Website Design: Getting Back to Basics - IE3: Business Tools for HVAC & Plumbing Contractors  

Website Design: Getting Back to Basics

We spend so much time talking about SEO techniques, banner ads and other retention strategies, Paid Search, and more that we sometimes forget to remind everyone of the most fundamental pieces of Web Marketing campaigns. So in this month’s blog post, we’re getting back to basics. Think of this as Web Marketing 101.

To run a successful business, you have to be good at landing new customers and at generating repeat or referral business from current clients. While word-of-mouth is still a reliable and a proven way to get leads, in today’s competitive climate, it often is not enough. A professional HVAC contractor who has great technical or construction skills but no marketing savvy will lose business over time to one who has both.

At its simplest, marketing means getting your name in front of customers in a way they’ll remember and in a way that reflects well on your business. For years, many HVAC businesses could develop a yellow pages ad and “call it a day” for marketing. While there may still be a place for that yellow pages ad, you’ll find more homeowners, business owners and general contractors than ever before looking up businesses like yours on the Web.

Is your business equipped to succeed in today’s market? Here are the 3 simplest Website guidelines any successful business needs to adhere to:

If we’re talking about the basics, the first requirement is to make sure you have a Website, a registered domain that you own (think short and simple: www.foxhvac.com), and an up-to-date hosting service for your site. If you don’t have a site, if your Web address or hosting contract has lapsed, you make it hard – if not impossible – for customers to find you. Not having a Website puts you at a distinct disadvantage today when you are trying to grow your business.

You have many options for getting a Website. There are freelance Website designers, Website design firms, do-it-yourself software and many vendors – both big national companies who sell general Websites and some smaller firms that may specialize in building sites for your industry. Do your own searches online or ask ACCA for a recommendation.

Different vendors require varying amounts of time and money so look for an option that fits your budget and requires only as much of your time as you can invest. Ask upfront what is included in the price, whether they will do a custom design for your business, who will handle the URL registration and site hosting, and also what content you will need to provide.

Step 1 complete. You have a Website. Now what?

Sites work best when they:

Step 2: Convey information in a clear, easy to read fashion
Customers must be able to quickly get a sense of what your business is all about and how to get in touch with you. Your front page must deliver a message in about 15 seconds – the length of time that most consumers take to decide whether they stay and read more or leave your site. Put the most important information – what you do, your specialty, or why a potential customer should consider you – right up front in an easy to read font style and size. Make sure your page background color and font color don’t conflict. And make sure your contact information is available on every page of your site — especially in the upper right hand corner of your Home Page. ACCA members Air Express and Cool Rite, LLC both do this effectively.

Step 3: Can easily be found
With more consumers than ever using search engines to find local businesses, having your site built so search engines know how to match you to certain keywords is essential. If you build a site yourself, do your research on how to use title and header tags and how to set your site up for the best possible search engine placement. If you use a company or design shop, ask how they optimize your site for searching and how often they update their techniques. Those updates are important as search engines frequently refine or completely change their formulas.

Having a professional website is more important than ever. The number of consumers using the Web to find the right company to service their HVAC units grows every day. Stay competitive and land more business by getting the right site online at the rig

Brian Kraff

Brian Kraff

Brian is a co-founder of Market Hardware. He is a member of the ‘club’ of Internet media executives who are tapped into the daily changes of how the internet affects all small businesses. Brian is a frequent speaker at Industry and Association tradeshow conferences. He was an integral part of the group of marketing experts who pioneered the pay-per-click model in 1996, the pay-per-lead model in 1997, and has been at the forefront of getting customers from the Web ever since. Prior to founding Market Hardware, Brian was the founder and CEO of eStudentLoan, the world's largest comparison marketplace for student loans. His role as a Founder and Chairman of 13 Colonies Software (now part of Interwoven/Autonomy) was a highlight of his experience in the Enterprise Web Content Management space. Brian has a B.A. from Cornell University and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
Brian Kraff
Brian Kraff

Brian Kraff

Brian is a co-founder of Market Hardware. He is a member of the ‘club’ of Internet media executives who are tapped into the daily changes of how the internet affects all small businesses. Brian is a frequent speaker at Industry and Association tradeshow conferences. He was an integral part of the group of marketing experts who pioneered the pay-per-click model in 1996, the pay-per-lead model in 1997, and has been at the forefront of getting customers from the Web ever since. Prior to founding Market Hardware, Brian was the founder and CEO of eStudentLoan, the world's largest comparison marketplace for student loans. His role as a Founder and Chairman of 13 Colonies Software (now part of Interwoven/Autonomy) was a highlight of his experience in the Enterprise Web Content Management space. Brian has a B.A. from Cornell University and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
Brian Kraff

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