The Web Site as Marketing Tool

When the Web became popular, everyone recognized its marketing potential. It was touted as the great leveling device; small companies could achieve the same exposure as large corporations.

August 01, 2001

When the Web became popular, everyone recognized its marketing potential. It was touted as the great leveling device; small companies could achieve the same exposure as large corporations. It would level the playing field and allow everyone access to the same clients. In some instances this proved true, but in most circumstances the bigger players could spend more money, produce better Web sites and get more clients. They could spend the money on conventional advertising (such as commercials during the Super Bowl) and get more viewers.

Even though big sites require big money, it is still true that the Web can be a great marketing tool even without Super Bowl exposure. The Web is about meeting clients and educating them about your home building company. It’s about building repeat site visitors and client loyalty.

Showcase Your Product

Your Web site is a great place to showcase your product. Your home page should state your company’s mission statement briefly and give a short overview about your product. Remember that it is difficult to read a scrolling page, so keep all text viewable with a minimum of scrolling. If you need to explain something such as an award your company has won, do it through a hyperlink, a link to another place on your site.

Including a place on your site for “Work in Progress” provides viewers with a vivid representation of your product. Updating those photos regularly shows how you build and how efficient you are. Make sure you highlight what you do best — it is what you are selling. Remember that large graphics load slowly and can turn off a viewer. Use a smaller version of the picture, or “thumbnail,” that expands to the bigger version if a viewer clicks it.

The beauty of the Web is the ability to link with other sites. If you consistently use a certain product, try linking to that item on the manufacturer’s site to provide the viewer with further information. One word of caution here: It’s wise to clear all such links with the manufacturer before posting. I cannot imagine why a manufacturer would not welcome viewers, but it should be cleared ahead of time.

The ability to link with suppliers’ sites means a builder could build a “virtual showroom.” I have seen one site with a floor layout that resembled a classic showroom. The viewer could click on the area of interest (for example, kitchen cabinetry) and view the products recommended by the builder.

The Web is a dynamic medium and should be used as such. Keep your content current. Nothing turns off a viewer more quickly than returning to a site and seeing the same information over an extended period. Change your job photos, your highlighted work and how you present your company, but do not change your message. The message should stay consistent; it is how you present yourself and build your brand.

Content Is King — Again

Content plays a large part in getting viewers to return to your community. The phrase “content is king” was popular when the Web started. It lost popularity during the rush to e-commerce in the late ’90s but is regaining value. By providing solid content about your business and the home building process, you can build an identity that sets your business apart from sites that merely advertise themselves.

 

Take Your Clients to Class

By making your site an educational home building tool for the public, you will increase the value of your site. This is also an excellent tool to start to manage your clients’ expectations. You can educate clients as to the best ways to work with a contractor (also read as: how you do business). Information you could include would be:

 

Take Your Clients to Class

By making your site an educational home building tool for the public, you will increase the value of your site. This is also an excellent tool to start to manage your clients’ expectations. You can educate clients as to the best ways to work with a contractor (also read as: how you do business). Information you could include would be:

 

Take Your Clients to Class

By making your site an educational home building tool for the public, you will increase the value of your site. This is also an excellent tool to start to manage your clients’ expectations. You can educate clients as to the best ways to work with a contractor (also read as: how you do business). Information you could include would be:

 

Take Your Clients to Class

By making your site an educational home building tool for the public, you will increase the value of your site. This is also an excellent tool to start to manage your clients’ expectations. You can educate clients as to the best ways to work with a contractor (also read as: how you do business). Information you could include would be:

 

Take Your Clients to Class

By making your site an educational home building tool for the public, you will increase the value of your site. This is also an excellent tool to start to manage your clients’ expectations. You can educate clients as to the best ways to work with a contractor (also read as: how you do business). Information you could include would be:

 

Take Your Clients to Class

By making your site an educational home building tool for the public, you will increase the value of your site. This is also an excellent tool to start to manage your clients’ expectations. You can educate clients as to the best ways to work with a contractor (also read as: how you do business). Information you could include would be:

 

Take Your Clients to Class

By making your site an educational home building tool for the public, you will increase the value of your site. This is also an excellent tool to start to manage your clients’ expectations. You can educate clients as to the best ways to work with a contractor (also read as: how you do business). Information you could include would be:

 

This is especially true in our corner of the home building business, the luxury market. Our market depends on the service we provide; it is what has drawn us to this market and sets us apart from other builders. A successful Web site conveys this to the public.

You can provide links to the services that are part of your network. Again, this makes your site a “portal” for your home building community. Possible links include:

 

 

  • Information on financing a project. This could include a link to mortgage institutions you recommend, current information on mortgage rates and a link to a mortgage calculator.
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  • Links to your Realtor. This would be a reciprocal link so viewers to your Realtor’s site also could find you.
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  • Links to communities where you build.
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  • Links to architects with whom you work.
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  • Links with the local chamber of commerce or business association.
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  • Links with the local home builders association.
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  • Information on local schools.

    Customer Service

    Viewers who keep coming back to your site become loyal customers. Information you provide for no charge encourages repeat visits. I am amazed by the level of customer service provided by Amazon.com and 1-800-Flowers.com. After I order a book or flowers for someone, I receive an e-mail that the order has been received, another one along with the tracking number when it has been shipped and, finally, notification that the shipment has been received.

    A builder can do the same. Always provide a means for contacting you. At a minimum this should be an e-mail address, but also include physical address and phone number. Some people are still more comfortable talking to a warm voice. And by all means, respond promptly. All your efforts will be for naught if potential clients have to wait a week or two for you to get back to them.

    Punch lists and year-end walk-throughs can be handled on your site and via e-mail, too. Bulk mailing of seasonal reminders is a great way to stay in front of past customers and maintain contact with them for future work or recommendations.

    In summary, if you are expending the time and energy to have a great design, ensure a healthy number of hits and make your site useful, make sure your site provides a service to the public. By providing this service, you will build a loyal customer base and have a more educated, less problematic client.

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