Usability vs. Measurability
Contact forms on website are a very regular occurrence, and in many cases one is faced with the decision on whether you create an actual form on your contact page, or whether you make clickable email addresses available that launches the users’ mail client.
The last option is obviously the quickest, as your mail client already includes your email address, and in many cases a signature that has more contact details. The problem though, is that, from a website owners’ point of view, it’s not very easy to track where your leads are coming from. Lead tracking of e.g. AdWords campaigns typically happen through a small chunk of code on your “Contact us”, “Thank you” page, and if that page does not exists it’s hard to track which campaigns have been successful.
A website owner therefore needs to make the call on whether to include a form to measure where leads are coming from, or email addresses directly which have reduced trackability.
The answer lays in short forms.
Ask a user to fill in only the absolutely necessary fields. First name, Email, Contact, Message.
Establish the relationship first by providing a low barrier to entry. Users do not want to complete large amounts of information.
If more information is needed, create a separate form that asks specific information relating to a user enquiry, and only send the user to that form once a conversation has been established. Users are more likely to fill in a lengthy form if they have certainty that it will be worth their time. It might also be a good idea to acknowledge receipt of the contact form with a message to the client.