Residential and light commercial contractor websites are a tough act.

They are stubborn, act in surprising ways, and are a great source of stress to their owners. Worse yet, the cost of these websites has little to do with how well they perform. The problem is not usually in the design or the platform, but in the content — more specifically, the message they convey to visitors. The good news is, these are the easiest problems to correct.

Here are five quick fixes that any home-services contractor can use to improve his or her sales between 300-500 percent using existing Web traffic.

Correction No. 1: Add a Strong and Compelling Opening Headline — This is by far the single most important change you can make to dramatically improve a website’s conversion rate. (A conversion happens when a visitor calls or emails.) Studies show a site has less than 10 seconds to capture a visitor’s attention.

A strong, attention-getting opening headline on each webpage is the absolute best way to convey your primary message. I like to add a sub-headline to quickly reinforce the message that a visitor is in the right place to solve a specific problem. Like this:

Headline: “Is Your Air Conditioner in Need of Repair?”

Sub-headline: “If you’re tired of stifling heat and humidity and long for dependable comfort again, here’s how the (Your Company) rescue team can help you — fast!”

Get the headline and sub-head message right and your conversions will skyrocket.

Correction No. 2: Dull and Lifeless Content — This is another gigantic conversion pulverizer. My prized copywriting technique is known as symptom-based selling as opposed to the much more common solution-based selling. With this technique, I describe the symptoms the visitor is experiencing (based on the page they are viewing) and then outline my solutions.

For example, if a doctor writes, “We offer the latest in rotator cuff solutions,” the client may think, “No thanks, my rotator cuff is just fine.”

But, if the doctor were to write: “Do you have limited range of motion in your arm? Is it painful to lift your arm over your head? Is normal, everyday motion a constant pain? We offer a variety of ways to relieve your rotator cuff pain and get your life back to normal.”

The doctor has just requalified a ton of potential prospects who answered “No thanks” to his first website pitch. The symptom-based presentation directs their interest to his solutions based on a clear description of familiar symptoms. He simply describes the symptoms, relating them directly to the clients’ pain first, and then, second, to the solutions.This is powerful and effective.

Correction No. 3: Too Many Competing Messages Within a Single Page — For example, if your page is about electrical repair, keep the entire page focused on this one message. Don’t include ceiling fan promos or panel upgrades; in fact, it’s best not to include any offers at all. Include details on electrical repairs, that’s it. Competing messages create confusion and indecision from your visitors and will muddy up their thought process.

Correction No. 4: Add or Improve Your Calls to Action —
A message without a CTA is like a joke without a punchline. As buyers, we love to be guided down a clear path.

Assuming you own a lead-generation website, create two types of CTAs for your visitors. First, include an email lead-generation box at the very top of the page, above the “fold.” Keep this email box simple. No more than four signup fields, good color contrast to the rest of the page, and a privacy blurb. Replace the word “submit” in the CTA button with a quick outline that describes what they’ve just signed up for. In the case of a/c contractors, perhaps you could use: “Fix My Air.”

Another CTA button I like is “Get My Air Fixed & Save $XXX.” Again, this leaves no doubt or confusion what the action is about to lead to and offers two powerful CTAs and two enticing benefits for taking action right away.

Second, just under your opening headline, sub-head, and the supporting bullet points, insert a well-contrasted CTA graphic that includes your phone number. This will let your visitors know you’re serious about helping them solve their problems and makes the decision to take action effortless and enticing.

Repeat this graphic two to three times on the landing page at the top, in the middle, and again at the end of your message.

Correction No. 5: Insert Compelling Offers and Trust Builders — Most website or landing page visitors have never done business with you or even know who you are. They need to be convinced your company offers the best solutions to their problems. You do this with compelling offers that provide prospects with great value, lowering their instinctive resistance.

For many of us, the lifetime value of a new customer is high and is worth earning with a unique offer. Your initial sale or service may just be the first step in what may be a long and profitable relationship, if handled correctly. Home-services websites need to move heaven and Earth to earn that first bit of trust.

Build trust by highlighting your unique promises and list at least five compelling trust builders. Also, show your A+ BBB rating, and any awards or recognition you’ve received over the years. If you’re fairly new, you can have an A- BBB rating within 12 months. Otherwise, beef up your guarantees to offset your lack of longevity.

Publication date: 12/14/2015

Want more HVAC industry news and information? Join The NEWS on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn today!