The Internet has become a primary resource for consumers considering home improvements. If you don't have a Web site, consumers can't find you. Furthermore, for that Web site to generate leads, it must be visible to search engines such as Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc. That's why you need to know about search engine optimization, or SEO. You should also know that you can balance your Internet marketing dollars spent to match your Web site traffic.

NOT OPTIONAL Most of us don't know how to use this incredibly efficient marketing tool. Yet, ignoring the impact of the Internet can be catastrophic.

A well-designed Web site is no longer just an option. Consumers expect you to have one and are suspicious if you don't. At the minimum, according to Ron Sherman, of Ron Sherman Advertising, in Little Rock, Ark., your Web site should:

  • Have complete and accurate information about the products and services you offer;
  • Highlight your company's information with easy navigation;
  • Include testimonials that build credibility and trust in your company.

Sherman also suggests investing in video, which is increasingly popular on Web sites due to the spread of broadband.
WHERE ARE YOU? Elaine Manganello, of online lead generator eLeads Technology, points out that companies with outdated or poorly constructed Web sites “have little to no chance of generating viable leads. For search engines to find you, they first have to see you.”

For home improvement companies, appearing on page one of a search engine's organic listings is an ever-changing formula involving keywords. Master it and you're on your way to good, cost-effective leads.

“Your Web site must be easy to use and find locally,” advises Michael Stone of online marketing firm Wpromote, who also suggests simplifying landing pages to aid lead generation.

More prospects are going to the Internet for information every day. Are you ready for them?

—Chuck Anton is a sales and marketing consultant who specializes in the home improvement industry. You can reach him at