This article was originally written for the March 2020 edition of Fires and Fireplace magazine
Chris’s mission is to enhance the profile of the fireplace industry by creating innovative digital products and services. Chris has spent the last 15 years working across many fields honing his skills in design, marketing and technology. He has worked exclusively in the fireplace industry for the last four years. Last year, he co-founded wowfires.com, a technology and marketing platform for fireplace showrooms. Most recently he launched upsparkdigital.com, a marketing and website design company aimed at small businesses in the industry like chimney sweeps and installers.
Chris will be writing a guest blog which aims to help educate those of our readers who want to learn more about how their digital assets such as their website can help grow their business. You can also follow his own blog @ upsparkdigital.com/blog
Upspark Digital recently reviewed 50 showroom and 50 chimney sweep websites across the UK. We looked at several different areas that impact sales leads – such as, how businesses are demonstrating their online credibility, how easy their sites are to navigate, and how optimised they are for generating sales leads across all devices. The results can be found here: upsparkdigital.com/reviewresults.
The following is the first of a series of three articles written for Fires and Fireplaces magazine. We have used the findings of our research to detail the most effective ways you can generate additional sales leads through your website.
Part One – Build Trust
A large and vital part of getting sales for your business is built on trust and credibility, yet we came across many websites in our industry that don’t communicate their credibility effectively. Below are five ways you can create ‘Trust Enhancers’ and convert more visitors into customers.
1). Website Design
Your website needs to be responsive across mobile, tablet and desktop. This means, when a web visitor accesses your website on any device, it must look good and consistent. Our research revealed that many websites are not optimised across devices.
wowfires.com receives 50% of its total visitors from mobile devices. This is slightly less than the worldwide average of the 52%. Your website likely will have similar stats to these. What does this mean for your business? It means your website must look good on mobile or you could be losing out on a large chunk of potential business.
Your website should also be easy to navigate with simple menu headings such as ‘Home’, ‘Services’, ‘About’, Contact’, and a ‘Products’ page, if you sell products. It looks unprofessional and your visitor will get confused if there are unclear or too many menu headings.
It is also important to get an SSL certificate for your website. This certificate gives you the little padlock to the left of the address bar on your browser. It encrypts any data that flows through your site and stops the browser from stating that your website is unsecure which can scare off customers.
- Terms and conditions
- Business Address
- Phone and Email Address
- Registered Company Number (if you have one)
2). ‘About Us’ is actually about them
From our research, we found that a large number of websites do not have an ‘About Us’ page. If you want to maximise the number of sales leads you generate through your website, it should have an ‘About Us’ page. The purpose of this page is to let the customer know why they should buy from you and not from the competition. It’s not just a generic page to write a little information about yourself. For example, don’t just say you are a family business and have been in business for 30 years if your competition has also been in business for some time. Be unique. This is your chance to demonstrate your credibility to potential customers and why they should spend their money with you. It offers you the chance to stand out and create trust with your customers, so it’s worth giving it some real thought.
If a visitor has taken the time to go to your ‘About Us’ page then they have already shown they’re interested in what you have to say. Do you or your company have a personal mission that is relatable and likable? E.g. ‘Our goal is for you to enjoy your new fireplace as much as we loved installing it’ or ‘My personal mission is to treat every home I visit like I am working on my own’.
Other elements that are worth having in an ‘About Us’ page:
- A photo of you or your team, and a small piece of descriptive text.
- Links to recent photos of jobs carried out
- Statistics e.g. about the number of successful sweeps or installations carried out
- Client Testimonials
- Downloadable case studies
- Qualifications, Awards and Endorsements from known industry experts.
Always make sure you have a call-to-action (an action you want your website visitors to take) at the bottom such as a ‘Contact Us’ form.
3). Google Reviews
We looked at the number of Google reviews each showroom or chimney sweep business had. In several cases, there weren’t many Google reviews. Google is the most popular search engine in the world, and it is a no-brainer that your business needs to drive more Google reviews for potential customers to see. If most of your reviews have been built up on Yell or somewhere else over the years, then you should reach out to your best customers and request them to put up a Google review. It will look better (and Google may prefer it from an SEO standpoint) that you get consistent with this and don’t phone customers in large batches.
If you haven’t any Google Reviews yet, it may be that you haven’t claimed your Google My Business page. Do this first, and you’ll be on your way to being more visible by Google and therefore, by more potential customers.
4). Customer Testimonials
It is considered good business practice to consistently seek customer feedback. Get their permission to use a photo (if possible), their name and where they are from, as well as a brief review of the job you did for them. Simply writing a few lines of text and saying this is from a customer is not enough. In the world of ‘fake news’ this can come across as disingenuous as it would be easy to falsify these reviews. In addition, various pieces of market research on sales conversions has shown that it is better to put these testimonials on your ‘Home’ and ‘About Us’ page rather than on a dedicated ‘Customer Testimonials’ page.
5). Customer Case studies
As well as customer testimonials it is a good idea to celebrate certain customers by writing a case study about their purchase or project.
This should be on elements of your business that other customers would be interested in reading. Ideas that either educate or entertain e.g. how sweeping a chimney is carried out.
Use certain customer interactions and document the job you have done for them from start to finish. Write down what the customer was looking for and how you went about achieving it. Take ‘Before’ photos or videos, as well as during the job and after it’s completed. Finally, add customer feedback to the case study. You have now created a great tool for educating customers on how certain projects are done as well as building trust with new potential customers that you are the right company to work with.
In next month’s issue you can read specific tips on how to turn website visitors into sales leads including how to use Google Analytics to optimise for sales leads and the importance of having an above-the-fold value proposition.