Cyberspace can be a crazy place. A client recently reported that she dialed up my website and found herself in a pornographic site. "Is that the kind of image you want for your remodeling company?" she asked. Yikes! I scrambled for an explanation. It turns out she typed in something similar to my Web address that really was a porn site. Since then, I’ve been careful to spell out the name for people. I always direct potential clients to my site--it’s as important to me as exchanging phone
Building First Impressions
There are two basic ways your website can work for you. First, it can be an interactive brochure that you send to clients so they can learn more about your company at their leisure. I introduce my website address in the first conversation with any remodeling client. This lets a potential client get to know your company before you ever come out to visit them in their home. Your web address should appear on all of your paperwork--brochures, business cards, letterhead and all remodeling estimate contracts. If your site is good, it sets up an impression of you as a knowledgeable and professional contractor before you ever knock on a potential client’s door.
Driving Traffic to Your Site
Other web sites can be used to drive new traffic to your website. There are a variety of ways to try to drive traffic to your site including linking yourself with other remodeling-specific sites that receive a lot of consumer hits. As doing business on the Internet becomes more and more prevalent, I know I want to continue to stay on the leading edge. It is increasingly difficult to keep your "key words" (words the search engines use to find you) at the top of the cyberspace list so that your company name comes up first when someone types in "remodeling." For this reason, I have already started linking my page to websites such as www.remodel.com. It is very important to note if you join a professional association such as the NAHB Remodelors Council or NARI, you can be listed in more places with a higher priority than if you are not. As more and more of your clients look to the Internet to find you, you should be as reachable and as visible as possible.
Creating Sales on the Web
One useful sales trick I created to obtain clients’ email addresses (so I can correspond with them later), is to have something on my site (such as a photograph or some particular piece of information) that I tell them to search my site for when we first speak. I ask the client to visit my website, find this item, and email me from the website, confirming that they found it. When they do that, two good things happen. First, I know for a fact that they came and spent a little bit of time poking around on my website. Second, I now have their email address and can confirm our first meeting and communicate with them from then on, if they wish. These addresses can be collected and used for a quarterly or semi-annual email newsletter that you can send to clients who have already contacted you.
Dan Bawden, CGR, CMB, is president of Legal Eagle Contractors in Houston. E-mail him at www.legaleaglecontractors.com.
- To create the look of your title page or home page, prominently display your logo and your company name along with your contact information such as phone and fax numbers. A client looking at your website should be able to instantly identify and
- It’s helpful to have a table of contents on your home page. This allows the viewer to choose what to visit within your page.
- Include interesting information about your company. Before-and-
after photographs of your projects with some short descriptions are essential, and awards or community service projects you are involved in give
potential customers insight to your company.
- Link to other product websites that your customers might find useful. But make sure they won’t draw business away from you.
- A page about you as the owner and your credentials is also useful. Also include information about your key subcontractors.
- Include a testimonials page with
excerpts from clients who have
written kind words about you.
- Use a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page. Include tips on finding a good contractor and details of the remodeling process.