I see it over and over again. On the “Contact Us“ page. A lonely form.
It speaks to me. And what it says is…
You’d rather collect leads than make a sale
If I had a super power, it wouldn’t be flight, invisibility or Hulk-like strength. My super power would be to make all the bad ideas expressed across real estate’s websites vanish with the snap of my fingers.
My first snap: The “Contact Us” page. And the minefield of form fields that stand in the way of a simple, clean, invitation to engage.
I came across this form today on the contact page of an IDX vendor.
First reaction: They’re not looking for business – they’re conducting a Census. Second reaction: They’re conducting market research, turning leads into survey respondents. Third reaction: They’re making me run the gauntlet instead of rolling out the red carpet.
If this form could speak, it might say: We’re a small company. Understaffed. Unable to manage the sales cycle. Alternatively, it could also say: We’re huge. So big, in fact, that we can’t really be bothered by your little questions. If you mattered, you’d know our number and the right extension.
But here’s what it doesn’t say…
We appreciate you
If your home page is the welcome mat to your business, your “Contact Us” page is the receptionist. What this page says, and how this page looks, should be as well appointed and as welcoming as the person you’ve placed on the front line.
Consider W&R Studios – a software company that specializes in products for Realtors. By making it so obviously simple to contact the stakeholders, they create a seamless connection between what they believe and what they sell. It instinctively increases the visitors’s confidence in the product, creates believability in their sales pitch and presents the company as reachable and affable.
Jetspring helps companies convert online leads into customers. Imagine if all they had on their contact page was a form. They’d get lumped in with the hundreds of other firms in real estate that offer this service. But these guys are smart. Their form offers every possible way to connect with the firm including a live chat widget, which these days is dead simple to install and even simpler to manage.
Vendors aren’t the only transgressors. Broker sites are notoriously guilty of transgressions against users, making it nearly impossible to find someone to talk to.
Michael Saunders & Company’s new web site does the opposite. In typical Michael Saunders fashion – this a company that promises to bend over backwards for customers – their “Contact Us” page proves how seriously they mean it.
Of course, there’s a form there too. We’re not down on forms. Just poorly executed forms.
[Disclosure: Michael Saunders & Company is a client of 1000watt Consulting]
Don’t forget your header and footer too
The problem I believe is created by form based contact pages is you risk turning people ready to do business into a less important category: leads. Leads that don’t get followed up on in a timely fashion. Or worse: Customers for your competition.
If you’re in the business of selling something, stop playing hard to get. Place your number where people look. Enough studies, surveys and heat map tests have been conducted to tell us that people start at the top and then go right to the bottom of your site when they’re looking to get in touch with you.
UK-based digital agency TicToc Family clearly paid attention to this research. There, in their footer, is exactly what a user might find useful after viewing the home page – their contact info, including all of their locations:
BrightDoor Systems, a CRM solution provider, also paid heed. They placed their contact info in the header, directly above their navigation, relieving every user’s eye from ping-ponging around the site trying to find it. If I were interested in licensing a CRM tool right now, who better to work with than a firm who clearly understands how to manage their own customers?
If these Websites could speak for their companies they’d say, Please call us. We want to hear from you. You matter.
Isn’t that what you really want your site to say?
If, moments after arriving at your site, a visitor was able to reach out and connected with a human being happy to help with their needs, a feeling would fire across every fiber of their neural network.
The feeling of an expectation fulfilled. A promise kept.
Folks, that’s money in the bank.