The world has changed. There’s the biggest recession since the Great Depression, record foreclosures, and the lowest number of housing sales in decades. And… technology has completely changed the relationship between countertop shops and their customers.
That was the basic message from Marty Gould of Focalize Consulting at the Stone Industry Education seminar held in Denver last week. You used to find a countertop fabricator from “word of mouth”, but now Marty explains how it’s “word of mouse”. Huh?
In the last 2 years, the internet has truly leveled the playing field for any business. Any small granite fabricator can build a website and look like their large competitors, but the biggest change: the customer is now in charge.
Homeowners won’t choose a countertop fabricators based on the clichés of being “family-owned”, “proud of their quality”, or “exceeding customer expectations”. Instead, they want to solve their specific problem. And, these days most of the research takes place on the web. What’s shocking is how few stone shops have invested any time into making their websites good… or even decent.
That led into the 2nd half of Marty’s presentation – which was both incredibly entertaining and uncomfortable. He went through several websites of the companies attending the seminar – and ripped them to shreds. The main problems on your website are probably:
- Difficult navigation – menus and headers liberally sprinkled around the page.
- Images with no text or tags – and important text should not be an image.
- Poor page titles and meta descriptions. Or none at all.
- Flash. Don’t make anybody wait for your crappy animation and music to load.
- No recent content. Is the site dead?
I really enjoyed Marty’s talk. It’s inexpensive to make your website much better than it is today. It takes some thinking about what makes you unique and how to say that in words that people will read. There are awesome free tools for creating a website, like wordpress or squarespace, so there’s no excuse for not having a site.
We’ve tried to apply this to our own business. Instead of being an incredibly flexible full enterprise solution for construction subcontractors (which we are) we really try to focus on the core of what makes us unique – scheduling for countertop fabricators. Once we honed our message to be specific and relevant, I think we dramatically improved the quality of our website and marketing message.
Want to know more? At Moraware, we make software for countertop fabricators. JobTracker is scheduling software that helps you eliminate the time you waste looking for job folders. RemnantSwap is a place to buy and sell granite remnants with fabricators near you.