Are they really worth it?

Discussion in 'Digital Marketing' started by Kennedy Landscaping, Nov 19, 2008.

  1. Kennedy Landscaping

    Kennedy Landscaping LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,597

    Ok, so I'm not the guy who wants to spend big bucks on a website. Just want it to look professional and what not. I am willing to pay a small monethly fee or what have ya. But the question for you guys is, is it really worth it to have a website. I mean will it actually get me customers or just be another URL taking up space?
  2. mattfromNY

    mattfromNY LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Central NY
    Messages: 1,582

    I've had a site since January '08, havent gotten one lead from it. Word of mouth, and newspaper ad have gotten me 90% of my business this year. Could be just my area, small town USA. My opinion is to try several different methods of advertising, see what works for your business in your area. I wouldn't jump right in and spend mega bucks on a website if you find that a $20.00 classifieds ad works, or a couple hundred door hangers do the trick.
  3. Roger TheShrubber

    Roger TheShrubber LawnSite Member
    Messages: 34

    I find more and more upscale clients are using the internet instead of the phone book. I looked back over my various websites' statistics and there's a lot of internet searching going on.

    Once your site is up, it may be the least expensive form of advertising to have and maintain. It's always there 24/7.
  4. WebMan

    WebMan LawnSite Member
    from D/FW TX
    Messages: 11

    Neither one of the two people who are already answered has a website and their profile so I couldn't look to see why it is that they are not getting results from their sites. However, if you do a search for posts by me here. You will notice that repeatedly. I talk about websites that "sell" and the fact that among the websites that I have seen from people here, I have probably only seen enough good ones to count on one hand, at the most on both hands.

    The problem is, most people here seem to make "brochure" type websites. This is a website which does nothing to "sell" the visitor to or give them a clear path, which convinces them to take the action of contacting the company (which should be the whole point of having a website, at least if you want to get any business from it). I have seen too many sites to count here, which simply go on and on about how great the company is, they have the latest equipment, they been in business for 150 years, and then a list of services they provide like
    • landscaping
    • fertilizing
    • leaf cleanup
    • sprinkler systems
    • or whatever

    and those type websites are absolutely useless as far as generating business.
    They may get one or two customers just by accident, but that's what it will be, an "accident".
    The websites are not designed to accomplish a specific purpose. Think about yourself, when you come here you come here for a reason. To see what other people are posting and discuss things like this with other people in the same business you're in.
    But if you go to Amazon. You are going there because you're interested in buying something. The folks at Amazon are well aware of that. And so their website makes it as easy as possible for you to locate the item you're interested in, or at least items similar to what you're interested in and then they make it easy for you to purchase those items. They have a definite plan laid out kind of like a roadmap that they expect you to follow when you're on their site. All the way from the minute you get there until you click the payment button and place your order. They continually work on their site to get the best and most efficient way to keep you on that "roadmap" and convince you to place the order while you are there rather than going on to some other site to do your on-line shopping.

    But people and the landscape/lawn care business can't understand that concept; I have no earthly idea why
    But it is painfully obvious that it's totally foreign to them; and no matter how many times I have given people advice on how to improve their site to where it will generate more sales and get more response from customer they seldom listen or try the advice that I offer or make any changes based on it.
    Now I'm not bragging here, but I could give you the names and numbers of tow or three people who get a tremendous amount of their overall business from their websites, which I designed for them many years ago and there is nothing at all "fancy" or expansive about those websites. They just explain to people why that contractor is better than other contractors at doing what they do and give them a reason for contacting them; and then make it clear and easy how to contact them. I'm sure of some of the people here who are the "website critics" would look at those sites & they would point out that they look out of date, and that they're not very fancy, just very basic websites. But the owners of those sites wouldn't care about those opinions, because those websites bring them plenty of business every year. And it doesn't take but one "home run" to pay for all your web expenses from now on.
    For example, one of my contractor customers, has acquired the exclusive contract for doing the type work he does for over 300 O'Rilley auto parts locations; and he has had that contract for two years, they are so satisfied that they just wish he would travel further, and he has been trying to think of ways to accomplish that since they have thousands of stores, and he could get all of their work at all of those stores if he could just figure out a way to do it.
    The point is just the income and profit that he made from the first 150 O'Reilly stores that he got in the first year, paid for every bit of the website expense he will possibly incur in the next 20 or 30 years or more; and that's only one of the customers that have found him through his website. There's plenty more. When I was still in contracting in 1997. I got one job off my website that I figured at the going rates then (which were higher than they are now) that all my website costs were paid through 2012 all from that one job.

    A good website, which is designed to "sell" your visitor on contacting your company is the best investment you can possibly make in any form of advertising. It is so much cheaper than the Yellow Pages or anything like that, cheaper, usually for an entire year than even one small ad in a newspaper. And the cost of a website shouldn't be any more than the cost of one small ad in a newspaper or similar publication.
    So if you don't want to do it yourself you may end up with a first-year expenditure up to approximately $500...that's for the website; the hosting costs and everything.
    Then after that, you might be looking at $120 a year.

    Where else are you going to get that type of advertising where you can have as many pages as you want, as many full-color photos as you want, and basically provide as much information as you want, all for about the price of a couple boxes of business cards? Nowhere!

    So yes "good" web sites are definitely worth it, there is no other form of advertising so inexpensive with the potential to bring you so much business.
  5. Roger TheShrubber

    Roger TheShrubber LawnSite Member
    Messages: 34

    I don't know that I agree with you.

    If I'm a homeowner living in Duluth, MN and want to hire someone to kill the fleas in my lawn I'm either going to pick up the phone book or search the internet.

    I'm only looking for flea control - that's all. I just want to hire a company that can handle flea control - I want it done right and want it done now. I want a simple website to tell me whether ABC Pest control can kill those darned fleas. I won't sit through a long flash intro, I won't read through a really busy webpage to find the correct link to get my info. I certainly don't want to get directed to a pest control company in Spring Hill, FL. I want competance and contact info - nothing more, nothing less. I won't sign up for your service until I see a warm body pulling up to my front door.

    For most landscape / lawn care companies, a simple brochure website is a good place to start. You want to add the ability for prospects to sign up for your pest control service on your website? You want to add a question / answer option or forum page to your website? Fine, you can do those things too. But, not many people are going to click a button to submit to spending $5000 on a new landscape without ever seeing my pretty face in person, I can tell you that.

    All this pest control company needs to do is get ranked in the top two or three listings on yahoo or google for someone living in Duluth, MN. The pertinent info must be easy and quick to find.
  6. boatdrinks

    boatdrinks LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    If it means anything i have already had 2 calls and i've only had my site up for a month. I also listed the business under googles' business listings, and it shows up on google maps as well. There are a lot of ways to get your self out there but i believe more than anything a website helps put out a professional appearance.

    I work in the airline business so I am leaning heavily on technology to help me manage things from the road.
  7. RickR1818

    RickR1818 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 342

    I posted this on another thread but I think it has a place here.

    I cant stand it when people want flash or all the bells and whistles for their sites. Especially in this industry, flash and other high level add-ons do not affect your sales. You need to just be concerned with a site that is somewhat basic, but that can sell your services and give your customers a way to contact you. I would rather help someone design a basic site, but help them with marketing that site and trying to generate traffic to it. I think the thing EVERYONE here needs to remember is that just because you pay for a site doesn't mean it will make you money! You could spend $1500 on a kick a** site but if there is no traffic it is worthless. A website is only a small part of your marketing. Although you can reap many rewards from it, you still need to do the other things to drive traffic. Put it this way. My site is not that great. I threw it together very quickly using sitebuilder (Hold your applause Web man!) But it has generated a ton of sales for me this year. The number one reason is I spent more time marketing my business and getting links to my site. The funny thing although I am not particularly fond of my site; people always tell me how great it looks. I have other local LCO's that want me to do theirs and help them with their internet marketing because of the business it has brought me. My customers love it because they can pay online and for some that live out of town they have arranged everything online from starting the service to billing to paying the bill.
    I have dreamweaver and could build a great site from the bare bones but all I need is for customers to land and make it easy for them to contact me. What I see on this forum is that everyone wants a site because they assume that will send them droves of customers, but you need to look at the whole picture and realize that a site is only beneficial is your customer can find it. Like Webman says, you have 8 seconds, and most of the time a person looking for a service will go with the first one they find that looks somewhat professional. Feel free to check mine out you can let me know what you think but I probably already know the negatives and just have't fixed them yet. At any rate, feel free to criticize or applaud.
  8. boatdrinks

    boatdrinks LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    my point exactly, In my area im the only one even with a website. You may not generate a lot of new business this way but it does give you an edge on the competition. If you do things right it can help you be more efficient and put
    a face on you company when your not there to do it yourself.

    Another thought, if you can get your customers to agree to it you can post information regarding fall clean ups, and any other specials that you are currently running. If you don't want to post them on your site these could even be e-mailed directly saving you money and time. IMHOP
  9. WebMan

    WebMan LawnSite Member
    from D/FW TX
    Messages: 11

    You obviously misunderstood. You are the PERFECT example of what I am talking about. You want to know:
    1. Do they do what I need done
    2. Are they good at doing it
    BUT there may be 4 web sites, and the one who's TEXT (copy) does the best job of convincing you that they are the best darn flea killers in Duluth and are competitively priced and contact THEM instead of the other 3...

    Thank you,
    Finally someone else made my point perfectly. Service providers don't need Flash, sound, moving stuff, etc. --the bells & whistles. But what moves you to contact one site over another is if they seem to be the best value to you and it's easy to contact them when you get to the place in the site where you decide that...from the home page on. If it just says "Joes Flea Killing, We kill fleas which is what a brochure site does--won't get you to call)... but the better site assures you quickly and simply that they know what the heck they are doing and will kill ALL the fleas and guarantee it...with a "click to contact" or phone # right there will get you to call more (and get the company more business) than Joe's :clapping:

    PS: But the same site could also benefit from a page for the young mom who is paranoid about the chemiicals her children will be playing in and assures her about that...then they get BOTH of your calls and poor old Joe still has none.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2008
  10. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    I would think in most cases what moves a person to contact one company over the other is because they happened to click on your link first instead of the other guys. Providing the home page is sufficient to hold them longer than 10 secs, and they pick up the phone or send an email, I would be willing to bet in many cases they will not be looking elsewhere providing the person is available and can do what they need.

    In the service industry reputation and word of mouth is everything! It is easier to "get the word out" if people are giving their friends a website address ... something tangible to look at .... rather than just stating that you are good along with a phone number. That being said, your site should reflect what people are looking for when they come to your site from these types of referrals.

    All that aside, I have to agree with Roger. Most people are not going to commit to anything substantial without a face to face.

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