Website Design Tips For Owners Of Service Businesses
The wonderful thing about the internet is the ability to easily look at what your competitors are doing to see if you are missinig anything obvious. The even better thing is that you can look at the biggest internet businesses out there and learn from them too.
Now think about that for a moment. Until the internet was created that was simply impossible to do. You might be able to be obtain a copy of a brochure from one of your competitors, or if you were good at subterfuge be able to obtain a full brochure and quotation, but you couldn’t look at all of their marketing copy, the areas of service which they offered or how they presented themselves to their clients. However, now of course you can do all of this. It is a marketing dream for me.
I can look at any competitors, look at their website and find a full list of their services. I can see if they are offering a service which I have not thought about but which it would be very easy for me to add to my service offering.
I can probably quite easily find out their pricing structure (I am not a fan of putting my prices on the internet, as I know it will reduce the number of enquiries that I receive, but some of my competitors (and yours) are happy enough to do this). So you can have a look and see if you are charging too much or too little. However, on the pricing side of business, if you find that you are more expensive when selling your services, don’t reduce them for goodness sake. I base my pricing on value for monay for my clients (not what my competitors are charging). Many service business owners worry about pricing too much. If you are doing a great job for your clients you should not need to worry too much about your pricing (and you can probably put your prices up).
One of the best things to learn from your competitors (and the big internet businesses) is to look at the way they allow their clients to contact them. Do they just have an email address, a freephone number or a mobile phone number? On the mobile phone number front, I do not think any service business owner should put their mobile phone number on their website as it just looks too ‘small business’. A call centre can be engaged for as little as £35 a month and handle all of your incoming calls and this to me is a vital expense. Some people will simply not call you even if everything else on your website looks good if you only have a mobile phone number on your website. So engage a call centre if you do not have staff to answer your phone (email me on firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like a recommendation for a UK telephone answering service). Even if you do have staff to answer your phone, are they answering it quickly enough? One of my biggest frustrations with service business owners is having a phone ring out on me when I am enquiring about their service.
Another thing to look at is whether they have a contact form on their website. Here is a tip that could transform your business for you. We find that on our public facing websites for service businesses a contact form is used 60% of the time if we have one available. That means that most people would rather fill in a short enquiry form and let you call them back than call you (even when there is a freephone telephone number on the website). If you do not have that form on your website you are potentially missing a lot of opportunities. My advice to you would be change that as quickly as possible.
You can learn a lot from your competitors. They might show you how to do something, or possibly how not to do something. I said when I last spoke about your competitors to not always copy what they do, but sometimes they can show you opportunities that you are currently missing. Have a look around at other service business owners just like yours, but then widen your search to other service businesses. For example, if you are an accountant, look at a management consultant’s website, of if you are a management consultant, look at a business coach’s website. Then look at non-service business websites. I have learned a lot from retail websites and I will share one of the most important lessons from the giant of internet retailing, Amazon, the next time I blog. I hope to see you then, but please go and look at your website now and make any changes which can improve the performance of your website.