Posted on December 4, 2019 - By Melissa Bellas
Let’s talk about your company website – it’s your 24/7 virtual place of business, lead generator, core anchor for all your digital marketing efforts, and potentially, your most powerful asset. And with so much at stake, your website has never been more important. Yet, as the rate of digital marketing continues to accelerate, most propane, heating oil and HVAC-related businesses are having a hard time keeping up.
With 88% of consumers now researching businesses online1, you want to be the site that they land on, and ultimately choose. And with 2020 just around the corner, today’s consumers expect your website not only to look nice, but also to be functional, intuitive and user-friendly. Consider these 10 ways to improve your company website.
There are many factors that contribute to slow page loading speeds. Some common culprits include poor storage and retrieval of images, inferior or shared web hosting, web server technical issues or even improper coding. Consider performing a technical audit on your website. From streamlining website coding, to optimizing image sizes, and reducing the number of plug-ins and redirects, there are many ways to speed up a slow-loading site.
When optimizing your website, make sure your phone number is prominently displayed right on the homepage. After all, the last thing you want to do is send visitors on a scavenger hunt just to find your phone number. The more visible your phone number is, the more calls your CSRs are likely to get. And more calls = more business!
Yet, despite these high levels of satisfaction, many companies are still not using any sort of live chat technology on their website. A recent study of 1,000 websites found that only 9% are leveraging live chat to better connect with customers on the web2. This presents an opportunity for retail energy companies. By installing a live chat software on your site, you increase the chances of having an advantage over competitors in terms of friendly, instant support access.
And search engines love content too! Consider how many pages your website has detailing all your business’ products and services…you probably don’t have all that many. But each additional page of content (think blog post, article, case study, etc.) is not only a new point of entry to your website, but also a new page for the search engines to index. And not all content has to be text! In today’s digital world, videos, slide shows, and infographics drive even higher engagement rates.
Beyond improving user experience, mobile-optimized and responsive sites are important for SEO purposes as well. With 87% of smartphone users running an internet search at least once per day6, Google and other search engines now recognize and reward sites that are mobile friendly. As a matter of fact, 70% of Google’s first page results are sites optimized for mobile devices7.
There’s no denying that the best way to build credibility is via social proof. Including customer reviews and testimonials on your homepage highlights your business’ success straight from the source – your happy customers.
With this in mind, it’s an absolute necessity to provide the most fundamental information to prospects in the most efficient way possible – a “contact us” page. The hub for getting in touch with your business, contact pages are often the most important and most visited pages on a website. Be sure to include key information such as your phone number, address, and map as well as a “Lead Generation” contact form where visitors can leave their information along with their inquiry.
Not sure what to include? Start at the front lines – your CSRs. They can reveal some of the most common questions your business receives. Whether its “Where should I store my propane tank?”, “How do I know when its time for a fuel delivery?”, “When should I consider replacing my oil tank?”, or “What’s the difference between automatic delivery vs will call?” – no matter which topics you choose to address, just remember that for each question your business receives, there are likely other prospects out there with the same question.
The customers are in control: they can log on from anywhere, simply click a few buttons and swiftly place an order or pay their bills. With the ability to review their balances, track payment history, and set up future or recurring payments, your customers can keep better records and ensure their bills are paid on time, every time. Talk about a win-win!
The modern, digital way to take several bookings simultaneously, online booking platforms enable customers to schedule and book their tune-ups, maintenance, and other service calls at any time, on any platform, from anywhere in the world. And with 70% of customers preferring to book online8, this also frees up some of your CSRs’ schedules, allowing them to focus on other tasks. What’s more, a recent study found that 31% of people would be more likely to choose a new service provider if that provider offered online booking options8.
When a visitor lands on your website, it needs to clearly communicate what you do, why you do it, and who you do it for. If your site can’t do this in just a few seconds, they are likely to click off. And with over 1.7 million active websites across the internet9, there are plenty of other sites to click over to.
Ready to increase your traffic and improve your website for 2020? Warm Thoughts manages over 150 websites and digital campaigns for propane, heating oil, and HVAC-related businesses across the country. Access to proprietary data guides us to create impactful “websites that work” with measurable results. Contact us today to see how we can elevate your digital presence.