Since launching Lovably Grey in late June, I've witnessed something interesting in regards to how clients looking to start a new project reach out to us. We have a pretty straightforward 'Start a Project' page, which sends potential clients to a form depending on what kind of work they're looking for. The form asks them a few questions, like 'what does your company do?', and the responses get sent to our inbox. It makes the process of starting work with a new client easy for both of us. Or so I thought.
Since we like to keep things straightforward, I put our email address on the 'Contact' page of the site, assuming that this would be used for general inquiries.
It turns out that 95% of client requests we get don't come from the 'Start a Project' form. Instead, they come from people sending emails directly from our contact page, in spite of the fact that we have big 'Start a Project' buttons on nearly every page of our site.
This surprised me at first, but I've grown accustom to seeing random emails from people looking for work with none of the context we would have if they had spent a few minutes filling out the form. I don't blame clients, of course, as I can see people thinking that it's quicker to simply shoot us an email directly than it is to fill out some big form.
But what they don't know is that the form is purposefully not big. And what they also don't know is that the questions on that form are going to have to be answered whether they fill it out or not, and that usually means more emails back and forth, more confusion, and of course more time spent on both of our ends to figure out if we're a good match. It'd be a better experience for both of us if they would simply use 'Start a Project', but they don't know that, and how should they?
So I'm currently looking for ways to make this better. Maybe we should be more clear about how little time it takes to fill out the form? Or maybe we should change the wording from 'Start a Project' to something else entirely, because maybe some people aren't looking to start, but are simply looking to inquire?
For now, I've added another button to the contact page, which was (ironically) one of the only pages that was missing one, and it will be interesting to see if that changes anything.