Contact form thank you pages: why you should use them and best practices

Say you hire a gardener.

He greets you, and you have a little small talk. A moment later, he starts working on your garden.

You decide to go back into the house and do some chores.

After a couple of hours, you don't hear any more noise coming from the garden, so you decide to go take a look.

You see your garden, and it's a work of beauty.

Beautifully trimmed, planted, and kept.

But you can't seem to find the gardener anywhere. He appears to have just left without saying anything.

You'd probably think: "How weird that he would just leave without saying anything.".

And that is also what you'll remember when recalling the work the gardener did for you.

That's the peak-end rule in action. If you have an experience, you tend to remember the highs, the lows, and the end.

Even if you did a great job, you could still leave a bad impression by botching the last interaction.

And that's where thank you pages come in. They're the icing on the cake (now you can stop wondering about the meaning of the featured image of this article ;-) ).

They allow you to impact the end experience of a potential customer who has filled in your contact form for the better.

So without further ado, let's take a dive into thank you pages!

But first, what are contact form thank you pages?

Usually, a potential customer follows a certain trajectory on your website. They'll take a look at your about page, services page, maybe even some blog articles. If everything goes well, they'll eventually find their way to your contact form and get in touch with you.

When a person submits a contact form, there are generally two options to show that person that everything went as intended:

  1. The website doesn't reload and shows a success message above or below the contact form.
  2. The website redirects to a separate page with a success message.

The second option is what you would call a 'thank you page'.

What are the advantages of a thank you page?

Now you might be wondering, "why the heck would I even need a 'thank you page'?". And today is your lucky day because I've anticipated you asking that exact question.

1. Easy tracking

As I mentioned in my ultimate guide on website goals, you need to track your website goals. The reason is simple. A great website has clear goals. And those goals need to be tracked to know if you're successful.

Almost all businesses I've worked with requested me to measure their contact form's conversion rate. A thank you page makes that child's play.

You can set a simple destination goal in Google Analytics (for example: track a goal completion every time someone visits yourdomain.com/thank-you). Then you measure how many people visit that thank you page to calculate your contact form's submissions.

It's both easier to set up and easier to measure than other alternatives. Your marketing person will thank you.

2. Better user experience: the peak-end rule

Thanks to the peak-end rule, a thank you page can greatly impact your potential customer's experience for the better.

The peak-end rule focuses our memories around the most intense moments of an experience and the way an experience ends.

Lexie Kane
User Experience Specialist, Nielsen Norman Group

People tend to remember the highs, the lows, and the last thing about an experience.

Say you visit an amusement park, and you have the time of your life. Then at the end of the day, you're starving and want to go eat something, but all the restaurants are full and rude at you for not making a reservation. You will probably only remember the end of that day: being hungry and annoyed.

Filling out a contact form is much the same. You'll remember the end of that interaction. You put in the effort, and what do you get? If you're lucky, you see a generic "thanks, we'll get in touch" message. Sometimes you don't even get anything more than just a technical "successfully submitted" message.

That's not fun. It doesn't make your potential customer feel appreciated, and it doesn't make them feel anything.

A thank you page allows you to create a happy ending for your potential customer.

3. You can guide people to the next step

If people took the time to fill out your form, chances are they already like you and your brand. So give them an option to take the next step. You can redirect them to your social profiles, provide them with the opportunity to subscribe to your newsletter, etc.

This increases the interaction with your potential customer and allows you to delight them even further.

Thank you page structure: best practices

Now you're thinking: "Ok, I get it. I need a thank you page. But what to put on it?". Well, the perfect thank you page consists out of three to four elements:

A thank you page template with 4 basic best practices

1. A genuine thank you

II know, I'm kicking in an open door. Of course, your thank you page needs to contain some form of a thank you message. But it needs to be genuine.

Don't think of it as an obligation. Think of it as the perfect opportunity to showcase your business's personality and pleasantly surprise your potential customer.

You want your potential customer to walk away with a good feeling. Be genuine, be you, do your thing.

2. Reassurance and expectations

I already explained in my article about optimizing your contact form to get more leads that you need to set clear expectations and reassure your potential customer. That's because people have specific questions before filling out a form:

  • Will they get back in touch with me?
  • When?
  • Who?
  • ...

By answering those questions, you reassure your potential customer that their effort to fill in the form won't be wasted, and you set clear expectations of what will happen next.

After submitting the form and seeing a thank you page, it pays to repeat the answers to those questions. It gives your potential customers ease of mind: everything went well, and they'll receive a response from [X] by [Y]. This makes for a pleasant, smooth experience.

3. A call to action

If people took the time to fill out your form, chances are they already like you and your brand. So why not add a call to action to nudge them to take the next step.

Examples of the next step could be:

  • List your latest podcasts, blog articles, or Youtube videos.
  • Add a download link to your eBook
  • Add a newsletter signup box
  • Links to your social media accounts (that you actively use)
  • ...

Just be sure it doesn't come across as pushy. Use titles like "Maybe you're also interested in [X]" or "While you're waiting, why not [Y]" that emphasize you want to help your potential customer. Remember, you want them to walk away with a great feeling.

4. Add some personality

If at all possible, add some personality to the page. There are a couple of ways you can do this:

  1. By writing in your own, specific tone of voice.
  2. Adding a picture of the owner or the person who will contact the potential customer (this is a technique I use here on Heave's website).
  3. By using illustrations or imagery that is typical for your brand.

The goal is to make the entire experience more human and less like a technical interaction.

To summarize

  1. The peak-end rule states that people tend to remember the last part of an experience.
  2. When potential customers fill out and submit your contact form, that's the last part of their experience at that time.
  3. By using a thank you page, you can influence that last experience for the better and:
    1. delight your potential customer;
    2. make a great impression.
  4. A thank you page is easy to track and measure in Google Analytics.

Are you already using thank you pages on your website? Got any questions? Get in touch and let's discuss your website!

Maarten Van Herendael

Maarten Van Herendael

Maarten is Heave's founder. His passion is to help businesses like yours do great things with a website that looks better and sells more. You can find Maarten on LinkedIn.