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Paula Fargo

Are Your “Contact Us” Forms Contacting Anyone?

That time the back end of my website s**t the bed.



THERE I WAS, minding my own business (literally), getting stuff done, handling all kinds of daily activities and then it happened.

My mild-mannered IT guy shuffled into my office with a sheepish and downcast look on his face to give me some news you can tell he’s been dreading to reveal. Not wanting to penalize him for obviously drawing the short stick and being forced to drop this bombshell, I softly and encouragingly allowed him to sit, gather himself and let it fly.

The “contact us” form on our website  — you know the one we all have, where prospects can reach out to your team to ask questions and basically start a dialogue that ultimately leads to lots of business, the entire reason we have this silly form and silly website in the first place! — has been delivering these messages to… no one!

Taking a beat, worried first for my hearing (did he actually say that?) and then my sanity (oh no, he couldn’t have said that!), I masochistically had him repeat the news.

Holy mother! In our quest to be the best, fastest, friendliest, most professional and responsive, we never bothered to confirm what email address was to receive these requests.

Once the smelling salts came out and consciousness returned, I had this poor guy go back and print out all of these requests, going back just one year. Please don’t make me tell you how many there were. Suffice it to say that I will be rebuilding my ego and self-image for years to come.


Jumping into my own research, I found some of these folks contacted us in a different way — hurrah, a miniscule victory!

For the many others who never received a response from us and must have (legitimately) decided we were nonresponsive and therefore not worthy of their business, we decided to reach out to each and every one of them. In looking at the various requests, it was clear that about 1/3 of them would not have been a good fit for us, we couldn’t handle their project anyway or were scams; 1/3 of them were for events that had already passed, and we would not be able to help them; and 1/3 may have been (could be?) good prospects.

We jumped into damage control mode and sent personalized emails out to everyone except the scammers obvi! It took several servings of humble pie for me to choke out the apology email framework for our team to use, and that was probably a low moment for me as a business owner. Thinking how hard we work to attract every single new customer, how much time and other resources we spend on optimizing our website, how much competition we are up against, and then squandering dozens and dozens of leads — it’s heartbreaking.

Bet you’re happy you’re not me.

But wait… Are you sure you aren’t in a similar situation? Do yourself a favor RIGHT NOW and go on your website’s “contact us” page, fill out the form, and make darn skippy it is going where it is supposed to go.

You’re welcome.




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