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Optimizing Your Website for Success
When it comes to implementing a digital marketing strategy, there’s a key piece that ties all the other parts together. Without it, your marketing efforts will be less successful than you’d like, and you’ll have poured time and energy into a broken system. This crucial part of the puzzle is having an optimized website.
Every online marketing strategy needs to include a well-designed, conversion-optimized website.
Website building is a complex and stressful subject for business owners everywhere. The good news is that this guide is not going to cover the technical details of how to build a high-performing website. Rather, we’ll be focusing on ensuring your website is structured and optimized for conversions. Your website’s #1 priority should be to capture and save the information of interested visitors.
To begin, let’s look at your website from the perspective of how it is organized.
Each Page Should Have a Single, Clear Purpose
We’ve all been to those confusing websites that leave you scratching your head, wondering what on earth it is that the page is trying to get you to do.
Here’s the problem with these types of pages: the designers built them with more than one purpose in mind.
To keep your visitors — and future delighted customers — from the same confusion, you’ll want to make sure each page of your site has a single, clear purpose.
Here are some examples:
- Home page: Your website’s home page should give a general overview of the most important parts of your site and include links to each of them.
- Services summary page: This page should be a collection of all your services where people can click to the individual services page that they’re interested in.
- Individual service page: Each individual service page should only contain information about that specific service.
- Contact us: This page should include all public contact information as well as a “general inquiries” form.
The more streamlined and clear each page is, the better the experience will be for everyone who views it.
Your Website’s Voice Should Be Consistent Across All Pages and Related Social Platforms
You may not know this, but your website has a voice! In fact, every website has at least one voice. But the best websites have one voice that stays consistent across every page.
Voice is the tone, words, and mannerisms that your copy, or text, uses to convey a message.
Even this blog post has a voice — I’m trying to write conversationally, in the same way that I talk. Other blog writers may use a different voice in their writing, and you’d be able to tell the difference right away.
When it comes to your website, it is critical that your voice matches what you use on your Facebook page, Instagram account, in your Facebook ads, and your email marketing. Often, your website will not be the first place someone comes in contact with your brand. Usually, it’s through social media or by reading an email from you.
Imagine what would happen if your social media voice was relaxed and conversational, but your website’s voice was more like a lawyer in a courtroom. People would feel a disconnect and become confused as to who you are as a brand.
Many people are unable to put this feeling into words, but it boils down to a sense of distrust — and any amount of distrust is worth avoiding.
Best practice is to make sure you’re writing in the same voice across all your sites, social media platforms, and marketing/advertising channels. By doing this, no matter where someone first touches your brand, they’ll have a consistent experience interacting with you going forward.
Your Website’s Positioning Should Be Clear
Your website will be the most helpful for people when it clearly positions who you are and what you do.
For instance, let’s say you specialize in custom-built homes. Your website should position you as a leader on custom-built homes and provide evidence that you are who you claim to be. It should not position you as a “one call does it all” handyman, or a company whose bread and butter is modular construction.
It will often be the first sales encounter that a lot of your future customers have. By positioning yourself correctly, it will act as a filter on your leads.
Filtering your leads may seem like the opposite of what you want. After all, you want more leads, right? The truth is that you should be seeking better quality leads, not more leads. A well-positioned website seeks to put quality over quantity when it comes to leads.
There are two main areas to consider to properly position yourself:
- Page copy: The words you use to describe yourself and what you do matter.
Make sure that your copy provides information that aligns with what you do. A good example would be something like, “Building custom timber frames and modular homes for over 30 years.” Here’s a bad example — “We’ve built custom homes, modulars, installed sump pumps, and even towed some vehicles in our time!”
- Images and videos: The visual content you use to position yourself matters as well. Use photos and videos that are professional and on-topic with what you do.
The strategy above is great if the vast majority of your business comes from doing only one thing. But, what if your business has many facets, each of which need independent positioning?
As we all know, business and life never fits nicely into the little mental boxes we create for it. If your business is complex and you perform a variety of different services, then you still need to be clear about your positioning.
The best practice for this actually goes back to something we already talked about — making sure each page has a single purpose.
When each page is about only one thing, it becomes easier to position yourself as the best solution to that problem. If you have multiple services or products, the best thing you can do is give each its own page and do your positioning there.
On each page, follow the two steps above to ensure your content and copy are positioning you as the best solution for that service or product.
Your Website Should Help People “Know, Like, and Trust” You
In the Empire Podcast, Bedros Keuilian often says that people “buy from people they know, like, and trust.” We’ve seen this statement proven true time after time.
If people buy from people they know, like, and trust, then one of the most important things your website can do is to help people know, like, and trust your business.
In the world of digital connections, people are craving something more than a connection between two screens. When considering a builder, contractor, or other service provider, potential customers want to know who is behind the curtain. They want to get to know you!
Here’s how our website positions our team:
Your website can be a powerful tool for helping visitors get to know you. By peeling back the veil, your site will show your future customers the key players on your team, tell something of your background, and even make it clear that you enjoy what you do.
As important as it is for your future customers to know you, it’s also important for them to like you.
When it comes to spending thousands of dollars on home renovations, new builds, or other projects, people tend to be picky about who they hire. One of the best ways that you can position yourself is to be likeable. This goes beyond peeling back the curtain and extends into the area of being empathetic and reasonable.
Consider how your tone, grammar, and positioning can come across to readers. Try to write in a manner that your ideal customer persona would connect with. You’re trying to solve the problems of people who possess your ideal persona, so make sure they like you, even before they meet you.
Trust is the number one key to selling, and it’s possible for your website to start building it long before your future customers meet you.
Building trust on your website aligns with building authority. The copy you write and content you choose need to position you as an expert in your field. People trust experts. They also trust guarantees and testimonials that validate your expertise.
A website that builds trust will incorporate authority-building components, a strong guarantee, and relatable, current testimonials.
Your Website Should Be Optimized for Mobile Devices
In today’s society, more than 80% of your site visitors will use their smartphones to access your site. If four out of five people never view your website on a computer, what does that mean for your business?
It means that a website which is not mobile optimized is creating a frustrating experience for your visitors.
We’ve all been there, trying to use a website which clearly is not meant to be viewed on a smartphone. The aggravation caused by this can even lead people to grow mad at the company itself for not caring about their browsing experience.
There’s also a second benefit of optimizing your site for mobile views — Google requires it. A site that is not mobile optimized will rank lower than the same site with mobile optimization.
The logic behind this is actually very simple. Google knows that their users won’t have a good experience on un-optimized sites, so they heavily penalize those sites in ranking.
It all boils down to a good user experience.
We design every site we build for both mobile and desktop viewing. Even though we build them on a desktop, we make sure the mobile details are right because we know that’s where it matters most.
If your website isn’t mobile friendly, it’s time to make the necessary changes to optimize it for mobile use. This will help you rank higher on Google’s search engine results pages and give your viewers a much better experience.
See How My Agency Can Bring You Better Quality Leads
Organic Social – use real conversations to attract your ideal client.
Website Optimization – ensure your website attracts and converts your ideal customer.
Email Marketing – keep in front of your future customers with value-filled emails.
Paid Social – supercharge your growth with targeted paid strategies
Your Website Should Include Keywords Optimized for the Solutions You Provide
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a vast world that many people devote their entire careers to mastering. But you have a business to run, so we’re going to make things easier for you by explaining the basics to help make your website the best it can be.
If you’re unfamiliar with SEO, a simple way to describe it is optimizing your website to be most-likely to appear near the top of a search for a specific query. In other words, SEO is how people who are searching online for the solution you provide can find you.
Besides being complex to understand and master, SEO is also competitive which means that you need to optimize often. If this is starting to overwhelm you, take heart — we have some good news! If you’re a small business servicing a dedicated area, you should have a much easier time optimizing your website for SEO.
The searches that will bring you the most results are going to be targeted to both your service and your location.
For example, let’s say you’re a custom home builder in Paupack, Pennsylvania. Let’s also assume that your primary service area is within 25 miles of Paupack, the area commonly known as “Northeastern Pennsylvania.” In this case, your home page optimization would look something like this: Premier custom home builder serving Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Let’s continue this hypothetical scenario by assuming one of your specialties is log home building. Your log home construction page could be optimized as: Premier log home builder in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Ideally, these optimizations would skyrocket you to the top of the search engine results pages for these specific phrases.
Here are three ways you can better understand and have success with SEO:
- Don’t assume, do research: Performing keyword research is one of the best ways to ensure that you’re optimizing your website successfully. Use software such as Long Tail Pro, which will help you identify keywords and learn how easy it should be to rank for them.
- Use an app or plugin to help you optimize: Optimizing involves many variables, so it’s best to utilize an app or plugin. Depending on what your website is built on, there will be a few different options for this. Most platforms will have options from both Yoast and RankMath.
- Take the time to learn first: If you’re going to try optimizing, it’s best to look into the resources provided by the plugins or apps that you’re using. Any good software will come with user guides, best practices, and tips. SEO can be daunting, but these companies are here to help you.
It’s Score Time!
Remember pop quizzes from school? Well, it’s time for a little pop quiz of our own!
Our friends at HubSpot have this fantastic Website Grader which is useful for showing the technical strength of your website. After all the work you’ve put into your website’s structure, you certainly don’t want that work to return poor results due to technical deficiencies.
The Website Grader will score the key technical areas that create the foundation for a strong website.
Now, it’s time to get your score. Simply answer two questions on the HubSpot Website Grader to see how good of a website you’ve built.
If you scored well, then congratulations!
If there’s work to be done, then you’ve got a few choices:
- The Website Grader includes free courses related to the areas that were scored. Check them out and see if the solutions are within your scope of abilities.
- If your grade shows that you need some serious technical work, then it’s time to call in the professionals. Click the banner below, and we’ll gladly audit your grade and propose solutions to bring it up so you’re ready for the next pop quiz!
You’ve made your way through the best-practices of setting up your website structure for marketing success. We truly hope that you’ve taken the time to implement these ideas as you went along.
If you have further questions, simply reach out. We’ll be happy to take a look at your website!
Now that your website is structurally sound, it’s time to focus on where the real magic happens — conversion optimization!
Your website should do more than just tell people about you, your business, and your products or services. It should also collect information about your visitors!
In the simplest form, a phone number at the top of your site does this for you. People see the number, call you, and you collect information from them. However, most website visitors are not ready to call the first time they land on your website.
Conversion optimization is the art of offering informational incentives to the reader in exchange for their contact information.
By the time you’re done reading this article, you’ll have seen a few of our incentives. One will be to download the entire marketing guide for builders in exchange for some information about you. Another incentive you’ll see is our newsletter pop-up which will ask for less information from you but provide less of a benefit in return.
The last one you’re likely to see will be a direct call to action where we position ourselves as the solution to the problem that brought you here in the first place — the need for website optimization and a stronger marketing campaign!
We’re sharing this for two reasons:
- Because it’s obvious what we’re up to — we want you to have the information and tools you need to successfully grow your business.
- We want to prove that you’re surrounded by these types of incentives all the time as you browse and do research on the internet.
If you were on the internet in the early 2000s, you’ll remember the poor reputation that pop-ups developed. Overzealous marketers put them everywhere, and they made viewing the actual website nearly impossible.
Pop-ups have come a long way since then. Today, pop-up and slider forms are a couple of the tactical tools you can use to generate more leads and ultimately increase your bottom line.
So now you know that conversion optimization is the art of offering informational incentives in exchange for contact information. The next step is learning what it looks like on a real website and how it works. This article will unpack all of that, but first we need to understand the bigger picture.
You may have guessed it by the word optimization, but this process is different from something you can set and forget. Ideally, you set goals that you test and adapt over time in order to produce the results you need to grow your business.
Each of the following sections will help you have a better understanding of how this works. Then, we’ll move on to the tactical, how-to-do-it section that breaks down the how and why of each form type.
All of this is going to build pretty heavily on the HubSpot Tools described in our Guide to the Best CRM for the Building Industry. If you haven’t already, you should read that before continuing in this guide.
The HubSpot Plugin for WordPress
Lead conversion starts with a software to power your forms, call-to-actions, and email marketing to provide you with reports about what is or is not working well. While it’s not the only option available for capturing and optimizing conversions, HubSpot’s Plugin for WordPress is our favorite.
Simply put, HubSpot excels at everything they do. By using their plugin, you’ll find seamless integration between your website conversion points and the database within the HubSpot CRM. It will also allow you to manage all your marketing and conversion points from within one system, as opposed to using three or four different plugins to accomplish the same output.
The only caveat is that your website has to be built on the WordPress platform. If it is not, then this won’t be an option.
If you’re running a site that’s not on WordPress, schedule a consultation with us to discuss how that’s detrimental to your business. Your non-Wordpress site could be holding you back, and we’d love to rectify that for you.
While the HubSpot plugin is free and much of HubSpot’s functionality is, too, you may want to consider some of their paid options to maximize your effectiveness. If you’re considering contracting our services, please reach out to us before signing up for HubSpot. As providers, we’ll help you determine what packages are best for your needs, streamline onboarding (saving you thousands in fees), and take a lot of the heat off your back from HubSpot’s amazing sales team.
Targeting Based on Lifecycle Stage
While it would be great if every visitor who came to your site was ready to buy, the data proves that the opposite is true. As many as 80% of the people who visit your website will never even come back, let alone buy your product or service.
With that in mind, you want to do everything you can to reduce that percentage and keep people coming back for more.
The key to achieving a higher sales rate is to target visitors based on their lifecycle stage. Every visitor who comes to your website will be at a different stage on their buyer’s journey.
People at different customer lifecycle stages are going to be willing to share different pieces of information about themselves. They’re also going to be most pleased when they see new information as they move through their journey. You can accomplish this by targeting different types of forms and freebies at different stages.
Before we go any further, let’s define what these stages usually are:
- Unknown contact: A visitor who is not yet in your database.
- Marketing-qualified lead (MQL): A contact who has agreed to receive your marketing.
- Sales-qualified lead (SQL): A contact who has shown explicit interest in your product or service. Often, the switch from MQL to SQL will be determined manually by a salesperson. However, you also could have certain landing pages or forms which you know only people with high sales intent will fill out, which we’ll detail shortly. In these forms, you can use HubSpot to automatically update the lifecycle stage to SQL.
- Opportunity: A contact who has given intent to purchase, generally in the form of a deposit. If you’re using a Deals Pipeline in HubSpot, their software will automatically update the lifecycle stage to Opportunity when you create a new deal.
- Customer: A contact who has completely finished their purchasing process.
Now that you have an understanding of lifecycle stages, here’s how you can target people at each step of their journey:
- Unknown contact: Often, a newsletter sign up form will be all that you need to collect a first name and email address.
- Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL): Once someone’s in your database, they should see a different form the next time they visit your website. For example, you could now show them a pop-up offering a downloadable PDF in exchange for more information, such as their last name and phone number.
- Sales Qualified Lead (SQL): When a contact is sales-qualified, you’ll want to provide them with information that will help them become an opportunity. One of the best freebies here can be a form offering a free consultation with a sales person. In exchange, you can ask for information about their project in the form to help prepare for the meeting.
- Opportunity: At this lifecycle stage, your contacts have likely given you money and committed to purchasing. When they visit, they’re most likely looking for something specific. Instead of bombarding them with forms, one of the best things you can do is simply make it really easy to connect with their sales representative. Make that happen with a Chat (a HubSpot Feature), or a simple pop-up asking if they need help once they’ve browsed for a few moments.
- Customer: Targeting people in the customer stage depends on what your product or service is. If you only sell one large item, like a house, then you won’t need to specifically target existing customers who return to your website. If your contacts can buy from you repeatedly, then you can treat returning customers as opportunities. Contacts in both stages are already in your database and are familiar with you. Making it easy for them to connect with their sales representative is a great way to facilitate the next conversation.
Now that you have an understanding of how to target each lifecycle stage, let’s discuss how to do it in real life.
Each form you create in HubSpot will have targeting options. While there will be many options to choose from, forms targeting specific lifecycle stages should be targeted to only that stage.
That type of targeting would look like this:
- Include: All contacts in Marketing Qualified Lead lifecycle stage
- Exclude: All contacts not in Marketing Qualified Lead lifecycle stage
By targeting to both include and exclude, you’ll ensure that you only target contacts in that exact stage.
Pulling this all together, you’ll need to create forms with content and targeting for each lifecycle stage. It may sound daunting, but the results will be worth it.
In addition to targeting, there are almost limitless other ways that you can segment your contact records.
If you’re unfamiliar with segmentation, it can be described as building lists of contacts that share similar interests or characteristics. Segmentation is a rabbit trail that can lead all the way to Wonderland, but for our purposes we’ll keep things simple and direct.
In the building/contracting industry, there are many points of data you may want to segment with. For example, if your local area has several communities or homeowner’s associations, that’s information worth knowing for each contact in your HubSpot database.
This is super helpful, as each of those communities has a specific demographic who usually buys or rents there. If you know that your services are best suited for higher income homeowners, then you will also know which communities are not worth your time to visit for estimates.
Plus, if you want to do more business in a specific community, and you have previously been collecting this piece of data, you can send marketing emails to contacts who are only in that community.
Tactics like this can be great for scheduling multiple jobs in the same vicinity so your crews can operate more efficiently.
Once you’ve identified some data points you need for segmentation, there are two ways to collect this data:
- Manually, via an email or phone call.
- Automatically, via a form that requires this data for submission.
Using HubSpot forms to automatically collect these data points will be easier, but sometimes the data will come out in a phone call or in an email. Whenever or however you receive new or updated information, make sure you’re updating the contact record within HubSpot. Keeping the contact records up to date will help you properly segment and market to those segments.
Types of Forms
Now that you’re well-acquainted with both lifecycle stages and segmentation, it’s time to get tactical!
There are some powerful forms at your disposal, each of which has unique advantages to retrieve the information you need.
Unlike the pop-ups of the early 2000s that used flashy colors and deceitful wording, today’s pop-ups are much more streamlined and user-friendly. Some of the best companies today are strategically using pop-ups as a way to target specific visitors and provide helpful information to them.
A single pop-up, timed properly and with the right message, can help solve a visitor’s problem or provide a way for them to learn more.
For example, imagine someone’s been hanging out on your pricing page for more than 30 seconds. It would be safe to assume that they’re looking long and hard at your costs. Perhaps they need the help of a salesperson.
Up pops a little box, featuring a smiling face and the words, “Need help?”
The visitor fills out the form, and you now have a lead — likely a good one, if they’re asking for help on a pricing page — and the opportunity to help solve that visitor’s problem.
Another best practice for pop-ups is to use them for newsletter opt-ins. Wait to show the form until a visitor has been on a page more than seven seconds or has scrolled more than 50% of the page. Then, a low friction pop-up will enable them to easily sign up for future updates.
Remember to target any of your pop-up forms to different lifecycle stages, too. You’ll likely want to show different opportunities to different stages of people’s journeys. Feel free to review the previous section on targeting based on lifecycle stage for more details.
Unlike pop-up forms, embedded forms don’t come and go. They stay put on the page where you place them.
You’ll often see them on pages where visitors are very likely to ask questions. This provides a very low-friction way to help them get the answers they need.
Landing page is just a fancy term for a dedicated web page that only has a single conversion goal. They’ll usually have a few defining features:
- No main menu or social media links: The goal of a landing page is focused on driving conversions, so best practice is to not have anything else on the page besides the copy and form.
- Compelling copy: No one would fill a form out without knowing what and why it’s there. Good landing pages will have copy that compels the right people to take the specific action of filling out the form and sets expectations about what happens when they do so.
- Embedded form: No landing page would be complete without a way to get information from its visitors! Best practice here is to ask for as much information as you need, but not so much that it discourages people who would otherwise happily fill it out.
Now that you know the characteristics of a landing page, you need to understand how visitors find them in the first place. They do this by clicking a link that takes them directly there.
Here are a few places we love to put links to landing pages:
- In paid advertising: When done well, an ad will create interest about a product or service which the landing page further educates and entices the reader about. The leads with highest interest will gladly fill out the form and become future raving fans.
- In social media posts: We use landing page links all the time to encourage social media viewers to sign up for a newsletter or consultation.
- In pop-up forms: Targeting website visitors with a pop-up and then sending them to a landing page can be a great way to get the information of your best visitors. This works great for things like scheduling a consultation.
Using landing pages is a great strategy for finding highly qualified leads. If you’re using them and not seeing the results you need, reach out to us and we’ll review your entire strategy to find the bottleneck!
Setting Targets and Measuring Results
If you’ve followed this strategy so far, then you’re setting yourself up for success!
However, there’s still more work to do. No matter how well you do with conversion optimization, you’re going to have to adapt and tweak your strategy as time goes on. If you’ve signed up for HubSpot, then you now have powerful analytics tools at your disposal.
At least once a month, you should visit your Forms Analytics page to see how your forms are performing. There’s no hard-and-fast rule for how they should be doing, but you can work backwards from your own goals to give yourself a conversion target.
Let’s say you know you want to build 25 new custom homes next year. Say you also know that every 4 conversations leads to a build. And, let’s also say you know that every 5 new leads turns into 1 conversation.
Multiplying 25 x 4 x 5, you learn that you need 500 leads to reach your goal for next year. Not all of your leads won’t come in through website forms, though. You could weight that number by 80% and come up with a total of 400 new leads needed through contact forms.
From there, break it down by 12 to see that you’d need to see a total of 33.3 leads per month. That’s about one per day!
If 400 seemed like a lofty goal, one per day definitely seems more realistic — and you’ve just set an attainable goal for yourself.
It’s important to note two things here:
- Keep track of what you change: A simple Google Doc can help you remember what you changed and how it affected your conversions. The more you change things, the more you’ll lose track of what you’ve tried. Keeping a log will enable you to save time and make informed decisions.
- Not every new lead is worth the same amount: Some leads will start their journey significantly closer to purchasing than others. Some leads will convert to customers at a much higher rate than others will. For example, you could have an immediate “Contact Us Now” form at the top of your home page. That form may not lead to the most conversions, but it may bring you the most ready-to-buy leads. Since it’s positioned at the top, people are only going to fill it out if they come to your website looking to connect with you.
Putting It All Together
You’ve learned what’s needed for a strong website:
- Each page has a single purpose.
- You’re using a consistent voice across platforms.
- Your positioning is clear and appropriate.
- Your visitors have the opportunity to know, like, and trust you.
Plus, you’ve optimized your site for conversions by:
- Installing the HubSpot WordPress plugin.
- Implementing lifecycle stage targeting.
- Segmenting lists.
- Following best practices for forms.
Now your website rocks, and you’re ready to drive people to it!
Who Will This Guide Help?
This Ultimate Guide to Internet Marketing for the Building Industry will help anyone whose business is related to building, repairing, maintaining, or improving homes and properties.
From one-man plumbing companies to multi-million dollar custom home builders, we’ve used this process to attract these companies’ ideal prospects and help them convert to satisfied customers.
By carefully reading and implementing the processes in this guide, you can build a strong internet marketing strategy to help your business achieve long term-growth!
Who Wrote This Guide?
The Coutts Agency is a family owned online marketing agency focused on helping building-industry business owners use the internet to attract and convert their ideal client. Our background in building industry sales and marketing provides us with unique authority on attracting and converting leads through internet marketing.
We’re your Building Industry Marketing Partner!
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