If your contact page isn’t engaging, how do you expect people to connect with you?

 

The contact page is one of the top four pages visited on a site. About UsHome, and Services/Products are the others. The engagement advantage of Contact is visitors use it to connect with you. This makes it low hanging fruit, yet people ignore designing it properly. Looking at popular theme templates show less than stellar contact pages. Just a few sentences and a basic contact form is not enough. I understand: by the time you’ve fiddled around with your other pages, you’re just happy to have anything up.

But contact pages need love too! A page devoted to connecting you to new prospects shouldn’t be low priority. Master that page! I’ve outlined some common ruts people fall into with their contact pages. Let’s see how yours measures up to usability, time management and engagement.

 

Don’t skimp on the textual content

Take the time to write content on here as compelling as it is elsewhere. Too many contact pages have two sentences ‘I look forward to connecting with you. Please contact me with any questions‘. Really? You don’t say. Help get the conversation started with your visitors. What should they connect with you about? What is your availability – in person, or international phone calls only?

When someone checks out your contact page, they may be only contemplating reaching out to you. Including a few key internal links might help sway them to reach out.

Having a photo is a great way to providing a human touch, as long as it doesn’t compete with a contact form. This can be an inviting interior shot of your store. Or a more conceptual photo that represents your business but didn’t make sense on other pages.

 

Don’t let a map be your only address reference

Those dynamic maps that span the top of the page with a little location pin are pretty trendy these days. They add visual appeal and a reference point of your location. Be careful on smaller devices, though. They may take a bit to download, showing up after all other page content loads. Have a full mailing address visible elsewhere.

In fact, your location can also be inspiration for the copy on this page. Your cupcake store isn’t just found at 123 Fake Street, Springfield. It’s located at 123 Fake Street, in the heart of the shopping district of Springfield. See what I did there?

 

tips for engaging contact pages eraserheader the scream

How visitors feel when they see your spartan contact form. (Apologies to Edvard Munch)

Require a visitor to make a choice or elaborate

Often the only contact form I see has ‘name’, ’email’ and ‘comment’. There’s a missed opportunity here to get more information from your visitor. Help lead a visitor into asking the right kind of questions or leaving relevant comments:

  • If you’re a restaurant, offer the option to rate their last visit on a scale of 1 to 10.
  • If you’re a freelancer, let users pick from a list of your services. Have a field detailing when they need it by, if time management is important to your business.
  •  If you’re a blogger, ask how they found out about you. Maybe it was word of mouth – that’s one channel you can’t capture through analytics.

Naturally, don’t make a giant convoluted form that asks for blood samples and essays. There’s no guarantee they will fill it out completely, but at least now there are options to elaborate.

 

Gravity Forms screenshot

This controls what someone sees when their form is showing ‘Full Time Employment’ in the ‘Employment Status’ field. From Gravity Forms.

Delegate who sees what information

In medium business, I often see one contact form that goes to a general email. This is read by someone who’s already overworked and must decide who the email now goes to. Now there’s a ‘Fwd:’ in the subject line, and the email is overlooked.

If you have multiple departments or persons responsible, invest in a contact form plugin with built in ‘conditional logic‘. This means that the form’s function changes based on the information a user puts in. For example, depending on what department the user selects in a drop down field, it will go to a different email address.

I recommend Gravity Forms for its easy to use yet expansive logic options. Its price is worth its weight in gold. Ten minutes setting up email logic is more productive then hunting down emails during office hours.

 

Reassure people you WILL get back to them

Say your form has been streamlined to pose a choice. The right person will be notified when the contact form is sent. Your visitor pours their heart and soul into connecting with you, and is rewarded with this…

Terrible contact form confirmation message Eraserheader

Where do I even begin with this terrible confirmation message? Grumpy Cat added for emphasis, not design suggestion.

Who has it been sent to? When will they respond? This is not helpful – the magic is gone! No one likes to give out their name and email, only to receive a canned response.

Once your contact form is created, make the confirmation message an authentic one. Too often people leave the default on. Which could mean a hard to read small green box that shows up well below the eyeline of the user. Massage that default text into a human voice relevant to your site:

  • Make sure the tense makes sense.  ‘Thank you for contacting us‘ is awkward when you’ve contacted a lone blogger.
  • Let users know the expected turnaround you will answer by.
  • If the form redirects to a confirmation page, craft a thoughtful ‘thank you’ message. Follow that up with an offer to subscribe to your blog or a link to your most popular post.

 

Reach out and touch everyone…

With these tips, I hope to see a new era of beautiful, engaging contact pages. Having a visitor land on your contact page means you’re so close to making contact – don’t miss the mark. Give visitors great reasons to connect with you. Connecting is the key word here, after all.

Feel pretty proud of your contact form? Why not share it in the comments below? A form to respond to the topic of forms… how meta!

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About Alison

Alison is the one woman show behind Eraserheader Design. She has a passion for web design and the creative community. She writes about WordPress, taping into the magic of an online presence, and staying sane as a creative. She is owned by two small but mighty parrots.

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