Is it genuinely necessary to make a big deal of contact details? In specific cases where making a call or sending an email is the primary function of a site – for example help lines or booking sites – I’d say yes. But for most companies? Hell no.
Sometimes disrupting the harmony of our layouts can work in our favour, especially when designing call to actions. And in most online scenarios big and bold calls to action are valuable, be it to encourage more sales, sign-ups, click throughs or downloads, and there’s plenty of advice out there to help us make the most of that magic button. But when it comes to the oft-desired action of “getting in touch” I wonder if we sometimes overdo it.
We’ve all seen the sites – typically for service-based companies – urging visitors to “get in touch now for a free quote” or “come in for a cup of tea” in bold letters and rainbow colours. The other day, for example, I came across a conspicuous “contact” button with a particularly intrusive hover state which, at first, I thought was really clever: by disrupting my natural flow it immediately absorbed my full attention. But then I realised something: advertising a contact page with the equivalent of a blinking neon sign didn’t make me more inclined to get in touch.
In all fairness, I can understand why we draw attention to our home brewed coffee, comfortable sofas and friendly team who’s so up for an “informal” chat: we want clients through the door. But I think we’re jumping the gun. Potential clients don’t necessarily want to visit us in person, at least not until they know we’re worth the trip. They want to see our portfolio, review our services (and, if we’re lucky, values) and read glowing testimonials from impressive clients. Then, and only then, will they look for our contact details.
So the next time you’re thinking of a snappy line to make clients pick up the phone, don’t. Instead give them more reasons to call – show them your best work, advertise your admirable (and genuine) ethos and impressive track record. By all means make it easy to get in touch, but you don’t have to force your email address down people’s throats. Your clients are not stupid – as long as you remove any barriers between them and your contact details they’ll pick up the phone when they’re ready. Or better still, they’ll come in and taste that delicious coffee of yours.
Just make sure you’ve got enough milk in the fridge.