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You Want Me to BLOG?!…

3156791845_60d9424dcbWhat’s a BLOG?…

Well, right now you’re looking at MY blog, the Chem-Dry Digital Minute blog. And, obviously, it has a very specific purpose – to help you learn how to become better digital marketers for your Chem-Dry franchise. The internet is literally full of blogs, and more are being created every day.

The most successful blogs have consistently posted content that centers on a specific(-ish) topic. You’ve probably heard about “mommy bloggers,” tech blogs, and even beauty blogs. There’s no end in sight. Anybody can post anything to the internet and become an author. So, why should you? You’re just a carpet cleaner, right?

WRONG!

You have interesting things to share with the world! You own a franchise of the world’s best carpet cleaner! You clean for peoples’ health! Your technicians are unique, and you know they have crazy stories to tell (with good judgement and discretion, of course)! There’s so much you can contribute.

And, guess what?! Posting these things regularly to a business blog associated with your website help to keep your company relevant in King Google’s eyes, which means you’ll be ranking higher when carpet cleaning is “googled.”

Writing these entries doesn’t have to be time-consuming or any kind of big production, so long as you are posting relevant, meaningful content. Show your personality, congratulate/brag about your technicians,  and enjoy writing. Do it regularly (at least monthly, but not more than weekly), and take pride in it. It’s a great opportunity to give your franchise a voice.

How Do I Make a Blog?

It’s really pretty easy. If you have a microsite from Web Marketing Services or even a “.net” site (all of you have one of those), you can access the editing platform through the Chem-Dry Gateway.

Here are the first steps and where you’ll go to get it done:

Step 1: Log in to the Chem-Dry gateway, and click on “Webmaster.”

Creating a Blog Step 1

Step 2: On the next screen, you’ll click on “Control Panel.”

Creating a Blog Step 2

Step 3: Select the website you’d like to edit. Every website you have from HRI will be listed here, whether it’s a “.net” site or a microsite with Web Marketing Services. Look at the red circled areas.

Creating a Blog Step 3

Step 4: You’ll be brought into a program called “Pagelime” that will give you options to edit your site. Click on “Site Pages” to view all the pages that currently exist on your website.

Creating a Blog Step 4

Step 5: Click on “create new page” to make a new page on the website.Creating a Blog Step 5

Step 6: Name your new page. Because, from a programming perspective, you’re creating a new file on the website, you’ll end the page name with “.php”. You’ll also be given a list of templates to choose from. These are, essentially, the format and appearance that your blog will have when it’s created.
Creating a Blog Step 6

Step 7: After you’ve clicked on “Create,” you’ll view your live page. Click on the “edit” button to change up the text and titles of your entry. That will at least get you started with your blog.Creating a Blog Step 7

If you need any help, you can contact the Web Marketing Services manager, Rob Ratliff. He’ll be happy to help you get started.

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Tools for Becoming a Social Media Pro

This morning when I got into the office, I was sorting through my email (you know, like all of us do).

The email preview from my phone.

The email preview from my phone.

Just as I was ready to discard a message from Hootsuite, I started reading the first few lines and discovered it was something that was highly relevant to our franchise owner network. I’ll summarize their points and add a few of my own insights as to how it can apply to you directly.

Last year, a study done by Harris Poll, a public opinion polling organization, revealed that approximately 62% of businesses struggle establishing a social media strategy. Another study released in January showed that social media “referrals” accounted for about 31% of website visits. Now, the lion’s share were from Facebook, but it illustrates the importance of having a presence.

All that being said, here are some strategy points as outlined in the email:

Step 1: Know who your customer is.

Just like a good technician going into a home, you have to know who you’re talking to if you’r going to sell them. You speak to men differently than you speak to women. You speak to a senior differently than you do a millennial. At Chem-Dry, we know that the majority of the customers we interact with on a regular basis are women between 30 and 55, that own a home, have 2-3 kids, and 2-3 pets. Tailor your messages to THEM, and spatter in some things that will appeal to others from time to time.

For instance, talking about and showing a picture of getting tough food stains out of carpet (i.e. messy-faced baby sitting in a pool of spaghetti sauce, wine stain on the sofa, etc.). Or, to focus on the holidays, say something to the effect of “Impress your in-laws this holiday with new-looking carpet and upholstery.”

Step 2: Create a mission statement.

No social network is created equally. They all have different roles (to be discussed in another post). Facebook and Twitter are ideal platforms for managing customer service, as they’re the most active and interactive networks. LinkedIn is a great place to recruit talent and also network with other professional organizations in your area (local small business owner groups, anyone?). Instagram is perfect for showing off new services and great before/after pictures. Create a statement that states your goals with each one and do your best to stick to them.

Examples might be:

“Facebook – For connecting with people and telling stories.”

“Instagram – For SHOWING how awesome we are.”

“Twitter – Keep it short and simple, like my cousin Jethro.”

Step 3: Set realistic goals.

Getting

Getting “likes” on your Chem-Dry Facebook page keeps you top-of-mind with your customers.

Goals for social media keep you focused, on-track, and honest. For many businesses, a good goal for gaining a following on Facebook is to grow by 50 “likes” on your page every month. Or, for Twitter, aim for 3 “re-tweets” on everything you post.

Another recent study has estimated each branded Facebook “Like” to be approximately $174! While that number represents the value of a like for a national brand, the value of a like to your small business is still calculable and something to improve upon.

Step 4: Develop a content strategy.

Social Media is about having a presence where your customers “live” digitally. It’s an extremely cost-effective way for you to stay top-of-mind for your customers. Along with Step 2, keep your mission for the social network in mind, and post regularly to keep your audience engaged. Post a unique image to Instagram every day. Create a series of contests on Facebook (a GREAT way to get “likes”).

hootsuite icon

A few last thoughts:

Services like Hootsuite are very valuable platforms to help you manage your social media posts. You can schedule out your posts, and have an entire month’s worth of posts done within a couple of hours. However, there’s a significant learning curve with it, so it will take some time to get accustomed to the platform.

They also offer FREE education resources like Podium that will help you understand social networking and get a better grasp on your digital strategy.

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Customizing Your PPC Ads – Cutting Edge Changes from Google

Okay, so we all know that one of the quickest ways to fill up empty slots in your schedule is by using Pay-Per-Click ads. You can literally turn them on and off like a light switch to meet your scheduling needs. It’s fantastic!

But let’s look at a slightly different, but probably somewhat familiar, scenario:

It’s Wednesday afternoon. Your phones have been ringing off the hooks on Monday and Tuesday and you got lots of jobs, but your Thursday, Friday and Saturday are WIDE open. Let’s try something.

Hot off the presses, Google announced this week that they’ve made an addition to your options with Pay-Per-Click advertising. You can now add “Ad Customizers” to your advertisements. Here’s what customizers do for your ads:

  1. Add specificity to your ads without creating a BUNCH of different ads (discounts, services, areas, etc.).
  2. Let you use a basic ad template and insert text that’s custom to what your customer is searching for.
  3. Adds a call to action by giving a time window for which  the offer is valid.

Here’s a quick video summary from Google:

Pretty cool, right? You could use this as a great way to run a time-sensitive promotion like this one: PPC Customizer Picture

Now, the programming side of this is likely to be a bit more complex than the “Average Joe” may be able to take on, BUT it’s absolutely something you should be talking about with your PPC vendor. Using ad customizers helps to make your ads more relevant and increase your ad quality score, which gets you a better position in addition to more and cheaper clicks.

Oh, and it’s a great way to fill your job schedules quickly!

Also, don’t forget that I wrote in an email a few weeks ago about using Offers with Constant Contact. Here’s a link to the article that has the same content as the email. Offers are a great way to fill in the gaps with your scheduling and even use E-mail to get NEW customers. Who’d have thought?

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Using Offers to Reconnect With Your Customers

Did you know that there’s a new service from Constant Contact called “Offers?” It’s a great way to reconnect with loyal and long-lost customers alike. Take a look at some of the features.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

When you use “Offers” in Constant Contact, you get to pick an offer to give out to past customers that will get you back in your customers’ homes.
It works a little bit like Groupon, but your profit margin is MUCH bigger. You pay a few dollars every time someone books a job with the Offer, but customers also have
It’s as easy as:
 
Coming Up With An Offer:
Make your customers an offer that will be difficult to refuse.File Oct 02, 11 25 52 AM
For example here, I’ve made an Offer to clean 3 rooms for $80, a $105 offer.
You can also add a social aspect to the offer. You allow people that buy your offer to share it with their friends – getting you NEW customers.
Insert a summary of the offer.
Add some “fine print” to make sure you don’t get taken advantage of.
When customers buy your offer, they pay you through PayPal. The funds are immediately transferred to your account. How nice would it be to get paid BEFORE you go do a job? 😉
Screenshot 2015-10-02 11.33.34
You pick your list of recipients, review your email, and send it out. Then watch your job book fill up.
Let’s get you some great jobs during your slow times. You’ll be amazed how easy it is to keep your technicians busy.