This week, we’re going to talk about email contact forms. Every website should have at least one email contact form. Let me say that again – it’s important – every site should have an email contact form. Especially yours 🙂
A few advantages to email contact forms:
- You can prompt visitors to give you all the information you need (i.e., you may get an email from someone asking you to call them, but they forget to include their phone number). Email forms allow you to give visitors a space to fill in everything you might want, even things they may not have considered.
- You can create ‘required’ fields – fields which must be filled in for visitors to be able to send the form. You want to be sure you are getting enough information to get in touch with the visitor. You can also use this to pre-qualify visitors to a certain extent. If your business gets a lot of emails asking questions, but you get most of your orders from customers you speak to on the phone, you may wish to make the phone number required so you can call them rather than emailing. Generally, we suggest using these as infrequently as you can, keeping in mind that some visitors may not want to fill in the form if you require too much information. If you are looking for very specific clients, this can be a helpful tool for tracking them down.
- You can include an extra question to give you some insight to your marketing, such as ‘Where did you hear about us?’. Keeping track of where your visitors are coming from can help you better target your advertising dollars. If you are spending a large portion of your promotion budget on yellow pages ads, but no one coming to your site found you in the yellow pages, it might make sense to reallocate that advertising.
- Email forms can be used by visitors who don’t have an email program or who may be away from their regular computer. Since all the tools are on your site, they can fill in the form immediately and wait for you to contact them, rather than writing down your phone number and then possibly forgetting to contact you later.
- Email forms reduce spam. Printing your email address allows email harvesting software to find it and add you to their database. This database is then sold to many, many spammers who then send you a lot of junk email. Once your email is in spam lists, the only real way to solve the problem is to change your email address.
- You can create forms so your visitors submit their information digitally. This can be used to save your administrators time spent on the phone. Likewise, a digital form does not need to be retyped into online records.
WordPress offers several really good solutions for creating email forms, each of which have some advantages and disadvantages.