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Doing Business On The Web Part Three

HVACR contractors understand that their customers depend on them to make the complex simple, and a reputable contractor can do that. To the average consumer, their air-conditioning equipment is a mystery even if they have some fundamental understanding that it has an electrical system, blows air around and through their home or business, and somehow employs that “Freon” stuff in order to keep them comfortable, or uses some type of fossil fuel in the winter to keep them warm.

Yup, contractors who have taken the time to make sure a customer’s questions are answered as completely as possible when they call to request service, and that the technician who responds not only knows what to do technical-wise, but also possesses the soft skills necessary to put the customer at ease and explain what will be and has been done, understand that they need to make it as simple and easy as possible for the customer.

And, yet, when it comes to their web site, some contractors fall short of accomplishing this fundamental mission.

The factor that I see most often that supports my theory on this subject is contact information…..and I don’t mean just a phone number and an email link. Certainly, that information has to be prominently displayed, but if you have a store-front operation or a building (even if it is in an industrial area that your customer would likely never visit), there’s a simple format that gives visitors a feeling that they can trust you when your home page, or any page on your site, shows up on their screen. And accomplishing it in WordPress is a simple task.

When your web developer/designer sets up your site, the page will be set in what is known as a Theme, with a banner across the top that shows your company name and logo (yes, you need a logo) along with drop-down menu buttons shown across the bottom of the banner. Directly below the banner there will be a larger area in the left and center of the page where you can place text and photos, and also a smaller area to the right known as a sidebar. The sidebar never changes no matter what page your visitor navigates to via the drop-down menu buttons, and the information that will always be front-and-center, right at the top of that sidebar will be:

1. Your company name.

2. Your street address. (If you use a PO Box for mail, list that too.)

3. Your phone number.

4. Your fax number. (Yes, believe it or not, some people still communicate via fax, so have one set up for them.)

5. The email address that a customer can reach you via a simple click that brings up a contact form.

The point of this simple format is to give the customer the opportunity to be familiar with your company as quickly as possible, and not have to search for your contact information or where you are located by scrolling down or searching around. I recommend this not just because of the familiarity issue, but also from an SEO standpoint.

What’s SEO? It’s Search Engine Optimization, which is a system that ranks your site according to its visibility on search engines, and if a visitor has to search tediously for some basic information, the fact that they are clicking around, back and forth, lowers your ranking. So make it easy for them to find out where you are and how they can get in touch with you.

Other things you can place on your sidebar are helpful links to other information resources for your customer, and a link to your blog, which is another must-have on your site. And, when you create a blog, make sure that’s all it is is a blog. Too often, a contractor takes the time to set up a blog on which they can discuss something related to HVACR, such as new developments in the industry that have resulted in higher efficiency operation of equipment, and then they include something along the line of “Click Here For More Information” which is a link that leads to a contact form or some other method of obtaining information or a sales lead.

Ummmm. no, that’s not a blog anymore. That’s a sales page. And, obviously, while you’re going to have sales pages on your site, a blog provides information, period. Free information. Information that your potential customer can use, learn from, gain a better understanding of things, etc….it’s not a page for direct selling.

When your web site is designed properly, there are pages that give you an opportunity to sell, and there are pages that are for providing help and information to your visitors. Let them pick the pages they want to buy from.

Learn from yesterday….Live for today….Look forward to tomorrow