I know, I know. You get most of your business from referrals. You’re registered in all the different estimating software databases. You attend all the local industry meet-and-greets and happy hours. You have a booth at all the trade events. And you have more work than you can even handle right now. So what more do you really need to do? Why should you care about any other forms of marketing?
Because there will come a time when contracts are a little harder to come by. Or even better – maybe you could add more leads into your funnel and be more selective about the projects that you do go after. The more your services are in demand – and the more competition there is for your services – the higher fees you can charge.
So how can you add more leads into your funnel? You could spread yourself even thinner and sign up for more trade organizations. You could bid on more public (or open bid) projects. You could pay a lot of money to run advertisements in relevant trade publications.
Or there is a simpler (and more scalable) option: improve your website.
Like it or not, your website is your “first impression” on a lot of people. Every time you hand out your business card, there’s a good chance that your new contact will visit your website to see what your firm is all about. Same thing if someone sees an ad for your company. And yes, people do judge books by their covers.
When someone visits your website, they should be able to tell within three seconds what services your firm provides. Pretty pictures of the project you’ve completed are great – and there’s a place for that. But most visitors want to know from the start that your company provides the services they’re looking for. They want to know that they came to the right place.
And visitors don’t want to be bombarded with “salesy” language. TAKE IT EASY ON THE ALL CAPS AND EXCLAMATION MARKS!!! If you’re a contractor, then you are a provider of services. People understand that services have to be paid for, so there’s no need to sound like a used-car salesman on your website.
And because I like to make lists that can be checked off, here are a few things you should consider doing to improve your website:
Highlight the services you provide. And be specific!
I think it’s great that the name of your company is “Acme Concrete, LLC.” But if that’s all that’s listed at the top of your website, then I don’t really know what you do. Do you sell ready-mix concrete material? Are you a rebar installer? Or maybe you’re a concrete formwork contractor? Unfortunately, your company name doesn’t help me much. So now I have to scroll down and read more content to learn what services you provide. Or even worse – I have to click on a menu and go to a different page to figure it out.
Remember this: three seconds. I need to know what you do without having to scroll down “below the fold.” So include a detailed description of your services in a tag line just beneath your logo. Or include a pretty picture with some overlaid text. Something. Just make sure it’s obvious from the first time a visitor lands on your homepage.
So if Acme Concrete, LLC actually sells concrete reinforcing, then your description could be something like: “Providers of concrete reinforcing material to the greater Orlando area since 1981.”
Oh, and that has the added benefit of being great for SEO. Those “keywords” are what people use to search for things on the Internet. If someone went to Google and typed in “concrete reinforcing material Orlando,” they’d have a great chance of finding your company. And no one searches for that unless they want to spend some money on rebar!
Optimize your website content for search engines.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an art (and science) unto itself. There are entire books, courses and industries that are dedicated to SEO. But you don’t need to know all that stuff. All you need to know are the basics. These are what I consider the basics for SEO if you’re a contractor:
- List out all of the keywords related to the services you provide. If you’re a countertop contractor, those keywords may be: countertop; stone; granite; quartz; solid surface; contractor; installer; residential; commercial; etc.
- Write down all the locations or areas where you work: Houston; Austin; Dallas; South Texas. This is super-important because most people who are searching for a contractor online are going to search for companies in a specific location.
- Now use all those keywords in the content of your site. Use them in the tagline, headers and sub-headers. Write sections describing what services you provide related to each one.
You can take this a step further by blogging about your services. The more relevant content Google sees on your site, the better you will rank.
If you want to hire a professional to really optimize your website, you should. (My knowledge pretty much ends at the content level). Depending on your location or market, you could land on the first page of Google’s search results. And that’s the cheapest web traffic you’ll ever get (i.e. “free). But regardless, this will help all the search engines find your site. And if all those keywords are all relevant, then your visitors will not need to look any further.
Take it Easy on the Project Photos
All contractors are proud of their work. And understandably, they want to show it off. After all, pictures speak much louder than words when it comes to a portfolio of work.
However, pictures take time to load. If you aren’t careful, you could have ten photos that are 4MB each on your home page. That’s going to cause your web page to load really slowly. We’re talking 10 seconds instead of 1 second. And I know that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but people are impatient. You’re a contractor, right? Doesn’t everyone want everything done yesterday?
As I said earlier, there’s a time and place for pictures. Create a separate page on your website that is dedicated only to your portfolio or “successful projects.” The people that visit that page want to see your work. But keep the project photos on your home page to a minimum.
Because why? Because three seconds. If your page takes too long to load, people may just hit “back” on their browser and move on to the next search result. They may not even stick around to see your beautiful, keyword-rich description.
And that’s it. Those are my simple (and cheap) things that you can do to improve your marketing by improving your website. Remember: Your homepage is the first impression many potential clients have of your company. People visit your website to learn more about the services you provide. Many of those people are doing all this with the intention of spending money on relevant services.
And that’s why you should make it as easy as possible for your visitors to understand what your company does – as fast as possible.