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Is your website e-mail address hurting you?

Yes, your e-mail address on your website is hurting you. Your organization is getting spam , missing sales leads , and aggravating customers because of it.

Can it really be that bad?

I thought listing my e-mail on my website was a good thing! I want to stay in touch with my customers and not miss any sales leads.

Yes, the mailto link approach really is that bad.

Well, the problem is how the email address is done on your website. Many site designers still use the mailto link approach to gather feedback. There are three critical problems with this method:

  1. The Mailto Link is used to harvest e-mail addresses by spambots (spam robots) so that they can crush your inbox with junk mail. I personally experienced this when my spam went from 5 a day to over 50. It dropped back to normal several months after the website mailto link problem was fixed.
  2. The Mailto Link does not work for 75% of the people that click on it. This is because your browser often does not know what e-mail program you use. The mailto link can even crash or lockup a computer – not the best way to impress a potential customer.
  3. The Mailto Link does not provide good feedback information. When the mailto link DOES work, you typically get emails like “Send me some information about your product” or “I really like your service on the second page.” Neither message lets you know what your customers want and then they may be unhappy with your lack of a good response.

What should I do to fix the mailto link problem?

First, do NOT just remove your mailto link from your website without having a fix in place.

Here are the steps to fix the mailto link problem. The solution is to develop a form that customers can use to interact with you.

  1. Define the information you want to get from sales leads and from comments. Having different forms for different functions (sales, request for information, or comments) is a good idea.
  2. Select only a few fields that are required for submission (name, comment, and email are typical). Don’t require all fields to be filled out – your customers will think you are pushy and not want to talk with you online.
  3. Develop a Contact Us form that pre-qualifies the information you are sent. Make sure the form data goes to the correct person’s email address.
  4. Put the form in the website and test it.
  5. Replace the mailto link with an image of the email address and link the image to your form page.  Or, you could just not show it at all and rely on the form submissions.

Yeah, but I have to show my email address.

OK, but you don’t have to use the mailto link. You can use a picture of your email address that links to your feedback form. This allows people to write down your email information and still contact you without being exposed to all the problems.

By the way, if you plan to use FrontPage to develop your forms, keep in mind that they will likely NOT work properly. Microsoft no longer supports FrontPage extensions needed to make forms function. FrontPage has other issues, but that is another (several) posts.

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