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Secret #3 of Pool Builder Marketing:

Your Online Image
Is More Important Than You Think.

By Brett Lloyd Abbott, MYM Austin Inc.

In the last 2 weeks, we’ve discussed and acknowledged that Buying a pool is a big deal and Until you demonstrate otherwise, you look like everyone else.” Nice concepts, but not many “actionable items” we can take from that (other than my admonition to “Get rid of your platitudes, and start offering some differentiating facts instead.“) Today’s secret, on the other hand, has LOTS of actionable items and opportunities for you to make some real changes and improvements in your marketing.

To fully appreciate the significance of TODAY’s secret, let me restate the key points of the first two secrets:

  1. To the average homeowner, buying a pool is a very big deal It’s a large, rare and unique purchase with a very “permanent” outcome.
  2. And it’s very difficult for the average homeowner to recognize and appreciate the differences between one pool builder and the next. To the average homeowner, “you all look the same.”

THEREFORE, we can easily recognize and appreciate the fact that:

  1. People will spend a LONG time thinking about this decision. Homeowners don’t typically wake up one morning and say “Hey, I’ve got an idea – let’s get an in-ground swimming pool!” and then fork over a down payment to a pool builder that afternoon. Most will spend MONTHS if not YEARS mulling over this decision before even making the decision to pick up the phone and call a builder, to schedule an interview.
  2. And they’re going to do a fair amount of “research” before they call you, so that they don’t feel like a helpless and vulnerable idiot in front of an expert pool builder/salesperson.

And WHERE is this typical homeowner going to go to conduct their research?Leads pie chart
Overwhelmingly more than 90% of all pool-shopping homeowners will do some combination of the following:

  1. Talk to their friends. (Particularly those who recently purchased a swimming pool).
  2. Go to the Internet.

So let’s recap what we know about your typical prospective pool buyer.  They are most likely:

  • suspicious womanNervous.
  • Distrustful.
  • Somewhat clueless.
  • Hungry for information.
  • Visiting the websites of you AND your competitors.
  • Looking to see what OTHER people say about you – online and off.
  • Committed to spending MONTHS if not YEARS searching for answers.

So yes, I think it’s safe for me to confidently and emphatically state

Marketing Secret #3:
“Your online image
is more important than you think.”

(There’s a more blunt way to state the above, but I’m going to restrain myself for a moment, and first share with you a few more basic facts and insights that I think you really need on this subject.)

First of all, let me ask you – what’s the epitome of your “online image”?  That would be YOUR WEBSITE, of course. SWP WebsiteThere are other places where your online image will come into play, including YELP, the BBB, online directories, and of course any number of social media sites.  And they can ALL have SOME impact on your image, so we’ll eventually talk about those as well. But for now, let’s focus on your ONE online entity that’s more important than all of these others put together. Let’s talk about what should be happening on YOUR website.

I’ve written and talked about the importance and significance of websites in MANY different ways, including here (some website fundamentals), and here (more advanced fundamentals) and here (mobile readiness). So let me try a new and simpler approach today.  How about a little “question-and-answer” session instead?

  • What’s the PRIMARY OBJECTIVE of the HOME page?
    • To QUICKLY get people to the RIGHT page that contains the answers they’re actually looking for.
  • How much time should people spend on the HOME page?
    • As little as possible.
  • How much time should people spend on THE REST of your website?
    • As MUCH as possible.
  • What’s the MOST POPULAR page on any pool builders website?
    • The photographs page.  ALWAYS the photographs page.
  • How many photographs should I put on my website?
    • How many GOOD photographs do you have?  THAT’s how many you should have on your website.
  • How big should the photographs be?
    • HUGE. As big as humanly possible.  More accurately, as big as the screen or monitor of the website visitor will allow. (This is actually now easily handled with what is known as “Responsive Image” technology.  It’s similar to the mobile-friendly “responsive website design,” but designed specifically for photographs.)
  • What’s the most powerful thing you can put on your “ABOUT US” page?
    • A photograph of YOU, the owner.
  • What else that should be on the “ABOUT US” page?
    • Lots of interesting and compelling FACTS an information about you, your company, your history, your talents and specialties, your accreditations, etc.
  • How important are things like font choices, colors, and the overall layout and design?
    • How important is it that your website visitors choose YOU instead of your competition?
  • Is it important that my website be “mobile-ready”?
    • Only if you want people with mobile phones to buy your swimming pools.
  • Should I have an outbound link to my YouTube page on my website? 
    • If you think it’s a GOOD idea to ENCOURAGE people to LEAVE your website, then you are in SERIOUS trouble.  You should stop reading this e-mail immediately, and seek professional help by calling 877-634-8787.
  • But someone said I should encourage people to go see my YouTube videos…
    • If your videos are so great, then why aren’t they on your website?
  • All of our business comes from referrals. Our website has never been a big source of leads for us. So this really doesn’t apply to me, right?
    • Did you ever consider the possibility that the reason all your business is “referrals” is because the non-referrals who discover you through your website are NOT IMPRESSED, and thus decide not to call?
    • Did you ever consider the possibility that some (if not all) of your REFERRALS will go to your website, looking for some confirmation that you are indeed everything someone said you were?  
    • And did you ever consider using your website as a “selling tool,” to help explain to your referrals exactly what you do, and why you get so many referrals? (Lots of “high-end, low volume” “under the radar” pool builders do this all the time.
  • I have a nephew/daughter/friend who’s a whiz at all this computer stuff.  Should I have him/her build my website?
    •  I have a nephew / daughter / friend who knows a lot about water.  Should I have them build my swimming pool?
  • Why, Brett, are you making such a big deal about websites?
    • Because the structure and professionalism of your website is going to have a direct and significant impact on your ability to sell more swimming pools.

Okay, now as promised,here’s the “more blunt” way for me to explain why the quality and presentation of your website is so darn important:

“Bluntly speaking – If your WEBSITE sucks,
then homeowners will presume that YOU suck.”

Sorry, I know it’s not fair, and I know that the website visitors are doing themselves a horrible disservice when they try to judge a pool builder simply by “the beauty and content of their websites.”  But that, my friend, is the reality of the situation.  (Don’t believe me?  Ask any homeowner who hasn’t yet bought a pool.  Show them the website of a crappy pool builder and a high-quality pool builder, and they will invariably choose whichever builder has the best-looking website.)

REMEMBER: Most homeowners don’t know anything about pool construction.  All they know and understand is to “look at the pictures.”  If the pictures are pretty, then they will presume that “you build pretty pools.”  And after all, when you get right down to it, isn’t that pretty much what most homeowners are looking for in the first place?  A “pretty pool”?

BOTTOM LINE: If you want to sell MORE pools, and/or MAKE MORE MONEY on the number of pools you are currently selling, then you will need to “step it up” with your website.

NOTE: I have TWO FREE OFFERS for anyone who wants a fast and honest opinion of the “professionalism” of your current website.  I suggest you consider taking either of these actions NOW, before I change my mind:

  1. Send an e-mail to info@poolbuildermarketing.com, and say that you want a copy of my “free website evaluation tool.”  It’s a simple, easy-to-use Excel spreadsheet that will make you a website expert in less than 5 minutes. (Or at least it will put you on the verge of being a website expert.)
  2. Or send an e-mail to info@poolbuildermarketing.com, and request a FREE 1-one-1 WEBSITE EVALUATION with me.  These take about 20 minutes or so, and require that you be in front of a computer. I will do this at no charge for as long as my schedule allows. (These must be scheduled in advance, so please identify a time window that will work for you. I will do my best to accommodate.)

In my NEXT newsletter, I’ll share with you some advice about all those OTHER online locations where your company image and reputation are at risk – including social media and more.

To your success…
Brett

©2014 Brett Lloyd Abbott / MYM Austin, Inc. May not be used without permission.

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