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Creating your Business Billboard - Maximizing your Web Site
Wed 06/08/05 09:14:10 am
by Jerry Rouleau

Just because you are in business today, does not mean you’ll be in business tomorrow. Imagine owning a typewriter company years ago. Some are gone, and some are still here, bigger and better than ever. Can you adapt to the new technology? It’s not how big you are. It’s not how long you have been in business. It’s not how much money you have. It’s not how many people you have. It’s how you use the new technology, that will make all the difference on how successful you are.

 

Let’s take a look at where we are today and how we got here. In 1994, there were 38 million Internet users, 3,000 Web sites worldwide, and 35% of U.S. schools were wired. In the year 2000, there were 304 million Internet users. In 2004, Google indexes 4.2 billion Web pages. There are 800 million Internet users, and 99% of U.S. public schools are wired.

 

How do we shop, and more specifically, how do we shop for a home? Statistics show that 80% of the North American population, has access to the Internet at home or at work.

Five years ago, wireless Internet at home, was just getting started. Today, millions of homes use wireless. 85% of new homebuyers, will go on the Internet to research or get more information on their new home purchase.

 

The interesting statistic is, that when consumers do their search on the Internet, they start off in the elimination process. Once they do the elimination, they narrow down their search, to four or six companies.  Will you get eliminated or selected?

 

Successful builders nationwide say that their web site generates their best lead, and is the least expensive. How much do you intend to spend this year on your web site? As consumers, how long do we spend on a web site? If it’s boring or too complicated, how much time will we spend, before we give it the “ Internet click” and move on?

 

Who designed your web site? Is it the same person who designed all your marketing literature, your billboard and your ads?  Did you have a high school techie develop the site, or a programmer?  Or, did you do it yourself, for the fun of it? Why would you take something as important as your worldwide web site, and your best lead source, and turn it over to someone who does not understand marketing?

 

Questions for you to think about.

 

Is your web site a good resource?  Will they come back again?  Does it tell your story?  Is it consumer friendly?  Does it sell the lifestyle?  Is it easy to read and navigate?  Is it women-centric?  Does it tell who you are?  Does it show your involvement in the community and in your industry?  Is your company humanized, or are you just there? Are you touting your staff and personnel?  Are your hours posted?  The list is endless. However, be careful as to not provide too much information so that you never get the customer to contact you.

What kind of key button or tags do you have? Let’s review a possible list. They may not all apply, and there is no way you can have them all, but consider the following:

  • Company Information, or About Us
  • Our Staff - Does your web site have pictures of you and your staff?  If not, humanize your site.
  • House Tours
  • Photo Gallery, or Showcase, or Portfolio, or Photo & Tours
  • Product Data
  • Calendar of Events
  • Open House
  • Services
  • Resources or Links - How many number of link exchanges, do you have? It does help your positioning. Example, related links (HBA, community organizations, chamber, subcontractors, resource sites, product suppliers, directories, etc.)
  • Technical or Installation  Information
  • Residential
  • Commercial
  • Project in the Works
  • In the News, or Newsroom
  • Testimonials (How about photos of happy, smiling customers?)
  • Shows/Awards
  • Our Mission
  • Mortgages
  • Design Studio or Model Home Location - Does it have directions?
  • Sub Contractors or Trade Partners - Do you have key advertisers or partners on your site? Consider the possibilities. Product suppliers, Real estate agencies, Banks/mortgage companies, Relocation sites, etc.
  • Contact
  • Location
  • Send to a Friend
  • Web Site Offer - Do you have a call to action, to get prospective customers to respond?  Brainstorm what kind of carrot you can dangle.  Develop an offer to get prospective customers to register. How much do your leads cost you? What if you offered coffee, or bookstore coupons, for web site users to register? Would that be less expensive than your regular leads? What if they had to register on line and then pick up the coupon at your model?
  • Questions
  • Why ABC Homes
  • Warranty
  • Newsletter
  • Message from the Owner or From the President or From (your name)
  • En Espanol - Do you sell to any specific minority or ethnic group?  Can you tailor a specific site for them, maybe even in a their language?

If you sell in a development, how about:

·        Community

·        Schools

 

 

How are you promoting your site?

 

Don’t wait for consumers to find it all by themselves. You need to promote the web on everything. Is your web site on the following?

  • Advertisements
  • Literature
  • Site signs
  • Vehicle signage
  • Logo wear
  • Fax cover sheets
  • E-mails
  • Answering machine message
  • Letterheads
  • Your model or office sign. Some companies are using their web site name on their buildings, signs, and other sources, instead of their name.
  • Premium items
  • Business cards. Your web site and e-mail address should be at least the same size type font as your name. Don’t make it hard for the baby boomer market to read your key address. Is that a “6” or an “8”?  Is that a “c” or an “e”?

 

How many leads are you looking to get off the web site? Are you prepared to handle all you get? How soon can you reply? Web site leads expect response in a timely fashion.

 

Take a look at your contact button. Are you asking for required information? Do you want to respond to everyone who sends you a note? What if the note says, send me some information on your homes and how much they cost, then they sign the note VR? How much information do you want to send them, not having any background or data?

 

Web Tips

  • Make sure you’re listed in your area phone book, not because someone is going to pick it up and look for you, but by being there, when potential customers search the yellow page listing on the Internet, you will be there.

 

  • Getting published on the Internet, is better than getting published in a magazine, because it helps in Internet searches.

 

  • Send customers to the Web, to download material. Have a special page or link, that will get the information to specific data. Save on postage and time.

 

  • When you get a lead from your web site, be able to respond quickly.  Remember, that is why they went to the web in the first place.

 

  • Be careful of type size used on your web site – don’t make it so small.  Be sure to use a minimum 12 point size.

 

 

  • Have a good navigational structure. Remember, not everyone will enter your site at the same page, or go through your site the same way you would like them to.

 

  • Make it logical and easy to find information. Don’t have key information hidden or buried under buttons.

 

  • Have a Privacy policy – if you plan on collecting names, email addresses, etc., from your web site. Information on privacy policies can be obtained by going to: www.allbusiness.com/forms/allforms/234.html                  

 

 

  • Have your contact information button, shown on every page.

 

  • Be sure you have ownership and control of your web site.  If you have an outside firm create your site, be sure you own the rights to the content and design.

 

  • It is easy to build a Web site, but it takes skill and marketing insight, to create a good one.

 

About the writer:

Jerry specializes in sales training and public relations for builders, housing companies and building product suppliers. He is the author of  “Selling New Homes: Sales & Marketing Workbook for Million-Dollar Producers”, and a frequent article contributor to numerous building trade publications. Special feature home projects that he has been involved have been featured on the Today Show, in People Magazine, USA Today and in hundreds of newspapers, radio, TV, industry trade publications and specialty consumer magazines.

 

For more information check out his web site: www.jrouleau.com   Jerry can be reached at 860 589-7391 or by e-mail at: [email protected]

For additional sales and marketing ideas that can help improve your business check out: www.builderideas.com

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 by Jerry Rouleau

The Complete Guide To Selling New Homes is a step by step strategy that is guaranteed to improve your sales process. Generate more traffic to model homes while learning valuable information that will impact your business.

  • Increase results
  • Improve performance
  • Attend targeted seminars on New Home Sales
  • Achieve better productivity
  • Break out of the box
  • Get the name of your business in print through public relations
  • Increase consumer recognition of your product
  • This 200-page workbook covers all the key elements of selling new homes.

    Jerry's sales tools give you the competive edge in overcoming objections and closing the sale, screening and qualifying, question selling model merchandising and advertising. This is an encyclopedia of new home selling information. If you sell new homes this book is a toll everyone on your team must have.

    Get the book HERE

    Table Of Contents

    Chapter 1: Human Relations

    Chapter 2: Model Homes

  • Model Home Set-up Checklist
  • Working a Model Home
  • Body Language & Dress Code
  • Showing the Model
  • Model Maintenance Checklist
  • Model Merchandising
  • Merchandising the Interior
  • Merchandising Tips & Ideas

    Chapter 3: Sales Aides & Sales Tools

    Chapter 4: Question Selling

  • Advantages of Question Selling

    Chapter 5: Screening & Qualifying

  • Lead Qualifying
  • Developing Creative Questions
  • Lead Follow-Up
  • Follow-up Time Frame & Tools
  • Creating Be-backs

    Chapter 6: Telephone Techniques

  • Telephone Techniques
  • Sample Phone Follow up Questions

    Chapter 7: First Appointments

  • Reasons for First Appointments
  • Utilizing Customer Recap Sheet

    Chapter 8: Finance Qualifying

  • Working with Financial Institutions Ballpark-finance Qualifying

    Chapter 9: Objections & Closings

  • Closing the Sale & Testimonials
  • Buying Signals
  • Closing Tips and Techniques

    Chapter 10: Advertising

  • Setting up an Advertising Budget
  • Developing Ad Copy
  • Do´s & Don´ts of Advertising
  • Advertising Sources

    Chapter 11: Sales Activities

  • Home Show Selling
  • New-home-planning seminars
  • House Raising, Parade of Homes
  • Promotional Activities that Generate Traffic

    Chapter 12: Public Relations

  • Benefits of a PR Campaign
  • What Makes a Story
  • Writing Press Releases

    Chapter 13: Business Plans

  • Setting up a Business Plan
  • Marketing Plan Checklist
  • Determining Home-buyer Needs
  • Game-plan Worksheet
  • Fast Track Sales & Marketing Plan
  • Sample Eighteen-month Plan

    Chapter 14: Miscellaneous

  • Customer Service
  • Time Management
  • Time Robbers
  • Controlling Procrastination
  • Goal Setting
  • Four Elements of a Goal
  • Types of Goals
  • Hiring Sales Personnel
  • Resume & Interviewing Tips
  • Hiring Pitfalls
  • Job Performance Review
  • Sales Job Description

    Chapter 15: Resources

  • What readers have to say about the workbook.

    " While most books on home selling and marketing are out of date before they hit the bookstores, this book has timeless advice that will keep you successful for decades."
    Charles Bevier,Editor, Building Systems Magazine

    “Great information! You can never revisit the fundamentals of selling too often. Thanks for taking the time to put together such a useful guide."
    David Allaire, C. M. Allaire & Sons, Inc.

    “I just received your book, and its great. It´s many things that I already know but its great to have in writing to read over and over. It also confirms what I have been telling my staff, now they can see its not just my point of view. Thank so much for the quick shipment. I will refer this to other people that I know in the field."
    Judy Owens, Wery Quality Homes

    “Jerry covers all the bases with this book. Our sales team has learned volumes from his teachings. It´s a very hands-on, practical approach."
    Bill Dudley, President, Carolina Model Homes and Homeworks Custom Builders

    RECOMENDED BY

    Get the book HERE

     


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