A contact-us form may look like an email opt-in form. But they are not the same even though they both require your name and email.
This may be obvious but it’s a question I regularly get.
So how are these different? And do we need both?
Where they are similar:
- They both collect email and name
- They may even look similar
And the similarities stop there.
These are used for different objectives and one does not replace the other. Let’s see how they are different.
An eMail Opt-in Form
This is an invitation to the visitor to keep in touch via email in exchange for something you provide that is of value to the visitor. This is usually free of charge for the offer to be enticing.
When the web visitor hands over his email address, he is granting explicit permission to be contacted about the opt-in, whether that is a mini-ecourse through a series of emails, a free report, regular newsletter or a free consult.
The email address collected here is responded to automatically by an email system, making sure every web visitor gets the same information about your tips and advice at set intervals. Automation from the system also frees you from repetitive manual tasks.
The Power of the Op In Forms
When a visitor hands over his email address in order to hear from you on a regular basis, you’ve earned the opportunity to warm the business relationship through continual helpful tips offered in your newsletter, eguide or mini series.
A contact-us form, on the other hand, requires manual response each time someone drops you an inquiry. And the topic can be about anything; from seeking you to speak at an event, to inquiring about some aspects of your service offering. Having a contact-us form allows web visitors to leave you a message to make that initial inquiry.
Since visitors are looking forward to a response, we’ll need an email address for the purpose of follow up.
However, the visitor is not expecting that you continue to send him / her commercial emails about your products or services that he has not inquired about.
This is an inquiry about a specific matter. Different from giving you permission to continually email him / her on other matters on your agenda.
So do you need both the contact-us form and the email opt-in form? Yes.
This boils down to respecting the web visitor’s desire and giving him / her what she wants.
Getting specific permission before sending out commercial emails is respecting the web visitors. This goes a long way in developing web credibility as you build your audience using email marketing.
Forcing your emails onto someone (no matter how good you think your content is) will not win you any credit. Or sales.
Perhaps you have other thoughts? Feel free to share it either in the comments section below or in the thread on Google Plus.