Whether or not to use a website to market your company is a question that often comes to mind for today’s business owner. However, in our fast paced society, consumers are seeking quality at a reasonable price, and they want it right now. If you are not using internet technology, you are way behind. The Service industry is of no exception. A website is a useful tool for even those offering automotive repair, insurance, dry cleaning, general consulting, lawn care, etc.
As part of your overall marketing plan, the use of a website will support other components of your promotional strategy. A website is an easy way to help you attract potential customers and provide a showcase of your work or offerings. It can be very basic or a progressive site which manages your customer base, too. No matter what the goal, a website lets consumers catch a glimpse of how you provide a quality service. It can provide them with answers to many questions while enticing them to reach for the phone.
Is your goal to be informational only or do you want a website to help grow your business? Making this decision should be your first choice. A simple online brochure may be just enough to get your name out there. However, most visitors to the site will be part of your prime target market and capturing their contact info will set up a captive prospect list. They may be “shopping” around, but if they fill out a contact sheet, they are serious about what you have to offer.
For all general purposes, I want to spend more time on content ideas rather than the mechanics of a website. However, your next step is to decide if you are savvy enough to set up the site yourself or if you need professional assistance. You might ask colleagues or friends with websites for referrals of experts in the field or “google” the various free domains and numerous ways to gain help online.
Now to capture potential sales lead information you should put a simple form on your home page that will allow you to obtain demographic information including email address. Make it simple for visitors to see and persuade them to leave their contact information by offering a reward for completion. It might be a percent off first service or coupons to a local eatery or a business that compliments yours. Also, this offer can be delivered completely automated on their printer while they are on your site.
Now you have access to a very cost effective advertising tool – email. These visitors are giving you permission to contact them and you can continue to send messages/offers again and again for little investment.
The main message of your website must however be all about who you are, the services you offer, and about the benefits of using your service. Don’t forget to make it all about them such as by using your service they will gain more free time with family, be the envy of the neighborhood or back on the road for less expense, etc.
Don’t ignore some of the obvious, tried and true features, your website should be simple, easy to read and the user ought to get through to your benefits or offerings in one or two clicks of the mouse. Also consider the following:
– Fast moving text, loud music, or busy pages can turn off a good number of consumers, low volume and clean lines are the best choice.
– Pictures are a must, especially if they positively showcase your “work.” Possible uses might be a before and after gallery.
– When possible, include testimonials from customers. This will motivate interested prospects more than anything you could ever say. This could be done in text or video format.
– Research has shown that 80% of all internet users use Internet Explorer, so design your site for optimal viewing with Internet Explorer.
Finally, the use of keywords is an excellent way to ensure that internet users will be directed to your site. There are various fee-for-use methods available that will allow you to choose “key” words that describe your business. Your website host or webmaster can show you a number of strategies for doing this.
If you enjoyed these ideas, please look for my other articles on Marketing Strategies for the Service Industry.