How Is Your Website Like a Lemonade Stand?
You may be reading this blog wondering how a lemonade stand relates to your website – or even your business. But actually, it has a lot to do with your website, your inspection business, how you operate, and your online presence.
This thought came about one day when I helped my daughter set up a lemonade stand. We put her lemonade stand together and set it up out front. She had grand ideas of people flocking to her lemonade stand. As we set it up, she talked about how she would use her money to buy her mommy a present, she wondered if her money box was big enough to fit all her money, and she had a full jar of lemonade and plans to make more.
But within the first 20 minutes, and after several cars just drove by… her hopes were dashed. She was discouraged and was ready to throw in the towel. But I gave her some pointers that eventually turned her lemonade stand into a money maker – and those tips also apply to your home inspection website too. Here were the tips I gave her:
Your Expectations Need To Be Realistic
It seems like everyone sets up a website for their home inspection business with the greatest expectations. They marvel at their site’s appearance, how well it is put together, and wonder how anyone would ever hire anyone else besides them. But does having a great looking site mean you will get work. Not really.
My daughter’s lemonade stand looked AWESOME, and she is as cute as a button. So you would think that because of those two things people would have stopped – but they didn’t. So I told her “just because you are here and have great lemonade does not mean anyone will stop, you need to do more than that”.
The same applies to your website. You could have a million “drive-bys” on your website each day, but that does not mean that you will turn them into customers. Just “having a website” does not mean you will get customers either.
In fact, I recently had a client call to see why he didn’t get any work from his website over the last month. He was on an old plan at $25 per month – which was basically just a small website with almost no SEO, and he is in a big city of about 800,000 people and hundreds of home inspectors.
He called and said “My website didn’t get me any work, what can we do?”. Well, he didn’t want to do anything on social media, he didn’t want to blog, he didn’t want to make any videos for his clients, he didn’t want to send out emails, he didn’t want to use ISN, and he didn’t want to interact with his clients more on his website… Um, ok….
So I finally said “So you want to get more work by having a $25 per month website sit there with no other action put into it?” He said “Well, I would expect that I would get work out of a website”. Well, that is also what my daughter thought about her lemonade stand.
But think about that for a moment – if getting inspections on the schedule were as easy as just setting up a website and waiting for the leads to roll in, then everyone would do just that and be millionaires. But it isn’t that simple.
A website is a tool that needs to be used. The online world is more complex than that, and just having a website won’t get you work – you have to make it work.
So first point I made to my daughter, and applying it to a home inspection website, is just because you are there and have a great product, doesn’t mean people will buy it. So keep your expectations realistic and get ready to work with your website instead of waiting for it to work on its own.
So what did we do next to turn things around and how can you apply it too?
Make Eye Contact, Smile, and Wave
The first thing I told my daughter was to make eye contact with everyone that drove by, smile, and wave. She didn’t want to do this at first, but as soon as she did – someone stopped and bought lemonade. When that happened, she was motivated and literally got off her seat and started making eye contact and waving at every person that drove by – and she was rewarded with customers.
So how can you “smile and wave” on your website? The answer comes down to getting up and using your website like the tool it is. A website is like a hammer – its a tool. It won’t do anything on its own, you need to use it. So actively use that tool to your advantage.
One way to smile and wave, so to speak, is to make your website personal. As long as you don’t look like a serial killer or look too young, put a picture of yourself on your website. We are not talking about a picture of you at a wedding in a suit, we mean a picture of you on a roof inspecting, squeezing out of a crawlspace, or with an open electric panel. As a tip – don’t look at the camera. People want the impression that you are focused on your work.
Also, create opportunities to interact with your website’s visitors. Offer a “grab book”. That is an e-book that people sign up to get from you. InterNACHI has a great grab book. In fact, if you go to our homepage, you will see that we offer one too. This is a great way to give the client something
Another way to do this is to use a chat tool on your site. If you look at the bottom righthand corner of our website, you can chat with me right now if you wanted. We install this for our clients all the time on their websites – it’s called Tawk.to, and it’s free. You install the app on your phone, and clients can contact you right there from your site and you chat from your phone.
Be sure to also have an online scheduler for people who prefer that method (which is a lot of people nowadays). Imagine stopping to get a glass of lemonade and the child telling you (wait a minute while I go inside and get it”. You would probably just drive away – because you want your lemonade. That is why services like Inspector Toolbelt are so important. Even if you don’t want to pay for a service – Inspector Toolbelt is free, so why take the chance on losing clients?
There are several other ways to stop sitting behind your website and using the way it should be used. For instance, offer specials on your websites occasionally. For example, offer a $25 coupon and create a quick web page for it. Then run a Facebook ad that links to that page. Also, get existing clients to visit your site to sign agreements, get their reports, whatever it happens to be – get people to go and interact with your website.
Also, use your blog. If you have current information on your blog, it will show that you care about your business and about your trade. Blogs are also great for your SEO.
Whatever you decide to do, get up, make “eye contact”, and “smile and wave” with your website. Here is the next tip I gave to my daughter:
Get a Better Spot
At first, my daughter set her stand up too far back and facing at a weird angle. People had to look too hard to find her. Once she moved, more people saw her lemonade stand and more people stopped.
It is the same for your website. We realize this is easier said than done though. Everyone wants to be on page one of Google for their primary city. But remember that it is an uphill battle to get there.
So start of slow. Build a great website with original content and make it optimized as much as you can. After you have done that, review your site and apply these few tips:
- Be sure each page has AT LEAST 400 readable words of original content
- Open an account with Google Search Console and register your website with them
- Make your content valuable to your readers, and make your main point in the first paragraph
- Make sure your contact info is very easily found and right at the top
- Advertise your site by encouraging people to go there on social media – the more visitors the better
- Blog, blog, blog. The more you blog the better – but make sure it is not cut and pasted. It has to be all original content and relevant to home inspections in some way.
Following those tips won’t make you rich right off the bat, but it will give you a good start, and in the long run you will have a better “location” for people to find your site.
Concluding my Thoughts on Lemonade Stands
So whether you are selling lemonade or home inspections, the principles are the same. People want more than a cold glass of lemonade. Whether people admit it or not, they still want warm human interaction.
So learn from my daughter’s lemonade stand and remember these few points:
- Manage your expectations and don’t get discouraged
- Interact with your clients, and make opportunities to encourage people to “stop” at your website
- Work hard to get a good “location”, and remember that it is a slow trip to the top – but worth it.
As always, feel free to leave comments below, or contact us for further information.