The way prospective customers connect with a construction company has been inexorably moving away from the hidebound tradition of personal connections and the “old boy network.” Control of who gets invited to bid on projects is shifting into younger hands, which are much more likely to research their options online.
For this reason, a company’s website needs to be as competitive as possible. A website that is informative, easy to navigate, easy to find and able to demonstrate a company’s capabilities is the core of a marketing program that will put companies in a better position to gain additional opportunities for new projects.
Here are six key points for creating a website that will work.
This is not how quickly a company answer emails, but rather a technical function of the website itself. A “responsive” website is one that is mobile-device friendly, automatically adapting itself to multiple screen sizes. Google—by far the most important search engine on the internet—completely ignores websites that are not responsive. Being invisible to Google is like dropping off the face of the worldwide web.
More people are accessing the Internet via smart phones or tablets, so it is essential to provide a website that is easily viewed and navigated on a smaller screen. Test the current website by looking at it on a smart phone. Does it appear as just a miniature version of the full website? Is it difficult to read without zooming in with a “pinched fingers” technique? Then it is not mobile-friendly and in danger of plunging to the bottom of search results.
Words matter. What is said on a website—how the company is described, how its capabilities are explained and how it promotes its employees—must tell a compelling story that captures the interest of the visitor. That means a company must craft the narrative from its point of view. What is it that a customer looks for when seeking a construction company? What is important to them? Writing to make a connection with the customer is more effective than boasting about the company.
For example, most companies might think that “great customer service” sets them apart. Great customer service is expected by the customer. It’s important to find a way to demonstrate ways the company goes above and beyond to get things done on every project.
The latest buzzword is “optics.” But it still means the same thing—a website should look good. People love to look at big, sharp photos of buildings. But they also want to see the details that have been added to make a structure special. It may take investing in a good architectural photographer, but capturing quality images of the work is more important than ever. In addition, the site structure itself should be pleasing, well balanced and not crowded.
It is especially important to have the website designed with a small screen in mind so that it looks as good on a smart phone as it does on a desktop computer monitor.
Visitors expect a website to load quickly, and they should be able to navigate from page to page effortlessly. There is an art to designing website structure so that different sections are logically linked with intuitive navigation. A slow-loading, confusing website will result in a high “bounce” rate, which means visitors will leave before they have even had a chance to look around.
Do not think that creating a website is the end of the work. People—and Google—want to see fresh content and regular updates. Develop a schedule of new project descriptions, new services, new personnel, customer interviews and helpful blogs—and budget accordingly.
Google and customers also like to read what other people have to say about their experience with a construction company. Seek out testimonials and reviews and make sure they are correctly formatted and prominently displayed on the website. Potential customers consider the opinions of strangers to be “social proof,” leading them to believe that this is the kind of company with whom they would like to do business.
With a fast, functional and well-designed website at its core, a company can then build out the rest of its marketing program. Social media platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram), pay-per-click advertising, traditional trade advertising and publicity should be tasked with driving visitors to the company’s website where they can take a full measure of the company’s abilities, experience and value.