How do you feel when you're trying to buy something in a shop and you get stuck with a sullen salesman?
You know the type: won't look you in the eye, mumbles answers to your questions, doesn't try to help you or give you any info about the product, isn't interested in your or your purchase...
Most people I know give up in frustration and anger. They leave and go buy the product somewhere else...
Is your website doing the same thing to your potential clients - chasing them away?
When people want to do business with you, is your online salesperson sulky or friendly?
Different people have different personalities and styles. Some talk. Some prefer to listen. Some like to write. Some want it now. Some want to think a bit first and then make contact.
Does your Contact Us page cater for all these needs?
Your contact page is there so that people who want more info about what you do and what you offer - people who are showing an interest in doing business with you - can get hold of you.
If all you're offering is an online form...
You're not going to hear from the people who prefer other methods of contact. A lone contact form also makes you look like a dodgy fly-by-night who doesn't really exist so you can't give "real" contact details because there aren't any...
So your potential clients are just going to do the digital equivalent of walking out your door - they click away to the next website.
Your Contact us page needs the following elements to make it easy for as many people as possible to connect with you:
1. Your name!
People do business with other people. Your website is a means for a person to get hold of you (or the person in your business dealing with sales.)
There're few things quite so frustrating as needing to phone a business in the hope that you'll get hold of the right person to speak to about your query and then going through the I'll-put-you-through routine to eventually find someone who can tell you that the person who can help you will be in again next week...
Generally, people are not comfortable dealing with just a nameless, faceless machine. It builds your credibility and your client's confidence in dealing with you if you let them know exactly who they're contacting.
2. Your photo
"But why?!" I hear you groan. (For some reason, most website owners don't like any photos of themselves and so don't want to put them on their sites...)
Clients want to know that there is a person who is going to be on the receiving end of their contact request. Remember, people want to do business with people... It's not about looking sexy and slim. A photo really helps reinforce the fact that thre is a real live person behind your business and your website, not just a machine...
3. An actual e-mail address
Some clients will want to contact you via their own email program and keep your email address for future contact. Why would you deliberately exclude these people?
If your website is done properly, your email address will be protected from robots that gather addresses to use for spam.
Also, some people form a futher idea about the credibility and professionalism of your business by looking at your e-mail address. What looks more legit:
You're running a business so it makes sense to supply the contact details people want and need.
4. Your business's physical address
If you're a real business, you must be running from a physical location somewhere - even if it's your kitchen table. By supplying your physical address you build your credibility as a solid, real business and not just a fly-by-night chancer hiding behind a website.
And let's face it, anybody who really wants your physical address for nefarious purposes will use the phone book, Google Places, a map or hundred other ways to actually find you. The only thing you are doing by not putting this on your Contact Us page is causing doubt in the minds of potential clients...
5. Your telephone, cell and fax numbers
Some people don't mind writing an email. Others hate it. They want to actually talk to someone.
By supplying a mobile and or landline telephone number, you're making it more inviting for people who prefer talking to typing to contact you.
And again, a real phone number with a real live person who picks up on the other end does a lot to build your online image of being a real, trustworthy company. Dicey companies don't have phone numbers.
6. Your GPS co-ordinates and a map
If you're supplying physical goods or are a conference venue or clients need to come to your physical premises for some other reason, make it easy for them. Give them directions.
Although GPS co-ordinates are convenient, not everyone has a Garmin, so supplying a clear map is a good idea as well.
7. An online form
And finally, an online form does have its place.
Some folks are in a hurry and they're comfortable with popping you a message right from your Contact Us page. (Most folks are going to get this feeling of confidence from all the other contact details they see supplied.)
Your Contact Us page is a vital page on your website. All the info needed for this page already exists (well, it should...) and it shouldn't take long to set it up.
Why would you go to all the trouble to get someone into your shop and interested in what you offer, only to close the door in his face when he wants to do business? You wouldn't, would you?
Go now and take a look at your Contact Us page and make sure it isn't inadvertently doing this in your cyberstore!
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