Contact Pages are probably the most taken-for-granted element in a website. They exist quietly on the sitemap, rarely causing a ripple, because what optimizing can you do with a few form fields, an address and a Captcha?
When a Contact Page is not performing, marketers typically look elsewhere for the problem. They re-examine their CTAs (Call-To-Actions), rethink their email marketing strategy, blame a new modification Facebook has implemented…
A website is more likely to be rehauled and redesigned, before somebody thinks that maybe the Contact Page should also be investigated.
And herein lies the problem.
It is nobody’s case that a well-optimized Contact Page can make or break your overall marketing strategy. But it is a crucial device in your toolbox because it generates `warm leads’ that have high potential for conversion.
People will use your Contact Page for a variety of reasons that are important to your business: vendor inquiry, press and media requests, affiliate introductions, common customer queries… Making the Contact Page easy, therefore, will make people want to contact you. Treat it like a static, no-consequence page and that is what you’ll get – no consequence.
Here are 6 ways to re-evaluate your existing Contact Page with an eye on increased goal completion. Every business is different, and the role of their Contact Page is different, but perusing the points below will make you more aware of your Contact Page as the only non-social platform where your customers can engage with you.
1) IS YOUR `LONG’ CONTACT FORM DRIVING PEOPLE AWAY?
This is one of the places where the unique nature of your business comes into play. If you’re a travel agency, a hotel or a medical practice for example, you need extra information – and therefore you need those extra form fields. Customers too are compelled by their own urgency to fill them up because they want to make contact with you on a matter they consider important. Whoever’s heard of a patient who decided not to make a medical appointment because the doctor asked too many questions!
On the other hand, say you’re an ecommerce and your contact form is a mile long because marketing gurus are always banging on and on about capturing the most amount of information from a potential lead.
Is all that extra info really valuable? Especially when you’re risking your goal completion target and customers are simply not bothering to contact you because they don’t want to fill up the extra fields?
Let me use an example to make my point. Assume a member of the press wants to contact your business for a soundbyte on a seasonal product line you’re selling. He/she clicks on your Contact Page and is presented with a form with many, many fields that need filling up. Will they do it? Chances are: no. You’re not the only ecommerce on their list and they will simply move on to one of your competitors because their Contact Page is short and easy. Your competitor gives the soundbyte. And you just lost an opportunity for some valuable free press.
What’s even more regrettable, you won’t even know that the opportunity had come knocking on your door because your Contact Page had stood like a barrier. You will just see all the Facebook likes your competitor is getting on account of the TV spot and wonder what you’re doing wrong with your marketing strategy that they get invited and you don’t.
2) INSTEAD OF `LONG’, CONSIDER GOING `MULTI-STEP’
The reasoning behind a multi-step Contact Page is simple. It creates an illusion of brevity. When a lead clicks on the `contact’ button they see a short submission form that they’re quite happy to fill up. When they press `submit’, the second part of the form pops up. This is also short. And so on.
If they are 2-3 steps into your `multi-step’, there is a strong chance they will finish, so as not to waste what they have already done. And you collect all the extra information you think you need, while reducing the probability of their bouncing off right at the start.
3) THINK TWICE BEFORE YOU MAKE A FIELD `MANDATORY’
Twisting your customer’s arm is never a good idea for business. Mandatory fields immediately gets a customer’s back up, and relationships don’t get built that way. Not with qualified buyers or leads at any rate. Don’t force and frustrate your leads by demanding information they don’t want to share. Keep fields optional, and you’ll find them more forthcoming.
4) DO YOU SEEM TRUSTWORTHY?
Be transparent and upfront about who you are, and there is an increased chance that potential leads will give you their information and their business. And there are several ways of doing it on your Contact Page.
Firstly, don’t hide behind a form or an email address. This is a red flag. Include your postal address and phone number on the Contact Page, and you won’t give the appearance of a fly-by-night operator who will ship them bung products or make off with their credit card details.
Secondly, don’t assume people know you won’t share their personal information with a third-party. Say it in as many words.
Thirdly, display affiliations, certificates, awards, testimonials, membership badges etc. to reiterate you are trustworthy. People feels more assured and in a mood to engage when they see social proof.
Fourthly, consider humanizing your Contact Page with real people. An image of the CEO, for example, will go a long way to remove doubts and uncertainty when making first contact.
Lastly, ask only for information that absolutely matters at first. Your goal is to get a lead to click the `submit’ button. Here’s some stats on this:
a) Asking for a telephone number reduces conversion by 5%.
b) Asking for age reduces conversion by 3%.
c) Asking for street, city, state drops conversion rate by 2%.
5) DON’T USE DROP-DOWN MENUS FOR THE HECK OF IT
When potential American leads are trying to contact your American business, why on earth will you make them travel the world via your drop down menu, to reach USA by way of Uganda, Ukraine and United Arab Emirates?
Can’t they just write USA at the bottom of their address?
Another common dropdown menu on Contact Pages that I personally find annoying is the one that forces me to choose from a selection of options to explain what the nature of my query is. What if it isn’t any of those that have already been pre-chosen for me? And why will I have to waste time considering all these options in the dropdown menu, seeing if one of them is even a tangential fit, when I can simply write down what’s on my mind in the subject line?
6) DON’T CAPTCHA
I fully understand the desire to weed out spam by using CAPTCHA, but they’re not always effective. Spammers are making manual submission these days, and beating the challenge-response test quite handily. While honest traffic is forced to request for challenge after challenge because the test alphabets are so convoluted or the one picture which is not a Japanese food is camouflaged among all the noodles. (“Hmm, so noodles is Chinese I suppose, but Japanese do eat Udon, which is a thick noodle they put in soup and while it isn’t exactly like chow mien which is stir-fried, it is still a noodle… so…which image do I click? Wait, let me ask my Japanese neighbor who will surely understand this CAPTCHA trick question way better than I do…”)
No wonder that a study by Casey Henry on Moz has revealed that CAPTCHA reduces conversion by 3%. This is probably the 3% whose Japanese neighbor did not answer the door.
Finally, don’t sweat too much about how to make the Contact Page a great web experience for your customers. They’re not looking for great design or smart content or anything like that here. Just remove obstacles in their way. Smoothen the path of communication, be responsive and real, and you’ve done a great job!
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