By REMODELING Magazine Staff.
Explain the process. Assume prospects know nothing about working with a contractor. They're looking to make an informed decision. Detail how you work. This way, your company is instantly the most qualified and, so far, the easiest to work with.
Put your pitch book online. Don't just post pictures. Tell the story of each job. Mention problems and how they were overcome. Add client comments.
Include prices. We hate "average prices," but that's what prospects want. Give spans, but show the difference between an $8,000 kitchen and an $80,000 one. Show pictures and plans and explain why prices differ.
Supply links. Effectiveness is all about information, so use the strength of existing sites. Include links to suppliers, associations, and banks. Add appliance companies.
Help visitors get to know you personally. Tell them about your work experience. Include a family picture and your affiliations. If you're going to be in their house for two months, they should know you well.
Include contact information. Invite potential clients to call your office. Want to track calls from your Web site? Set up a phone line only promoted on the site. Don't post your e-mail address unless you check it every day and respond in a timely manner.
Promote your site. Put your Web address everywhere you put your company name and phone number.
Soup it up. If you've achieved 1 through 7, consider enhancements. A jobsite webcam is a great idea. Position a camera at a job to automatically update pictures on your Web site. Visitors will return to see progress. It's easy to do and really neat. Another high tech feature is online bidding. Put job specs in a password-protected area. E-mail suppliers with the page address and access codes. Supply a form so they can easily bid. Now your site is streamlining your business.
Source: Mark Bostic and Bin Wilcenski, Web site builders and owners of www.newhomescolumbia.com, of Columbia, S.C.