Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Only Goes So Far
You Sang it & Now You Have to Bring It
Every website has a contact form page. You fill out the little white boxes and click “Send”. What happens next can either make or break all your Internet Marketing efforts. I recently had 1 bad website contact form interaction to 3 really positive ones. Not a bad ratio.
They stopped their Plagiarism
My first great contact form interaction resulted in a little victory dance moment. The site’s contact form did not benefit the website owner as much as it did me, considering the offense… The Internet is filled with ton’s and ton’s of plagiarism.
A really popular article I researched and wrote for a client is responsible for the majority of his website visitors converting into clients. If anything, this article is their websites workhorse. Google “Aluminum Tooling Myths“, “Rapid Aluminum Tooling“, “Aluminum Injection Molding” this article is so popular that my client has been to trade conferences where people have incorrectly quoted it as their own.
Note to self: If using someone else’s info, “Get your lie straight”
The Aluminum Tooling Myths article I wrote for them was recently was directly plagiarized. I’m not going to say by who, but I am incredibly impressed how the entire incident was handled. I used the website’s contact form and within 48hr’s I had a reply from the webmaster asking me how I would like them to make it right. I asked for proper citation, they had it up within 24hrs. Normally it is not that easy, believe me.
Great Follow Up Email
I love a great Sauvignon Blanc. My absolute favorite comes from California. It’s a tad hard to find in the Chicago area so I decided to look it up on the Internet.
Kunde Winery has a great website but it could definitely use my help (hint, hint: will work for wine). I used the contact form on the website to ask them where I could purchase their Sauvignon Blanc in Chicago.
24hrs later I got a really nice email that included a spread sheet of every business in the Chicago metro area that purchases Kunde. Extremely helpful. I even received a followup email a few days later asking if I needed any more info. I thought it was a really nice touch.
Follow Up Phone Call
After that I was on the hunt for canned Yellow Tomato’s because they are lower in acid. I love to cook low fat, healthy recipes, and I love Tomato’s. Finding canned Yellow Tomato’s wasn’t very easy & in fact fruitless (I couldn’t resist). I found 2 companies however that made canned Tomato’s without Citric Acid. I contacted them both.
Only Escalon responded within 24hrs, the other probably never will. I was impressed because the website administer for Escalon forwarded my contact form inquiry to the local distributor, who took the time to call me. He told me that their 6 in 1 brand was made without Citric Acid and could be found at the local grocery chain Caputo’s (which I happen to love).
Are You Paying Attention To Your Contact Form?
Often we as business owners tend to treat potential clients with patience worthy of Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi. Especially in today’s market place, we all have to make do with less and that means more work and less time to spend on the actual business. I get it because I’m there everyday, chief cook and bottle washer.
No matter the workload, you need to pay attention to the questions your potential customers are asking. It might be a chore to answer them, however it is so important that you do so.
I had 3 experiences with companies that I will do business with again. Guess which 2 companies names I remember. I obviously remember my favorite wine maker, but I can’t for the life of me remember the name of the second maker of canned Tomato’s without Citric Acid. What is even worse, this company is a local company in the Chicago suburbs.
Guess which brand I’m probably going to automatically reach for on the shelf. Don’t let your business get bypassed for the lack of a little customer feedback.
You HAVE to remember as a business owner:
People only visit your website for 2 reasons – Find | Decide.
- Find more information about a product or service in order to make a educated choice.
- Decide if they feel comfortable with making the decision to chose your product and service over your competitors.
Turn Repetitive Questions Into More Customers
Are you seeing the same question over and over again? Maybe it is time to put it on a Frequently Asked Questions (faq) page.
Often making the faq page more accessible from every page and prominently linked on the contact form page will help your visitors answer their own questions.
Answering potential customers questions ahead of time gives you an opportunity to “beat your competition”. This is your chance to remove any doubts in your potential customers mind. And if they still use your contact form to ask a question, your odds are greater that they are seriously interested in what you can provide them.
Obviously there are the time wasters out there, they are easy to spot and weed out with a polite generic answer. I personally keep a ongoing list of the craziest questions we get asked and our answers just for this purpose. I don’t want to waste a ton of time on what initially looks to be needless busy work, however… we have found a couple of great clients from the crazy question list. Or answer the question on your business blog if you have one.
You can never go wrong answering a question no matter how you feel about the question on your blog. An answer honestly given will give your website and business more credibility than giving an answer that someone wants to hear but is not entirely true.
- Email is static and has none of the usual auditory or visual clues
- A contact form is even more static since it is usually filled out on a whim and the user often does not have a clearly formed question(s).
I highly recommend that every business owner from a one man/woman operation keep a close eye on the contact form. Because your time is limited you should designate an hour every few days as your response time.
For businesses that can delegate the responsibility of answering the contact form it is important to delegate two employee’s responsible for monitoring and responding in a timely fashion to the contact form. The first employee should be primarily responsible and depending on the volume the second either splits the work or is a default for when the primary is unavailable due to time off or other responsibilities.
Pictures courtesy of: Viewology.net