Web forms! I hate them. Why? Most of the time nobody replies.
Worse, you end up getting unwanted marketing literature.
Case in point: two IT vendors offered no other channel of contact other than a web form. Why they would do such a thing is beyond me. As a member of the press, I wanted to include their companies in an article. Yes, there was a general phone number but a) I prefer email and b) voicemails are often not replied to either. So I always want to email. But with a growing list of companies, that is problematic. They may have a sales email address, but getting a sales guy to reply to anything but a sales lead is a low percentage shot. Others have an info@ email address. But those communications seem to disappear into another dimension.
That leaves the web form. Firstly, you are required to add all sorts of information. They want your name, address, phone, email, country, age, demographics, which of their products you want, size of company, shoe size, on and on. You fill out all this unnecessary data, label it at the top as a media inquiry and what happens? For the two companies in question – no reply. One not only ignored the inquiry but added me to its marketing mailing list. Now they send me spam about products I am never going to buy.
Clearly, no one is responsible for these web forms in about 50% of companies. That makes them a liability. Try filling in the web form for your own company (or one you represent) and see if anyone responds. The best that is likely to happen is to be added to the marketing list.
Both companies in question failed to capitalize on an opportunity to appear in a magazine article. Yet I guarantee you that they are desperate to receive more coverage. They may even be paying a lot to try to generate good PR. Yet simple basics like responding to web forms may be cutting their throats.
Points to address:
- Fill out your own web form (or ask a friend to do it) and see if anyone replies.
- Send an email to your email@example.com email address and see if anyone replies.
- Make someone responsible to respond in a timely fashion to both.
- Put an email address at the top of every press release so it is easy to contact you.