Many webmasters are losing a large number of potential clients without even knowing it. Mailto commands may not be the best choice for lead generation.
The mailto command produces a clickable email address. The idea is that clicking this address will open your email client so you can contact the website owner. This is a wonderful concept, but is having mailto commands on your website costing you valuable business. A real estate agent, for example, could loose thousands of dollars if one real estate lead is lost. There are several problems with the mailto command that could cause you to lose your leads.
One major problem with the mailto command is that is depends on your default email client being configured. This is usually a program like Outlook, or Outlook Express. However, many people in the world do not use these programs and instead use web base email such as Yahoo Mail or Hotmail. For your clients using web base email, the mailto command will generate an error message stating something similar to “Email client is not configured”. This means that for a very large part of your potential clients, the mailto link will not work, and even worse may generate an error message.
Another potential pitfall is the unreliability of email. Everyone has lost an email or two. Now image that email was a potential client. This could have a huge impact on your business. Emails may not get to you for a variety of reasons such as spam filters. Some times emails are just lost to the depths of the Internet. Really the reasons do not matter much, losing emails means losing business.
There are also some smaller problems with mailto commands. For example, email addresses displayed in this way are targets for spam bots that surf the internet collecting emails for mass mailings.
The ideal way to generate all leads through your website is by use of a form that logs the leads. When you use a form to collect leads, your website can log the lead in a text file or a database. Your website should then send you email notification that you received a new lead. In the event this email is lost, your lead is still stored safely by your website. As an added benefit, your website would also be able to manage your leads as well as send thank you messages to your clients.
Don’t lose the business that you work so hard to get. Use a form and be cautious with mailto links.