A detailed contact page should be part of any professional website. Providing online users with a range of options to contact you will not only increase the level of engagement. It will also ensure that you capture everyone’s preferences from the traditional phone call to sending a message.
However, when it comes to displaying your email address openly on the internet, there are pros and cons to consider. Some may argue that a contact form is the better option, but the answer is neither black nor white.
Email address benefits
Generally, businesses that provide an email address are considered more transparent, professional and approachable. It increases trust and creates a more personal atmosphere as users can communicate directly with a business while at the same time personalizing their message through their email provider. Emails also make it easier for users to follow up as a copy of the original message will be left in the sent folder.
Sending an email requires online users to temporarily leave your website. Those few extra clicks may be enough for some people to abandon their quest and not contact you at all. Publicly displayed email addresses may also attract spambots and fill your inbox with unwanted messages.
Contact form benefits
The most significant benefit of a contact form is that engaging with your business becomes very convenient. Users can send you a message, often with pre-written subject lines and topics, simply with a click rather than having to leave your website. It reduces the risk of them stopping the process of contacting you before having completed it. Furthermore, because visitors will remain on your website even after submitting their request, they are more likely to continue browsing afterward.
Contact forms are also great for learning more about your audience and building your email list. Most forms will allow you to add additional fields including asking for people’s contact details, how they heard about your business or what products and services they are most interested in. Designing your own contact form will allow you to be even more creative and tailor the form to your needs.
Probably the biggest downside of a contact form is that consumers do not place a lot of trust in them. Unlike traditional emails, contact forms do not display who the message is actually going to. They also tend to limit the space you have available to express your thoughts or ask questions, and they are less user-friendly when it comes to readability and design options. Contact forms often give the impression of being impersonal. They also make it harder for users to follow up on their queries as they may not receive a copy of the message they sent.
What’s worse – the once biggest factor why businesses chose contact forms over email addresses is no longer valid. Just like an email address, contact forms can be targeted by hackers and spambots and flood your inbox with unwanted messages. In fact, a hijacked contact form can produce even more spam and potentially get your domain blacklisted.
The final decision
A small case study using Google Forms has indicated that the majority of online users prefer engaging with a business via email. And if given the choice between using a contact form or sending an email, the latter remained the most prevalent form of communication for consumers.
In order to decide which method works better for you, it is vital that you know and understand your audience and how they prefer to interact with you. While contact forms do have distinctive benefits, so does making your business email visible to your audience. In order to get the most out of your contact page, an email address should not be missing.
If you would like to find out more about how to set up your business email, contact forms or how to protect your inbox from unwanted spam, contact the friendly team at Energise Web today.