It’s fair to say that the internet has changed everything. It’s changed how we entertain ourselves. It’s changed how we buy goods and have them delivered. It’s changed how re research people and companies before we buy things. And it is this latter change that has prompted our own industry to embrace the power of online and to use it to generate leads for itself.

This has only happened in the last few years properly, and only by some companies, not all. But thinking ahead, around about a decade, how will lead generation look in 2025?

Heavy online presence

There’s no denying that the internet is only going to grow ever more powerful as time goes on. It’s certainly never leaving us now. So there’s no point in putting it off, it’s time to get online.

Some manufacturers have already understood the immense strengths of the internet and have moved to do something about it. Some have embraced the way home owners now go to the web to search and research all kinds of tings before they go ahead and make a purchase or at the very least ask someone from a company to come and talk to them about their products.

One very obvious and successful example of a company making the most of this is Solidor. They have perhaps one of the most effective lead generating websites in the industry right now. Home owners that find their way on to the Solidor website can design their own door, play around with colours, glass options, hardware ranges etc. Then, once they’re happy with the design, they send that door spec, and their contact details to Solidor, where they will be then pointed in the direction of their nearest approved installer. The installer is then sent the details of the door that needs to be priced, along with the contact details of the home owner. It’s simple, as it’s very effective. We regularly get leads from them at our places, and many of them turn into order.

This sort of thing is only going to grow in the years ahead. The internet has allowed home owners to access a wealth of information and reviews, and will increasingly find themselves landing on manufacturer’s websites as well as installers. So there’s no point in wasting that precious time spent. Suppliers need to make sure their website is set up in such a way as to create leads for their installers. It would be a waste if a home owner left a supplier’s website without signalling at least some form of interest in their products and how to find out more about them.

Installer websites

Whilst the websites of manufacturers and suppliers will play an ever increasingly important role, websites of installers will also have to be part of the picture.

I find it very frustrating that some companies still don’t have a company website in 2015. With just about everyone in the UK using the internet to find what they’re looking for, it’s almost criminal that some companies are not part of the online world.

There will be some that say there are some companies doing just fine without one, and that local reputation is giving them enough business. Fine. But that situation won’t stay around forever. Those businesses around them that are proactive and aggressive will use the internet to increase their own market share in their local areas, grinding away at other businesses that haven’t moved with the times.

And the websites will have to be good. Access to companies that create responsive and quality websites is getting easier and cheaper. There really won’t be much of an excuse to have a poor window and door website in ten years time.

What about traditional lead generation?

The internet won’t kill off every other form of lead generation. It’s impossible. For example, people will still use recommendations and word of mouth to know which window and door company to use. It is this personal and very important interaction that will remain important to many businesses. A good local reputation will always remain a vital factor in the success of any business.

So what about things like the Yellow Pages, BT Phonebook and Thomson Local? They’re almost defunct now, so in ten years time I suspect that at least one of these may cease to exist, if not sooner. People just simply do not use this archaic way to find a company. Even the silver surfer generation seems to have ditched them in favour of a phone. They’re expensive too. The YP especially. I just can’t justify spending any money on these services any more when a world of free marketing lies at the end of a few mouse clicks.

One medium bucking the trend at the moment however are local booklet companies. We have quite a few around these parts and home owners seem to like them, with plenty keeping them and using them as a quick reference. I think it’s the “local” feel about them. They’re not bulky, they’re free through your letter box, and the better quality ones seem to stay on people’s coffee tables. Whether this will be the same in a decades time, we’ll have to wait and see.

The future lies online

In the end though, it is the internet that will be driving lead generation for our industry for the foreseeable future. It’s endless information, reviews, links, social media etc make it so much more powerful than any other medium. More so that TV, radio, print and anything else in between.

Companies of all kinds, fabricators, syscos, installers, all have to make the most of it. All websites will need to be geared up to generate leads for customers further down the supply chain. There will be an increase in approved installer schemes and networks to facilitate the generation of these leads. It may actually result in the supply chain looking more organised and easier to understand for home owners.

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