Mitch and Adam are in the local pest control business. They both offer similar services – you know…commercial and domestic, termites, cockroaches, bed bugs and the like and they both work in the same basic area in western Sydney.
Adam is flat-out. He gets a constant stream of new customers and phone calls, and he’s looking to put on another ute to service the new business he’s getting. He makes good profits because people don’t nickel and dime him over everything, and he converts 6 in 10 new phone calls into customers.
Mitch, on the other hand, is becoming a dab hand at fishing. And his wife is wondering if he should just give up this running your own business lark and get a real job. He’s even started talking to real estates to rustle up some business even though they take out all his margin and pay him nearly two months after he’s done the job.
So what’s the difference?
It’s Adam’s website. It attracts visitors, and they are impressed with what they see, and it converts. Mitch’s five-page website is a heap of junk.
My Research Project On Pest Control Websites
In January 2016, I looked at 127 pest control websites in Australia. I’m building a prospect list. There are some splendid ones out there, and there are some shockers too.
Heck, there’s room for improvement on my site – and I’m testing my way to a better site all the time.
This blog post looks at the critical elements every pest control website must have to convert at the highest levels so you can rely on it to grow your business.
Why Is The Home Page Important?
Your homepage is one of the most important pages on your site. Hubspot rates it as one of the four most important pages along with:
- Your About Us
- Contact Us
- Blog page
It typically gets the most traffic, and it is critical for generating leads and sales and directing people to the right service pages. It’s the front door to your business, and it needs to maximise conversion.
What Is The Job My Home Page Needs To Do?
The primary roles of the home page are;
- To get people to the right page on your site where you can fully explain your services.
- Get people to contact you either by phone or contact form. Notice I said or not, and don’t create response confusion by offering too many options.
What does maximise conversion actually mean?
What we mean is that the website is designed, developed, and structured so that the content on the site gets your website visitors to carry out an action (conversion) that is valuable to your business.
Check out these critical elements that will help you achieve absolutely fantastic conversion rate.
1: Good Design
You get about five seconds.
That’s how long you get before someone who visits your site answers in their head.
- Am I in the right place?
- Can these people help me?
And either leave or stay.
The design is critical to this decision. Design means the colours, layouts, typography and visual structure of your site.
It’s a perennial question which is more important – design or copy? The answer is both. Good copy gets visitors to your site and helps with your sales messages.
As you can see, good design helps you keep your visitors on the site, takes them to the right place and increases the chances they will read your sales copy.
2: Site Speed
If your website is slow and takes a long time to load you will experience a higher bounce rate, especially mobile. Google knows that site speed is important to user experience, and that’s why they have it as a ranking factor. They don’t seem to improve the ranking of a fast site, but they sure punish the ranking of a slow site.
So not only will a fast pest control website be better for your visitor, but it will also help you with your search engine rankings.
How do I check my site speed?
It’s easy to check your site speed. Go to Google’s page speed insights tool and put some of the web addresses of important pages of your site in the testing area and see what you get back. You are aiming for under four seconds and a score of 70+. Three seconds and 80+ are even better in the long run.
If it’s not, then start talking to your web developer.
3: A Clearly Stated Value Proposition
Your value proposition is something that you need to differentiate yourself from everybody else out there. For the visitor, it should answer why I should do business with you versus choosing all the other options I have available to me, including doing nothing. (Dan Kennedy)
If you answer this question clearly and succinctly and you have a greater chance of someone converting. Most businesses are lazy and simply say words that put them in the “me too “ realm.
- We are local
- We provide excellent service
- We’ve been in business 20 years
- Our team are dedicated
- We are specialists in commercial AND residential (of course, a potential customer can pick this as BS)
These sorts of words don’t differentiate you from anybody else and don’t address anything important to the website visitor at the time.
When your business looks the same as all the others to potential customers, then the only thing they can do is decide based on price.
Here are a couple of good value propositions as stated on pest control websites.
“Some of our weapons include a termite detection dog, the latest XXXX technology and thermal imaging for detecting the hard to find termites or White ants for your peace of mind at a competitive price.”
“You’ll love our user-friendly XXXX Termite Window. No guessing… ever! Simply see for yourself if there is termite activity any time you stroll past your baits. Mud in the window tells you the termites have arrived.”
“We specialise in solving tricky termite problems, where other companies have tried & failed.”
4: Sub-Headlines and Content Blocks
People often say to me – no one will read all that text. In fact, I doubt anyone will read this blog post word for word. People read differently on the web.
So your content needs to be scannable too. This means broken up with subheadings, bullet points and content blocks:
- Your sub-headlines should reinforce your central value proposition and talk about important things to your visitors without using jargon and doublespeak.
- Your paragraphs need to be short.
- Use bold and italics to emphasise.
- Use larger fonts and web-ready fonts.
- Keep your lines short 50-70 characters.
- Use black on white colours. At least colours with reasonable contrast (see design).
- Don’t forget about mobile.
5: Benefit Points That Relate To The Needs Of Pest Control Customers
This a few important points of what you do and why it matters to the visitor. Three or four or five points are all you need. Keep it short.
Remember, if you’re talking about something in your business, always answer the question that means that. For example, if you’re offering the feature of on-time service, translate that into benefits by answering the following statement that means that… You won’t have to hang around home waiting for our serviceman to arrive, so you save time.
Here are some examples of not so good benefits statements.
“Offering thermal imaging and a high-performance infrared camera, this device is ideal for quickly accessing wall or electrical damage and tracking down gaps in your home’s sealant.”
“…our services are carried out using only the best low toxicity products on the market with an approach to environmental awareness. All chemicals, including gels, baits, dust and sprays are Queensland Health Department Approved, odourless and safe”.
These statements do not get close to answering the “so what” question for a user. Adding that means that to the end of the first one, you get a better benefits statement, for example.
Offering thermal imaging and a high-performance infrared camera, this device is ideal for quickly accessing wall or electrical damage and tracking down gaps in your home’s sealant. That means that we can rapidly and easily find and repair the gaps, thus helping to protect your home and save you money.
Here’s a better one I found online
“Because of the way we have developed our procedures in Pest Management, our efficient measures mean we are also extremely time effective. For our customers, this means that frequently we offer more cost-effective solutions than our competitors.”
If you would like further assistance with converting features into benefits, here’s a great article from CopyBlogger.com to help you.
6: Main Call to Action
When you develop your homepage, decide what the one thing that you want people to do when you’ve arrived on your page is. That might be calling you, fill in a form, or just click on a link to another part of the website.
Decide what the call to action is and make sure that it’s obvious. So obvious that you can work it out by standing two metres back from the computer screen.
7: Social or Customer Proof
Adding some customer testimonials to your website is a powerful trust builder. We and others have done split tests; adding testimonials will increase your conversion rate by two to five times. Please don’t skip it.
Those testimonials that use some generic words and someone’s first name are not credible. Don’t bother. You need pictures of your customers with their full names and locations to make them believable so they work the best.
Videos are even better.
When you capture the testimonials from customers, don’t just collect what you did; also get the emotion behind how satisfied they are with your business.
Here’s an example from ConversionXL.com about how well social proof works. Check out these two pages; Version B has 3 lines of testimonials added. No names or faces even. That one little change increased conversion by 34%.
8: Pictures of You and Your Team
People do business with people they feel they know. They can’t get to know you can’t see what you look like. The web is so impersonal that adding pictures of you, your team, your location creates another level of personalisation above and beyond the cockroach and termite images that show on most of your competitors’ websites.
Here’s an example from Marketing Sherpa. They document a well-constructed A/B split test where a generic stock image of a call centre woman was put up against a picture of the founder of the business.
The result? A whopping 95% increase in conversion rate!
Here’s another case where a generic stock image was replaced with images of the company’s truck and the crew.
This change saw a 45% increase in conversion rate.
I’ve not tested this, but I’m willing to put in place a test to prove it one way or the other… pictures of cockroaches, masses of termites and redback spiders are not a benefit.
Most people find them yucky, and it puts them in a negative frame immediately they come to you, and it’s probable that they decrease conversion rates.
What to find out? Contact us and let me run a free A/B split conversion test for you to see.
9: Success Indicators and Trust Marks
If you have won any awards or recognition… put them on the page. If you are a member of particular organisations, put it on the home page. If you have well-known, reputable customers, put their logos on your homepage.
10: Clear Paths or Directional Cues to Action
As well as having an excellent design, your website should have a flow to it that allows people’s eyes to flow from the central message to the call to action to the other elements of the page. If this part is easy to follow and the waypoints on the page are clear, it makes it easier for people to absorb your information and increase your conversions.
Arrows work. So does people look at your call to action because a visitor sees the person’s eyes in the image and naturally looks at where they’re looking?
11. Prominent Phone Number
It’s likely that “call us” will be a primary call to action. Your phone number should be prominent. If it is the primary call to action, it should be dominant on the page. We prefer to put it on the top right-hand side of the header so that it’s on every page of the site, but there is no harm in repeating it in sentences where required.
12: A Content Offer
Given that many people who come to your business site are not ready to buy the time they visit, it is often a good idea to offer them some content that they can download in exchange for an email address so that you can follow them up later. People are getting wise to this tactic, and it’s getting harder to get people to put their email address into a contact form, so the offer needs to be useful and valuable.
We all need another newsletter in our email inbox…not.
This content could be a short guide, access to a video, or a checklist that people can use. Don’t worry about giving away your valuable information. You practically have to do it these days because there is so much free information on the web and YouTube that people can find it anyway, and by providing it to them, you still trust.
You will get a high conversion of your content offer by only asking for an email. Certainly, don’t ask for any unnecessary information like a phone number or address an issue absolutely needed at this stage. You can always collect it later.
As examples of what I mean, these pages have content that would make excellent content offers if they were packed correctly as pdf checklists.
13: Useful But Limited Navigation
It’s important to have a navigation bar/menu at the top of your website under the header and above the content. But don’t try and put every page of your website on the menu. Just choose two or three relevant pages and then link the other pages from those.
You can also add feature boxes to your homepage. Feature boxes increase conversion because they offer visual and written information about the services you provide and then take people to other website elements if they want to get more information.
14: Secondary Calls Action
If your site visitor has stayed for any length of time and they scroll down near the bottom of the page, it’s useful for conversion to create another call to action near the bottom of the page to help generate more leads.
15: Name Address and Phone Number in the Footer
As your local business, Google relies on consistency between the names, addresses and phone numbers you display on your website and all the other external links to your site as a way of testing relevance and authority. Name, address and phone number is called NAP by the SEO industry.
So it is likely that your Google my business listing and your website will rank higher if you are totally consistent throughout all your website properties using your name, address and phone number. Consistent means that it is written in exactly the same way all the time in all the places that you have listings.
Read more about local SEO ranking factors here. NAP consistency and the presence of NAP are two essential elements of a website’s overall ranking
16: Google Analytics
You can’t manage what you don’t measure. So if you don’t know what is happening on the homepage or your website, you can’t manage it. You’d be crazy not to install Google analytics: it’s free, and it’s extremely comprehensive.
17: Customer Focused Content
Good copywriting is important. Nearly as important as good design.
Talk normally as you would to your customers. On the web, people are expected to be informal and easy to deal with. There is no reason to be stuffy and boring with no personality. Use your content to show your business personality and your company culture. You will attract more customers.
Write for people, not for search engines – it’s not helpful for conversion to include a whole lot of search engine search phrases (gibberish like “when you are looking for Pest Control Adelaide come to us”), and it does not help your ranking anymore.
18: Conversion Testing
Getting good conversions is an iterative process. You can start with your best estimate of what will work using all of the points I have made above, but the reality is another is a start as we think and act customers will very often surprise us. So there is quite a lot of testing that you can do to improve your conversion.
19: Mobile Friendly Website
One 3rd to half of your visitors will likely be coming to your site homepage from a mobile phone. You need to make sure that it’s mobile-friendly.
This means more than just having a responsive website that reshapes when they arrive. It also means:
- Converting phone numbers to click to call.
- Hiding information that is not important to mobile users from the page does not take longer to load than necessary.
- Not having elements on your page that are not usable on a mobile phone, such as flash and popups.
20: Optimised Targeted Traffic
You will get better conversions of the people to come to your website who are interested in the topic of your website. So you must optimise your homepage for keywords that relate directly to your website and your main business. For example, if you only do Possum removal, optimise your home page for that. Talk to your SEO supplier about mapping keywords/search terms to pages and optimising your pages correctly.
What should you optimise? The minimum should optimise the meta title and the headings and subheadings of your homepage to make sure that Google knows what pages are actually about. See the link to the Moz local ranking factors report for more info.
Also, this article by Search Engine Journal covers the topic very well and will help you with what to do.
21: Social Media Links
In terms of conversion, social media links can be a help or a hindrance. They are certainly distracting if shown in the website’s header or beside the main call to action.
Some people will want to check out your social media before they make a purchase decision. It is improbable that someone wants to follow your business if they are not already a customer, so having them in the website’s header is a little bit like asking someone to come home with you when you just met them at the bar. It might work, but most of the time, it is a conversation for later when they know you better.
22: Leave Out The Slider Images
In my recent reviews of pest control websites, I found 53% of them have rotating banners or image sliders – you know those images that change every 30 seconds or so?
Do you ever sit there and watch them? No, nor does anyone else!
We think they are bad for conversion because they are distracting. People start reading the rest of your page, and then the banner rotates, causing the eyes flow back up to the banner. Then people lose track of their thoughts.
Often the darn things rotate faster than you can read them anyway.
Still not convinced? Have a look at this entertaining piss-take of the use of the carousel at http://shouldiuseacarousel.com/
So there you have it. 22 critical elements your pest control website should have. Some are more important than others, but given you are in a competitive industry, why run the race with one hand tied behind your back? Make your site the best it can be.
Would you like a cheat sheet listing all the elements?
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