Home Inspection Website
A Home Inspection Website Is Essential In Going Direct To The Public For Inspections
Here are some stats: 97% of consumers actively look for products and services online; 80% of searchers research online before purchasing within a 10 to 20 mile radius.
And sadly about half of all U.S. and Canadian small businesses don’t have websites.
Three Reasons to Have a Great Converting Website
The first reason to have a great home inspection website is so that you can get business directly from the public.
Coach William agrees. “A lot of inspectors are marketing strictly to real estate agents and overlook the opportunities to go to the public. Going to the public is the direction that everybody needs to be heading in, because there are fewer and fewer agents in the offices.
“Millennials are looking online, and that’s going to continue. You’ve got to have a good presence online. It’s shocking, the number of inspectors who don’t—or what they do have is stagnant.”
The second reason you need a great website is, after receiving your name from the referral sources, 78% of home buyers will look up your brand.
Coach William explains. “Inspectors used to say, ‘I’m not worried about my online presence because all of my referrals come from agents.’ That was cool when agents referred one inspector they knew, liked, and trusted. They’ve been trained now to protect themselves from liability, so now it’s at least three names on that list. The consumer thinks they must all be equal, good enough for the agent. So now the decision on which home inspector to chose becomes more about price.”
“They’re going straight to Google, punching in your company name to see what comes up. If you don’t have a killer good presence online that convinces them they should use you over the other inspectors, the cheapest Charlie will get the job. I don’t care if we’re talking $20; price is the deciding factor.”
“There are several different ways to differentiate yourself, to back up the fact that we’re $75 higher than everybody else. You can only do that through your home inspection website.”
The fantastic news is, if you have the website set up correctly, they will choose you. In this case price becomes a secondary issue.
Let’s think about what homebuyers want from the home inspector. They want you to be so thorough and effective that you don’t let them get stuck buying the money pit. We’ll show you some techniques today that you can use that will allow that to happen.
The third reason to have a great home inspection website is to continue to build your brand. You only get one chance to make a great first impression. If your website is all about you, with nothing about the customer, they don’t feel too good about that. Your website should be so awesome, engaging, and effective that the homebuyer convinces themselves that you’re the person to protect them from buying the money pit.
Using Home Inspection Website Templates
Let’s talk about home inspection website templates, the pros and cons.
First, let’s talk about the pros. They’re inexpensive.
There are two types of search engine optimization, or SEO. One is on-page and one is off-page. On-page means the way the pages and the site are structured. Many home inspection website templates have good on-page SEO built into them.
But here are the cons: They don’t generally come with content. I know a lot of you guys are super-fantastic home inspectors, but I don’t know too many of them who are great copywriters.
Google has said, “We want your content to be completely relevant,” so if you’re offering pool and spa services, then you need to write compelling, keyword-rich content for that service. And it needs to be structured in a certain way. If you’re not a great copywriter, then your website doesn’t look that great, and it doesn’t rank.
Or it doesn’t convert visitors into paying customers, even though it ranks well. The home inspection website template gets you closer to the top of page one on Google and somebody clicks on it, but when they see the content, they can’t understand what’s in it for them to choose you. They don’t become paying customers. Within three seconds, they back-browser you and go look at somebody else’s site.
I’m not a big fan of the home inspection website templates. I think what attracts inspectors, especially newer home inspectors, is they’re inexpensive. That’s the draw.
Coach William agrees. When you’re new, he says, “you’ve got to watch what you’re spending and where you’re spending it, so I totally understand it. It’s sad that we think we’re doing ourselves a great favor, and really it’s a disservice.”
“It’s sad that we think we’re doing ourselves a great favor, and really it’s a disservice.”
Converting Homebuyers into Paying Customers
“Your home inspection website has got to be able to convert visitors into paying customers,” Coach William says. “My team came to me about our website, thinking that we needed to change it to look more like some of our competitors’, because they’ve got fancy bells and whistles. I don’t care if it’s the ugliest website you can find. If people who click there continue to Book Now, that’s the site I want.”
Lots of people schedule their inspections on Coach William’s website every month without ever talking to his schedulers. “Most of it’s agent-driven, because our name was on that approved vendor list. They’re just doing their due diligence and researching home inspectors online. Even though we are higher-priced than most of our competitors, we still get a ton of work from that website, and that’s the bottom line.”
“My crew are looking at these other home inspection websites and saying, ‘You can get this information from this guy’s site that you don’t offer, and all these bells and whistles, and places you can go…’ Visually, it may look better, but there may be a ton of unnecessary information that’s not honed around getting them to click that button.
“If your website doesn’t convert visitors into paying customers, it’s a waste of your time and money.”
The Danger of Letting Visitors Leak Off Your Site
One of the cardinal sins is have links where someone can leave your site and go somewhere else.
We call visitors to a website “traffic.” You’ve worked hard to get traffic to your home inspection website. Why would you have a link that would let them leak off somewhere else?
Here’s how it works. Mom and Dad put a contract on the home of their dreams. Then Dad has to go out of town on a business trip, so Mom has to get the home inspection booked. After a hard day’s work, she picks up the kids and comes home and gets online. She starts reading Home Inspector A’s website. He has a lot of good information—links where she can go here, she can go there… She’s loving all this information, and then little Susie runs in and says, “Mom, we’ve got to be at soccer practice in twenty minutes.”
Mom closes out that website without taking the action you want her to take which is book the inspection. You think she’s ever going to come back? Never. Home Inspector A loses.
The Nine Elements Of A Converting Home Inspection Website
We’ve learned that there are nine elements that a home inspection website needs to have, to allow a home buyer to convince themselves that you’re right for them.
At The Savvy Inspector, we have tested these nine elements, which we call the secret sauce. We put them in the right order. We take visitors down a particular path. The only options they have when they’re finished is to book their inspection or get their butt off the website. That’s it. We don’t let them leak off anywhere.
All you want is for them to book their inspection. That’s your website’s job, to be your best salesperson, 24/7. No vacations, no sick days. You want your website out there selling like a son of a gun, day in and day out. Home inspectors say, “That doesn’t look good as the other one I saw,” but does that other one convert visitors into paying customers?
Coach William agrees. “The aesthetics are important, but sometimes it’s just that there’s more information there. There’s something about Hardie board siding, and maybe the home that buyer is looking for Hardie board siding, so they click on that and start reading about Hardie board siding, and from there you’ve got a link that goes to the manufacturer or something. The first thing you know, they’ve lost focus about why they were there in the first place—to book a home inspection.
He admits, “I was guilty of that in the beginning, when I set my own home inspection website, before I turned it over to The Savvy Inspector. I was always dumping in more info, because I thought the more I provided, the better off I was, not realizing I was breaking the thought process of ‘Book that inspection!’”
We’re talking today about your home inspection website, your sales website. This website is meant for no one but home buyers—not realtors, not prior clients, not lenders, not influencers in your community.
However, you do have a much larger target audience than just home buyers. To deal with that, we connect a blog to your sales website. We drive prior clients, real estate agents, lenders and mortgage brokers, influencers in your community, friends and family to that blog. All that information Coach William was talking about—Hardie board, electrical—that’s all on your blog because it serves a much larger target audience than your home inspection sales website.
What Makes a Home Inspection Website Great
There are two things that make a home inspection website great: It converts visitors into paying customers, and it works on mobile devices.
When you find a home inspection website that isn’t mobile-friendly, Coach William says, “you click right back off. There are too many sites out there that are mobile-friendly to waste your time.”
And you lose. You can lose really big with millennials.
Nobody buys anything until they understand what’s in it for them. Home buyers have to understand what’s in it for them before they select you as their home inspector.
The content of your home inspection website has to do two things. It has to establish you as the obvious expert in your marketplace, and it has to build “know me, like me, trust me” with the homebuyer.
Coach William says, “The very first thing I love about the site that The Savvy Inspector has gotten together for us is, when they click on the home page, it answers the question that’s on their minds: Why should they choose you over somebody else? You ask that question right on your site and then answer it for them. That is a killer strategy. Why beat around the bush?”
Using Videos, Images, and Reviews On Your Home Inspection Website
Using videos on the website helps you build expertise and “know me, like me, trust me.”
“Video becomes more and more powerful all the time,” Coach William says. “It’s underutilized by inspectors. That’s a missed opportunity, because it definitely does establish you as the expert.”
Coach William and I did a whole webinar on videos. It’ll be on the homepage of our website. We detailed why videos are the home inspector’s secret weapon.
Coach William suggests, “You build that ‘know me, like me, trust me,’ with videos or endorsements—anything that establishes you as the expert, as someone that they trust. All that’s critical. Keep the fluff on the blog, and stay focused on why they landed on your site in the first place.” The fluff is meant for a different target audience. You’re in sales mode here.
He cites another important element: “Having the business owner’s picture on the website. Smiling face, right by the guarantee section. We make you a no-nonsense, no-weasel-words guarantee.”
Consumers don’t want to do business with nameless, faceless corporations.
Coach William offers one caution. “I have a local competitor who probably shouldn’t have his picture on his home inspection website, because you’d wonder, ‘Is he physically fit enough to pull this off?’ But I agree, he needs to have a smiling face. He should have done a head shot.”
Another element on a website is reviews. They build “know me, like me, trust me,” and establish expertise. Coach William has tons of reviews for his firm.
Coach William has another suggestion. “If you’re a member of the BBB, that emblem—where they can click and see those reviews—carries a lot of weight. One of the beautiful things about our site is, wherever you go on the site, the endorsements run down the side of the page, and there are a ton of them. It really drives home that you’ve got experience. There’s nothing more powerful than having a past client stand up and brag about you.
“You can brag about yourself all day long and you’ll sound like a salesman, but if clients make those kind of comments, that carries a lot of validity and weight.”
We did a webinar on reputation marketing. You’ll see it on the homepage of our The Savvy Inspector website as well. It’s one of the most important things in converting visitors into paying customers. When The savvy Inspector handles our clients’ online marketing, we stream reviews from social sites across the Internet, so the reviews will say they came from Foursquare, with the date, or they came from Google, with the date. They can see that they’re fresh reviews. We only stream four- and five-star reviews. Our system doesn’t allow anything less than a four-star review to stream on our clients websites, but I think that adds a tremendous amount of credibility.
“The reviews need to be fresh,” Coach William agrees. “Having a nice little system in place to keep those reviews collected and current is important.”
There are a lot more strategies and techniques. For example, the picture of a happy family carrying boxes into a home is in a strategic place. That conveys that they had an inspection done, and they were very happy; they’re moving in.
We test all kinds of subtle techniques to make sure that the home inspection website does those two things, establishes you as the obvious expert and builds “know me, like me, trust me” with visitors.
Things You Shouldn’t Do On A Home Inspection Website
Coach William says that if your website is all about you, it isn’t going to convert. “A lot of people think that way—all my credentials, all my certifications, have all that plastered on there. There’s a place for that, but that’s not the reason those folks are landing there.”
If the website is all about you, it isn’t going to convert visitors into paying customers.
We were looking at some home inspectors websites recently, at the first fold—what you see on your screen when you first open the website, without scrolling down. Within the first fold of one, I couldn’t find the inspectors phone number. There was no phone number in the first fold.
There were all kinds of links and educational credentials. They’re important as you go along in the sales process, but not in the beginning. In the first five seconds, the homebuyer has to understand what’s in it for them by using your firm. Otherwise they back-browser you. They’re busy. You have to have a website that catches them immediately.
Now More Than Ever Your Home Inspection Website Has To Be Mobile Friendly
Let’s look at mobile: 95% of Smartphone users have searched for local information. That’s huge. Here’s what’s really even better for us: One-third of all searches for local business are now made on a mobile device. If your website is not mobile-friendly, you’re in serious trouble. 60% of users call a business or visit the location after searching. That is huge. 70% of those people take action within one hour of their search.
Millennials are 18 to 34 years old. We baby boomers are dying off and they’re going strong.
Coach William points out, “Millennials make up the largest part of our buying population right now. At our last workshop, one of our members made the comment that ‘you have to be where their eyes are.’ And where are their eyes? On that mobile device. If you don’t have a strong presence there, you’re missing a huge opportunity.”
We’re going to talk another day about the use of Smartphones and Instagram. As a home inspector, you are video and picture-driven. You can send videos or pictures to Instagram, so if you build an account and get an audience following you, you’ve got a lot of built-in material. Instagram makes good backlinks for your SEO campaigns. I don’t see Snapchat working for home inspectors, but Instagram is a good way to do it.
Years ago, I said to our coaching clients that the grip of real estate agents on home buyers was going to slip, and that when homebuyers decide they don’t want to get their home inspector from the real estate agent anymore, how are they going to find us?
In the old days, they’d have gone to the yellow pages. That’s not the way the world works today. Your online presence has replaced the yellow pages. It’s the future of lead generation for the home inspection industry. If you’re not getting business from the Internet, you’re going to be in trouble. You’re going to be a dinosaur.
Coach William agrees. “Got to stay up with the times. This is huge for us. It’s definitely here to stay.”
A lot of home inspectors today are older men. It’s a second or third career for them, and generally they aren’t Internet-savvy. If I were a younger home inspector, I would take advantage of all this stuff, fast.
Your Home Inspection Website Helps You Get More Referral Sources
We have a client who’s a part-time home inspector. He’s got a great job and he’s going to go full time in March or April. I talked to him about the Internet and how he could leverage that to get business from home buyers.
When he gets a home buyer inspection, they bring the buyer’s agent. I taught him to say, “We haven’t worked together before. Are you a little nervous about what we’re going to do here today?”
The agent says, “Absolutely.”
Then he says, “I’m going to be thorough, so that you don’t get callbacks because I missed something. But I’m also going to communicate my inspection findings in a neutral, non-scary manner. How does that sound?”
The agent says, “That sounds great.”
Then I have him say, “Here’s what I’d like to ask. At the end of the inspection, when the client’s not around, I’m going to ask you, did I live up to my commitment? If you say yes, what I’d like you to do is have you put me on your approved-vendor list.”
At the end of the inspection, he asks the agent. The agent says, “Absolutely, you’re a breath of fresh air. You did a great job and you weren’t scary.” Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do? This is how you get agents.
We had a client in Texas who did the same thing. Google AdWords brought the home buyer to him, and the home buyer showed up with the buyer’s agent. He did this exact same thing. It’s a great opportunity to leverage the Internet to get new agents.
It’s Not About The Investment, It’s About Your Return on Your Investment
Coach William and I would not be investing our time in this discussion about home inspection websites if it wasn’t critical to your success. We know the home inspection website template maybe isn’t the best thing. I understand the money thing, but I’m going to show you something.
What does a home inspection website cost? We always say it’s not about the investment, it’s about the return. Sometimes people just look at the investment and say, “I can’t afford it,” but we have to do a bit of math here.
Let’s say that your average inspection fee is $350, and your expense ratio is 30%. In other words, 30% goes to pay your expenses—your truck, tools, insurance, salaries, whatever. If you book five inspections a month with the help of a converting website, you add $1,225 to your bottom line; if you do ten inspections, you add $2,450 in pre-tax profit to the bottom line.
We don’t sell websites that cost $1,225 or $2,450. In one month, you’ve got your money back.
If you get $1,000 a month in pre-tax profits, and there are twelve months, you’ve made $12,000 additional from your website. And those are just the ones booked by your website. How about the ones who looked at your home inspection website, said, “This is the company for me,” and call you on the phone?
For less than $1,000 people can do that. This really pays. That’s a good thing.
The Savvy Inspector Is A Home Inspection Website Specialist
The Savvy Inspector builds high-converting websites exclusively for home inspectors. A lot of companies will build a home inspector website, but they don’t know anything about home inspectors or home inspection. They don’t have any idea how a home inspector gets business. They don’t have any idea about real estate agents or what consumers want from the home inspector.
The Savvy Inspector builds high-converting websites exclusively for home inspectors.
“It’s a niche,” Coach William agrees. “It’s not something you would turn over to an advertising agency that handles many different kinds of businesses. We’re a little bit unique, a little bit different. I get that if you’re a termite pest company, maybe going to the public with billboards is a great thing, but for home inspectors, what a waste of big money! Our money has a bigger return in this niche, getting our information into the hands of folks who are looking for us or can refer us.”
The big website builders usually look for aesthetics instead of conversion. They don’t know anything about home inspection sales. They build a website that looks nice, but they don’t know what the nine elements are. They’ve never tested them. They have no idea if the site will convert visitors into paying customers. Some of them don’t even look that nice.
We don’t do websites for retail stores because we’d have to figure out how they get business. Our writers wouldn’t know what to write about a retail store. But they know home inspections. They know the services home inspectors provide.
And our websites work great on mobile devices.
Keeping Up With Changes In Home Inspection Websites
A strategy that we’re using on Coach William’s website is the use of FAQ and SAQ (should have asked questions) videos and videos about the products they sell.
“Video is so powerful,” Coach William says. “Any way that we can utilize them to get our message across is a big step in the right direction. Google’s made some changes where they are ranking pages of your site versus the site as a whole. It makes perfect sense to do that.
“Pirating is part of the reason. Say I go out and start a heating and air company website, and I get all these hits, then I go to heating and air companies and try to sell them those leads. I can see why Google doesn’t like that. Google wants you to punch in a name and find the product you’re looking for, the brand you’re looking for.
“So,” he says, “we’re trying to do SEO on pages for the services that make you money, to add video and what-have-you for those particular pages—for radon, mold, termites, whatever your services are. I’m pretty excited about that. I’m looking to see a huge jump in our rankings because of that. Other marketing companies or website designers are not going to think that way. It would be different if we sold only one product, but we have a lot of services to offer and we want each one of those to rank.
“Being able to diversify your income is so important. If home inspections are all you do and the market tanks, what are you going to do? We’ve got to have other ways to offset that income. I’ve really got some high expectations here.”
“We’re trying to do SEO on pages for the services that make you money—for radon, mold, termites. Being able to diversify your income is so important.”
Our writers are already working on it. We’re constantly innovating on behalf of our clients.
We’re in the home inspection industry. I owned a very large home inspection company, built from scratch. We had thirteen home inspectors going full time, and five schedulers plus support staff. We know the industry, so when we do these FAQ or SAQ videos, they see someone ask Coach William a question, and he answers it. That technique establishes him as the expert and builds “know me, like me, trust me” right on his website.
Coach William can become more personal to his target audience. Nobody wants to do business with a faceless nameless corporation. You can’t sit in front of somebody and convince them. You’re on a computer screen. Let your website do the heavy lifting. We do the work once and you benefit over and over. We have all the services listed on different pages, then we have them linked back and forth.
You can’t trust this important business-building strategy to somebody who doesn’t get it, who’s going to build a pretty website that doesn’t convert visitors into paying customers.
Reputation is critical. Your website is critical. Video marketing is critical.
Keeping Up with Changes in the Real Estate Industry
I said to Coach William the other day, “You’re getting all this business from real estate agents. When real estate agents go away in their current form, what happens? How are you going to replace the home inspections you got from them?”
Going directly to the public, online, is the way it’s going to happen.
Some of you are saying, “Real estate agents aren’t going away.” But if you go in and do marketing in offices, how many agents are there?
“Same story here,” Coach William says about his territories of Kentucky and Indiana. “Years ago, when Ken said that agents were going to disappear, I laughed. I said, ‘That might be true in some areas, but that’s not going to happen in my area.’ Of course, he was right, and I’m living that experience as we speak.
“Now, if you’re selling your own home, you can go right to Zillow and list it, no MLS required, no agent required. The listing agent has now got to think, ‘How am I going to replace my income when folks start doing that?’”
He adds, “I think agents will always be involved, for legality, for reducing risk, those kinds of things, but I think it will be more à la carte, especially among millennials.
“Millennials are the smartest, most educated generation we’ve ever had, and the most technical. If it can be done online or on a Smartphone, these folks know how to do it. When it comes to saving a buck, like the commission for a real estate agent, you bet they’re going to move in that direction.”
The premier real estate industry publication reported a couple of months ago that now home sellers can list their homes on the MLS for free. Today, you can find any home you want on the Internet. So why do you need a buyer’s agent?
How about the virtual brokers—Zillow, Trulia, Red Fin, Zip? The real estate brokers who own a brick-and-mortar business are saying, “Those guys are killing us in profitability, we need to go more virtual. We need to dump this building, the copy machine, all these other things.” That’s what Zip Realty did; now they rent some conference rooms around town.
There are lots of changes coming. The IRS and others are looking to see if real estate agents are really 1099 subcontractors or W-2 employees. If they’re W-2 employees, the ones who don’t produce will be gone. The brokers are not going to carry them. This means fewer agents.
Going To The Home Inspection Website Experts
There are a lot of changes afoot in the real estate market. One thing’s for certain, though: People are still going to need home inspections. The question is, how are they going to find you? It starts with a great home inspection website.
Coach William and his staff own the first ten pages of Google. When somebody gets that list from the real estate agent, and they type in Coach William’s company name, they’re reading all the things that come up. They go to page two and it’s him again. They go to page three and say, “This company is huge! These guys are good!” Reviews show up there, review videos, all kinds of things. Building your online presence today is an investment in your future.
They say, “This company is huge! These guys are good!”
Coach William agrees. “We ask clients, ‘How did you find us?’ Nine times out of ten, it’s by our home inspection website. Even though the original referral came from an agent or lender or previous client, they still punch you in online and check you out. If you’re not able to close that sale right there, they’re on to the next name on the list.”
Look at your website. See it as a client would. If you can’t understand what’s in it for you, in the first five seconds, you should probably give The Savvy Inspector a shout. Under this video on our website, there will be a link to set up an appointment to speak with one of our folks. No pressure—they’ll talk with you, look at your site, talk about issues that we’re concerned with. The consultation is completely free. Speak with one of our folks, and make an informed decision, so that you can get on the road to getting business directly from the public.