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ACTION PLAN MARKETING

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June 26, 2006

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Robert E. Spivack

How to put contact info on your website:

Don't just put a "contact us" link on every page. Design your masthead or footer to actually include your mailing address, phone number, and email info right on every page.

"contact us" takes effort to click and go to another page. Putting your contact info on every page makes it even easier to find. With so many fly-by-night websites, having your full contact info visible quickly adds a lot of credibility.

It also makes a predictable reference feature. Existing customers or prospects will get into the habit of knowing they can always lookup your phone number or contact info by just viewing your website. They can lose your businesscard or mess up their address book in their computer, but if they know how to find you, they will always be able to do so.

Of course, you should use a mailing address or business address, not your home/personal address. (Tech note: you can "render" your email address as a graphics image so it is not readable by spam harvesters.)

A good graphic designer can add your contact info without it taking up much room - it doesn't have to be 24 point type, just normal 8 or 10 pt is fine.

2. NEVER put a "mailto:" link anywhere on your site. Not even on your "contact us" page. Wherever you want a visitor to contact you, put a form they can fill out (and as you advise, keep it short and easy).

There are two reasons for NEVER using a "mailto:" link anywhere on a site:

First, the way it works is bad. The link tells your browser "open the already-installed email program on your PC and start the 'compose' function with the "TO:" address already filled out".

This is horrible because it assumes the user has a working email program on their computer. If they don't or on a friends' PC, a public PC, a kiosk, etc. then it simply won't work and they will give up trying and never contact you.

You also lose the "focus" of your visitor. All of a sudden, they are thrown into their email software which probably fills the screen of their computer. This changes their state of mind and could easily lead them to do other things like suddenly remember the other mails they wanted to send or need to check for, etc. and never bother to finish actually contacting you.

Secondly, the "mailto:" link creates an easy place for spammers to harvest your email address. It is a sad fact that even today otherwise professional web designers that often charge thousands of dollars for a job will still put "mailto:" links on the site.

So this is one area where the owner/business person must be a little "hands on" and tell their designer what to do - don't just leave it to them to "build your site".

This may seem like "plumbing under the hood" but it affects the way visitors interact with the site and follow-up so it is critical element of making your site work.

Robert E. Spivack
VP Sales & Marketing
www.voicegateway.com Web Services

Rich Brooks

Robert,

Another great post. Too often Web sites are just online brochures, with no opportunity to connect with prospects and customers. Whether through word-of-mouth or a search engine or an incoming link we have someone's attention for a brief moment in their busy day; we need to make the most of that moment.

One comment I have is on creating calls-to-action.

Although it's very common to see someone links words like "click here" or "learn more", it's a missed opportunity.

Search engines give more weight to the words in a link, also called "anchor text." Rather than optimize your site for "click here" you could optimize it for "marketing plan" or "retention services" or "hire a birthday clown now!"

In addition, studies have shown that people's eyes are drawn to the hyperlinks in a page, so it makes sense to highlight your best keyphrases, rather than commands like "click here."

After all, the search engines don't buy from us, people do!

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