by Hallie Janssen
We all have a contact us page our site, right? But why is it so often ignored and unappreciated? If it’s the only way to contact your company from the web site, shouldn’t you optimize it from stem to stern?
Many SEO professionals don’t think of optimizing the contact us page. They are often too focused on on-page SEO factors such as keyword density and keyword placement. But shouldn’t you also focus on optimizing your web site experience so that you convert the visitors that are already there? We’ve been providing all kinds of optimization for years, which is part of the value-added SEO vendor that Kent Lewis mentioned in a recent article. Anvil provides advice to our clients on the entire spectrum of Web site marketing, including content creation, usability and conversion.
Making Solid Contact
When it comes to building a valuable contact us form, ask for only the information you need. Your sales team will tell you they need first and last name, mailing address, email, work and cell phone number, date of birth, and why not throw in the name of first pet? C’mon, do they REALLY need all that information to make the first contact? It depends on the nature of their inquiry and your business. Personally, I would err on the side of asking only for name and email address initially.
Assuming the user is already engaged; why not ask them how they heard about you? Consider using a drop-down menu with predetermined answers like: Search Engine, Trade Show, Magazine, Word of Mouth, Radio, Smoke Signals, etc… What a free and easy way to track your marketing efforts.
Implementing an effective online reputation management campaign requires a solid foundation of research and planning. In the early stages, identifying issues, key players, potential responses and content is critical. The challenge with any reputation management crisis, is effectively targeting those that need to be informed while not generating undue attention from those that don’t. The best way to accomplish this is to create targeted press releases within the News Room, that can be linked to from a variety of sources. The press release should also be optimized for relevant terms so it appears high up in related searches. Additional News Room content might include an FAQ, management bios and photos, email signup and contact information.
PR professionals should also develop a list of key media contacts to be able to rapidly distribute updates via email or RSS feeds. For time-sensitive issues, you may consider posting a link on your home page to the press release, but be careful not to promote it too heavily to site visitors that may not be aware of care about the issue.
Do you have a newsletter? Is the opt-in box listed on every page? If not, be sure to offer to sign them up for your newsletter. Also, tell them when they can expect to hear back from you: 2 hours? 24 hours? 2 business days? In this case, less (time) is more.
To ensure you’ve covered all bases, provide a list of alternate contact options. Maybe they decide that they just can’t wait 24 hours for you to return their email and would rather give you a phone call. Tell them the number at which you can be reached at. Maybe even throw in your physical address if it isn’t already in your page footer. Let’s not forget that some people appreciate online chat and instant messaging.
The perfect ‘thank you’ page naturally thanks them for their inquiry, reminds them of when they’ll be hearing from you again, and let’s them know of other special offers or downloads they can sign up for. In a recent article by MarketingSherpa, 39% of viewers accept offers on ‘thank you’ pages. The study also indicates that “Prospects are in the perfect mood right then to learn more about you-why not deepen the relationship right then?” Couldn’t have said it better myself. Lastly, the report illustrates that multiple offers are better than just one. People like choice, but within reason.
The perfect ‘thank you’ email is personalized. Some marketers forget this step or assume that the ‘thank you’ page is all they need. Wrong. Multiple-touches are key. A good ‘thank you’ email has all the elements of a ‘thank you’ page, with the added benefit of living in the recipient’s inbox.
Making It Work
Use Web analytics (i.e. Google Analytics) to tell you where your ‘contact us’ form is failing. Set up a conversion goal and funnel so that you can tell how many visitors arrive on the page and how many successfully submit. Don’t forget to track how many email registrations and downloads come from this page as well.
Practice makes perfect. You might not get it right out of the gate, but be patient. You’ll need to track the tweaks you make and how your visitors responded. Keep trying. Can’t wait for results? A/B Test. Talk with your web developer to set up A/B serving of each version of your form. Since you are testing both at the same time, you’ll be able to determine which version performs best.
So please, Mr. or Ms. SEO professional, don’t forget the lonely old ‘contact us’ form. A little love can go a long way.