Do You Allow Visitors To Contact You?
Help—I want to talk to someone at your company.
Before you laugh, ask your mother to contact someone at your firm (without using her speed dial to your direct line).
This isn’t a marketing joke with a great punch line about your mother. (I respect mothers, mine included!)
Here’s the problem: If your Contact Us forms are less than optimal or hard-to-find, you may be losing opportunities.
Many companies with a digital presence can be unnecessarily difficult to contact. I get that you may not want to encourage unwanted contacts and spam using your limited resources for non-revenue generating activities BUT you may be missing opportunities such as press or business partnerships.
While doing a deep dive on interactive content for my Content Marketing World Workshop I got an education in Contact Us options.
For the worst offenders, no one was home. I could get a free trial or buy their product but there was no company information, About Us page or way to contact them. Further, there was no Contact Us on their FAQs either. Even search and social media didn’t work!
I felt their prospects’ pain.
These firms were hurting their business by omitting this key element. As a result, they neglected to build trust with visitors and prospects.
Consider your prospect’s perspective:
- If I can’t contact you before I buy, how will you treat me after I buy?
- What are you trying to hide if no one’s home?
Why You Need Contact Us Functionality
While you may not want to talk to everyone who contacts your business, it’s good business practice to provide a way for people to communicate with your firm.
Understand that prospects may have questions they need answered before they’ll take the next step in the process.
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes or risk loosing her (possibly forever.)
When the average time on a page is 37 seconds (NewsCred), don’t take a chance your visitor can’t get the information she wants. Check your analytics. High bounce rates may indicate your content isn’t aligned with visitor expectations.
Provide the following Contact Us functionality:
- Allow visitors to easily find your contact information regardless of how they search your website.
- Give visitors a choice of ways to contact you.
- Set expectations for your response.
5 Must Have Contact Us Options
Offer visitors a variety of Contact Us choices since they may not be as tech-savvy as your team.
Include the following in your communications options:
- Contact Us Form. Provides visitors with a form to complete. Ask respondents questions to target the person who gets their request. Respond with a Thank You page to manage response expectations and provide an on-ramp to other content.
- Email address. Lets people reach out with their requests. Use an autoresponder that manages expectations and offers on-ramps to your content, offerings or email capture.
- Phone number. Helps sales and customer-oriented businesses. They promote their phone number prominently. Don’t forget to include your business hours to manage expectations.
- Chat/Persistent messaging. Offers an easy way for visitors to contact you when they’re ready. Ensure agents have scripts for non-sales or customer service requests or they’ll direct them to sales. Drift removed their gating forms and increased contacts due to their persistent chat.
- Physical address. Is important for businesses that support local customers. Go one step further and embed a map. It also helps your search rankings if you submit your information to local search engines.
Actionable Marketing Tip:
- Make your Contact Us information search-friendly. Include text, local, mobile and voice.
- Ensure mobile users can contact you. Bear in mind most visitors use a smartphone.
7 Contact Us Form Elements You Need
Contact Us forms don’t follow a consistent set of guidelines or practices.
To avoid inadvertently causing visitor problems, follow these recommendations:
- Provide sufficient supporting content on your Contact Us page. In addition to your form, include other Contact Us information and options such as physical address, email address and phone number. Where appropriate, link to FAQ and support resources.
- Arrange information input fields to maximize completion. Putting fields straight down the left side is the easiest option. Don’t make visitors go from side-to-side. Check that the form works with form field auto-fill features where possible.
- Minimize information requests. Eliminate extraneous requests. Increasing the number of fields reduces completion rates. You can collect more information later.
- Optimize Contact Us forms for smartphones. Don’t make mobile users go through finger gymnastics to complete your contact form.
- Show visitors the form was submitted. Redirect visitors to a Thank You page after the Contact Us request is submitted. Use this Thank You page to offer related content and/or encourage visitors to take another action such as joining your email list.
- Set visitor expectations. Let visitors know how and when issues and requests will be handled and that their privacy will be respected.
- Make error messages clear. Use friendly, easy-to-understand messages placed next to the form fields in error.
5 Key Contact Us Form Placement Options
Since no one wants to attract spam or other time wasting messages, be strategic in your Contact Us information placement.
Here are 5 Contact Us form placement options to consider:
- Navigation or Header. Add a Contact Us button or phone number to your navigation or your About Us section. Consumer-oriented business like American Express uses the upper right area of their webpage. By contrast solopreneurs and professional business use the About Us section.
- Footer. Include a Contact Us link at the bottom of your website. If appropriate, include your street address and phone number.
- Onsite search. Provide a response for “Contact Us” or visitors will leave for Google or a competitor.
- FAQs. Like your onsite search, offer an answer to “Contact Us”. Bear in mind these people may be ready to purchase or have your product.
- Social media. Many companies use social media to respond to customer service inquiries. Manage expectations with office hours. At a minimum, include your contact information in your profiles.
Use Your Contact Us As An On-Ramp To Your Offering: 3 Alternatives
Beyond gathering requests, use your post Contact Us, Thank You page or responder email as an on-ramp to your offering. Here are 3 top options.
- Capture email addresses. Integrate an email upsell into your Thank You and/or responder emails. You can also include a check box at the bottom of your Contact Us form.
- Guide visitors to go deeper into your content. Curate and spotlight your best content. Alternatively, you can group your related articles by topic.
- Offer free trials. Give your visitors a freebie. It’s a great way to get them started using your product.
The Contact Us Functionality Conclusion
Use Contact Us functionality strategically to build trust and maximize revenue and business building opportunities.
Allow visitors to contact your firm using the communication channel of their choice.
Understand that making contact difficult can result in visitors using other resources such as your sales team. Or worst leaving your site for your competitors’.
Regardless of where you put it, let visitors contact you.
You never know – they may influence purchase potential that’s not apparent up front.
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