Advice For a Home Builder Who Wants to Build a Website Or Any Small Business Owner With a Trade Back
October 5, 2009
Got a small trades business you wish to promote? In today's busy marketplace there are two broad ways to get your message out. Yes, you'll still probably need traditional offline marketing-word of mouth is probably the best form of advertising you can get. But the odds are good that you'll need to add online marketing to your media mix. And no, you don't have to be a techie to get your business up and running on the Internet.
A website is now a "given" for a business, as people are less apt to flip through a phone book and instead more inclined to search you out for general information about your company, contact information and the range of services that you offer. If you're not comfortable with technology, you can buy website templates that include hosting and domain name registration. A product like Website In A box can provide this for under $100.00. On the other hand, you can hire a web designer and be prepared to pay between $1000 and $5000, depending on the complexity of your site.
Where to start
It's important to remember to prepare a briefing document for your web designer, no matter which approach you take. Think about what you want to tell prospects and customers about your skills. My suggestion is to first look at competitor websites for ideas. Then make a chart listing all the key information you'll need to organize your website briefing document.
Here are some of the basic things to consider for your site: your business name, address, phone numbers to reach you, a list of services that you offer, your logo. Do you have a company slogan, colors, pricing guide, testimonials from your customers, pictures of the work that you have completed. By the way, consumers love before and after pictures, so include them if you have them.
For my clients, I also recommend the following checklist for website design...
What is the purpose of the site - is it a corporate brochure or a sales tool or both?
Who is your target audience?
Clear contact information - phone, address & email
A concise statement that positions you as "Bob the on-time builder." Ensure your customers don't have to scroll to find this statement: Place it in the top middle position on the first page of your website
Your company name & logo
An opt-in box so that you can collect the email addresses of visitors. Once you have their addresses in your database, you can market to them (e.g. create an offer like a checklist to consider when getting a quote from a builder)
Consider the colors you use - what do you want consumers to think of you (e.g. blue is often a corporate color, yellow can be warm and a high energy color) Keep in mind, some colors are not quite so appealing online-a good web designer can help you out in this department
What will you use for a domain name? If possible, consider simple names that people can remember and spell (e.g. www.bobthebuilder.com. You can register your name at a site like www.godaddy.com for about $9.00 per year
Who will host your site? You should not pay more than $20.00 per month for this type of service
Remember to register with the major search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN. Besides, it's free. Also, get your web designer to add a Google analytics link so you can monitor your site's traffic (Again, it's a free tool too.)
Make sure your web designer does a site map for you. (Google search spiders like site maps, and can increase your page ranking.)
Create a list of keywords and title tags for your website so the Google spiders know how to find you. Add your city or town to your keywords to help build local traffic to your site. (55% of all searches online are organic)
Add your website address to all of your marketing materials - truck, business card, letterhead, etc.
Remember, you only have 5-10 seconds to capture someone's attention with a website, so you have to express yourself effectively and efficiently. Once again, go to websites that work for you and look at what you like. But, keep in mind, your website is for your customers, and they may think very differently from you. So you might ask your customers for some direction on your website and a list of things they are looking for when they check out a builder's website.
Need help to grow your online business? We show you how to use web marketing tools to attract, convert and connect with customers." The Marketing Chefs explain the web marketing tools and strategies that go into killer website design, email marketing, publicity, and search engine optimization. Whether your business is new, or you've had a long web presence, we help improve online profits by sharing our creative thinking and recipes for success. Nourishing a business is a lot like creating a delicious dinner: it starts with gathering the right ingredients and, like a chef, knowing creatively what to do with them.
Whether you attend our one-day workshops, purchase our workbook, CDs, or choose to participate in one of our "lunch 'n learn" teleseminars, you will come away with a smorgasbord of ideas, tips and suggestions that you can immediately start using in your business. http://www.themarketingchefs.com or http://www.themarketingchefslive.com For more information contact