Construction is a large umbrella ranging from handyman projects to large, multi-funded developments. Some contractors are all tools and skill while others are masters of management and leverage. Fitting all of this under the single category of e-commerce is futile. To truly create a web presence, you need to know your marketing voice and develop your site around the things that drive your audience.
Expert Driven Design
Some people are selling themselves as experts in their industry. For this central marketing message, a blog may be the best. Blogs tend to be written in first or second person, using “me” and “you,” which automatically develops a bond between the writer and the audience. They are usually descriptive, telling the reader how and why something should be done. Take a look at the Amway blog as a good example of a business blog concentrating on industry expertise. Inc Magazine has some good tips for creating content for a great business blog as well.
The Supply Chain Site
In manufacturing, the supply chain is extremely important. The supply chain is the total process from inception to customer care, including suppliers, marketers and the title company that assists in closing. In construction, this is project management and some e-commerce sites use its unique issues as the driving message. An e-commerce supply chain site will be broken down into specific topics of project management. One section may have a supplier and a shopping cart for these items. Another section would have human resource information and your services listed. The idea is that the website will guide a user through the entire breadth of project development.
Product as the Traditional E-Commerce Website
When most people think of e-commerce, they think of Amazon with its departments and lists of item after item. If you are selling products, the traditional e-commerce rules apply. Your site needs to have an easily identifiable navigation bar and solid search functions. The images need to be clear and sharp, being part of a good preview system. Your descriptions should be both poetic and specific, enumerating the product specs in bulleted form. As part of a larger marketing plan, the site and every individual item needs to be easily shareable on social media.
Social Motivated Websites
Where some contractors are focused on their expertise, others are social and friendly, providing a marketing message centered on trust. In the construction industry, this is huge. A trusted contractor is worth his weight in gold. Like the expert site, the social site is content driven but here it is a dialogue instead of a monologue. It should revolve around active social media feeds that allow for a conversation format. A question and answer section will keep people on your site longer and keep them coming back, both being keys to successful e-commerce sales.
The gut reaction is to try and do everything, but the reality is that you do not have experience in every facet of the construction industry. Your specialization should be reflected on your website. As your e-commerce site is developed, some things will be added while others will be discarded. A shopping cart is only useful for selling products but generally not for services. Just make certain the website can be shared on social media since it is a good source of marketing.