You can’t expect to regularly win big time tickets on promises of quality and cost alone. Why? Because it’s just assumed that you can deliver those things, and so can your competition. In a competitive field, everybody can nail down cost and quality. So how do you set yourself apart?
The developer or contractor who’s looking to hire wants to know:
- What you can do for them
- How you will do it
- Why you will do it
An effective website helps you explain these things. It will help you get in on more negotiated bids and help you close on them. It all works with a good user experience -- one that helps the user find exactly what they’re looking.
Tailoring the message of your website to your ideal customer
Again,your prime wants to hear about more than that you can compete on cost and quality. What they want to hear about is how you persevere to do so --- over the course of a project that lasts several months to several years, and through challenges like staffing issues, material delays, and change orders.
They want to know that you don’t shirk from a challenge and pass the buck. You can say these things, but keep in mind that they know that you know what they want to hear. If you don’t explain some of the process, talking about what you can do just sounds like a boast. Here are a few things to share that explain why you’re making that promise and how you’re going to execute.
- Lots of pictures. Show the pictures of the stuff you’re good at, the exact kind of projects you want, IE the work where you provide the best value and get the best value in return.
- Thorough captions. Talk about what you did to overcome challenges, how you adapted to unpredictable conditions, your long history in doing so,when you went above and beyond, and why you did.
- The people involved. The prime is going to want to know who they will be dealing with over the many months or years of a project.Professional and communicative people are what gets a project back to running smoothly when the going gets rough.
- Management philosophy and company culture. Specifically, share it in a way the reveals why you want to be good at certain things. How do your values both embody and assure that?
A pointed message is interesting and useful
There are a few tenets that make your message a valuable one to the prospect. The information you share must be:
- Relevant: The customer is self interested. When it comes to business, they’re bored by anything that doesn’t appear to benefit them. If you’re talking about a feature of your company, it needs to directly tie to a tangible benefit for the customer. They might need you to literally explain the benefit. Don’t expect them to connect the dots. Lay it out in literal terms, so they can get a taste of everything great about working with you.
- Specific. On that note, be specific with your claims. Being “an industry leader” or “innovative” is vague enough to be useless. The customer doesn’t hear that and think, wow, that would make the experience of hiring these folks amazing. Mentioning that you’re “green” or “lean” doesn’t move the needle for them, but talking about how that makes your company more efficient and why those features are important to you will.
- Credible. The message of your content needs to advance your credibility. They need to know you’re honest and competent in order to believe what you say. Being specific, and explaining the story behind your claims, is part of being credible.Vague claims are too easy to “get away with” without having any real substance behind them, so they don’t really help the customer.
- Useful. Its possible to be relevant, specific, credible, and even interesting, all without being useful. Useful information is useful to them and to you. Make sure that there is a point to what you’re saying, that it leads to something that informs their decision.
- Accessible. Website users want the information they seek to be easy to find and easy to understand. We expect users to scan content, looking for the relevant bits, and to skip around a lot. Your website layout needs to be intuitive, and the content sensibly structured. This way,the customer can dedicate the amount of time they want to finding as much as they need, without having to plod through fluff that doesn’t apply to them. They’re more likely to engage, and thus more likely to learn something that intrigues them.
Other ways that websites boost your business
A website does more than just win you a chance at a bid. In doing so, its also done a fair amount of leg work for you, by advancing the customer’s knowledge of your company and what it can do for them. The goal is to help you make the short list for those highly desirable negotiated bids, so you can have the in-person conversations that you know how to win. If your website is a primer for those conversations--- IE an extension of everything great about your company --- then the follow up is simply a transition to the next phase of the conversation that ultimately moves your prospects down the sales funnel and toward the dotted line and the handshake.
One thing we’ve learned at Inquisitek is that, in developing their online message, businesses often come to a better understanding of their general sales message. The organization and structure of a website helps to visualize the most important parts, and thus to order it more effectively.
Website content is essentially an automated extension of your sales conversation, one that is easily accessible to anybody with an internet connection. Inquisitek’s aim is to make developing and publishing your online message a very manageable and understandable process, so that certain steps to growth are available for local businesses of all types.