Can a potential customer who wants to buy something from your website, but has a question, find your email address on your site quickly?
Can a journalist who lands on your website, and wants to interview you on deadline, find your phone number within 15 seconds? Or do you require visitors to fill out one of those annoying "Contact Us" forms?
If someone wants to send you a check, can they find your street address easily?
Many business owners, particularly those with home offices, lose sales by making people search for contact information--or providing none at all. Knowing what to include will make it easy for people to do business with you. The more information you can provide, the more secure you make customers feel because if something goes wrong with a product or service, they know how to reach you.
Your name, street address, phone number and email address should be in an easy-to-find place on every page of your website. That's because many visitors will be arriving via the search engines through internal pages. Place those important details at the top or bottom of the page, or along one of the margins.
You can still have a "Contact Us" page or comments form, accessible from the homepage. Consider adding:
- Links to your social media profiles.
- A Google map if you have a storefront, with hours you're open. I love the map and the friendly greeting on the Contact Page for fffunction, a web design studio.
- Your mobile number in addition to your office number.
- The name, phone number and email address for your assistant.
- Reasons people might want to contact you. For example, A Modern Eden, a company that makes design-minded products and toddler apps, asks visitors on its clean, uncluttered Contact Page: "Do you have questions for us? Had a problem with shipping? Want to sell our products in your boutique store? Feel free to shoot us an email or give us a call. We're always up for a chat."
Why contact info is often missing
Here are five objections I hear frequently from business owners who don't want to include their full contact information.
1. "I don't want customers to know where I live."
Rent a post office box or use a mailbox service.
2. "I don't want phone calls at home after hours."
Get a second line devoted to business. Send those calls to voicemail after hours.
3. "I use my mobile phone for business and I don't want that number made public."
Use Google Voice, a free service that lets you separate your phone number from your phone service. After you've created a Google account, you can link it to your own Google Voice phone number. Calls to that number can be routed to your mobile phone, an office phone or even to your Skype number.
4. "I don't want someone to harvest my email address and sell it to spammers."
Email harvesters know all the tricks, which is why typing your email address like this--yourname (at) yourdomain (dot) com--doesn't thwart them anymore. Your bigger concern should be making it easy for potential customers to find you.
Speaking of email, Yahoo and Hotmail email addresses look tacky when used for business; it's best to brand your email address with your domain name. If you don't have a website, buy a domain name for about $10 a year and use it for your email address.
5. "I already use a Contact Us form, and comments go right into my email which I check frequently."
Your visitors don't know that. People are so used to filling out those forms and never receiving a reply that they don't bother completing them. Some businesses promise a response "in two to three days." By then, your potential customer is long gone. So is the journalist who's trying to reach you.