From job applications to signing up for service, most businesses eventually have a reason to conduct business using a form. For many years, paper-based forms were the way to go. Even as the internet replaced numerous paper-based processes, some companies continued to cling to old methods of doing business. But as consumers increasingly go online first before making buying decisions, it’s becoming clear that businesses will have to go digital to remain competitive.
Simply scanning paper-based forms in won’t do it, especially if those forms require the user download, complete, and scan them back in. To make the process as convenient as possible for both customers and administrative staff, the form should be web-based, allowing users to complete it directly inside a web browser.
Fortunately, there are plenty of affordable tools that can make the process easier for SMBs. Here are a few of the most popular form creation tools.
Most businesses rely on Adobe solutions to support day-to-day operations. With Adobe FormsCentral, the software solutions provider gives businesses the ability to create both PDF forms and web-based forms. The drag-and-drop editor makes the process easy, putting the user in control. The form can even help with forms that capture payment information.
If certain information is required, Adobe FormsCentral can help set up notifications to the user that the information must be entered before they can proceed. Businesses can try out the service for free with one form that accepts up to 50 responses. Starting at $11.99 a month, businesses have access to unlimited forms and up to 5,000 responses per form.
As soon as a user arrives at the JotForm website, he can begin designing forms directly in his web browser. The tool incorporates payment methods like PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.net and adds on widgets like an image slider or YouTube video display. The service is free for up to 100 monthly submissions, ten SSL secure submissions, or 10 payments. The free account includes an unlimited number of forms. More robust plans start at $9.95 per month.
In addition to its ability to capture digital signatures, Formstack also adds on integration with a variety of popular applications. Forms can be used with email programs like MailChimp and Constant Contact and in CRMs like Salesforce and Batchbook. A $19 per month plan includes five forms, 500 submissions per form, and one user. For accepting payments, though, businesses will need to upgrade to at least the $39 per month individual plan.
One of the best things about Google Docs is the fact that it’s already available to most users. Forms easily integrate with other apps, including Gmail. Users choose from seven different question formats, then wait for the answers to pour in. This is a very simplistic approach, however, so users who need more flexibility in their forms will need to go with one of the other options.
These tools can help businesses collect information and process payments directly from their websites. This saves time and offers a convenience customers are growing to expect.
License: Creative Commons image source
Kirill Bensonoff is a founding partner at ComputerSupport.com, helping small business executives get the most out of their technology investment.
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