Michelle Doischen is associate vice president and director of marketing for Case Design, a full-service remodeling company that also operates a handyman franchise network.
REPLACEMENT CONTRACTOR: You recently revamped the Case Web site. Why?
MICHELLE DOISCHEN: Our goal was to give it more of a consumer focus. Now the site's much more information-oriented, a resource — as opposed to going on and on about our company, awards, history.
RC: What other goals did you have?
MD: We don't have a showroom and neither do our franchisees. So we see our Web site as a branding tool, as our storefront. We also wanted the site to generate leads.
RC: What percentage of Case Design leads come from the site?
MD: We're tracking about 50% to the Web site. Five years ago it was probably less than 10%. Of course, it's tricky because homeowners might have gotten a direct mail piece, seen a truck, looked at a door hanger, then gone to the Web site.
RC: How many Web prospects end up actually buying a job?
MD: Our close rate on Web leads is 20% to 25%. Overall we're at 40%, but that includes past clients and referrals, which close at 60%. If you look at our new business, close rates on Web leads fall pretty much in line with what we see overall, which is 25%.
RC: Why is it important to have a specific goal when designing or redesigning a Web site?
MD: There are so many things you could do, and if you try to do them all you end up accomplishing nothing. We wanted branding and lead generation. A branding site talks about who you are and what you do. It's not hard-sell. At the same time, there's an opportunity on every page to schedule a consultation. We wanted to make it simple for prospects to take that next step.
RC: How do costs compare for your Web leads?
MD: We're paying $90 to $100 a lead. Our Web leads cost $30.
RC: How do you create traffic?
MD: We believe in a comprehensive marketing strategy. Everything has our Web address: direct mail, leave-behinds, door hangers, trucks. As popular as it is, the Web doesn't stand alone as a marketing strategy.
RC: How often do you update your site?
MD: Updates are ongoing — we're posting new images and articles related to home improvement. We have an idea center with tips and trends. You want to make sure the content is fresh, that people return to it.