Heating Installers – Website Advice
We are aware that many businesses operating in the oil installation sector are curious about the benefits of having a website. At Autus we have a standard approach to this question irrespective of the business sector.
Our starting point is the business’s marketing strategy. In our experience, an operator in oil installation will probably not have the strategy documented and this is not a problem to us. We have over twenty years experience in business development and mentoring and with a twenty minute discussion we can identify the key elements of the marketing strategy. We get the proprietors to think about their market place and the answers to questions such as:-
- What were the circumstances of the business’s foundation?
- What were the aims of the business then?
- Within our sector and geographical area, how have we succeeded?
- What are our competitive strengths?
- Who is our strategic competition?
- What are their strengths – and weaknesses?
- What are the dynamics currently shaping our market place?
- Where would we like to be in 3 or even 5 years time?
We then look at the existing marketing mix used to promote the business and assess where a website would fit within it.
Why Choose A Website?
For businesses offering tank and boiler installation and maintenance services there are several reasons:
- Low cost advertising. The initial cost of the website development is usually somewhere between double and half the cost of the annual Yellow Pages / Thompson Local spend. This obviously depends on what is being spent on paper directory presence. Thereafter, annual website hosting and small updates cost only a few hundred pounds.
- Highlight the positives. A small box in a paper directory does not afford the opportunity to detail all the positive things potential customers should know about your business. On your website you can detail your expertise, strengths and levels of service. You can also publish testimonials from clients who have enjoyed excellent service. In our experience, these statements are influential in businesses dealing with the general public.
- Accelerate Your Marketing Strategy. Your website can place specific emphasis on the aspects of your business that you wish to grow. In this way, a well written website can help to deliver the marketing strategy results.
- Keep It Fresh. Unlike paper base advertising, your website content will be dynamic. Brochures and directory content can start to go out of date from the date of printing. Very few businesses have no new developments to promote in the course of 12 months. Your website can be updated within 24 hours of new copy being supplied. We encourage all of our clients to inform us of developments in their business. We then edit the copy for maximum impact on the site and also in the search engines. Refreshed content helps to keep a website ‘sticky’ (attracting viewers back) and the search engines prefer sites that are regularly updated and grown.
- The Web Age. Across the age spectrum, people now search for products and services on the web as the first, natural option. In relation to the ‘home market’ web based property search is extremely popular. Products such as white goods, furniture and curtains are located and even bought on the web. Whether for domestic, commercial or industrial application, web based supplier search and selection is becoming predominant. Even if a friend or colleague recommends a supplier, what is the natural reaction of anyone with a broadband connection?
- Don’t Fall Behind. We prefer our clients to decide on a website for positive reasons. We do still hear of some businesses deciding on a website because ‘most of our competition have one’. Unfortunately, this rationale normally produces a poor, uninspiring website as it is a grudge purchase, hoisted on to the web at minimum initial outlay, with minimum commitment and expectation. It should come as no surprise that a website developed on this basis rarely produces the required results – and the website owners miss out as opportunities pass them by.
Boiler Installers – Website Specification Advice
- Have a website built specifically for your business, one that you own and control and its objective is to promote you. Do a Google search for ‘boiler installers’ in your local area and you will find lots of portal sites – directory sites through which you will find numerous boiler installers. These directories have a role to play – one which I will detail in a future article. They should not represent your prime presence on the web. Experienced web surfers will bypass these sites, searching for a website promoting only its owner.
- Be aware of the essential website requirements. If you are investing in a website to accelerate your business growth, you need to ensure that two essential elements are in place. By law, it must meet the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA). Also, woven into its development should be a competent package to achieve a high listing on the search engines for key selected search phrases. This is the process of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
- Lowest initial outlay will not represent lowest cost. We still occasionally hear of the ‘edge of the bed crew’ developing websites for domestic installation businesses. These are usually enthusiastic but untrained young people, unable to develop to the professional standard required to comply with the DDA and unskilled in SEO. We have seen numerous websites that have been developed at zero or minimal outlay. The owner has ticked the ‘Got a website’ box, unaware of the number of opportunities that are being missed through lack of exposure for the site. It is the equivalent of having the shelves and shop window full – but leaving the shutters down!
In summary, a website developed by a specialist in design and SEO should prove to be an excellent investment for oil related installers. The initial development cost will be dictated by the specification of the site and SEO package. Once built, maintenance costs are minimal compared to the alternatives. This low overall cost and the ever strengthening preference of customers in the sector to source suppliers online means that suppliers without a website are neglecting a large and growing opportunity to literally ‘connect’ with potential clients.
If you would like to discuss your website requirements with David please
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.autus.co.uk.
David Clough. Autus Web Design & Marketing
An edited version of this article appeared in Fuel Oil News magazine.
David Clough is the founder of Autus Web Design & Marketing. He is also a marketing consultant and has held senior marketing and director level positions with multinational organisations in the polymers and composites sectors.
To learn more about Search Engine Optimisation visit Essential SEO.
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