Too many contractors assume that by just having a website means they are marketing their company, and that is partially true.
It is most important to first understand the topic of Marketing itself. Marketing is the activity and processes for creating and communicating offerings that have value for existing customers and potential prospects. Marketing and Sales are two distinct different topics. This conversation is solely focused on Marketing and ensuring you see the differences with weight towards a website.
It’s an investment, not an expense
Just having a website by itself does not mean you are marketing your business. Yes, it is a start in the right direction to have a website. But usually so many treat it as a passive expense when in fact it requires the right effort and investment to do it correctly.
The most important aspect of the website is to ensure you clearly Brand Your Business. When you brand yourself correctly, you clearly identify your products and services as distinct from your competitors. So many contractors are in a rush to create a website by a self-imposed deadline or for a price that is not realistic, that they fail to realize their website looks like just any other website. Many website companies sell contractors based on these unrealistic expectations only for the contractors to learn the hard way that their long term objectives will never be reached. How do we know? MyOnlineToolbox has worked with hundreds of accounts that are usually on their second, third and even fourth website before realizing it is time to do it right.
It’s time to do it right!
What do we mean? We mean taking the time to clearly identify the services that will draw in the ideal client. We mean taking the time to clearly identify the locations that you prefer to work in. We mean taking the time to clearly identify who you are and what is your experience. We mean also taking the time to acquire and consolidate your customer reviews to have others validate what it is you say you do.
Many will say they do a good job at identifying their services and we disagree. Here is a quick example. A kitchen remodeler wonders why their beautiful website never brings in good leads. After investigation, we found out that their web pages are mostly geared towards cabinets, countertops, sinks, faucets, lighting and all the other supporting details. And as we dig deeper we realized that most of the marketing is based on the details but not focused on Kitchen Remodeling. We found out quickly why the contractor keeps getting leads to fix a loose cabinet as opposed to getting leads to remodel a kitchen. Yes, the images are visible. Yes, there are stories to read. But No, the contractor did not brand themselves correctly in order to generate the opportunities they want.
Just being a tech person doesn’t make a marketer.
Many website companies are not proficient in industry specific marketing. Yes, they may know a lot about websites, but that does not mean they know a lot about marketing. And that does not mean they know a lot about the construction and remodeling industry. I use this simple analogy all the time. Just because you know how to use a Word Processor does not mean you know how to write. Sure, the word processor may have spell checking and all sorts of pretty fonts, but it does not make you a writer. I could have wrote this story in Google Docs, Microsoft Word or Chalk, and you would probably still read it without focusing on the technology itself. My point is simple, just because you know website technologies does not make you a marketing person for a construction business.
Before you decide on a website programming company or any specific website technology, ensure someone knows how to really brand your business. The process is also identified as Content Marketing in order to create valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience. It is not easy but it is not hard when you know what you are doing. When done wrong, you will not only lose money, but you will lose a lot of time not establishing credibility. This lost credibility diminishes the long term goal of growing with more quality leads which in turn allows you to grow with more quality sales and profits. It’s that simple.
Your brand sets you apart!
The branding part of a website is critical in order to differentiate your business. But really, who cares if no one ever visits your website? One popular topic associated to website visitors is the ability to being found by the search engines. The ultimate goal is to have the right people find you with the right message at the right time. The technical term for having search engines work in your favor is SEO, standing for Search Engine Optimization. Is it important? Absolutely. Is it really the mystery that everyone wants it to be? No, at least not for the construction industry. We say this because so many contractors are so bad at the branding aspect of their business that the SEO is irrelevant.
With the proper branding foundation, the SEO side is so much easier to do correctly, either with the website company or even by yourself. We previously referenced a kitchen remodeler who was getting terrible leads. That is because the titles of his page were “Kitchen Cabinets Countertops Accessories | ABC Construction” when they should have been “Kitchen Remodeling | ABC Construction”. Think of it like going to a Barnes & Noble walking the isles for a book. A good book must have a good title, and more important, it better be in the appropriate section or it will not even be found in the first place.
Let’s assume you now have a nice website and even have some good SEO. That does not mean your marketing is complete. Relying on the search engines to bring someone to your website is just one aspect of marketing.
Social Marketing needs to support your brand too.
Another form of marketing is social marketing and most contractors do it incorrectly. Just knowing Facebook does not mean you are communicating your message correctly. Just knowing YouTube does not mean you are making videos and posting them correctly. And when done wrong, you lose the opportunity to grow your fan base and share that beautiful website you spent so much time creating. There is a clear pattern to having your social side of the business driving traffic to your website. Most are in such a rush to post great content that they miss the long term objective to create valuable, relevant and consistent content. Never forget those words, since everyone associated with your branding must have the same objective. Anyone fixated on a certain amount of social posts to hit a periodic quota will never-ever be able to offer unique branding content.
Don’t just pass it all onto someone else.
The ability to bring traffic to your website is not just left to the search engines or social connections. You must take some responsibility and it is so easy. Assuming you have done a great job organizing your services, your target locations, your company bio and your customer reviews. From there you can easily hyperlink many of the same words we use for SEO within your emails to prospects to guide them to the web pages that help amplify your proposal process. Remember, we are trying to differentiate yourself against the competition, and many will never take the extra five seconds to hyperlink topics to their landing pages. We are not referring to guiding people to your home page. We are referring to you guiding people to those special pages that glamorize what you do and where you do it and the customers who have said nice things about you too.
The topics above cover all aspects of Brand Marketing, Content Marketing, SEO Marketing, Social Marketing and even Email Marketing. They all have their special place when it comes to Websites, but they are each a component of the website. There is no one specific technology that will win, but, if you understand marketing for the industry and know how to tie them together then you can be lethal against the competition for many years to come.
If not now, then when?
Use this unique time where the world is re-adjusting all at the same time. Do not feel bad for the past mistakes. Do not feel intimidated on what you do not know since everything is learnable. Feel happy that you made it wherever you are in life and realize you can make a change for one year out, and better yet, for many years to come. Do not think there are quick fix answers. If they were there then everyone would do them. When it comes to marketing, you want to take a concentrated effort to understand the topics, have a plan to implement them and then amplify what you start. Those quality leads are out there. The question is “Are you ready to market yourself to get them?”.