Contact us pages and the (real) Exit Rate

Here’s something I have been wondering about lately as I rework my company’s Web site into a more user-friendly, visitor-converting marketing machine.

Why do companies only have a web form on the ‘contact us’ page?

Yes, it funnels everyone through the same system and allows your database to grow. But, it also turns people away; people that may want to talk with a sales agent before pulling the metaphorical trigger on their next purchase.

If your company only has a form on its ‘contact us’ page and you’re wondering how to monitor its performance correctly, keep reading. Otherwise, I suggest opening the lines of communication and providing options for visitors to get in touch with your company.

One metric that companies should look at is the exit rate from the ‘contact us’ page. By exit rate, I don’t mean people that leave the site after reaching the contact us page. After all, the contact page is a goal or end destination. However, only monitoring entrances to ‘contact us’ page isn’t telling the whole story.

To monitor my version of the exit rate correctly, simply have the form setup so that the input data is sent to an e-mail alias, install an analytics package to monitor ‘contact us’ page entrances and check for disparity. Another metric worth studying is the amount of time spent on that page. If a form takes the average individual 35 seconds to complete (do a sample with coworkers to determine this), and the average amount of time on the page isn’t within 15
percent of that either way, then you’re turning people away too often.

Every person that gets to the form and doesn’t fill it out is either:

  • A lost opportunity.
  • Someone who called your competitor, whose communication options better suited their style.
  • An unqualified lead — someone in either the research or interest phase of the buying cycle.

Personally, I’d rather have the sales team disqualify an opportunity, rather than a static form.

Tip: If you’re going to use forms, make only the bare minimum number of fields required.

2 Comments

  1. Craig, I agree that poor contact us pages are a waste of opportunities. Regarding testing success rate, wouldn’t it be easier to have your analytics tool measure page views of a “thank you” page?
    J

    Reply
  2. John,
    Good point. Using dedicated thank you pages for forms on your web site is a good practice as well.
    Craig

    Reply

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