It’s not easy being a computer screen and trying to get people to respond to you. Show customers a pop-up, and they’ll mercilessly ‘X’ out of it. Email them a subject line that says “10% off!” and they won’t even open it up. Offer up a feedback survey, and they’ll ignore it.

It’s really tough to get people to engage with your company website these days, but the key is to provide interesting opportunities as well as a better experience for the user.

Let’s talk about using online forms to boost customer engagement, and get your customers to not only listen to you, but to take a desired action. Check out these tips and best practices that you can implement for your company’s digital strategy.

Offer a quick registration form to users who want to sign up for emails from your company.

Because signing up to receive emails from a company is a gateway to future engagement, you want to motivate customers to take this important action. Your company’s sign-up or registration form should be very easy to find.

A registration form should be no-frills and as short as possible. It can be as simple as asking for an email address with a call-to-action like “Sign me up!” or “Get me on the list.” This is an important step into getting the user to opt-in to receiving promotional emails which can lead to a more engaged, active customer or user.

According to MarketingSherpa, only 52% of companies and agencies that use landing pages also test them to find ways to improve conversions.Click To Tweet

If you’d like your form visitor to self-select which categories of content they’re interested in receiving, you can set up your form so that the messages your user receives are more relevant, thus helping drive up engagement even more.

This can mean providing checkboxes or another vehicle of self-selection so that customers can determine the types of messages they’d like to receive.

Many customers need an incentive, or at least a little encouragement before they sign up to be on yet another email list. Offer them something special for signing up! This can be a promotion like 10% off, a free trial for a week, or whatever else suits your product or service.

Don’t be shy about asking for customer feedback.

Customer feedback can be invaluable for every step of a company’s story. Is there product/market fit? Is this feature something that people will actually want to use? Is this business idea going to cause backlash? What are customers requesting of your business?

These are all questions that can be answered by listening to customers and getting feedback from them. While listening to a user’s experience, encourage them to reveal their pain points and experiences with your product, service, or brand.

When collecting feedback in the form of a survey, know that customers’ experiences with the questionnaire reflects on your company as a whole. Although no one (except maybe those of us who work at JotForm) finds joy in filling out forms, try to make the process as painless as possible. That means unambiguous questions, answers that reflect all possible responses, organized sections, and a mobile-friendly experience. In short, make it straightforward.

Every question should serve a purpose, with no filler. Save your customers time and get better responses by only including the essential questions.

If your survey drags on for 15 minutes, chances are that your customers won’t look back on those 15 minutes fondly. Make use of conditional logic, which allows you to configure your form to show or hide fields (or entire sections) based on user selections.

This makes sure that your customers are only seeing questions relevant to them, cutting out all the fluff and questions that they would otherwise have to choose “N/A.”

You can be very strategic with your customer feedback surveys, such as sending them to specific demographics, types of customers, customers that have purchased specific items or products in a certain category. Then, you can use the information to improve.

Want to boost engagement? Use this classic approach and watch what happens.

Who doesn’t like free stuff? Giveaways are a tried and true way to increase engagement and add some customer delight into the mix.

Host a giveaway that not only relates to your company and brand, but showcases it in a positive light. It should also be exciting enough to get submissions and shares. For example, if you’re a vacation rental company, offer up one of your more aspirational listings like a stay at a luxury oceanfront penthouse, or a listing that is fun or buzzworthy like a beautiful treehouse.

If you’re a home goods company, have users submit a photo of how your product (whether a couch, lamp, piece of artwork, etc.) looks inside their home. Make it fun, and even turn it into a contest if you’d like.

Depending on what you’re looking to gain from the giveaway, adjust your form so that it collects the information that you need.

Allow for easy social sharing, and even allow participants to earn additional chances to win if they share the giveaway. Make the rules transparent and easy to access, like my adding a terms and conditions checkbox which allows people to browse the giveaway rules.

Invite customers to your event.

Hosting events can be a fun and interactive way to increase engagement among customers, and to let them further connect with your brand. You can host an event at your brick-and-mortar store, or at another location like an event space.

Send out an exciting and informative RSVP form that makes your customers feel special as you invite them to your exclusive event.

Your RSVP form should include the obvious necessities like date, time, place, and occasion. It can also include options to bring a plus one and allow customers to make any special requests or include their dietary restrictions.

Throw in a dash of extra convenience and sync Google Maps with your event invitation form, and add any helpful information like public transportation and parking options.

Creating an engaging event experience with online forms is not limited to customers. Streamline your entire event planning duties with online forms to truly tap into the ins and outs of making your occasion successful. From creating effective sponsorship forms to efficiently plan raffle collection, to synchronizing staff schedules, let online forms automatically handle the organization aspects of event planning.

Here’s a secret: Use payment forms that re-engage customers.

Getting customers to complete a transaction on your payment form is the ultimate goal of engagement. All of your customer engagement efforts have led to this point, the grand finale. So how can you effectively use your form to boost conversions? Make the payment process as easy as possible.

Your customer probably already has their credit card ready to go, so don’t make the process frustrating. Allow for saved accounts to encourage repeat purchases and simplify the process in the future.

If your product is sold out, include a form field where users can enter their email to be notified when the product comes back in stock. Use a call-to-action like “Get me on the list!”, “Notify me in case of restock”, or “Let me know when this item is available.” Include the logos of payment options so users know how they can check out in a glance.

Thank you pages (and subsequent emails) are an integral piece of the payment form puzzle. Make sure your branding is all aligned and your customers are provided a positive experience from end-to-end. This includes making sure your customer knows what’s next (how long is the free trial? When should they expect their order?), and encouraging them to stay connected.

Leeyen Rogers is the VP of Marketing at JotForm, a popular online form-building tool based in San Francisco. Its simple drag-and-drop interface along with conveniently sortable submission data allows you to create forms and analyze their data without writing a single line of code. JotForm is the solution for online payments, contact forms, lead collection, surveys, registrations, applications, online booking, event registrations, and more.

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