You don’t get a second chance at making a first impression, and with the way of the internet your website is often making the first impression while you’re working, or at least it should be.
And it is important that the first impression is a damn good one. It doesn’t matter if your selling home services, auto repair services, or b2b printers. Not only does it increase the chances of an inquiry and sale, but a study has found that a positive first impression leads to higher satisfaction.
Ever visited a poorly made website (aka a website that does not breathe) and immediately tried to find the back button? We all judge based on the usability and appearance of a website before we waste time reading anything else or making an inquiry and your clients are no different. Even with my experience in marketing, I still gravitate towards doing business with companies that have a clean and breathing website (notice I didn’t say amazing or well designed website, more on that in a later post – leave a comment to remind me). And to a degree it does reflect internal organization. The way I see it, as a consumer, a business that has a professional website, has a bunch of reviews, and uses Adwords, generally has their shit together well enough to effectively handle my needs.
Within seconds of landing on a page we that first impression is made and a few key details are anchored in the prospect mind. A negative impression will lead to clicks away and few inquiries while a positive impression leads to not only substantially more inquiries but also better targeted inquiries.
They will quickly form an opinion and if it is negative, they will click away and you will have lost a potential sale or long-term contract.
Upon first find a website most home service prospects usually determine:
First and foremost for home service businesses, customers will immediately determine if you’re a large organized operation, or on the other side of the spectrum, a small informal operation.
There’s a fine line you have to balance on that spectrum as well. A website that is too nice or professional may intimidate potential clients, particularly if you are a tradesperson. This is because a large and impressive website may not be representative of your company scale and you could cause people to look elsewhere as they feel you are too big of a company for them, or charge too much. At one point in 2016, I had ditched a totally pricey redesigned version of my company website because it looked too big, and the feedback was that many prospects thought we were a ‘big corporation’
You need to maintain the “family business” mentality and avoid something too corporate or impersonal. With trades in particular you will find that potential customers are looking for localized companies and their websites should reflect this rather than that of a multi-national corporation if that is not what you are.
Are you making your location obviously? If you only cater to a small area, which is most home service businesses, then make this known to avoid disappointment. Also ensure that if you have several branches or different contact details according to customer location that these are highlighted as well. I find the best way of doing this is prominently displaying your local phone number with area code.
What does your website say about your brand? It is clean, professional and easy to use or is it a bit of a pain to handle? Your website represents you, so apply the same principles to your website as you do to your business. Also remember to use the same color palette, style and logos or graphics as well as this helps with brand recognition and keeps it consistent across the board, making your website an extension of the real world. A clean and organized website will convey a clean and organize operation, whether true or not.
If you’re comparing two business websites, one that displays customer reviews, and one that does not, which one lets prospects know that the business cares about their customers and wants more happy customers?
Obviously the website that displays the reviews.
Showing customer feedback, and showing that you care about it subconsciously lets prospects know that you’re customer oriented and in it for the long haul.
Are you making your services clear? Does your website easily highlight the services that you provide as well as what you don’t provide? Being unclear about your services can waste visitors and client’s time and could also be misleading which could cause legal liability issues further down the line. Ensure you have clear guidelines about what you offer as well as what is included in any packages, particularly if your website allows customers to buy directly to avoid confusion and disappointment.
Common Website Mistakes
- Confusing Navigation – A common mistake for businesses when choosing website designs is that they forget that users won’t inherently know how to use it. YOU know how to use it because you either put everything where it is or someone has explained it to you but you need to remember that users aren’t mind readers. Make navigation easy to use and obvious so that clients and users can get to where they want.
- Too Focused on Images – You can create a beautiful website with stunning graphics, colours and design but if it doesn’t have the content that the user needs, it’s effectively useless. Make sure you have all of your services, up to date pricing and the information you want to convey before you package it nicely so that you know it won’t be forgotten.
- No Contact Page – Someone has landed on your page, found what they wanted and now they want to hire you, but how do they contact you? Make the “contact me” page obvious from the homepage (it will also be picked up better by search engines this way) and this will allow you to convert website traffic to leads more easily.
- Too “Busy” – When someone lands on your page, you want them to look at a variety of things but trying to draw their attention in too many places can be confusing and make them click off. Keep it easy and simple and focus on the one or two elements of your website that are most important.
- Ad Heavy – Ads and advertising space can be an excellent revenue stream from your website that you should look at utilizing but ensure that you aren’t putting on so many ads that it affect usability and experience because this can be a big turn off for many.
- FAQ – Your website is bound to provoke questions so always aim to have a frequently asked questions page where you can highlight other areas of your website as well as respond to natural questions that customers will want answered before they contact you.
As a representation of you and your brand, your website is important and has to give the right impression. You will also need to bear in mind that those who are looking to pay premium prices will gravitate towards a professional, clean website that makes it seem worth it, particularly when no tangible products are available as they are buying your service and your website reflects the service that they are purchasing. Remember to make your website easy to use, presentable and on message so that you can effectively reach your demographic and rank higher in search results which also gives a better impression to users who are looking for you.