There’s no disputing that everyone needs a website these days. If you’re not online, you’re losing business. Period.
But just having a website isn’t enough.
Although your “Contact Us” page is probably pretty nice, it may not be enough to stay competitive in the 21st century. Your potential customers want to be able to get in contact with you in the easiest way possible, and as consumer technology gets more sophisticated, so should your approach.
Read on to explore the 5 best methods for capturing leads on your website, ranked worst to best.
5. The Contact Us Page
This is the most basic way to encourage customers to get in touch. On this page you should have all your important information, including:
- Hours of Operation
- Phone number
- Storefront Address (if applicable)
You should also probably have:
- An e-mail address (so people can ask questions, even if it’s after hours)
- An embedded map (so people on mobile devices can get directions easily)
- A list of service areas (if applicable)
Before the proliferation of mobile devices, a simple Contact Us page would probably have sufficed for most businesses. And it does still work. It is reliable, and it is fairly standard so people know to look for it.
But it shouldn’t be the only way for potential customers to get in touch with you.
A Contact Us page that only has static information forces your leads to open another website or app in order to reach you.
Here are some ways to make even the most basic of Contact Us pages valuable to potential customers:
- Hyperlink your Phone Number
- What this will do is let people on mobile devices call at the click of a button. When they click on your phone number from a mobile device, it will automatically open up their Phone app so they can get in touch with you right away. On a desktop, it will probably open Skype or a similar calling service.
- Hyperlink your Email Address
- This will open up your lead’s default email client on their phone or web browser. It will begin to compose a message to your email address, saving them the step of opening their email, opening a new message, and then pasting in your email address.
- Use a Contact Us Page in addition to other methods
Even if you explore other lead conversion options, you should use them in addition to a prominent display of your contact information. Some businesses do get away with having a separate Contact Us page altogether and just embed their details on the header or footer of every page, which is okay too!
4. The Web Form
One step better than a simple Contact Us page is the Web Form. Web Forms work great in addition to your usual Contact Us page, but they really shine by letting the customer tell you exactly what they want!
In the above example, this specialty cake shop collects basic contact information as well as information about the prospect’s budget, the delivery date, the number of mouths to feed and other information the customer might want to include to get a custom cake. This allows the prospect to tell the baker exactly what they would like whenever they are looking at the website, even if it’s outside of business hours.
Plus, some people have an autofill on their web browser, making it fast and easy for them to leave you their contact information!
If the prospect is looking into food options for their event late at night when most bakeries are closed, they can leave a detailed message so the bakery can follow up during business hours.
This is helpful because it allows clients who only have time outside of business hours to let you know exactly what they intend to purchase. And it helps the business owner prepare an accurate quote. This makes even delayed transactions feel seamless for both parties.
If your business has complicated requirements for providing quotes, a web form can help make your process easier. You can customize your web form so potential customers can give you the information you need to fulfill an order as fast as possible without having to follow up. This saves you valuable time so that you don’t have to chase down your customers.
The main pitfall of web forms is that once a customer sends in their information, the customer may not have a record that they have contacted you. As a best practice, you can customize your web form to send a confirmation message to the client and let them know you have received their inquiry and will be following up shortly.
Always ensure that responses to your web form are easy for you to find, and follow up on.
3. Live Chat
As someone who likes to multitask, live chat is pretty convenient for me as a consumer. Whether it’s negotiating a charge on my phone bill, or getting tech support, or asking about my connecting flight from an airport lounge, it’s nice knowing that someone will help you and that you don’t have to listen to annoying hold music or navigate through awful phone menus for extensions.
That said, live chat is usually not always a viable option for small or medium-sized businesses. In order to work effectively, you need a response time of under 10 minutes or customers will get antsy. Even if a transcript of the chat goes to your customer’s email, what happens is that your live chat turns into an email thread.
That said, live chat can be a great option if you’re prepared to automate common questions or if you have the means to staff it during business hours or outsource it. There are many paid and free mediums for Live Chat.
Messenger on your Facebook Business page is one example of a good, cost-free option for small to medium-sized businesses, since it can be accessed on a desktop or mobile device and is fairly universal for user base. Plus, it automatically lets customers know how fast you usually respond to messages so no one gets antsy expecting a response.
Most people have a Facebook account these days and having a link to your Facebook page on your website is almost a universal feature. It’s not a bad idea to have someone monitor your Facebook live chat as if they were monitoring your main phone line or front desk!
2. Text Messaging
Ultimately, the best way to communicate with leads is the way they like communicating: Texting.
We all know that cell phones and smartphones aren’t just a trend, they’re here to stay. And we also know that people aren’t using their phones to call as much anymore. Not everyone has the luxury of being able to field personal phone calls all the time and no one likes checking their email.
Texting your customers offers the best of both worlds: the non-intrusive advantages of email, plus the mobility and convenience of smartphones. Studies show that over 98% of SMS messages are read, and a whopping 90% of text messages are read within 3 minutes.
In spite of its obvious popularity, the pendulum hasn’t fully swung for it to be socially acceptable to just text a customer out of the blue. Texting is still a pretty intimate form of communication. If you want to be able to text with your customers, consider using a business-oriented platform like QuickConnect to attract inbound messages and respond in a professional manner.
QuickConnect is a professional text messaging service you can use to text your customers via desktop or mobile. You’re able to save frequently used messages as templates and schedule messages, so administrative tasks such as appointment reminders and service updates can be managed seamlessly.
Use texting to offer a more convenient method of communication for your customers. They’ll have a better experience, and you’ll stop losing customers to busy phone lines and missed appointments.
1. All of the Above
Really, the best thing you can do for your customers is to offer everything on this list. By giving your customers everything they need to get in touch with you easily on your website, you’re actually holding the door open for them to purchase your services.
Our recommendation is to try our all in one QuickConnect widget, which can sit easily on any page of your website and invite people to chat. When you respond, it will go to their cellphone so that you can bring the customer in quickly and easily. You can also configure an auto-responder to prompt them to get you any information you need, such as their desired appointment time or the nature of their inquiry.
OneLocal also offers web design services, which can help you optimize your Contact Us page, create custom forms, and install the QuickConnect widget.
Get in touch with our marketing specialists to learn more about generating sales from your website, texting customers and potential customers, or growing your online presence and reputation!