A prospect arrives at your Web site. Now what? Well, either he or she quickly moves away or contact is made.

Odds are considerably better that the Web visitor will make contact if, first off, you prominently display your phone number on every page, advises Philippa Gamse, a Web marketing expert and president of CyberSpeaker. She suggests providing a variety of ways to contact your company, not just the customer contact form. For instance, one out of 10 visitors come to your site because they've forgotten your number. “It's frustrating if they can't find it,” Gamse says.

Larmco Windows, of Columbus, Ohio, places its phone number at the top of every page rather than forcing visitors to return to the home page or click the “contact us” button.

YOU CALL ME, I CALL YOU Shiner Roofing, Siding and Windows, in Fairfax, Va., uses another phone-friendly tactic: A “call me now” feature on its Web site (www.shinerroofing.com) sends the homeowner's contact information to the company. “We get quite a few hits off that,” vice president Jessica Amuso says. Live chat also is available on the site. It's used to answer customers' questions about procedures rather than for making appointments.

On the other hand, the main goal of Legacy Roofing's Web site (www.legacyroofing.com) is to get visitors to request a free roof inspection and same-day estimate, marketing and sales director Heidi Hurn says. They can do that by clicking the gold van that's on almost every page. With 60 such vehicles on the road in the eastern Seattle area, the van is a Legacy brand-builder. Hurn notes that immediate response to these enquiries is key.

WE ARE WHO WE ARE Some home improvement companies take a broader approach. Chuck Story, owner of Atlas Siding Windows & More, in Louisville, Ky., believes that the variety of products noted on his company Web site is what gets people to call, since 70% of business is repeat and referral.

Another conceptual approach is to build credibility. “Customers like to see testimonials, before-and-after photos, license numbers, associations,” says Kris McCurry, vice president of Brave New Markets, an Owings Mills, Md., consulting firm that specializes in business-to-consumer marketing. All that should be on the Web site.

Some companies — such as American Home Design, in Nashville, Tenn. — use sweepstakes and find that they work. Some aim only for a clean, professional look and easy navigation.

“We don't use discounts like ‘Make an appointment and get a storm door free.' No gimmicks,” says Scott Barr, owner and general manager of Southwest Exteriors, in San Antonio. —Diane Kittower is a freelance writer in Rockville, Md.