Before I get into it, I'll tell you right off the bat that this isn't about any awards shows. I'm keeping all those topics out of my mouth - and off my keyboard. 😉
(Though I am watching a replay of the Grammy's and so far, so good!)
What I really want to tell you about this week is how I've been thinking a lot about contact forms and how frustrated I get when I encounter them on websites. I want to contact someone, so I click on "contact us" and, instead of giving me the email and phone number of a contact person, I'm delivered to a generic form in which I have to explain why I wish to be in contact. Then I have to hope that someone actually receives my message, reads it, and bothers to reply.
That is NOT contact. The link may as well say "Apply to be in Contact with Us."
I'm not sure exactly how it started, but as you see, I'm suddenly fired up about contact forms. Most especially when they're used by small to medium nonprofits who can't possibly field enough inquiries in a day to warrant using a form to manage them.
And then I received an email from the brilliant Jenny Belanger - maker of gorgeous, effective websites - that said (and I'm paraphrasing): use automated contact forms to reclaim precious time in your business.
Right away I sent Jenny a message back explaining my simmering rage at forms and didn't she agree that they are low-confidence and impersonal? From my perspective as a nonprofit leader, surely the prospect of a donation, new member, or volunteer was worth picking up the phone a couple of times a day for, was it not?!
Her take, based on working with busy small business owners, was that nobody likes the phone. Especially younger generations. They'll practically do anything to avoid making phone calls. (And, if you've been here long enough, you know I feel the same). Jenny says that using a contact form let's people get in touch without the whole conversation situation. It's easy and fast. And as for worrying that no one will ever receive the form or get back to them, that's where having a well-working website comes in.
So, how could it be that contact forms make my blood boil (I can't be the only one) but are a real convenience for others? Should we stop using them or start? And, most importantly:
The answer is: you are. Because you know your audience better than anyone else. How does your community want to be in touch with you? And what will future members of your community need or expect? Whether they include contact forms or not, what practices will help you serve people better and build stronger connections? Only you can decide.
Do you have any feelings - misplaced rage, perhaps🤪 - about contact forms? Do you love them? Or have you not given it much thought? I'd love to hear you what you think.
P.S. If you watched the Grammy's, I'd also love to hear what your favorite performance was. Nas? Lil Nas X? Billie Eilish? Brandi Carlile? So many good ones this year...