My house needs painted. I got a new roof last fall (it was the shining star of this video I made for Fisher Family Construction’s new website) and now it becomes very apparent that the house needs painted. We’re thinking about changing the color from green to grey. What do you think? But I digress. The point is: I need to find someone that can paint the exterior of my house.
Thankfully I have access to the World Wide Web. Can you imagine trying to find someone to paint your house (or find anything!) without being able to turn to Google and the Internet? So that’s what I did and I did it in two (2) ways:
- I love the Bitterroot Valley Connection Facebook group. People there in that community are constantly looking for recommendations – from dog care and vets to dentists and pediatricians. It’s a great resource and there’s value in seeing who other people recommend. After all, we do business with people we know, like & trust. But here’s the trick. You don’t have to ask a question that’s already been asked! You can simply go up to the search button and do a search for … say, “house painter.” Tah-dah! The question’s already been asked. Not only can I see the questions/requests but I can see the recommendations as well.
- The other way I found a list of house painters was to search for “house painter near me” in Google. The “local” results are referred to as “Google My Business.” Rather than seeing results from Bozeman or Butte, I’m seeing them right here in the Bitterroot Valley. The results and the order they display are based on location to me, relevance, prominence and what I call “Google’s X-Factor.” Tah-dah! I have a list of house painters.
Narrowing My List with 1 Crucial Criteria
Now that I have a list from Facebook and Google, it’s time to narrow my search to find the right person or company to paint my house. How do I do that? With one crucial, critical criteria: their website. I don’t have the time to have half a dozen different companies come out and give me an estimate to paint my house. But I can narrow it down to 2 or 3 based on their websites. Here’s how:
- Do they even have a website? If the answer is no, there’s no need to consider them. Websites are a 24/7 representation of your business. I have questions. Do you have the answers? If I can’t find out more about your company, your services, your prices, and more about you by going on line to a website, then I cross you off my list. Period.
- Grab my attention. In a split second, I’m going to make a judgement call on your website. Seriously. It’s all it takes. I wrote about it in a previous blog. I have several other tabs open with other painters contending for my business. If your site looks outdate, unprofessional, built on a whim so you can “have an online presence” but still lacks a professional look – I’m moving on to the next tab. Sorry (not sorry). It’s how we’re all wired.
- I don’t have time to read. At this stage of the process, I’m not looking to read. I’m here to scan. I’m going to quickly look through your site. I’m looking for short sentences. I’m looking for bullet points – highlights, especially here on your home page. If you’ve done everything else right so far, I might stick around or come back. I might decide to click on another page of your site and read more … but you’ve got to win me over first. This is just a first date.
- I want to see pictures. I love photos. You love photos. We’re a photo-centric people. I don’t care if you’re a painter or a baker, you need to show photos! Honestly, I want to see photos of YOU! You’re the one I’m going to work with. You’re the one I’m going to have spending a few days at my house. I want to see who I’m going to be working with. Humanize your business. Help me “know, like and trust” you with great photos, including ones of yourself.
- Finally, professionalism. If you care about your business. If you care about first impressions then you need to care about your website. If you try and put something together with a GoDaddy template or a free Google site, it’s going to show. People notice. Hire a professional to create your site. Keep doing what you do best but let someone who knows how to create a professional (and effective) website showcase your website to customers like me that are looking to have their house painted.
In today’s world of having 24/7 Internet access, we’re going to do our research online. We’re going to vet you out and see if you’re a good fit and we’re going to do it by looking at your website. What impressions does your website present? Will you make the cut? Or will your tab be closed out because someone else had a better website that created a better first impression?