Haley says he feels the website is a good supplement to what he does. "It gives someone a very informal way to check me out," he says. "Pretty much they've already seen our work."
Swederski Concrete Construction Inc., Spring Grove, Ill., created its first website in 2002. The company's newest site (www.swederski.com) has been up and running for half a year. Joe Swederski, vice president and contracts manager for Swederski Concrete, says the user-friendly website targets a diverse audience including general contractors, architects, engineers and other customers.
"We wanted to show our customers that we are an established concrete company and what services we offer," Swederski says. He says the company specifically wanted to use the site to show its expertise in concrete parking lots.
Swederski says the site has been a helpful marketing tool to the company. "When customers jump to our website they see some of the larger projects that we've done, and they are a little more apt to use us," he says.
The site has only generated one inquiry call for the company, but Swederski isn't discouraged. "A lot of our work comes from referral, and when a company doesn't know much about us I'll say 'Hey, go to our website.'"
What a company does and what it specializes in is key information for a good concrete contractor website, Swederski says. "In concrete there's so many different elements. Explain to the customer what you actually do," he says. Your location and service areas should also be included on the site, he adds.
Schmitz Ready Mix, Inc., Milwaukee, found a way to market its company and take the hassle out of finding a contractor. The company created the Schmitzmix Concrete Connection program, which links homeowners to concrete contractors. A homeowner contacts Schmitz Ready Mix, either via its website or telephone. Schmitz Ready Mix then utilizes a database to identify up to three contractors who work in the area and perform the services the homeowner is looking for. So far 49 contractors have joined the program, and the company is looking to add more.
Terry Estes, vice president, says a third-party consumer survey conducted in late 2005 sparked the idea for the creation of the program.
Although the program was designed and completed in late 2006, the advertising campaign was rolled out in early 2007. Advertising consisted of radio, television, print magazine and electronic billboard ads. "All these mediums were very good for name recognition in the program start up," Estes says.
Since the program is still relatively new, Estes says his company is slowly but surely adding more contractors to the program. "Although we do not require that contractors in the referral service use us, we certainly would like them to," he says. And even though using Schmitz Ready Mix isn't a requirement of the program, Estes says that contractors who join the program in effect become a client of the company.
The Schmitzmix Concrete Connection program focuses on serving Southeast Wisconsin residents and contractors. For other companies or contractors who might be interested in starting their own program similar to the Schmitzmix Concrete Connection, Estes has some suggestions. "Do your homework, and do your cost projections," he says. "There is considerable expense involved in initially starting it up and making a commitment to publicize the program." Estes says having an individual who can manage activities on a day-to-day basis is another key program aspect.
Estes says he is pleased with the success of the program so far. "At this early stage we feel it has merit, and we are tweaking it all the time. We're very happy with the way it has performed," he says.
The Schmitzmix Concrete Connection program benefits homeowners, contractors as well as Schmitz Ready Mix. It gives the company a chance to increase participation in the market and gain additional name recognition.