InSights] Is It Time to Break Up with Twitter?
Brad Bialy: Matt, this is a hot button for both of us lately. For 23 episodes now, we’ve shared our insights on content marketing and how to use content as a way to drive inbound leads for staffing and recruiting firms. What we’ve failed to talk about is the end of that funnel, the contact form. When we think about the contact form, I want to use this time to stress the importance of a few key elements of the actual contact form itself. So let’s get started with the form itself, just being easy to use.
Is Your Contact Form Easy to Use?
Matt Lozar: The form definitely needs to be easy to use, because we want it to have a very simple capture method. Especially with more traffic coming on mobile, that capture method needs to be easy to use, easy to fill out for mobile devices. Since greater than 50% of traffic for staffing websites, right now, we’re seeing is on mobile versus desktop. So a clean, easy to use capture form is vitally important to proving the ROI and value of any marketing, especially, content marketing and inbound marketing.
Brad Bialy: Yeah, and we said contact us form. It’s really any form on your website. To Matt’s point, it has to be easy to use on both mobile and desktop. If you have a mobile experience on your website that becomes a bottleneck for that candidate, think about how they’re going to leave your site, go somewhere else and ask somebody else for their help. We want that contact form to be incredibly easy to use. What exactly do you need from them to follow up? Is it a name, an email address? A short section where they can type in some notes? What do you really to get that ball rolling?
Brad Bialy: If you’re thinking through what you don’t need, eliminate those fields from the contact form. But again, we want that to be easy on both desktop and mobile. When somebody comes to your contact form, they shouldn’t have to pinch and zoom to get to the extra fields on that form. They should be able to see that really nice and easy, be able to type in what they’re trying to achieve and then click that submit button, so that they can be taken to the next phase of the process.
Matt Lozar: I think by contact forms, we want to say contact us forms, job applications, request talent, request for manpower, something we see on a lot of sites. So those are what we mean by contact forms. Something I think is really interesting, is what information do you need?
Are You Asking for Too Much Information?
Matt Lozar: Here at Haley Marketing, we changed our job board application layout about 12 months ago, it was around fourth quarter, 2018, and that showed some really great improvements. But also wanted to jump into this study from HubSpot to where, they’ll say if you change your form layout from four fields to three fields, so the number of pieces of information you need, if you just decrease it from four to three, your conversion rate’s going to increase by 50%, which is a huge increase.
Matt Lozar: So, it’s really important to think about which information do you need in that form. You don’t need to get their entire work history or their entire business information, it’s really a capture form just to get a warm lead to deliver to a recruiter or to a member of your sales team.
Are You Including a Thank You Page?
Brad Bialy: Let’s move on to the next point here, Matt, that makes it incredibly easy for the individual to know that they’ve actually left that submission. So I was looking at a staffing website throughout this past week, and we were working through a situation where the contact form would capture all the data, but when you click submit, there was never a prompt that said, “Thank you for leaving this or thank you for getting in touch with us.” It didn’t go to a different page on the site. Nothing flashed across the screen saying, “Submitted.” Nothing happened.
Brad Bialy: So from a user experience standpoint, and I know I experienced this myself personally, so I can only imagine what a frustrated candidate would feel like. I must’ve clicked submit at least 15 times. I then went into that individual website. I went into the backend of the site through WordPress and looked at the form and all of the information was captured. But, I as the end-user, didn’t know that. So you’re in this state of, “Well, did I submit this? Did I not? What should I do next? Are they going to call me? Are they not going to call me?” We need to be better from a candidate experience standpoint.
Matt Lozar: We need to put something in there that says, at the very basic level, “Thank you for submitting your information.” That’s the basic level. If you want to take that to the next step, that next level, “Thank you for summing information. Our team will follow up with you in the next X amount of business days, whatever your process is.” Or even if you want to think, even take it to the third level, as I kind of walk through this, is maybe have a link to a guide or resource or take them back to somewhere else on your website or to follow on social media, or maybe sign up for job alerts, or any other method to keep them engaged.
Matt Lozar: Because you have their attention. They came to your site, they submitted their contact information, which is a big step, but then build off of that, capitalize off that attention and continue that engagement with the interested job candidate or business owner.
Consider the Candidate Experience
Brad Bialy: If you say that you’re going to get back to somebody in 24 to 48 hours through that form, you have to get back to them in 24 to 48 hours. I don’t care if it’s a weekend, a holiday, that doesn’t matter. The candidate doesn’t care. I know personally I went through and I was looking at a marketing website, and they had said that they were going to reach out within three to five days about an eBook. I never got it, they just never followed up with me. So for me, I’ll never go back to that site.
Brad Bialy: Think about the candidate experience. They don’t care if it’s a weekend, they don’t care if they’re submitting this contact form at 7:00 PM. If you say you’re going to get back in 12 to 24, 24 to 48, whatever that range is, you have to stick to that.
Matt Lozar: There’s also research out there that’ll show, from the candidate experience side, we kind of focused on that a little bit here. Even if it’s a long capture form or a long expectation, if you set those expectations at the beginning of this form will take 12 minutes to fill out or even 20 or 25 minutes, which increases conversions, because it sets our expectations in the beginning. If you just start on an application and it continues and continues and continues, you’re going to get frustrated, because you have no idea when this indefinite process is going to end.
Matt Lozar: So set those expectations in the beginning and really think about the experience from the candidate side. Like we’ve said on past episodes, it’s not just job applications, but fill out a contact form on your site or have somebody else you know fill out the form and get their secret shopper feedback and determine how to improve that experience.
Is Your Team Notified of a Form Submission?
Brad Bialy: The last real point that I want to stress here, Matt, is to make sure that that contact form is being routed to somebody in your office’s email. So that as Brad Bialy fills out the contact form on your staffing website, you’re notified immediately of that via your inbox. Don’t become a bottleneck for the response phase of this contact form, you have to make sure that somebody is getting those emails and then following up with them.
Brad Bialy: I know that we had looked at a website, again, an additional website here just this past week or two, and the forms are being captured, but nobody in the office was being notified because the person who was on the notification had left. So they were going to, essentially, a dead inbox. We need to change that.
Brad Bialy: So the last real point that I want to stress, as you look at your own productivity and making sure that you’re following up with people that are reaching out through contact forms, who is being notified? Who’s getting that inbox message? Are they following up? What’s your process when they’re following up? How can you make that more efficient? But really think through that phase of the process.
Matt Lozar: I think that’s vitally important because we’re doing all of this work to invest in marketing or anything to drive these conversions and inbound traffic. But if nobody’s following up, if nobody’s even receiving them to follow up, then everyone’s going to get frustrated and nobody’s going to win in the end. People are just going to think that your marketing activities don’t work and it’s a waste of time and resources, and it should be put into a different aspect of your business to invest in.
It’s All About the Candidate Experience
Brad Bialy: Matt, to close out the segment, I think you said it best. If we want to go through the contact form and we want to make sure that we have an ideal candidate experience, you have to secret shop yourself. Have somebody in your office go through the contact forms on your website and really document the process. Where are their bottlenecks? Where are their frustrations? Have them do that on both desktop and mobile. Make sure you’re checking on iPhone and Android devices.
Brad Bialy: After you have somebody do it inside your office, have somebody who doesn’t really know your business go through that form, have a friend or a family member do it. Somebody that’s not biased and is just going to give you good feedback, have somebody look at it that is willing to give you that hard feedback. Because the only way that we can improve is if we actually go through that and understand how we can get better one day at a time.