Chris Raines: Hey there. Welcome to Episode 36 of the Dodgeball Marketing Podcast. We're so glad you're joining us. My name is Chris and this guy in this region over here-
Michael Utley: Hey, I'm Michael.
Chris Raines: Is back. It sounds weird to somebody who's listening on a podcast. Michael's sitting here. Thank you for watching. Go ahead and subscribe if you're on audio and subscribe if you're on YouTube, hit the like button, all those things. Today, we're going to talk about trade websites and how to build a higher converting website if you're in the trades. So, Michael, what do we mean by the trades?
Michael Utley: Yeah, just construction industry.
Chris Raines: Construction industry.
Michael Utley: Home or commercial, residential, commercial. . . All of it.
Chris Raines: Yeah. There's certain things inside this industry that you need to pay more attention to if you're building a website in the trades. And so what we want to do is go over kind of what our best experience is. Michael, I know you do a lot of work in the trades to produce the best website possible. So we've got five things for you here on how to build a better trades website. Michael, why don't you take the first?
Michael Utley: Well, here we go. Number one. So this is a really important thing to get right. Start with a headline on your homepage of your website. That gives the big idea of what you do. So, one that I really like is Nash Painting here in Nashville. We work with companies all across the United States, but this company happens to be in Nashville. It's actually a lead we got from a consultant of ours in Maryland, but yeah, Nash Painting, "We Make Homes Beautiful". This is a really good, simple statement. We're big fans here of a guy named Donald Miller who wrote a book called Story Brand, and this is about understanding who the characters are in the story of your business or your customer's business and connecting [your branding] with those characters. So knowing things like, what are they trying to accomplish, how do they see themselves, what's the journey that they're on?
Michael Utley: So in this example, "We Make Homes Beautiful", it doesn't just say we offer a residential painting. It says, "Hey, here's the benefit of what we accomplish."
Chris Raines: That's the key there, right?
Michael Utley: So it's a benefits-oriented headline. And I would say the more that you can make this a differentiator, the better. And then something else that I like to add to this big Story Brand type headline that focuses on the differentiator is to use supporting copy to know, for example, the geographic area or any big other things that need to be put in there. So a combination of a headline with a sub-headline is a really good way to get across the big idea of who you are and what you do in a benefits-oriented way. And so, yeah, that creative, it's not helpful on a homepage of a website or even, and I would apply this, Chris, to services pages because often people are coming into those and that's the first page on the site they see. On those, you need to say like the one big benefits-oriented thing about how you do that thing differently than everybody else. So yeah, the point here is get across the big idea of what you do. Big, simple headline. More is not better. It's a really tight way to kind of get people into the journey of what character they are in the story and where they're trying to go.
Chris Raines: That's awesome. Benefit, benefit, benefit, benefit.
Michael Utley: Yep. Benefits-oriented.
Chris Raines: Our default is always going to be as service providers, focus on the service, but it's the benefit that matters.
Michael Utley: Yeah. Kind of start with the audience in mind and what their pain is and center your text and your language and even what things you decide to include or exclude based on that.
Chris Raines: Perfect. All right. Number two, make contact us, actions clear and easy. This seems really elementary, but you got to remember a lot of people are... they come to your website. They might be highly motivated to reach out to someone and there's a lot of other people that they might want to reach out to as well. So if you make it hard, if there's any friction like, "Where's the contact page? Do I scroll down? How do I get in touch with you people," then they might jump off and find somebody else that doesn't have to make them think. So a few things here. Put your contact... and this is especially if you're a home call kind of person, so think of like handyman or somebody.
Michael Utley: Yeah. A HVAC. I'd say this is true all the way up to commercial. Talk to us about getting a bid.
Chris Raines: I think so, too. I think you're right. So things like in the header, put your phone number in the header and then in the footer. A lot of times people scroll down as their first inclination of how to contact you. Make sure there's something down there, contact us, put your number down there, do something. And then when it comes to website forms, make it really easy for them to contact you. Don't try to qualify them with seven or eight different form fields asking them what their budget is, all this that you just want to create the momentum for them to reach out to you. You can gather all that information later in the sales process.
Michael Utley: But don't put that work on them.
Chris Raines: Yeah. Make it super, super easy. And the other thing I'll talk about with forms is you got to think a lot of these people are... they don't know who you are. It's their first outreach to you, so you need to like engage them as quickly as possible. A lot of times you're not at your email, so you can't email them right back. It's really easier. You can hire a professional to set this up for you really quickly. It's really easy to set up an autoresponder. So they come to your form, they fill it out, and then it triggers in your MailChimp or Constant Contact, whatever you're using, an instant autoresponder right back to them that says, "Hey name, Hey Michael, we just got your quote request email. We're a little bit tied up right now, but I'll call you back in a couple hours." And that gives you a kind of a buffer to get back to them.
Michael Utley: Sort of a "What to Expect" and "Hey, we're really glad to hear from you. We got your message. It's received. You're in touch with somebody. You can stop looking around on the internet and here's what to expect from us."
Chris Raines: That's the goal of that.
Michael Utley: Capturing something human, not a system response, even though it is system-generated. Something that conveys some personality.
Chris Raines: You can even do that from your email address inside the company. So that's a really simple thing you can do to just engage people right away like, "Hey, talk to your email. Here's my face on the bottom." And it can go a long way to building that relationship and kind of crowding out your competitors and engaging them with you.
Michael Utley: That's right. That's good. And Chris, the next one is when we're thinking about trades websites for the construction industry, from residential, all the way up to big-ticket commercial multi-million dollar projects, it is true for all of these different levels that you need to use mobile as your starting point for website design. So we call this mobile-first thinking.
Chris Raines: And that's different than saying, "Oh, make sure your site is responsive."
Michael Utley: No. The internet is a cell phone. Start with that. The internet is a cell phone. These laptops, these big cumbersome laptops, those are for when you want to work on a spreadsheet or you want to sit down and really work on something. But for the most part, the internet's a phone. And so this system that we have that connects all of us with these phones, Google really wants to be number one in that world. And so what they have decided is that any website that's not following all the parameters of being a highly valuable experience as a website for a mobile user should not rank high in search results, not only for mobile users, but for desktop users. So even if I get on my laptop right now and do a search on the internet on Google, I'm being shown results that are not based on just who has the best content or the best SEO of their website material around keywords. I'm also only being shown things that do really well on a mobile device.
Michael Utley: So what that includes is a real fast website, so fast pages, having material in the first frame that is helpful, websites that people go to and don't immediately hit the back button or abandon before they load, and usability things like high contrast fonts and background colors. So these mobile aspects of design are major factors that Google is able to systematically scan on a website and score, and a good way to see how you're doing is go out and do a test, just do a Google search for Google page speed test. And it's going to take you to their page speed tool. And we've mentioned this a number of times on the podcast, but you can run your URL through that test. And remember there are two tabs there, desktop and mobile. Look over at that mobile desktop. That's the number one score for how Google sees your website. And so yeah, this mobile-first thinking is really important. And then Chris, you were talking about in the previous segment, all the different elements of how to be easy to reach, a phone number in the header, a form above the fold on the homepage, forms within view on the services pages, one easy phone number in the footer. These phone numbers should all be click-to-call or click-to-text. They should be really easy to use on a mobile device.
Chris Raines: Yeah. You don't want people having to copy, paste, go in there through the phone app and, "Oops, I left off a number. Oh, I got to go back."
Michael Utley: Or having to flip back and forth between tabs. Yeah. That's absolutely unacceptable in this time. So yeah. Mobile-first thinking really key.
Chris Raines: Yeah. That's awesome. Next thing. When it comes to producing content, use the "1-2-3" structure. And Michael, this is something that you developed and you can chip in here: top-level, mid-level, lower-level. So top-level would be broad categories, so maybe that's construction.
Michael Utley: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It could be industrial flooring.
Chris Raines: And then mid-level is more specific.
Michael Utley: Yep. So you can have supporting pages like line striping. So if you've got a factory floor, industrial flooring's the category, but then you've got sub-services. And so then you're into things like line striping and yeah, it's a whole different thing that somebody could be searching for to find you.
Chris Raines: Very specific. And then the lower level is sub-services. Another example for this would be something like a service might be kitchen remodeling. A sub-service might be kitchen cabinet painting. That's part of kitchen remodeling. And the idea, Michael, is we're trying to address people in the way that they search for your services. Not everyone's going to search kitchen remodeling, not everyone's going to search remodeling contractors. They might search for kitchen cabinet painting. Now, they might want to have their whole kitchen remodeled, but their problem that's top of mind is that, so you're creating these folks in the water for everyone no matter what their orientation to their problem is, what their top of mind thing is, whatever they're searching. You're going to have a hook in the water that's there to capture that.
Michael Utley: That's right. What we'll often do, we do a lot of search engine optimization, making websites show up higher in search results for more terms. So what we'll often do with this is do our keyword research. We'll take all the services, all the sub-services, and then research and find all the keywords that people are using to find those things. And then we'll sort the entire sheet just by volume. And then we'll say, "Okay, for all these high-volume keywords, we're going to work these in as bullet points on our services pages." So we may have on our homepage, a set of services that are kind of the high level, "Hey, these are the things that you know and love us for," but then when you click on any of those pages, you're also going to have blocks of bulleted points where we're linking to sub-services pages. And that's where you're getting into, like, line striping, pressure washing, asbestos remediation. These can kind of get in the weeds, but these are the things that people need around the time of an inspection, if their building's going to be inspected or their factory is going to be inspected, or they're trying to get new certification for their production process. These are the things that people are going to the internet and they're just looking for things like as best as remediation contractor.
Chris Raines: It's the high-intent, longtail keywords.
Michael Utley: Very high intent.
Chris Raines: So it doesn't matter if a search has 100 searches per month in the US, it matters that those 100 searches are such high intent that so many of them are going to pick up the phone and call you because you have exactly what they're after.
Michael Utley: That's right. And they're using things like the word contractor near me and those are sort of the much higher level of intent. And so those terms in combination with a site that ranks well for the subject matter terms is the recipe for success.
Chris Raines: Perfect. Michael, you should take the last one here. This is more about usability.
Michael Utley: Yeah. So a good thing. If you're developing a trades website and you are a trades company, anything in the construction industry, commercial, residential top to bottom, it's good to tell website visitors what to expect. And this isn't just like how we work, one, two, three. There are actually a number of touchpoints for this idea. When someone is on the internet looking for a contractor or a provider of a service, they're sort of scanning the horizon and what you really want the website to do is get them out of hunting mode and into personal relationship mode as quickly as possible. We do this with a number of sites and a number of different touchpoints. Even in the header with a phone number, you can go ahead and introduce a little bit of a human element. For example, someone could look at kaloutas.com and see, "Call so-and-so. Ask for Jay," or see a modal pop-up that says, "Hey, here's Jay, and this is the guy you're going to talk to."
Michael Utley: And so-
Chris Raines: Or chat. Like if you think about the little pictures you see in chat. That's a person.
Michael Utley: Live chats. Yeah. So we'll get to that. But yeah. So from the top down the hero area or the header, right off the bat, you can personalize. Hero area. Letting people know what your geographic area is, confirming. This is kind of best practices for the keywords so that the internet knows what service area is supposed to show up for, but it's also a way of saying back to people, "Hey, we work in your area and we're local. We're not just some national chain with some system-generated landing page. We're actually really connected to your geographic area. And so we're a part of you. We're connected to you." Then going down the page, having a full-width block of content that shows either your community involvement or something about the history of the company, something that shows that you're relevant and connected to where they are and where they're coming from, and then live chat.
Michael Utley: That's another good one. Sorry. I'd have to grab a drink. So live chat's really good. Yeah. Let me get a little sip.
Chris Raines: I'm going to do some hold music.
Michael Utley: Thank you. Yeah. Live chat is really good. And think about all the settings that you have in live chat. You can actually personalize those settings to make them a little bit more personal. And then the one, two, three thing on the website is good because that's where you can say, "Hey, when you work with us, here's what you're going to experience. We're not going to come in guns a blazing, put you in a corner, hold you down until you sign a contract. No, we're going to do something really safe and normal. We're going to do an intake with you to understand the scope and what you need to accomplish. We're going to come back with a set of recommendations. Third, we're going to finalize a budget and a project plan with you."
Michael Utley: This sort of projecting the future with people really lowers the threat level for them of opening themselves up to the energy of a sales team. And then next is thank you pages and email responses. You mentioned autoresponders. Another piece of real estate you can use to tell people what to expect is the thank you page. If they complete a form on the website and they go to a thank you page, you don't just say, "Message submitted," or a form worked. Instead say, "Hey, here's what's going to happen next. You're going to hear from these folks within a couple of hours, within a couple of business hours and they're going to want to know these couple of things from you and that's going to give them what they need to help you." So thinking about this set of tools as a handshake is a really good way to make it personal and make it a two-way relationship, even though it's just a website.
Chris Raines: Yeah. That's great. I love all that stuff. Yeah. That's all we have for this episode. Hopefully, I hope that was helpful for you. If you are in the trades, if you own a trades website, if you work on a trades website, these are all good tips to use to make it better.
Michael Utley: Yeah. And if you need a website, check-in with us. We're building websites. We've got a three-page document of all the best practices that we go through with folks who want to talk about a new website. That's our standard. We've kind of developed our own recipe for the perfect highly-converting trades website. And so, yeah, schedule a time to talk with me and we'll be happy to talk to you about that. Good. All right. Thanks.
Chris Raines: Later, later, later.