For many companies, the contact page becomes an afterthought. It is one of the most important pages on your website and it is where you begin the conversation with potential customers. As is often the case with contact pages, if it fails to produce that final action by the user, a potential customer is lost.
Your contact page doesn’t have to be overly designed or stuffed full of information, but it does have to have all the right details. These seven best practices will ensure your contact page is perfection.
1. Include All of Your Contact Details
It may seem obvious, but the most critical element to include on your contact page is your contact details. All of them. Think about it from a user experience perspective. You don’t know how your customers prefer to contact you. Older ones may want to use the phone or mail, while younger customers may prefer using social media. Most people will want to email you, but unless it’s your company’s policy to conduct business only through a limited number of methods, it’s best to include every contact method your company uses.
• Email Address(es) or contact form
• Physical/Mailing Address
• Embedded Google Map and link
• Operating Hours
• Phone number
• Social Media
• Other contact methods
Hubspot does a good job of providing users with different ways of contacting them. Whether a customer wants support, needs to talk to a salesperson, or has a question, Hubspot’s contact page does a great job of guiding the user to their desired information (and ensuring they are directing their message to the correct person). Another great add-on is the use of live chat if the user just imply want to do a quick chat to get their questions answered in a timely fashion.
2. Choose the Best Email Methods
You may be wondering whether to include a generic contact email address, several more specific generic email addresses, staff addresses, or a contact form. This depends on how your company prefers to conduct business. Most pages don’t choose just one method. They give users multiple options.
A generic email only works if you have a staff member or several who can sort through the inbox and forward emails to the appropriate contact points.
A contact form with a drop-down menu of general topics is a great option if you don’t have a staff person who can constantly manage a generic inbox. The drop-down menu can direct the emails to the contact points attached to those topics. Zendesk uses a contact form with a drop-down menu on their beautifully simple contact page, with options to direct a message to various departments such as billing or employment.
Having several generic email addresses for various topics is a great way to avoid using the contact form, but still get emails directed to the contact points for those topics.
Including staff email addresses on the contact page can result in staff members getting spam and many mistaken emails that they have to forward. However, including staff emails can be helpful for businesses in which staff have strong personal relationships with clients. If a client is out-of-town or somehow loses the contact details of their contact, they can easily find it on the contact page.
SEM Rush does a great job guiding their users into contacting the correct person by providing several Call-To-Action’s such as “Ask Question”, “Request a Demo”, or “Contact Sales Team”. By offering clear and concise contact methods, both you and your clients will find the process streamlined and efficient.
3. Use the Appropriate CTA
Not everyone on your contact page is ready to buy. Some enter your contact page in the exploratory/research phases, some may have a question they couldn’t find an answer to on your site, some may be having technical issues with your site, and yes, some are ready to buy your services. Your contact page should acknowledge these differences.
In the copy on your page, you should make it aware that you welcome contact from anyone requesting a consultation, seeking more information, or any other popular requests you get from potential customers (you would know best what they are). For those who may have spotted a mistake on your website, you can either have a drop-down topic for them to choose or include a link to your webmaster’s email somewhere on the page.
Scribd takes this a step further by creating separate contact pages for different inquiries. Visitors have to choose one of the reasons to contact the company, and after selecting one, the visitor is either linked to an email address or taken to a separate page with the relevant contact information.
4. Show Some Personality
Contacting a company can sometimes be intimidating. Are my questions too basic? Are they even interested in a small account like mine? Are they too busy to answer my questions?
By adding a dash of personality to your contact page copy, you can soothe those worries. Many successful contact pages solve a common concern by stating that you will be talking to a human and you will hear back from a human, no matter how you contact them.
Another way to create a more personable contact page is to include images of staff members who will be answering the emails. You can even add short, fun quotes about how they enjoy answering contact emails or simply love their job. Campaign Monitor has a great picture of a friendly-looking staff member with a product-related quote next to their form to help humanize the company.
5. Set Expectations
With the popularity of website chat functions and 24/7 customer service hotlines, customers are becoming used to instantaneous responses to their inquiries. It’s important to set expectations for when they can expect an answer, so they don’t get antsy. If you’re using a contact form, this information can be included in the automated response. If your contact page lists email addresses without a form, you should also include response times in the page’s copy.
For certain questions or inquiries that you prefer to deal with via specific methods of contact, you can also highlight those situations on your contact page. This way, you can direct people to the best communication method and avoid wasting their time if something is best handled on the phone versus email, or email versus social media.
At the very top of the page, Basecamp puts their current average response time. While their response time is much faster than an average business, including the time front-and-center is a great way to set expectations. Also, note the fun illustrations of their staff (a great personalization factor).
6. Create Informative Automated Responses
When designing and writing copy for your contact page, don’t forget about the elements you can’t see—your automated responses. It’s important to take time to create friendly copy that thanks them for their email and sets expectations for response times. Just like the copy on your contact page, the tone of voice should be personable.
If you have a drop-down menu, you may be able to send different automated messages depending on what topic the user chose. It’s important to include as much personalization as you can. This shows customers that not only do you know that they sent a message, but you know what topic it was about. It also allows you to list different response times depending on the subject of the inquiry.
7. Keep It Simple
The design of your contact page is important, but it should remain as simple as possible. There is no need to add animations or other distracting elements. Instead, the information should be allowed to shine. Create contact pages with the most critical information taking precedence. Having all the required information displayed pleasingly is a design feat on its own, so don’t add any unnecessary complications.
All of the examples used in this blog post feature different designs and layouts, but all of them are simple. As one final example, check out our contact page and get in touch with us if you have any questions or want to set up a consultation to find out how Mediaboom can help you reach your goals.
By: Frank DePino
Frank DePino is Principal and Founder of Mediaboom. Since 2002, Frank has led Mediaboom’s award-winning staff of creative and technical professionals building the most effective marketing and advertising solutions for its clients.