By Donna Campanelli
Working with contractors and the trades as a marketing strategist and digital agency owner I see all kinds of websites and realize there is more than one way to do things. Consistently I work with owners that want to grow their business and who have spent money on a website thinking it would and it just didn’t – or fails to meet expectations.
One of the primary reasons this occurs is because as a contractor you are an expert at plumbing and heating but not necessarily knowledgeable in the intricacies of website design and online marketing. You know you need a website for your business, but you don’t know the questions to ask when hiring a web designer and you assume that all web designers are equal. Unfortunately, they are not.
Some web designers are technicians. They know how to functionally put the pieces together, but they don’t know anything about online marketing. Some web designers are graphic artists who make your website look just like your brand with amazing imagery. And some (such as Contractor-Websites.com) have more of a background in online marketing and understand the nuances of search engine optimization.
Ideally your web design company will knows the technical side, and be able to put the imagery together, but can also understands your industry, your ideal customers and is willing to do the research to write the content that answers the questions your customers want answered.
A web designer that can do all that may be more expensive; however, a well-designed, well-written, user friendly website that ranks on page one of the search engines will be worth every penny you pay for it and probably more as it will bring you a return on investment year after year.
With that said, in this article I’m sharing some of the problems I see that prevent websites from generating leads. This list will give you a new perspective to go back and look at your own website to see where adjustments can be made to make your website a lead generating machine.
- Your Website is not User Friendly
You know your business better than anyone else. Your customers do not. I recently analyzed a plumbing and heating contractor’s website to determine why they weren’t getting leads. The first thing I saw was a clutter of information. The content was written in long paragraphs without headings making it hard to skim. Most website visitors don’t read all your content. That want to be able to scan the headlines and find the specific answer to the question they have. Another issue was the content was written for a person with plumbing and heating knowledge not a lay person.
Take for instance the page entitled Perma-Liner. Now plumbers know that Perma-liner is a great way to repair broken sewer lines without having to dig. But very few home or business owners would come to your website knowing that they need Perma-liner. The homeowner knows the potential buyer of their home just had a sewer line scope and they were told that the sewer pipe needs to be replaced because it is broken. So, the homeowner scans the menus on the site and doesn’t see anything about sewer pipe repairs and they leave the website.
Or maybe they never even got to the site.
- Content is Not Written the Way People Search
When the homeowner found out they needed to replace the sewer line, they Googled “replace sewer line from house to main.” This company’s website didn’t even come up in the search because their site was talking about Perma-Liner, not a broken sewer line. Yes, the site did mention that Perma-Liner could fix a broken sewer line, but the content was not written with the proper headlines or keyword content, so it didn’t show up on page one of the homeowner’s Google Search.
According to a study by Chitika Online Advertising Network, 92% of Google users never go past page one of the search results, which means that being on page one is the only place to be if you want to be found.
Going back to our example of Perma-Liner, Google keyword statistics say that Perma-Liner is searched 720 times per month. “Replace sewer line from house to main” is searched 480 times per month. Now it may seem great that Perma-Liner has that many searches. But, what if the majority of those searches are other plumbers looking for trenchless alternatives for replacing sewer lines? My point here is that you need to know your audience and you need to research the terms that they are searching. And then you need to know what Google thinks the visitor is searching for.
- Your Content Doesn’t Match What Google Thinks Your Customer Wants
Searching for the keyword “Perma-Liner” brought back websites describing what is Perma-Liner. Now it did also bring back the plumber’s website that I was researching. But if Google thinks that when people search Perma-Liner they want to know about the product, chances are they are not looking for a plumber.
Here is another example of how Google’s interpretation of keywords is important. In this same website, they have a page entitled, “New Construction.” Now I know what they meant. They meant Plumbing & Heating Contractors for New Construction. But that is not what Google thinks that page is about. When I type “New Construction” into Google, it brings up home builders, meaning this page will never rank on page one of Google and General Contractors will never find your company if they don’t know your company name.
How your content is written is the most important piece of your website if you want to be found on the search engines.
- Poorly Designed or Missing Call-to-Action
The first thing I talked about in this article is user friendliness. User friendliness means making it easy for customers to navigate and find their way to the information they want on your website. You want to make it easy for them to contact you and because your website is your 24/7 salesperson, you need to always be closing. Or, in website terms, always have a call-to-action.
Looking back at the plumbing and heating website, there was a call-to-action in the text. But it was in the middle of the text. It did not stand out at all. It was not a bigger font. It was not bold, or a different color. The telephone number in the middle of the text was not formatted to be a click-to-call so it would be easy for people on smartphones to dial. And, there was no form to request service.
While it is okay to have a call-to-action in the middle of your content, it should be formatted differently so that it stands out. But there should also be a call to action at the end of your content. And you should have a form on the right side of your content so that people can easily send you a message if that is their preference.
Additionally, the information for emergency services was buried in the text. It should have had its own call out on the side of the page so that someone with an emergency could find it quickly.
Your call-to-action is for your benefit and theirs. When you write it, you want to instruct them to contact you now. You want to let them know how soon they can expect to hear back from you. And, you want your forms to allow them to either select the specific service they want or enter comments about what they want. A good call to action would be:
To learn how to save money with our new trenchless sewer line replacement services, fill out our convenient form now and we’ll call you back within one business day. Or, for immediate service during business hours, call us at 719/555-1212.
While these are not the only issues that could be preventing your website from generating leads, they are four significant reasons. Getting your content right is the first step to getting your website to rank in the search engines and then converting visitors to leads and closed business.
If you are struggling with your website or just want someone to fix it for you, feel free to reach out to me at Contractor-Websites.com to schedule a Free Strategy Call. We’ll talk about what you think isn’t working and then develop a plan to get your website working for you.
Donna Campanelli is a marketing strategist and the owner of Contractor-Websites.com. Her company works with construction companies, contractors, and the trades to increase visibility, grow sales, and dominate their market.