Friday, September 18, 2009

Freedom of Choice: Give Potential Customers Easy Options for Contacting your Company from your Website.

I have for some years allowed enquries to contact our divisional website through Telephone, Email and Contact Us Form. Adding a Chat option eventually will round things out. The primary goal for B-to-B marketing is make it very easy for a potential or returning customer to contact us! Let them chose the method, as long as we get the lead.

From my experience over the last 5 years, there is a clear pattern of contact preferences from enquiries:

The largest enquiry group uses and prefers the Telephone, and the quality of these leads is on average higher than the other options and often time-sensitive.

Next are Emails, this option is easy and convenient for people to use, and we can often capture complete contact details and attached project information along with the email. We receive very high value enquiries from Executives as emails, for example.

Last are Contact Us Form enquiries. This is not to say these forms are of little value, we also receive high quality leads this way. However, from my experience, using a Contact Us Form is the least popular way our B-to-B clients have wanted to contact us, if given the choice.

Yet, there are significant internal advantages with Contact Us Forms for CRM data capture, analytics, etc. And a Contact Form can be tweaked and optimized to encourage more people to use it.

But the Bottom line for us is the Telephone first, then Email, then Web Form in terms of enquiry options chosen by visitors.

Designing a webform long enough to capture the contact information Bus Dev and Marketing want, but short enough to encourage someone to fill the Contact Us form out and send, involves compromise, flexibility, experimentation and an open-mind.

A special thanks to Howard Sewell, President of Connect Direct, for posting the question
"Contact Us" Forms - Do They Work?" in LinkedIn... this question motivated me to share my experience with Contact Forms, Phone and Email.