Frustrated Man

Of all the mistakes we see made by M&E Businesses, by far the biggest is not answering emails sent to businesses using their web site “contact us” or enquiry forms.

Only last week we were contacted by a new potential client who said that there was something wrong with their web site as nobody was filling in their online enquiry form. We thought this strange especially as when they told us they had already spent a substantial amount using a Google and Facebook PPC (Pay per click) advertising programme, and they were directing the customers who clicked on the ads to the enquiry form.

In their particular case it turned out that the enquiry form wasn’t working, so no matter what was entered the company was never going to receive anything because whoever built the web form didn’t test it first for functionality. So all the money they spent on PPC was completely wasted. To make matters worse their website was 5 years old and that meant that they would never have received a single enquiry in the whole time!

Call me old fashioned but surely that has to be one of the preferred ways for customers to make contact with you – through the web enquiry form. Especially the tyre kickers who aren’t ready to buy just yet.

The next problem – even if their web forms are working as they should, is not responding to the emails that have been sent to you. All too often we see smaller M&E businesses failing to answer their potential and customers promptly.

I decided recently to get a quote for some external carpentry on my home and after contacting 3 separate carpenters by email only one replied – saying he was too busy. I’m still waiting for the others 4 weeks later!

Customers expect to have their questions answered within a few hours only so if you don’t respond until 2-3 days days later what does that say to that potential customer about your business? There is a really good chance that they will take their business elsewhere.

Now we know that busy contractors probably will cite the reason that they are too busy and don’t have time to answer these questions. However with emails being easy to receive and send on Smart phones and tablets there really is no excuse to not respond at least within a few hours.

It’s also really easy to set-up an auto responder that sends out an automated “Thank you” and that you aim to respond to questions within a certain amount of time. Make sure you test it to make sure that it works and sends it to multiple people so that it ensures that someone deals with it promptly.

Another great way is to use an email marketing software system such as Aweber or Mail Chimp. They provide proven outbound email templates and ones that are easy to customise and create from scratch, and that you can embed into your website. They provide auto responders too and you can also set-up an automated download for a free ebook or article that you have written.

In summary test your email forms to make sure they work and they send the emails through to you and colleagues.

Respond quickly to any questions or enquiries you may receive ideally within 3-4 hours from receipt.

If you need help with anything just get in touch 01252 413596 or by email to chris@marketingforcontractors.co.uk