The contact page of most websites is its lynchpin. A poor contact page (including the contact form) undermines an otherwise effective marketing campaign or user-friendly website. Tiny tweaks to a contact page can increase its conversion rate and even small percentage improvements to overall conversion can make a huge difference to the number of leads your site generates. In this article, we’re going to look at crafting the right contact page to help your web visitors get over the line.
What makes a great contact page?
The contact page is usually where most websites try to direct their commercially valuable traffic (e-commerce sites excluded). Therefore, the contact page should be easy to find and easy to complete. There should be as few objections and distractions en route as possible.
Two further considerations include how you wish to qualify leads and your capacity and process for following up these leads. This may result in a trade-off. For example, having a form with two fields; name and email address, may convert users well but not qualify them very much, potentially reducing the overall quality of leads.
Why is the contact page so important?
Websites play different roles in different businesses but for many, it features as a key part of the user journey or sales cycle. However someone ended up on your site, whatever information they’re looking for, our job as marketers and webmasters is to get a user to take positive action. In achieving this, we convert a web user into a valuable lead. In the most fundamental sense, this is the primary function of most company’s contact pages.
Great marketing might get someone to the site. Compelling content and a flowing site will convince prospective customers that your business is the right businesses to start a conversation with. This is actually all the hard stuff, especially in highly competitive industries. If you’ve gotten a user this far, two things:
- Well done, and
- Don’t mess it up now!
Making it easy for a prospect to take positive action and get in touch is the difference between landing 2 or 3 leads per week and 6 or 7. How much difference would that make to your business month on month? For some businesses, doubling the conversion rate of their website is the difference between treading water and scaling. For some it’s the difference between having a team of 5 and a team of 10. For some it would keep a failing business afloat.
So, first things, first:
Make it easy to find
Generally, you want to streamline the user journey and keep users on a well-trodden path that you can analyse and tweak. It makes sense, then, that you should have a prominent contact page, linked from your key menus and most pages where someone may decide they want to contact you. This is certainly the case for your primary contact page; the one where you want your prospects to end up.
It also makes sense that you have a company phone number and email address clearly situated on your site for individuals with a preference for these methods.
Decide how you want to receive enquiries
Before ploughing on with changes to your site, following industry best practices or copying your nearest competitor, ask yourself, “how do I want prospects to contact me?”
This is so important because securing that initial contact is not the end of the sales process. Your business has to deal with that enquiry, process it, act on it, and try and win the business. This process may be simple or complex and time-consuming depending on the nature of your business. In most cases, having the right contact form on a solid contact page is likely important and you can request the information you need.
You might be well set up to receive phone calls and be highly effective at making a sale this way. In this case, encouraging users to get on the phone might be your priority. A contact form may only be useful for those enquiring outside office hours or who simply have a preference for online communication. It may also be more challenging to track where leads have originated if they’re calling a generic business phone number so a call tracking software like Infinity Call Tracking would be needed.
Is there any reason to have more than one contact page?
Yes, there might be. If you experience lots of enquiries about a broad range of things, it makes sense. If your business receives media requests for comments or appearances, you may have a “media” page. Likewise, if people get in touch asking about careers or work experience opportunities, having a separate “careers” page is likely a smart move. We do just this by having our careers page appear in the drop-down from the main menu.
Having a map and directions on your contact page might also be useful if your customers are likely to need to know where you are for any reason. For some businesses, for whom location matters less, having this information may act as a distraction to the form you want people to complete and submit.
One of the benefits of doing this is to keep the main contact page clear from distraction or trying to achieve too many different things at once. By this stage, you need your users to focus on the task in hand – actually making contact with you. The main focus of the contact page must be the contact form.
So, why don’t I just put contact forms everywhere? Not just on the contact page?
There’s a good argument for this. If your marketing efforts send lots of users to your homepage or key service pages, having a form on them is probably a winner. Just make sure you don’t look too forward and desperate for leads. The JC Social Media homepage has a simple contact form and many pages have a contact form in the sidebar. You’ll also see businesses that have forms in the footer area too.
It’s important to use common sense and your website data when deciding where to put your contact forms. The key is to make contacting you easy and enhance the user experience.
Contact form trade-offs
There are certain trade-offs when it comes to the information you choose to place on your contact form, as well as the information you choose to collect from those making and enquiry.
To maximise the chance of someone completing a form, the fewer fields, the better. Simply a name and phone number or email address may suffice. There’s not much to take offense at if you’re only required to fill in two fields. You can strongly argue that both are necessary in order to take the conversation to the next level.
However, there’s very little you can do with an individual’s name and phone number or email address, especially if the latter is a personal email address. You don’t know why they’re contacting you or in what capacity. In fact, when calling this lead back, your first question has to be “how can we help?”.
Why a more complex contact form might work for you
Eight key benefits of a more complex contact form:
- It helps qualify your lead
- You understand what they’re after and can research and prepare
- It signposts you’re in the business of being efficient
- It’s more obvious when you have a bogus or spam enquiry because they’ll complete the form strangely
- You’ll put off less committed leads
- You’ll have fewer enquiries from mismatched leads looking for different services or insufficient budget
- Potential suppliers, collaborators or job hunters will likely identify themselves (or lie about their intentions, which gives you a reason to turn them away if needed)
- You’ve managed the expectations of your lead (what you do and potentially the cost)
If you’re concerned that the number of fields may reduce the overall number of leads, consider that this may be a good thing. Your sales team has to deal with fewer but potentially higher quality, more serious leads. Quality over quantity.
What about making fields compulsory?
Making compulsory a phone number and email address may put some users off. Requesting a company name and some more information about their requirements may put some users off too. But if someone’s serious about using your business and its services, surely they’d want to make that process quick and effective for both parties.
Building the right contact form for you
So how does something like this work? Well, here’s the top of the JC Social Media contact form. You can see the full version on the contact page, of course.
The first field is a drop-down menu that we designed in order to identify which service a prospect is most interested in. We then check to see their goals for digital marketing and then collect some contact details including company names, two contact options and an additional text field for useful comments.
Where the contact form is in the sales process
Having a more structured and demanding contact form like the one above has two primary benefits;
- A user that has spent time completing this form is a more qualified lead
- You now have more information on the prospect with which to prepare your call back or next contact
Depending on the information you collect you might be in a position to research the individual and company, their competition, requirements and maybe even prepare a proposal prior to the call. This could put you way ahead of your nearest competition in terms of speed and first impressions. Furthermore, the fact that you’re qualifying a lead like this and displaying that you’re really thinking about the needs of your customers might put another tick in your column.
What this all acts to achieve is to essentially move the contact form’s position and role in the sale process. Rather than being just an initial outreach, a prospect has had to think about the services they need you to fulfill. Your next contact will be less about fact-finding and more about building a rapport and even closing the deal.
The contact page is undeniably a key touchpoint on most websites. The contact form is likely an important feature of this page and the primary way enquiries come through. There are no absolute rights and wrongs when it comes to optimising pages, forms and the user journey but there are some helpful guidelines.
Your job is to follow those guidelines and make an assessment of the key trade-offs of information collection. Good luck!