Online Contact Forms Can Spell L-E-A-D-S or S-P-A-M (or even S-C-A-M)

Robert HoldemanAlerts, Internet Safety, Website Traffic

One of the best means of getting leads from your website is an online form that can be completed by visitors who want to take you up on what your website offers or find out more about your business.

As lead generation goes, those that come from a well-conceived online form are typically pretty solid, providing the information your sales staff needs to follow up and close the deal.  And, in terms of ROI, it’s the best way to determine the value of your website and internet marketing efforts because it is measurable. It’s pretty easy to count the number of forms submitted each month.

But some unscrupulous marketers are more than willing to turn the tables on you and use your form to spam you.  They will tell you all about their own wonderful product or service, such as their ability to get you to the top of the search pages or drive tremendous amounts of traffic to your site.

Their message, entered in a comments box on the form, usually goes something like this:

“I couldn’t find your contact information on your website while I was conducting my audit, so I thought I would reach out directly. After running a thorough audit on your site, my team has come to the conclusion that you could be performing better in organic searches.”  The message typically goes on to drop a few tidbits of jargon that is designed to make you think they know what they are doing in the tech-savvy field of SEO.

At Comstar we have built hundreds of websites and on every one of them the company’s phone number and their contact information is front-and-center.  There is no way a competent “audit” would miss that info.

Another indication that you are being scammed is perhaps in the person’s info they share on the form.  Is there an email address with the company’s domain or is it a gmail or hotmail account?  Reputable businesses use their own identity in their email.

Sometimes the particulars don’t match.  Recently one client of ours received a form from a visitor with a similar message who put their name and company name in the boxes at the top of the form, then signed the message in the comments box with a different name and company name.  Not too suspicious, eh?

And to add injury to insult, they indicated they had found out about the website from a banner ad the client was running.  This means that the spammer (i.e. scammer) clicked on a paid ad that caused our client to spend money to Google for the click!

Of course sometimes they choose “Internet Search” as the way they found out about the website… but that sort of counters their point that your site can’t be found on a Google search results page.

So, stick with known professionals who are accountable and available, not someone who has to mislead you just to get a foot in the door!

Here’s more info on internet marketing on our own Comstar website.