Contact us, but not really

Have you ever been at a networking event and asked someone for their business card and, in place of their contact information, were given a clue to a scavenger hunt? Chances are your answer is no – and for good reason because the point of networking is to develop new contacts that hopefully will turn into business leads, and you can only start off this type of relationship with being easily accessible. So, the serious question is this: if you wouldn’t make it this difficult for someone to contact you when you first meet them in person, why would you want to make it difficult to get the same information from your Web site?

Often what I find under the “contact us” link on many Web sites is an obscure form that limits what I can say, and I have no idea who will receive it once I hit “send.” Recently I read a blog entry by marketing heavy-weight Seth Godin (a blog I would recommend subscribing to) that hit on this same issue. In his article Godin says, “E-mail contact is like a first date. If you show up with a clipboard and a questionnaire, it’s not going to go well, I’m afraid. The object is to earn permission to respond.”

When I go to a Web site and am forced to hunt for contact information and am unable to easily find a phone number or e-mail address, I often find myself looking for an alternative company that offers a similar service, especially if I haven’t already built a personal relationship with the company in question. Most Web sites are built with the hope to engage visitors enough to pick-up the phone, but if this information isn’t easily found, it makes all the effort in creating a great Web presence null and void.

The best thing a company can do is to make sure both an email address and phone number is listed under the “contact us” page on its Web site. Having an e-mail or phone number listed in small font at the bottom of every page isn’t such a bad idea either. If the e-mail address listed is a generic contact such as info@abccompany.com, make sure someone is checking these e-mails on a regular basis and responding to any non-spam e-mails. An account like this may attract a lot of spam, but your Web site developer should offer some tips to make it more manageable.

Megan Lane is an Account Executive at Imagine Marketing.
Contact Megan at
mlane@imnv.com/

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