As an integrator, marketing to the right homeowners is a constantly changing game. Sifting through the mass of information on how best to spend your marketing dollars is no easy task.
The mix of good and bad information creates confusion, and in my work with integrators I’ve heard a handful of common myths over and over. At Wheelhouse Digital, we’ve worked with dozens of integrators on their websites and seen what works and what doesn’t. In this article, I’ll dispel and elaborate on a few of these myths.
Myth #1: Traffic is the Most Important Metric to Watch
While it is true that you want to drive plenty of traffic to your site, in practice it’s a little more nuanced: you want to drive as much of the right kind of traffic to your site.
There’s a common misconception among custom integrators I’ve worked with that overall page traffic is the most important metric they should be tracking. In reality, the number of pageviews you get has little bearing on the number of dollars in the bank.
Lots of people land on websites by accident, or find it’s not what they were looking for, and hit the back button.
Another segment of people are your target client, but your site doesn’t speak to their needs clearly enough or doesn’t meet their expectations, so they exit out.
A final segment of people are your target client, and are engaged enough by your messaging that they take some kind of a next step.
This is called a “conversion”, and it’s what really counts, in terms of business generated.
Conversions describe what happens when a person on your site takes an action you want. As service providers rather than e-commerce stores, integrators may consider a conversion to be when a user submits a contact form, clicks the phone number to call, or downloads your email opt-in.
Metrics like these impact your bottom line much more directly than top-of-the-funnel website traffic, and thus should be one of the first numbers you’re looking at every month, week or even every day.
By tracking this over time, you can see trends and possible areas for improvement. That way, you can begin to tailor your site’s messaging and experience such that they resonate better with your ideal client and bring in more conversions.
Myth #2: I Need to be Writing Weekly Blog Posts and Updates
Many integrators have been told that frequent blogging and articles bring in readers and traffic, which brings in more business.
And there is some truth to this: an updated, in-use website is better than a static one. But it glosses over an important point: not all website content is created equal.
When you post short, generic articles about company updates or new lighting control offerings, you’re not reaching any new customers via search. Most people searching for your services aren’t going to find these articles at all.
So what’s the answer?
In 2019, the key is to write content that answers your target customers’ questions in an in-depth, high-quality way.
This is because Google has gotten better at recognizing quality by looking at things like how long people stay on your page and how quickly they hit the back button to determine if your article answers the person’s search query. Over time, quality beats quantity of posts.
When writing your next post, make sure you understand your clients’ pain points and questions, and use this post to answer one specific point or problem. Invest the time and effort to make it high-quality and helpful. And since it’s the Internet, make it easy to read: simple words, short sentences, scannable.
Over time, publishing less frequent but authoritative, quality articles will have a measurable impact on the quality (and possibly, quantity) of traffic you get.
Myth #3: A Unique Design is the Key to Differentiation Online
It’s true that the design may be the first thing a user notices, and a really poor, unusable design will hurt your sales. But it’s best to think of beautiful design as the bow on top of the box. If the box is empty or full of fluff, people won’t stick around.
Good design ties together a holistic marketing strategy.
A mentor of mine once said having a great design with no strategy behind it is like building a beautiful store in the desert, with no road, no signs, no windows, no doors and no salespeople.
Start the process of editing or redesigning your website with a roadmap based around business goals. Then, you can work backwards from there and make an attractive design that works with and supports your goals.
In fact, the best designs are not static at all. High-performing companies are constantly collecting data and testing to optimize the user experience, increase quality traffic and improve lead generation (see: conversions mentioned in #1).
Based on how people are behaving on your site, you can make tweaks to dramatically boost conversions. Ongoing monitoring and adapting to what’s needed is a critical piece of your site’s design.
Myth #4: The Homepage is Where People Can Learn About Us
Business across all industries — not just integrators — make the mistake of wasting precious seconds of an online first impression by filling the top of their homepage with logistical information about who they are and when they were established.
People on your website should know what you do, who it’s for, and why they should stick around within about 2 seconds of landing on the page. If you do this right, you will be filtering out some users who may have scrolled to the bottom before realizing you’re not for them. But you’ll also immediately grab the attention of your ideal clients (who your homepage is focused on).
If your goal is to connect with more of your ideal client and fewer non-ideal clients, try these steps to focus your homepage around your target customer:
- Write directly to your ideal clients and no one else (think: if you could clone any one of your clients, who would it be? Write to them).
- Think through your ideal clients’ problems and pain points (or better yet, ask them).
- Identify the top three of those problems, and your solutions to those problems.
Now, take this info and begin writing your homepage.
A few tips:
- Write simply. Tell your users what they need to know, and tell them what to do next
- Write from their perspective. People are on your site to learn how your services benefit them. So make it easy for them to imagine themselves as someone who’s just benefited from what you do.
- Base your messaging around your clients’ problems and the solutions you offer. Writing things like “Chicago Integrator with 30 years experience” doesn’t do much to differentiate you from the companies with 10, 45 and 20 years experience. Instead, craft truly strong messaging by focusing on the pain points that you expertly solve.
Myth #5: If People Like What They See, They’ll Come Back
Imagine your ideal customer, sitting on their couch after dinner and beginning to research local installers.
If they’re like how most people buy these days, they’ll search for something non-jargony like “home theater Dallas.” They’ll then open up all the links on the first page, quickly exiting the ones they don’t like/trust/understand within the first 2-5 seconds.
If they find your site via a referral, you may get some leeway, but today’s higher standards online mean they’re still looking for a reason to cross you off the list.
Regardless of how they land on your website, if you don’t capture their contact info in the early research stage, they’re unlikely to come back when it’s time to buy.
To stay in front of your potential client from their initial research phase until they’re ready to call around for quotes, you want to stay in front of them via email. This does two things: (1) it differentiates you as an authority (not a commodity), and (2) keeps you top of mind.
These days, most people will only give away their email for something genuinely valuable. Create something of value and offer it in exchange.
Some examples might include:
- Automatic quote generator
- A downloadable PDF, e.g., “Grab our FREE Guide to Designing the Most Immersive Home Theater for Your Budget”.
Give readers something tangible and specific that uses your experience to help them in the early stages of the buying process.
Once you have their email, you can stay top of mind and nurture them along the buying process with automated emails, and even have your salespeople follow up with them and offer help.
By understanding these myths and taking action (start small!), you’ll begin to turn your website from a static brochure into a highly targeted, efficient, client-generating machine.
At Wheelhouse Digital, I help integrators save time, grow revenue and get the clients they want through strategic digital marketing. Want to talk to an expert about your website and marketing strategy? Head over to Wheelhouse Digital to schedule a complimentary one-on-one web strategy call.