Welcome to chapter 3 of the RPS Software guide to profitable conservatory marketing.
In this, the third chapter we concentrate on a key part of the marketing process – Your Website.
Even if you don’t have a website, I recommend you read this carefully. If you do, this could lead to significantly increased profits!
What Is Your Website For?
This might sound like an obvious question, but it’s an important one. Many businesses treat a website as an online version of their brochure. Whilst this isn’t necessarily wrong, it’s unlikely to be the best approach. A better alternative may be to treat your website as a lead generation site. The idea is that you use the website to capture the details of your prospect for later follow up by e-mail, phone, personal visit etc.
First – Do The Obvious…
One of the simplest things you can do on your website is display your phone number and e-mail address on every page. It never ceases to amaze me how many businesses (including ours at one point!) don’t do this.
The best website in the world is useless if no-one can find it. There are lots of ways of getting found, but it’s important that your website contains useful information relevant to customers, and assuming you operate within a certain area, make sure that you reference your local towns and offices in many places. This way, people searching for “Windows in Walford” will see you, ideally on the first page of the search results.
Google and others still consider domain names important, so www.WalfordWindows.com would probably stand a good chance of appearing for free on Google if a customer searched for “Windows in Walford”. If you don’t have a domain name it’s worth getting one (typically it costs about £10/year, and your web designer should be able to help). A good domain name and website is considered a valuable asset if you decide to sell your business in the future.
A web server is simply the place where your website is stored. It is connected to your domain name, so when someone types in www.WalfordWindows.com, they see your pages. Web server space can be rented from £10 a month upwards, depending on the size of the website and number of visitors you need to accommodate.
Content is the stuff that sits inside a web page. It includes text, pictures, video, blogs and all sorts of other items. Generally, the more useful content your website contains, the better it will appear to your customers, and the better “ranking” it will get from the search engines. There are lots of companies out there offering “Search Engine Optimisation”, but, as always with this kind of technology, beware, as some of them will claim the impossible and it may cost you a lot to find out!
Once upon a time it was possible to build a website with nothing more than a simple text editor, but nowadays there is an easier way – content management systems.
Content Management Systems
A content management system does exactly what it says. It allows you, or your web designer, to design a container for all of your web pages, within which your content is displayed. The great thing about this is that a simple change of colour scheme can be done in moments. These systems are also easy to use, so if you need to change or add any content, you can do it yourself without having to pay someone else.
One of many good and easy to use systems is WordPress, though there are plenty to choose from in this ever growing market, just think about how many you see advertised on TV for example!
It’s worth asking your web designer about this – all professional web designers should know and understand content management systems these days.
A Word About Your Website Designer…
With a small number of honourable exceptions, most website designers are graphic designers working in the online world. Graphic designers know how to make things look nice, not how to sell or market. It’s up to you to tell them what you want – take their advice by all means, but don’t be afraid to challenge it!
Although your website designer may not know how to sell, this need not be an issue as long as they will do what you ask them to (more of this below). If they tell you that you’re wrong, ask them to give you an example where doing what they suggest has generated extra income for their customers. I suspect that you’ll get a vague answer, in which case you might want to change designers!
How to Deal With Your Web Designer
Firstly, make clear to them your aims. Is it lead generation, an online brochure (don’t expect any business from this though), or some other purpose? Unless you’re experienced, don’t try and achieve two different purposes within one website – each will dilute the other.
Every time a decision needs to be made, simply ask yourself: “Does this help me achieve my core purpose?”
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