Whether you’re a small AV business starting from scratch or a member of the CEPRO 100, you’re probably aware of how difficult it can be to get your website just right. Your website needs to be engaging, functional, and on-brand. Unfortunately, that’s a combination that takes work to achieve. When thinking about your brand and your website, it helps to be aware of some common mistakes that av businesses make with their websites and to make sure to avoid them.
We put together a list of the most common website mistakes you should avoid in 2023. Things change fast in web design, it’s a lot of work to keep track of what’s hot and what’s not, and you have a business to run. So let’s dive into the most significant “DON’TS” for your AV Business website.
- Unclear Message
- Not Optimized For Mobile
- “I Only Work On Referrals”
- Relying on Your Brand Page.
Every website has a purpose. For example, your business website serves to promote your brand and help you build a profitable business. Because of this, the purpose of your website needs to be conveyed clearly to visitors.
Your message is conveyed through design just as much as it’s expressed through the text of your website. The two complement each other, and the design should highlight the message.
For example, If your customer is a typical middle-class homeowner, your website should reflect that with images and content that appeal to them. On the other hand, if your average client is wealthy, your website should also reflect that. So use images and content that will speak to your average customer directly. A great practice is to spend time thinking about the different brands your “perfect buyer persona” uses daily, going to those brand websites. You’ll find they look very similar. Companies like Mercedes, Rolex, BMW, and Gucci spend hundreds of thousands of dollars determining what makes their customer tick and, more importantly, buy. The great news is you can benefit from their work. But you need to know “who” your customer is. I suggest spending some time creating a “Buyer Persona”. We have a detailed buyer persona article right here.
NOT OPTIMIZED FOR MOBILE
As of late 2022, over half of the global web traffic came from mobile devices. In mobile-first markets, that share is even larger. This means that more people are likely to visit your website on their phones than on their computers. It’s common for us to see +90% of traffic visiting a website from mobile devices.
Responsive design is a design that adjusts to various screen sizes. It means designing website pages in several viewports so that the appropriate one is displayed according to the device it’s viewed on. Today, responsive design is a must, so if you forgot to take care of it when designing your website, make sure to do so right away.
Pay particular attention to your mobile menu. For example, your website’s mobile version may include a menu inappropriate for smaller screens.
Remember: if your website is not responsive, you should shut it down. It’s really hurting more than it’s helping.
“I ONLY WORK ON REFERRALS”
It’s great that you’re getting referrals. You’re obviously doing great work. Some integrators don’t want to grow their business beyond it’s current workload. They’re happy with the number of projects they have, and that’s ok!
But, if you want to work “on” your business instead of “in” your business, this section is for you. For referrals to truly be effective, you need multiple sources of reliable people working on your behalf(builders, architects, etc.) consistently sending you referrals every week, month, or year to build a business based 100% on referrals.
“I don’t get business from my current website”.
Our response is, “Ok, but do you have any idea how much revenue a lackluster website may be costing you? Do you have any data showing how many people visited your website without contacting you?”.
Those folks are potential customers who’ve decided not to do business with you based on your website, and you’re not even aware it happened.
Since your existing website doesn’t generate revenue, you ignore it. In reality, your approach should be the exact opposite. At Pixel Vault, 100% of our clients generate revenue from their websites. Some more, some less, but EVERY client generates revenue. If yours isn’t generating revenue, 2023 is the time to do something about it.
YOUR BRAND PAGE
Building brand pages on websites in hopes of gaining a client is generally an exercise in futility. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no problem with a “Brands We Carry” page. However, the expectation that a potential customer will visit your “brands” page and that page will seal the deal simply isn’t a reality.
The problem comes from expecting your potential customers to recognize most of the brands you carry. Of course, they’ll know the big TV brands. But the vast majority of brands custom integrators use are not household names. Names like Crestron, Control4, and Savant are a mystery to your average customer. Even well-known speaker brands like Monitor Audio, Kef, Triad, and Paradigm are household names in your house, but most of your customers have never heard of them. Your website visitors spend significantly more time on your ABOUT page because they’re doing business with you. They want to know they can trust you. As the old saying goes, “they’re buying you, not boxes.”
A PORTFOLIO PAGE THAT DOESN’T WORK
One of the most significant benefits of an AV business website is how easily your work lends itself to great pictures. In addition, you often install the latest in home technology in beautiful, impeccably decorated homes.
Potential customers want to see your work when they visit your website. So if you don’t have a portfolio page, or it’s collecting dust, make a concerted effort in 2023 to clean it, freshen it, and show off your skills!
Don’t let perfect get in the way of good enough. You’ll often hear integrators talk about their plans for a professional photo shoot. Unfortunately, it never happens for most integrators, and you move on to the next project. Your mobile phone can take incredible photos. Could you take advantage of it? It’s already in your pocket. Your potential customers don’t expect professional photos on your portfolio page. They understand they’re “job site” photos. They want to see the quality of your work, and the more portfolio images you have, the more comfortable they are doing business with you. So get serious about building your portfolio page this year, I guarantee it will pay dividends!
IT’S NOT FIELD OF DREAMS.
“If you build it, they will come” that might have worked in the movie, but it doesn’t work with your website. Instead, we prefer to think of your website as a pet. Like a pet, your website needs to be cared for regularly. If you don’t feed it, it will most certainly die. So let’s think about how your website and Google work together.
As a business, Google wants to provide fresh, relevant content to people looking for your products or services. If they consistently show lousy search results, people will look for alternatives to Google.
If the content on your website needs to be updated, Google is less likely to show your website to potential customers because they prefer fresh content over stale content. So, the next logical question is, “When was the last time I added content to my site, and how does Google know?”. Google knows because they crawl every website on the planet every four days. Some busier sites get crawled more often. I’ve personally worked with sites that get crawled every day. In short, when you make changes, updates, add images, etc., to your website, Google knows it in short order. When you regularly add new content to your site, Google assumes that you want to be part of the conversation. Over time, you’ll move up in the organic rankings. What’s more, if you’re in an area where your competitors are doing nothing to make Google happy, it can be a massive win for you.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Your website should be connected with the other tools you’re using for your business. Your form submissions should be delivered to your inbox and your email campaign provider (i.e.- Mailchimp, Constant Contact, etc.) Your website should also be connected to Google Analytics, Googe My Business, Google Search Console, Bing, and more. How about Quickbooks, Salesforce, Zoho, or more? Yep, all of that.
Like home automation, all these tools should work seamlessly together to create a system that sets you apart from your competitors.
LET’S WRAP IT UP.
There are a lot of things that determine the success of your business website. Design, speed, security, and fresh content, to name a few. While getting referrals is great business, referrals are often not something you can count on day in, day out. What makes matters worse, times are changing, and consumers trust Google Reviews more than recommendations from friends and family.
Our recommendation, make 2023 the year you actively pursue a better website. A website that generates revenue and never sleeps. That’s a powerful combination for an AV business that wants to grow.
There’s no doubt this year will bring new and exciting things in web design and home automation. But it’s also essential to think about practical things, which is why it’s a good idea to keep these common website mistakes in mind and avoid them.