Creatively Introducing Your Business to Customers Online
A contractor’s ‘About Us’ page says a lot to potential customers
When prospective customers want to know more about a company, their first step is to typically visit that company’s website. And, for more specifics, the next step is to click on the “About Us” tab.
“The About Us page on a contractor’s website is an opportunity to really communicate all of the things you want your brand to tell people,” said Alyssa Young, director, digital marketing, Graphic D-Signs Inc. “It inspires customers to trust you, and it kind of reassures potential customers there are real people behind the brand. So it’s an opportunity to sort of personify the company or put a face to the company and make it clear it’s not just a cold, scary, untrustworthy corporation. It’s also an opportunity to tell the brand’s story. It’s a place where the company’s personality can come through. It’s all about explaining why you do what you do, how you do what you do, and how your services will directly benefit the customer.”
The About Us page is the best place to talk about years of experience, certifications, awards, and things like company values, Young noted.
“All of those things are important to customers when they choose the company they’re going to trust in their homes,” she said. “The About Us page creates value and differentiates contractors from their competitors.”
In case contractors thought differently, potential customers do visit their About Us pages. In fact, it’s usually one of the 10 most visited pages on a contracting website, Young said.
“I pulled statistics for five of our HVAC clients and one landscape contractor for comparison, and for all of them, the About Us page is one of their top 10 most visited pages in the past month. For one of them, it ranked as the third most visited page in the past 30 days. When you consider most of our sites have around 30 pages, anything in the Top 10 shows people are reading it. And data shows they are spending time reading it. For example, the home comfort website ranked third showed people spent an average of 2 minutes on the page. That’s healthy internet time. They are actually taking it in and looking over what it says.”
CREATIVELY ATTRACTING CUSTOMERS
There are a number of ways contractors can take advantage of their About Us pages.
Young suggested the language on that page should be written in the brand’s voice.
“You’re speaking to customers in the way you want them to interpret what your brand stands for. It’s also important to use subheads to break up the content. You don’t want to see one long page of text. If someone goes to that page, they want to be able to quickly find the information they’re looking for if they don’t want to commit the time to reading the full page.”
Additionally, photos are also important. Many contractors use this space to display a company photo showing their wrapped vehicles, employees, or even family photos. Things like family photos make the company more relatable and make potential customers more comfortable in choosing the company for their needs.
Some companies, like Mauzy Heating, Air & Solar in San Diego, take a more creative approach. Mauzy’s About Us page displays full body images of employees and their nicknames. When someone clicks on one of the employees, a short biography pops up on the screen, granting vistors more information on that individual.
“With residential HVAC — really any type of residential construction — the process can get cumbersome. People are concerned when they’re letting anyone into their homes,” said Matt Mauzy, president, Mauzy Heating, Air & Solar. “So, while there are things we take very seriously — like wearing shoe protectors inside the home — we also want customers to realize we can go out there, get the job done, and make it a fun process. That’s why we took that approach [on the website]. We put up our employees with nicknames and interesting facts. Some customers even call them by their nicknames when they show up, which is funny. It breaks the process up a little bit and makes it light hearted and a little more fun for everyone. It has worked very well. People absolutely love it.”
Mauzy acknowledged the approach could be hard on some contractors with high employee turnover rates. However, he counters that by doing smaller print runs at a time for the pamphlets and thoroughly vets employees before they go onto the website. “We have very little turnover as a company. That’s one of the reasons we’re able to do it. Those who are in the folder and on the website are individuals who have been with us for many, many years. Before we put somebody in the brochure or on the website, we make sure they’re going to be with us for the long run. It’s worked well for us.”
ALL ABOUT VIDEO
Ben Landers, president and CEO of Blue Corona Inc., agreed the About Us page is critically important for contracting websites. “When done well, an About Us page humanizes a business and creates more identity and trust. When you consider that a high-value HVAC website often generates in excess of 100 leads per month, business owners should pay close attention to the quality of the content on key pages of their sites.”
According to Landers, the best About Us pages typically feature a picture and biography of the owner and/or key employees as well as have significant amounts of content.
“Despite the fact that many HVAC companies invest significantly in their vehicle wraps, images of company trucks are not as common as you might think,” he said. “Prominently featuring the company’s vehicles is a great way to build trust, especially when a prospective customer has seen the company’s trucks in their neighborhood. Industry credentials, testimonials, and other trust-creating icons are important. Including a ‘Why Choose Us’ heading with a few bulleted answers is always a good idea.
“Videos are not seen that often, but they are a great idea,” he continued. “The video can be of the owner introducing the company, a company profile video, interviews with key staff members, or even client testimonials. They might have a video with an overview of the company or an interview with the owner, etc.”
GAC Services, located in Gaithersburg, Maryland, is one company that takes advantage of video on its About Us page. The video showcases the company’s owners, Tony Petrolle, president; Rich Biava, vice president; and Bill Wetzel, vice president, talking about the business and what makes it unique.
“We have to remember, as contractors, we live and breathe this stuff — it’s not new to us but it is to our customers,” said Biava. “The average customer will probably only buy two systems, ever. So, it’s a big deal, especially given it’s such a considerable investment. For our company, we wanted the About Us page to be an extension of our business that’s aimed to show a little personality, which was why we opted to use video on that page. The page also differentiates us because it lists our awards, licenses, and customer testimonials. It’s an extension of who we are.”
According to Biava, GAC’s About Us page is among the top 10 most visited portions of the company’s website. Biava also noted people were spending an average time of 1.5 minutes on the page. “They’re there, they’re looking at it, reading it, and maybe watching a little bit of the video.
“The video really helps us show our personality,” he continued. “When you hear Tony, Bill, or I talk, you get the sense that we’re serious about what we’re doing, and we’re sincere from a professional standpoint. The video summarizes how we’re different, we’re professional, and we’re here to help. And being able to see people going about their work gives it that extra touch — more so than a still-frame picture. The other thing is that it’s important to have videos on your website. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. The largest is Google, but Google owns YouTube. So, it’s definitely important to have those videos on there.”
THINGS NOT TO DO
While the About Us page is a place for contractors to creatively shine and showcase their personalities, there are a few things they should avoid. Landers suggests keeping the focus on customers and prospects.
“In other words, you want to avoid too many, ‘XYZ HVAC is this and XYZ HVAC is that.’ Instead, you want the language on the page to be more focused on the consumer. So you might say, ‘When you’re having an issue with your home’s heating and cooling system…’ or ‘Your family’s comfort is the most important thing to XYZ HVAC company.’”
Young said to lose the jargon and babble about services.
“Keep this part of the story about you and leave off the mumbo jumbo,” she explained. “This is not the place for that stuff. Contractors also need to avoid sounding like they’re bragging. Yes, customers want to hear about certifications and experience, but it needs to speak to customers in a way that showcases how you put customers first. If it’s all about we’re awesome and here’s why, it’s not going to succeed in making that personal connection with the customer.”
Overall, contractors should sit down and put some thought into their About Us pages, Young noted. “If a company is really struggling with what to do in this section, management should take a step back and think about whether the page actually defines the brand. If the company is struggling, that could be the reason. Have you established your brand points, laid out what your values are, and defined what’s important to you? Take a moment to go through that exercise and identify those things. That’s the kind of stuff you want to tell people. Contractors have gotten a bad reputation for trying to take advantage of people, not doing what they’re supposed to do, not showing up when they’re supposed to, and it has hurt the industry overall. The brand is an opportunity to turn that around and prove that stereotype wrong.”
Publication date: 8/22/2016