Contact Us button image - don't push this one!
When does a contact form on a website get results? Understandably, businesses are keen to get potential clients (and returning clients) to contact them, but the contact form on your website may actually be a barrier rather than elicit the action you desire.
During the design phase of a new website the first step is to analyse the business processes. This helps to define the target audience and the purpose of the website. The business owner will say: “I need potential clients to contact me so I can sell stuff to them. I need their first name, last name, company name, position at their company, postal address, physical address, telephone number (land line and mobile), email address, gender and age before I can do business with them.”
The website visitor/potential client comes along, looks at this lot and says: “WTF? Why? I’m not wanting to get married!” And he goes away!
You see what happened here? The business owner had only his needs in mind; he did not think of the website visitor’s needs at all. So how do we get the website visitor to fill in that contact form?
We do it with VIUP.
V is for VISIBLE
The contact form must be really easy and quick to find on the website. Ideally, place it on the home page, ‘above the fold’. If that is not possible, have a prominent graphic on the home page that links to the contact form page. We need to set up that ‘funnel’ that will take the visitor to the contact form.
I is for INVITING
Invite the visitor to contact the business. Tell him, in as few words as possible, why he should contact you. What’s the benefit to the visitor? Give him a good reason to fill out that form. Make the form look pretty and inviting. Implement some interesting formatting or graphics. The ‘send’ or ‘submit’ button must be labelled appropriately. ‘Send’ and ‘submit’ labels are old school. Why not label the button something more inviting? Use your imagination. What you label the button will depend on the business, but it should still be clear that the button will send the form data.
U is for USABILITY
While we want the form to look interesting and inviting, we need to make sure that it is easy to use. Field labels must be clear and easy to read. Gather as little information as possible at the first contact, for example, have a name, email address and message field. Make only the email address field mandatory. You can then follow up with the client to get the other details later, if he decides to do business with you.
P is for PRIVACY
And, just in case the visitor does not like using contact forms at all, provide other means of contacting you, like a telephone number or an email address, and ensure this information is easy to find on your website. It’s all about removing barriers that might stop the visitor from making that first contact with you!