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A mostly boring, yet useful post on contact form GDPR

A mostly boring, yet useful post on contact form GDPR

I'll try and be brief for all our sakes!

What is GDPR?

I don't think anyone would deny that pop-up cookie banners screwed up the web. I wouldn't mind, but if you say no, the site stops working. It seems now you need a lawyer to browse the web, but why? and what even is GDPR?!

In a nutshell, if someone is going to take someone else's personal details and use them for marketing, then permission is required. More info even more boring than this blog post here.  If you thinking of winging it, there are some pretty hefty fines getting landed.

Site legalities aside; You have a contact form, but no opt-in; you have 2 choices:

In-mail signups

contact form send button

Using something like mailchimp; You fill in your details, after clicking send, the system then emails you back saying 'are you sure'? You click yes, now you're on a mailing list.

  • Pro's: Besides a bit of dev, It's straightforward to implement the whole process, and if legislation changes, you can usually trust the mail service to update the way they do things. The contact form can appear super simple; they are quick and un-threatening and best of all, automated :)
  • Con's: A huge one; The Spam box! The 'are you sure' message can and does fly to spam, thus losing the lead if they don't check their spam folder regularly.
  • Another is you will need someone who knows what they are doing to add an opt in button that makes a record somewhere that the user did agree for you to send them 50 emails a day.

Opt-in button on the form. 

Fill in your contact info and click a little button next to something like 'we won't sell your info and bombard your inbox' Tip: have a privacy page and send people there for the rest. 

  • Pros- once they signup, they're all yours to do your bidding, no confirmation email that may go to spam, great! 
  • Cons- Having a caveat may put people off, as many things on the web just aren't read; subconsciously, people see a clause and don't bother. Arguably if they are that cautious, they may not bother anyway.

Still with me? Thanks! Next;

*Name or no Name? 

It may sound obvious, but is it?

First name, last name, email address, send.

contact form fields
  • Pros: Sending personalised emails are usually positive, although personally, I never like a faceless business using my first name; Even my name on a take out coffee cup is creepy, right? no?
  • Cons: People don't fill in a form to give you their info; they fill in a form for you to provide them with something. Information is a currency, and the more you ask, the higher the price to them; so, if you ask for someone's name, then there will be a percentage of people that won't fill in the form.

Email address only

  • Pros: My kind of form, simple; this isn't online dating. I'm signing up quite probably to a monthly inbox of probably pointless things, but hey, it may be worth it.
  • Cons: If you don't ask for a name, then as your list grows, you can't be as personal. I'm sure many people enjoy having a stranger ask for their name when they buy a take-out coffee (Starbucks do have a more extensive research department than us after all).

Name or no Name? Put yourself in the shoes of your audience; It depends, do you really need it? Personally, I don't care, as little time as possible is my personal choice.

The factual answer: Run an A/B test through some analytics goals and monitor the results. 

But if all that sounds too much hassle, then applying a bit of logic goes a long way in reflection of your own audience. And if you're not sure what your audience will respond to, then maybe looking at your brand fundamentals is more important right now, and quite frankly more interesting than tuning a contact form, ideally do both well though.

A few other tips on contact forms while you're here

  • Don't feel the need to make all fields *required
  • Use multiple analytics goals to track various funnels.
  • Always try and update your domain records to try and avoid customers fighting spam filters - mailchimps are here - https://mailchimp.com/help/set-up-email-domain-authentication/

So what have we learned?

As always, it's a balance of compromise, putting yourself in the users ever-increasingly skeptical shoes, and identifying what the goal is, or more so, what's a fail. For us, someone getting lost in a spam folder is the deal-breaker, but we don't send out auto-populated email campaigns.

Thanks for riding the boredom train with me, I'm off for a bike ride or anything more interesting than this.

Jan 2021