Your Dual-Purpose Advertising & Selling Tool…
Let’s Talk About Your Website.
By Brett Lloyd Abbott, MYM Austin Inc.
I was prepared for disaster in Galveston this past Saturday as the clock approached 1:00p.m. I was the lucky guy scheduled to present a “websites” seminar at the Southwest Pool & Spa show, but timing was against me. You see, the most embarrassing thing a speaker can do is to put together a class and have no one show up. (Having people leave ten minutes after you start isn’t much good either.) But if you’ve ever been to one of our industry trade shows, you know why 1:00p.m. on a Saturday is really a lousy slot.
First, we know that half the people who attend these regional trade shows are only there to pick up their award at the banquet (Day 1). So by Day 2 (like this past Saturday), the bulk of the people have already gone home. By lunchtime on Day 2, the few remaining people will wrap up their business and hit the road. The APSP / IPSSA folks know this, so they decided to schedule free margaritas on the show floor at 2:30PM. That’s right – Now you have an incentive to leave my class early and get in line for that.
So I was pleased to see not just one or two people, but closer to two dozen show up at 1:00. More amazing, when I finished at 2:30p.m., they all stayed and asked questions for at least another 20 minutes. When “websites” beats “free margaritas,” I know I must have hit on a hot topic for pool builders.
Which is why I’m going to touch on that today.
I don’t want to bore you with trite fundamentals about “how the internet is changing the world,” but the internet plays such a crucial role in the pool industry that these key points are worth reviewing now:
1) People are making decisions and forming opinions about you, your competitors, and their own backyard long before they ever pick up the phone and talk to you. If your competitor has more photos than you, they presume your competitor is more experienced, and has built more pools than you. If your competitor has more testimonials than you, they presume they’ve satisfied more people, and can be trusted more than you. If your competitor has more honest, genuine, sincere (and better written) information about their company, the homeowner will begin to develop a greater affinity for your competitor. And if your competitor’s website looks more professional than yours, they presume your competitor is more professional than you. This all happens behind your back, whether you like it or not.
2) Your website pulls double-duty for you, unlike any other medium out there. There are really two sides to the sales & marketing process. First, there’s “lead generation” or advertising, such as newspapers, radio, billboards and yellow pages. Ads put people into the sales funnel. Then there’s “marketing tools” like brochures, reports, videos, etc. These tools help convert the prospects that are now in the funnel. Your website is both of these. It’s a beacon advertising your existence, and it’s a sales tool offering unlimited information to persuade the homeowner to buy from you.
3) Your website can serve all people at all different stages of “readiness to buy.” You’ve probably heard me talk about “The Educational Spectrum.” While some people are ready to buy right now, the vast majority of in-ground pool shoppers will think about the idea for months or years before ever calling a builder. These people won’t speak with a salesperson (it’s too early), but they’ll spend all day long searching the internet for answers. That’s why item #1 above is so important.
4) Your website will uncover secrets about your prospects. Thanks to the trackability of webpage viewing, you can discover what intrigues your visitors, and what turns them off. When you discover “a hole in the bucket” that’s letting your prospects slip away, you can fix it in an instant.
5) You can find your prospects and start selling to them long before your competition knows they exist. This is one of the best leveraged secrets of our “Monopolize Your MarketplaceTM” system. By posting a low-risk offer, such as a free report or a free DVD on your website, you can capture the email and/or mailing address of your prospects. Now you can start marketing to those individuals with an ongoing campaign of helpful, educational information about pools in general and your company in particular. Let your competitor spend all his money on TV, radio and Yellow Page ads. You’ll be secretly, quietly converting all the interested prospects over to you with your follow-up system. By the way – the “request info” form on your website can and should launch this campaign for you automatically.
Now if you’re like me, you don’t like your own website. (That’s right, I admit I don’t like my own website. But that’s because I spend a lot more time designing and fine-tuning “pool builder” websites than “marketing consultant” websites.) The truth is that all websites can be improved. Even right after you finish it. It’s an ongoing process that deserves some frequency of attention.
I’m running long on this piece, so next week I’ll share with you some “quick & easy” tips that will help you fine-tune your website.
Till then, good selling!
PS – If you’re one of those rare pool builders that still doesn’t have a website, you should re-read item #1, above.
©2009 Brett Lloyd Abbott / MYM Austin Inc. May not be used without permission.