Website Writing

Contact Form vs. Email Address: Which One Is Better for Your Contact Page?

The contact page is one of the most important—and most overlooked—pages on your business website

It’s the place where site visitors make the final decision to either abandon your site (the easy choice) or reach out to you (the harder choice). 

So this page should be all about helping the prospect overcome inertia and take the next step.

Does that mean making a phone call? Sending an email? Filling out a contact form? 

Obviously, this will vary based on your business. For a restaurant or hotel, a phone number is a must since you will have to answer time-sensitive questions about same-day reservations.

But for many of the other businesses I work with like event venues and vendors, the debate becomes contact form vs. email address.

Behold! The Humble Contact Form

We’ve all filled them out. Neat little boxes that ask specific, easy-to-answer questions. The contact form tells the potential client or customer exactly what they need to provide in order to move on to the next steps. And in the world of conversions, this kind of simplicity can be a big help. 

Here’s Why I Like a Form

  1. A contact form reduces friction. Instead of asking them to open a new app or browser tab to get to their email, they can fill out the form right there on the pages. Fewer steps may mean more contacts for you.
  2. A form can be a great “weeding” tool. Let’s say you run a wedding venue that seats 200 guests. Your form asks for an approximate headcount. And you get an inquiry with a guest list of 500. No need to waste 20 minutes on a discovery call—you know right now that your venue is not a good fit for this client. You can send them a quick email to that effect, saving you precious time. 
  3. Forms can be surprisingly fun! Add some clever placeholder text to your form fields. This is the text that disappears when the potential client starts typing. Instead of leaving the name fields blank, why not toss in an on-brand personality that will make your dream client smile? For example: a sweet video game arcade that’s available for event rentals could use Solid Snake or Lara Croft for the placeholder text. And for the submit button, how about “Player Start”?
  4. Contact forms give you the chance to add people to your email list. A checkbox at the end of your form can let people opt in to your email list. This is a great opportunity to build your list for future marketing. 

Here’s Where a Contact Form May Lose Points

  1. They can seem impersonal. Users often wonder if there’s someone on the other side of the contact form. But I have to say—I don’t see this as a major problem for most small businesses. It’s a much bigger issue for major companies like Apple. And to get around it, you could even add a note like “Carlos, our sales manager, will get back to you ASAP!” That way, they’ll know that the form will go to a real person.
  2. Forms can break. My own form stopped working recently, and I didn’t know until a client told me. I don’t know how many messages I may have missed. I suggest testing your form every couple of weeks to make sure it’s still operational. 
  3. Consumer preferences aren’t in favor of the form. A 2018 study reports that 41.8% of respondents prefer using email, and only 15.4% prefer using a contact form. But again, studies like this don’t have much nuance. When I’m contacting my bank or phone company, a form may get lost in the eldritch horror of corporate America. When I’m contacting a small business, I’m much more comfortable that I’ll get a response. 
  4. Long forms can be a deterrent. Forms that ask too many questions and take ages to fill out can discourage the customer or client from even starting. Keep your form short, and only ask the “must know” questions. 
woman in pink leggings sitting cross-legged on a grey rug, typing on a laptop

The Trusty Email Address

You know ‘em, you love ‘em. The email address is a super simple way for your clients and customers to get in touch with you. But is it the best way? Let’s discuss. 

Where the Email Address Shines

  • It’s the preferred contact method, as we saw above. Customers say it’s what they want. So I encourage testing both a form and email address to see what your customer respond to.
  • Sent emails are easier to track for the client or customer. When they send you an email, they’ll have a copy in their sent mail. So they can easily check those sent emails when they’re trying to remember who they’ve reached out to. When they hit submit on a form, on the other hand, it disappears into the ether. Of course, you can remedy this with an automated email that thanks them for their submission.
  • Email can be more personal…when it’s a personal email address. An email like or loses that personalization factor.

Where the Email Address Is No Bueno

  • Extra steps. To send you an email, the client/customer has to navigate away from your page into their email platform. And they have to type or copy-and-paste your email address into the “to” line. These extra steps create a point of friction for the user. Friction is the conversion killer! And forget the single click on the email address…that usually opens a default mail provider like Apple Mail and many people don’t use those.
  • Easy access to spammers. An email address on your website is going to get bombarded with spam faster than you can say “unsubscribe.” BUT remember that forms can get spammed too. I’ve gotten 20 spammers in my contact form in the past week. Add a Captcha to your form to fight spam! 

So What’s the Winner?

Personally, I recommend the contact form for my hospitality clients. 

I don’t think small businesses need to worry as much about the perception that no one will be on the other side of the form. 

Keep the form short, to prevent deterring people. Just ask the most important screening questions. And make sure to test your form from time to time to make sure it’s still working! 

Of course, you can always have both! Build out your contact form, and offer an email address at the end as an option for clients who prefer it. You’ll start to see which is used more, and may opt to get rid of the loser.

PS. If you do have a contact form, you probably also need a Privacy Policy on your website. I recommend this one! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.