What is the purpose of a Contractor's website?
People ask me all the time: "Do you like my site?" It is a question I can never answer: I haven't seen their statistics.
I always tell them: The Purpose of A Contractor's Website Is To Put More Money In Their Pocket
That is no huge revelation I know, but if people are asking me the question, they have obviously forgotten that purpose. What does it matter if I think their site looks pretty? The site is either making them money or it isn't. They need to measure how much money they made without the site, and how much money they made with it. How many qualified leads did they get from the site? These are questions website owners need to be able to answer. It is a huge endeavor, I know; most small business owners don't even try considering 66% of businesses under 100 employees in the United States don't even have a website.
While the main purpose of a contractor's website is to put more money in their pocket, I have come up with 2 sub-purposes to help them accomplish that
- Build your own credibility
- Capture prospect's contact information
Build Your Own Credibility
Us contractors have reputations in most people's mind in the realm of car salesmen and lawyers. Realize that people are very skeptical. If you tell people you are the "Best in the Business," that claim will be largely taken with a grain of salt. Compliments and bold claims are so much stronger when they are backed up by 3rd parties. What are the strongest 3rd party claims to put on your site:
- Customer Testimonials
- News Stories
Customer testimonials show prospects that someone like them made the decision to do business with you and now they are happy; your satisfied customer is a way better salesperson for you than you could ever be. The power of social proof is amazing. Written testimonials are the easiest to get and they are ok, but they are easy to fake and prospects know this. Video testimonials are the best. I have a video testimonial on my front page where a customer tells the camera that he loves his house and that I saved him over $100,000 on his house (www.zncustombuilding.com). The video has over 3,500 views and while it was a pain going out to my customer's house with a video camera and then paying my web guy to put it up on the site, the video has made me a ton of money.
We also have a video on the site where Greg Gumbel introduces us for a segment that was done on CNN. No other competitor has it. Even though my performance was a stutter-laden nervous rant, it still builds credibility.
Capture Prospects Contact Information
When a customer comes to your site, you need to try to capture their contact information. Every day, I have between 10-25 prospects send me their information. I don't do business with all or even many of them, but having that many contacts allows me to pick and choose who I do business with, even in a bad economy. Having too few prospects forces you to take on bad customers and sets in motion a very un-enjoyable chain of events that many contractors know all too well.
To capture information, try to answer a question that your prospects have been asking. For instance, doesn't everybody want to know what a job should cost. How the hell would you know? but you can find out what jobs cost on average from the National Construction estimator's guide or in date provided by CNN or Qualified Remodeler. Why not compile that data in a form and trade it to visitors to your site in exchange for their contact information? If you don’t want to take the time to do it, visit elance.com and find a freelance writer to do it ($50-$100) and have your web guy set up a form to trade it for their contact info. Your web guy can have it downloaded into a database program automatically I use Icontact -
This is an extra step, but is worth it to have lots of customers to choose from. I went to the length of building a custom and interactive pricing tool for my business. It was expensive, but there is no other tool on the market like it, and I have people from all over the world use it.
Unless you are a very sick person, you are a contractor to put food on the table and pay the bills so you need to be using your website to help you get paid. If you put up a simple site that gives your name and phone number with the caption "Free Estimates!!!" I can guarantee your website will be a failure (who doesn't give free estimates?) If however, you use your site to capture prospects information while building your own credibility, you will definitely make money from your website.