But first, a horror story…
Several years ago we were hosting an outdoor design/build company who built decks, brick patios, fences, porches, all things upscale outdoor living. Their product was not cheap and their portfolio was, and still is, large and impressive, with breathtaking work.
One day they contacted me and said that prospects were calling them, asking them if they had received their contact submissions from the website. They had requested estimates, proposals, etc. Rightfully, my client called me in a panic, wondering why the website wasn’t working. I tested it by filling out the form. They did not receive the submission. I saw they had a LOT of submissions on the back end of the site. I read them off one by one. Nope, they didn’t receive even one of those leads. Long story short, the IT guy in charge of their email admitted it was his fault, and “oops” had a wrong setting that caused those emails not to be delivered. There were probably hundreds of thousands of dollars in low hanging fruit waiting to be turned into business. Too late. Gone.
This was horrifying. This changed everything.
Ever since then it’s been top priority to make sure submission forms reach the intended recipient. Here are a few things you can do to make sure a lead never slips past you.
1. Test the form.
Sounds obvious, but a lot of people don’t do this and just assume they work. When you get a new website setup, or even a major change, test your contact forms. Test it periodically for no reason. You can’t be too careful. Leaving money on the table should not be one of your company’s missions, so treat your website’s reliability as you would anything else, and demand trustworthiness.
2. Have the form submission notification sent to multiple recipients.
If you have multiple email addresses, or multiple people in charge of following up, have the form notify all of them. Setup a secondary free email account, such as Gmail, Yahoo or AOL. These will also be good testing grounds because if your form will submit to them, then all of your components are setup correctly for high deliverability.
3. Have the form submission notification send a text to your phone.
In case your email system fouls up, or marks the message as SPAM, you can add your phone number as an email address. In doing so, you will get a text on your phone, prompting you to check your mail and verify you did get the lead. This is also a good technique for online order notifications, for ecommerce websites.
Here’s how it works: https://www.wikihow.com/Send-a-Text-from-Email
4. Use Gravity Forms.
Gravity Forms is a premium WordPress plugin that helps ensure delivery. Each message sent through the form can be emailed to multiple email addresses and is also saved on the back end, in an easy to read format that can be printed, exported to Excel/CSV. The plugin also shows a history of if the message was successfully sent or not.
5. Make sure your DNS records are correct.
Chances are, your email and website are not hosted on the same server. If you use Office365 or G Suite, then this is absolutely the case. You need what is called an SPF record which tells the world where email from your domain is allowed to come from.
For example the IP address of your website, www.yourdomain.com, is 188.8.131.52, then your SPF records should look like this (assuming Office365 or G Suite):
Office365: v=spf1 include:spf.protection.outlook.com ip4:184.108.40.206 -all
G Suite: v=spf1 include:_spf.google.com ip4:220.127.116.11 -all
The notation “ip4:18.104.22.168” means that email coming from your website is validated as coming from @yourdomain.com
6. Don’t have a form at all.
Yes, this would mean less vehicles for people to contact you, leaving only phone calls and an email link. But, if the above is not possible, then just skip it altogether. This method is not recommended, but missing leads is something that just can’t happen.