One of the most popular pages of any B2B website is the contact page. It’s where visitors go if they want to know where your company is located or what your phone number is. It’s also where they go if they want to ask a question or inquire to learn more about your products or services.
In the inbound marketing world, we call these types of leads bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU) leads. These leads are typically reaching out to you because they have an immediate need or reason to contact you. These people are probably ready to make a purchase, and you want to make sure it's as easy as possible for them to contact you so you can get that conversation started.
When I was thinking about and researching contact pages to learn what makes successful contact pages effective, I came up with 4 things that every contact page should have:
4 Things Every Contact Us Page Needs
- Contact Form
- Phone Number
- Social Media
Why You Need a Contact Form
Why do you need a contact form when you can just include a “firstname.lastname@example.org” email address or the email addresses of everyone at the company?
Great question. And that’s precisely the approach a number of companies take. They create a page that lists email addresses and that’s the extent of their contact page.
I contend that having a contact form on the contact page is essential for a few reasons. The most important benefit of a contact form on your contact page is capturing the lead’s information in your marketing database or CRM. This is closely followed by enabling the ability to follow up by entering the lead into a specific email follow-up series, and lastly, it creates a better user experience.
When a visitor to your contact page merely clicks on an email address and emails someone at your company, it creates no record of the contact except for in your team members email inbox. As a data driven marketer, this makes my blood boil for a few reasons. First of all, this lead is not being tracked within your marketing database or CRM. So you are essentially not counting it as a lead or you're having to rely on a manual process to get the information into your database.
Second, no one likes manually entering contact information into the CRM. This is a waste of time when it can be automated. Third, you are probably not getting all of the information that you require from that contact because you can’t ask specific questions. The person sending the email can leave out a phone number and other crucial information that mandatory fields on a form can dictate they fill in. And my biggest issue with not having a contact form is that you can’t guarantee or track the follow up that takes place. I know that I return every email that is sent to me while I’m at work, but someone else might not.
When using a contact form, following up with the lead is not just fast but it’s also easy. Most contact forms have the ability to do more than simply send an auto reply stating that your email was received and someone will contact you; they can also trigger a few other activities, such as notifying a specific salesperson. You can even have these internal notifications sent to the salesperson responsible for a specific product or territory if you ask the right questions within your form.
Most visitors that contact you via your contact page will need a human to follow up with them vs. just an automated reply email. They are contacting you for a reason, and you need to make sure that you follow up adequately, usually with a real person.
However, don’t discount using marketing automation and email workflows as a follow up tool. If you set your contact form up correctly and ask specific questions such as, "Why are you contacting us?” or “Which state are you located in?” you can use an automated email sequence to follow up. If they are asking about specific product information, you can set up an email sequence to send them a few emails about that product. You can also set this up to go to a specific geographically based salesperson responsible for a given territory.
Of course, if you have a real conversation with the person contacting you via phone or email, you can always un-enroll them from the automated emails. But if you are going to have a salesperson send them 3 emails about your products anyway, you can save your salesperson some time and automate the same emails.
Everyone hates the feeling of sending an email and not knowing whether they will receive a response. With contact forms, you can have an instant auto reply letting the visitors know you received their question and that someone will contact them within a certain timeframe. You can also include some additional information about your company in the auto reply. A few things you could include are a short video, social media links, or a contact person that will be following up with them.
This is a much better experience for the person visiting your website then if they must sent an email to an actual email inbox and then blindly wait for someone to get back to them. Yes, you can put an autoresponder on an email as well and route that to someone, but that email won’t get into your marketing database like it would if input into a form.
Phone Calls are Leads
If someone wants to pick up a phone and call you to ask a question or learn more about your business or service offerings, by all means, call anytime of the day or night, our phone lines are open 24/7/365. These are the best types of leads!
In 2016 we sometimes kid ourselves into thinking that the computer is the only way people communicate and forget that more people have access to a phone than any other form of communication device in the world. So why make it hard for someone to find your phone number on your website? Make it as obvious as you can and even consider placing it a few places on your website.
And this might be common sense but I have to mention it: make sure you have a voicemail or answering service to answer your calls. You don’t want to let these precious calls to your business go unanswered and unreturned. Even better, have a policy that a real person answers the phone during set business hours to add that personal touch that so many businesses have lost.
I would be surprised if every business isn’t using some type of social media in 2016. Whether it’s LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, most marketers know how important it is to have a presence on social media and be available for feedback (good or bad). Having your social accounts listed on your contact page gives those that are reaching out to you a chance to engage with you in a different way. Some visitors might not want to fill out a contact form or call your company, but they're looking for a way to connect.
Simply putting the social media icons and links to the networks you are actively using can help to not only generate some additional likes and follows, but can also help to create some new fans of what you are doing.
So Do You Want to Be Contacted?
If you have made it this far I hope you agree with me that using a contact form in lieu of actual email addresses on a contact us page is a best practice. I know that I would hate for you to come to our site, find our contact page and send in an email only to receive my out of office email for my 2 week summer vacation or 6 week sabbatical. But this will happen frequently if you don’t have a contact form on your contact page.