You’re working on your website, and you’re umming and ahhing about what to put on your Contact Us page. Should you use an enquiry form, or your email address – or both?
Let’s look at this from your prospects’ point of view
Why are they looking at your Contact page?
Um, probably because they want to get in touch with you, right? So it makes sense to encourage them to do just that, by making it as easy as possible for the customer to connect.
So what makes it easy for the customer to connect?
Well, that can vary from person to person. Let’s look at both contact forms and email addresses…
The case for and against contact forms
Contact forms (or enquiry forms) make it super-easy for customers to get in touch. Readers don’t have to launch their email software; they can easily just type in the info, click “submit” and bingo!
But contact forms aren’t perfect. Have you ever had the experience of filling in a contact form, and never hearing back from the company? And you don’t have a record of what you’ve just sent them, to follow them up?
Frustrating, isn’t it?
And most people will have had a frustrating experience with enquiry forms
Sometimes the frustration might be around the contact form asking you to select why you’re contacting them; and then a sub-menu pops up.
And the darn form won’t send until you’ve worked your way through all these “compulsory” boxes. Yet so often, none of the options seem to apply to you!
Another common frustration with enquiry forms is that you click “submit” and the message disappears into the ether. Often you have no record of what you said; and so often you never hear back from the company you’ve emailed.
If you want to use an enquiry form on your website, a simple (and very customer-friendly) thing to do is to add some words along the lines of:
Please contact us by filling in your details here – you can expect to receive a reply from our friendly team within 2 working days. If you don’t hear back from us by then, it means that something’s gone astray, so please give us a call on 123 456 as your enquiry is important to us.
That should encourage your prospects to submit their info.
The case for and against email addresses
The frustrations with contact forms give the benefits of including your email address: there are no drop-down menus; and you have a record of your message in your Sent Items folder.
The biggest reason you’ll hear for NOT including your email address, is that spambots might harvest your address and you’ll get bombarded with spam.
Um, what would you rather do: delete some spam emails, or miss out on an enquiry that could be worth thousands of dollars?
Most business owners quite happily put up with a bit of spam to ensure they’re not missing out on sales. After all, we’re in business to make sales! It makes no sense at all to miss out on enquiries by not including your email address.
And if you’re really that worried about spam, invest in a spam filter. If your email service provider doesn’t offer one, then look around for an add-on service – or change providers.
1. Make the contact form as simple as possible; don’t clutter it with lots of drop-down menus and other “compulsory” boxes.
2. Ideally, include an email address AND an enquiry form for ultimate customer-friendliness.
3. Put some friendly words alongside the enquiry form, to let prospects know how soon they can expect a reply, and what they should do if they don’t hear back within that time frame.
4. If you’re worried about spam, invest in a spam filter.
… In short, the most customer-friendly solution is to provide both an enquiry form AND an email address. That’s what’ll maximise your enquiry rate.