What’s the point of an online presence for a business built on hard work with your two hands? Who’s looking for construction and contract work through the Internet? I’ve built my business from the ground up with hard work and referrals — why do I need to be on the Internet?
These are questions usually brought up in the construction and contracting industry. Traditionally, this industry thrives on showing the quality of your work and a hardy handshake; many of those in the business think a website is just a glorified yellow pages ad. Time has shown us that no business is impervious to the need for a strong online presence in our modern-day. The pandemic impacted how we do business significantly. In some cases, people are buying homes and cars, sight unseen. The internet is fast becoming the primary purchasing tool of an entire generation. In industries where an online presence was once considered redundant, in-person businesses are now losing out to those with stronger and more prolific online representation.
The law and legal counsel industry are good examples of this movement. Law firms with whom we’ve worked once believed themselves to be completely onsite businesses without any need for an eCommerce strategy. After taking the opportunity to build on an online presence with us, they found their client base to grow exponentially. These firms are opening new offices in different locations and expanding their partnership to be even more effective for their growing list of clients.
If you’re thinking, that’s fine for them, but you’re not greedy, and you can survive with the business you already have, you may be right. Or it may be true for now. In the case of having an established customer base, you need to ask how many customers can I lose before I become insolvent? Low overhead doesn’t cover lost revenue, it just makes it more manageable. But, on the other hand, if you’re just getting by now, what happens if there’s another twist that comes from the pandemic?
Even though there was a massive demand for home remodelings during the pandemic, some aspects of the industry experienced a slowdown. One issue was the remodeling boom that caused a shortage of construction materials, equipment, and parts.
The increased cost of construction materials paired with an inability to meet with clients in the traditional way caused some businesses who did enough to survive before the pandemic to shutter their doors permanently. Even those businesses with low overhead costs weren’t immune to the sudden change in how business was being conducted in a pandemic stricken world. While there was a time when your neighbor or coworker would recommend a contractor, people trapped at home spent more time online looking for who to hire.
So how does a business get started with a good online presence when you already have a functioning website? Well, as there are many facets to a truly online presence, such as search engine optimization, virtual consultation, social media presence, and third-party partnerships, it’d be best to start with the basics. Websites and customer interaction are usually at the forefront before we move on to the meat and potatoes of creating a truly outstanding online profile, and what better place to start when talking about construction than good design.
All websites must start with a good design. This goes beyond making a website functional and aesthetically pleasing. It means making things easy to find for your potential customer: painting a picture of what you do, how you do it, and why you’re the right choice. It’s best to tackle all websites as a storybook, and every company has its own story. This is no different for construction and contracting. Every business has its story.
A website will be able to tell that story and why the story matters. Good websites illustrate that stories best unfold with a good overall design. A customer should find everything they seek at a click, a quick read, a glance at a graphic, and understand its cohesiveness through color and shape.
So, where does your story begin? It should always begin with good website design, and an enormous part of good website design is eCommerce integration.
You may be wondering how eCommerce integration is relevant to construction and contract work since it’s all priced by estimation and quotes, not a set-price list. Not all eCommerce is done by merchant provider software or services exchanging credit card amounts for set goods. Ecommerce, in this case, is just a generic term for price information and financial communication. We live in a generation full of instant results; this includes purchasing and making financial decisions. Online customers want an idea of the cost for their projects, whether it’s building a new home, new garage, adding an extension, or remodeling their kitchen. Calling a phone number to have a receptionist tell them to wait a few days isn’t enough anymore.
Crafting tools such as instant quotes or a live chat that can come up with a live quote would be ideal. In most cases, customers don’t even mind waiting a few hours for a response email after they’ve sent an online form to you. It’s about letting the customer know they’re being looked after and being able to send them fairly accurate estimates without them dealing with excessive wait times. Some businesses tend to gain more business with instant quotes even if a competitor can offer lower prices. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Good website design and eCommerce integration are just starting to peel back many aspects of a good online presence. As more of your customers start to see a positive experience on your website, they’ll keep returning. This isn’t an indication that your customers don’t want to deal with actual people, but it’s just a different way for them to engage with you. If their experience with your website is pleasant, it indicates that dealing with you would be the same.