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Giving people the option

One thing about which many marketing consultants disagree is whether you should provide an email response link. I often read that websites should always provide response forms rather than the email contact option. But I’ve never been convinced by the supporting arguments why this should be so. To me, it’s all about the conversions, and that means making it as easy and attractive as possible for readers to respond to your offer.

Many people hate web forms, because we’ve all had the experience of filling one in, clicking “send” and either getting an error, or no response, and wondering if we need to type the whole thing out again. Also, with a form, you’re forcing me to type out all my contact information unnecessarily. Give me your email address, and the message I’ll send you has all of my contact details pre-written in the signature. It takes just seconds to respond, and I have evidence to my own satisfaction that the message was sent.

Web forms were invented to enable people to submit information directly into your database. For online ordering, they’re essential: you wouldn’t want orders coming in as freeform emails, many of them inevitably without sufficient information for the order to be completed. I don’t believe the original purpose of web forms was for people to send simple messages.

But best of all, give readers the option. If I’ve paid a lot of money to get someone as far as my call to action, I want to give them the option of responding their way, not forcing them to do it my way. Providing a sales and support email address and a response form allows the customer to make their own choice.

1 thought on “Giving people the option”

  1. Yea, a good question, challenging 17 years of convention for most sites, like mine. I’ve always felt that the structure of a web-form assures you get basic important info.

    A few times I’ve gotten emails (somehow they know) to our main sales account from a large company like Intel, and they don’t identify where in the world they are. We can’t even start to help them (esp. pricing) if we don’t know where they are.

    For a smaller shop, or a local B2B company, email address may be more appropriate, as per your suggestion. Someone needs to do an A/B test on this.

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