Over the past few years, a number of clients have asked us to include a mailto link within an email instead of creating a registration page where attendees can fill out a form to sign up for an event.
In the short run, using a mailto link can save time by eliminating the need to create a landing page. Recipients can just click on the mailto link to register for an event, and their desktop email client will pop up with a new email to respond (or not, depending on their email client and spam filtering software).
You can even prepopulate the subject line with something like, “I’m interested in registering for your event,” making it even easier for your prospect to respond.
In the long run, though, using mailto links instead of forms adds time and hinders your marketing efforts because you can’t:
- Track responses or registrations in your marketing automation platform or CRM
- Automatically add a suspect or prospect to a nurturing program
- Weight an action for lead scoring purposes
- Easily keep other team members in the loop, since any responses can either go to an individual mailbox or distribution list
Despite the benefits of creating a form, though, it usually comes down to getting an email out the door as quickly as possible.
Are there any benefits to using a mailto link?
Sometimes it makes sense to include a mailto link, but usually in addition to a form and not instead of one. For example, it’s fine to include one in an email signature so someone can more easily reach out, but we advise against using it as the main call to action.
Or, if you’re inviting people to a private event, providing a mailto link makes it easy for guests to share any dietary restrictions or special requests, which not everyone will have. However, it’s best to include it on a confirmation page after they’ve filled out the form so it’s top of mind.
Registration forms are the clear winner
One of the biggest downsides of using mailto links is that the majority of marketing automation platforms do not track them.
When someone fills out a form to register for an event, however, both Marketo and Eloqua will capture that information. They’ll even capture if someone clicked on the link to a landing page, but didn’t complete the form, which is valuable information that indicates a prospect’s level of interest.
You can also capture more personal information. And if you’re worried about asking for too much too soon, you can opt for progressive profiling instead to capture a little more information each time a prospect engages.
Not to mention, providing a landing page with a registration form just looks more professional than asking someone to register for an event via email.
Unfortunately, there are only so many hours in a day. That’s why we help clients with landing pages and other campaign development and execution services. If you’re stretched thin, we can help!
Beverly Benito is an expert in web and email design and deployment. As a DemandGen Campaign Specialist, she uses her advanced knowledge of HTML, XHTML, and CSS to build and deploy emails, landing pages, and forms in Marketo and Eloqua. Beverly also helps clients make the most of their marketing programs through sophisticated email template development, script authoring for automated form input, and rigorous quality assurance testing.