What is a Form Builder? The Basics
In simple terms, a form builder is a software solution designed to make it easier for business owners and leaders to create effective, powerful forms for a range of use cases.
In the past, if you wanted to design a high-quality form that integrates with your existing data collection tools, features your branding, and works well on any device, you would need some coding knowledge. Building a form was a lot like designing a landing page or website. It required users to work with various lines of code to create attractive, powerful tools, capable of capturing data.
Today, form builder tools minimize the effort involved in creating forms, with drag-and-drop customization tools, templates, and a range of pre-designed widgets. They don’t require users to experiment with code or HTML sites. Instead, you can simply choose a form that matches your specific goals or requirements, and integrate it with your existing website, social media profile, or any other environment you choose.
Form builders are designed to be quick and easy to use, whether you’re trying to collect insights from employees, pre-existing customers, or potential clients. You can use form builders too:
- Create forms for lead collection on landing pages
- Embed and share forms in a range of environments without coding knowledge
- Set up automations (like automatic data entry into a CRM system)
- Keep teams up to date with instant notifications whenever someone fills in a form
- Access reports and data in easy-to-use forms, including Excel, PDF, and CSV
- Share forms with customer across a range of platforms and channels, including mobile phones
- Analyze and share form insights with multiple members of staff
How Do Form Builders Work?
The exact functionality of a form builder can vary depending on the solution you choose. Most options available on the market today come with a range of features, including professionally designed templates, built to suit a range of goals, drag-and-drop customization pages, and more. There are even form builders which can automatically integrate with the tools you already use, like a CMS, or a CRM apps.
Most form builder solutions come with access to a response management functionality, so the owner can easily receive, store, and analyze responses from various customers and employees. Some tools will also come with reporting and analytics features, which include access to AI for sorting through data, and specialist white-labelled report downloads.
Many form builders available today are offered on a SaaS (Software as a Service) basis. This means all the tools you need are available to access in the cloud, from virtually any device. You should also be able to share your forms across multiple channels, embedding them into your website, using them on social media, or adding them to existing iOS and mobile apps.
Form builders can also include API functionality, which allows developers and companies with technical knowledge to create automated workflows based on the data collected. For instance, if you create a form for your ecommerce website, you could integrate it with your email marketing tools, to make it easier to update your list with new contacts. The same solution might also automatically enter information into your lead generation and management software.
Most form builders are designed to be as straightforward and simple as possible for beginners to use. This means you shouldn’t need any prior coding or design knowledge to create a professional-looking asset. The templates provided are also highly customizable, and can be adjusted to suit your branding, with different colors, fonts and logos based on your needs.
The Common Features of a Form Builder
Form builders come in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit virtually every use case. They’re often extremely versatile and packed with fantastic features. However, the capabilities of each solution can vary depending on the service you choose. Some form builders are designed to be extremely advanced, with various disruptive technologies, like AI and automation included.
Others are intended to be slightly more straightforward, intended for simply capturing information as quickly and effectively as possible. Some of the most common features you’re likely to find in a modern form builder include:
- Drag and drop functionality: Form builders are often designed with exceptional ease-of-use in mind. To reduce the need for coding and technical knowledge, most come with drag-and-drop builders. This ensures you can drag form fields and questions, as well as other functionality into a pre-existing template with minimal effort.
- Themes and templates: Most form builders come with a range of themes and templates to choose from. There are options to suit virtually every business goal and requirement. For instance, you can find forms designed specifically for collecting information from employees, as well as tools intended for collecting customer feedback. The best form builders come with highly professional, responsive templates which can be adapted to suit any brand.
- Integrations: As mentioned above, the best form builders are often designed to work alongside the tools companies are already using for data collection and management. Some options can integrate with leading CRM tools, ecommerce site builders, Google drive, and other data storage systems. There are even options which work alongside e-signature options, so you can add greater functionality to your forms.
- Analytics: Form response analytics are another key component of an effective form building tool. Business leaders need to be able to quickly search for patterns and trends after they collect data. Most of the top form builders, whether they’re for lead generation on a landing page, or reviews, will come with access to reporting tools. Some can even offer real-time analytics whenever someone fills out a new form.
Depending on the style of form builder application you use, you may also find the solution will allow you to build different types of interactive experiences for users. For instance, some form builders also support the creation of quizzes and surveys.
How to Choose a Form Builder
There’s more to choosing an effective form builder than simply searching for a solution which allows you to create a free online form as quickly as possible. The right tool should help you to achieve your business goals. This could mean improving your conversion rate, providing a unique user experience on your WordPress site, or collecting leads.
The best online form builder will allow you to create registration forms, surveys and more in a matter of minutes, with a convenient user interface and plenty of customization options. Some can even integrate with tools like PayPal or Stripe, to streamline payment collection from respondents. Some other points to think about include:
- Form design: As well as giving you a range of themes and template options, a good form builder app, tool, or plugin will also give you complete control over how your form appears on your website or social media page. Some options allow you to choose between pop-up and sliding forms. Others use form designs that are triggered by specific conditional logic.
- Insights: The best form builder software will help you to collect valuable insights and information about your target audience. Reports and analytics should be tailored to your specific needs. Plus, they should make it easy to export information into existing tools like Google Sheets or Excel.
- Ease of use: A good tool for building web forms should be easy to use, with no need to work on any CSS or HTML. They should make the experience of creating forms simple for the business. However, they should also offer phenomenal ease of use for the customer or employee you want to reach, with straightforward field types and a clean interface.
- Cost effective: When choosing an online form builder, you should have various free and premium options to choose from. If you want advanced form templates, and unique features for contact forms, you may need to pay a little extra. Make sure the pricing for your custom forms matches your specific budget.
- Integrations: The best form builder software will always work with the tools you already use for file uploads, docs, CRM solutions and email marketing. Some tools even come built into existing solutions, like MailChimp and HubSpot. Or you could consider getting a plugin made for a platform like WordPress or Shopify
Why Use a Form Builder?
A good form builder can be a powerful tool, whether you’re looking for convenient validation features for lead generation and employee onboarding, or you want to collect customer feedback. There are tons of form creator options on the market today, from Google forms, to Jotform, and countless others. Whichever option you choose, you should be able to collect insightful submissions from a range of audience members, and use your data to make better business decisions.
If you’re struggling getting started with a form builder, keep in mind that many of these solutions come with access to tutorials and guidance on their accompany website to help you.