The contact page - how to make the most of your blind date

We’ve all been there before. A friend or colleague has set you up and now your staring across at this stranger and wondering what to say.

Who are you? Where are you from? What do you do?

After some casual small talk, the date is nearly over and you ponder asking for a phone number or email address, and then the uncomfortable silence as you both wonder who is picking up the bill.

If you are like many online businesses, this is the very reaction your new users experience when visiting your site and enquiring about your company, products or services.

As in life, this type of blind date is tricky to navigate and can easily end in disaster.

The first point of contact with your users is very likely a Contact Page, an online form where you can collect some information about the user and receive an email message without disclosing the address of the mailbox.

Thus, having an informative Contact Page is critical if you want to retain visitors and turn them into customers.

One benefit of the standard Contact Page is the inability of spambots to harvest your email address and spam your inbox. If you add a simple CAPTCHA solution you can mostly block robots from spamming the form also.

But a Contact Page can also have its drawbacks. Like a first date, you can easily undermine your reliability - and thus reduce the chance of converting a user into a paying customer - by saying too much or too little about yourself.

The shy Contact Page

A Contact Page with simply an email field, a text box and a submit button. This happens more often than you might think and is very common for small businesses who may be short on staff and time.

The boastful Contact Page

Attempts to impress you with reams of information and complicated pre-screening methods designed to dissect your exact needs before allowing you to talk. If you have ever tried to contact Verizon for customer service, you’ll know what I mean.

Both of these styles can be a quite a turn-off. Thus, a successful vendor must find the right balance between the shy and boastful Contact Page.

The honest Contact Page

Start by reassuring your visitors by describing where your company is based, what time you normally work and how you can be reached for a real conversation.

When you do receive an enquiry, either by phone, email, fax, etc..., respond promptly and politely. If you wait too long, your date will assume you are rude or uninterested.

Finally, take it slow. Building a relationship and earning trust takes time and effort. There’s no need to rush into things.

Bringing it home

So if you are tired of endless blind dates and you want to start taking things to the next level (aka, maximize your conversion rates), ensure that your Contact Page includes detailed information and a variety of contact methods.

Don’t hide behind a blank form and make me wonder who you are. And don’t tell me your life story in the first 5 minutes.

If you do it just right, you just may have a chance at a second date and I may even buy you dinner.

Last modified on Jun242011
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