Just when we think we’ve figured them out, Google goes and changes everything. Well, maybe not EVERYTHING, but it sure feels that way.
A while back, Google made a change to the way your Google Business (aka “Google My Business”, aka “Google Plus”, aka “Google Places, aka “Google My Cat”) page could receive reviews. It used to be that they required people with a Google account to go to your company’s page and click through 2 or 3 pages to see your reviews, then click “Write a Review” in order to start the process. Well, that’s changed.
It’s All About the Search
It appears that Google is trying to make people spend more time on their search results page (which makes them money). The best way for people to leave a review on your Google page is actually to find you through search, meaning they have to go to google.com and search “Scott’s Chem-Dry” for instance. Doing so will bring up my business listing on the right side of the screen. On that listing, you’ll see a button that says “Write a Review”. Clicking it will bring up a screen that looks like this:
I can then write a review in for the company (as long as I’m logged into my Google account, which most people would be).
But Wait! There’s MORE!
That’s kind of a pain, isn’t it? What if your customer misspells the name of your company? What if they just type in “Chem-Dry” and accidentally leave a review for another franchise?
In our society of short attention spans, we essentially have to make everything quick and fail-proof for our customers. Well, there’s a solution for that.
Right now your customers would need to:
1) Go to Google.com
2) Type in the name of your business with correct spelling (sounds easier than it is)
3) Click on “Write a Review”
3.5) Sign into their Google account (if they’re not already)
4) Write the review
5) Submit the review
Here’s what I’d do.
1) Go to Google.com yourself and type in your company name.
2) Click the “Write a Review” button on your business listing.
3) When the review box comes up, highlight the URL in the address bar.
4) Press “Ctrl+C” to copy it.
You now have a link that anyone can use to bring up the “Write a Review” page. What can you do with a link like that? All kinds of stuff!
Where To Put It
Using your email database that you’ve worked so hard to develop, you can sort out customers with a gmail.com address (because you KNOW they have a Google account) and send them a request to leave you a review.
If you are a ChemDry.com Local Search Directory Premium subscriber, you automatically get access to Review Trackers (click here to watch a webinar about it
). The Review Trackers system will automatically request reviews, and show people where to publish it when they give you a good one.Program this link into the emails they receive so they know right where to go.
Remember these things? Yeah, those silly-looking codes you can scan with a smart phone and have it take you to a web-page? If you’re reading this on a computer, scan that code with your phone. See where it takes you. I dare you.
Really, though, these are great tools to use on leave-behind cards. Say you leave a job from a customer’s house when they’re not home. You should have a card that you can leave behind inviting them to leave you a fantastic review because you did such a fantastic job! You just made it easy for them!
The biggest obstacles business owners face is the number of steps it takes to get them. Do whatever you can to eliminate as many steps as you can. And then offer an incentive of some sort ($20 off their next cleaning, for instance).
Here are you steps for this week:
Every now and then I get a phone call from a franchise owner saying, “I’m not getting enough jobs. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.”
Many times, they’ve already jumped to the conclusion that there is no way for them to stay in business unless they’re doing 5 jobs a day on one van. That’s patently untrue and here’s why.
It’s Not Your Number of Jobs
Here’s a little question for you:
Would you rather do 5 jobs at $200 each or do one $1,000 job in a day?
Hopefully, you answered right away that you’d rather do the single job and make more money. Not only will you save on travel time and overhead, you’ll also save on advertising expense. But how do you get those high-ticket jobs? Partially, it’s your ability to sell within the home. But what if the majority of the calls you got were for big-ticket jobs? Think about that.
The key here is to advertise to big ticket jobs. Yes, advertising “budget” cleanings will fill your schedule, but they won’t fill your bank account as quickly.
Why not, instead advertise to services that will increase profits and job averages? Want to make more money? Advertise to the RIGHT customers.
Meat vs. Potatoes
Don’t get me wrong, because you can certainly run your business on budget jobs that will fill up your schedule, and you’ll do okay. But why not target more “meaty” prospects? “Potatoes” will fill you up, but don’t offer much nutrition to a business (my Idaho roots are showing through).
A little while ago, I hosted a webinar
about using strategic keywords that will make you more money on your AdWords campaigns. Things like highlighting PURT, protectant, and sanitization. These aspects of your company are where the real money is made.
One franchise I’ve been working with recently reported that their PPC campaign focused on PURT boasts a 20:1 return! Why? Because a) the clicks for these search terms (“urine in carpet”, etc.) are searched less often and therefore less expensive and b) the profit margin on services like PURT is around 1000%.
But this isn’t just true about Pay-Per-Click.
With other digital marketing advertisements platforms, you also have the ability to pinpoint your target customer, but in a slightly different way.
For instance, with Facebook advertisements, you can create an ad that focuses on exactly what makes you money – PURT, green certified cleaning, and other things. Create an ad that highlights those services, and then you aim them at people who are interested in them – such as pet enthusiasts, hybrid car owners, or environmentalists.
Focus your advertisements on what makes you different, because what makes you different as a Chem-Dry franchise is what makes you successful.
You need to focus a fair portion of your advertising budget toward targeted ads like PURT, Green Certified, and other specialty services.
- Work with your PPC vendor to write topical ads and construct search term lists for those ads.
- Compile a list of customers with email addresses to use for Facebook ads.
- Respond to this email to get some ideas of how to capitalize on unique Chem-Dry services to build your business.
Last week and today, we had a couple webinars that explain a few common questions that I get:
First: How do I create and run my own business Facebook page and why is it so hard?
Second: How do I get reviews on my Facebook page and how can they grow my business?
Creating an Effective Business Facebook Page
Since 80% of Americans have active Facebook accounts (some MUCH more active than others – you know that friend I’m talking about), it’s behooves you as a business owner to have a presence where potentially millions of you customers are. Facebook is more than a place to play Candy Crush. It’s a great place to find customers.
When you set up a Facebook business page, you start with the basics. Start with the type of business you are (a small local business), your contact information, a profile picture, cover photo, and a post. The rest is easy. Just have a presence, respond to people when you’re found, and make a regular post. There are tools that you can use
that make your life easier when managing your social media – including an app for managing your Facebook business page. Yep! There’s an app for that.
Watch this tutorial about how to create and manage a successful business page using the world’s largest social network.
Social Media & Reviews:
Usually, when we think about business reviews, we think about places like Yelp, Google, and Angie’s List. Facebook seems to be down the list a bit. Why is that?
Probably because people think of Facebook as mostly a social venue, not a place for business. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Facebook is a very common place to seek out local businesses – especially with the pending advent of Facebook Services
Facebook offers you the ability to be mentioned and recommended by customers. They can post pictures on their own timelines, tag you in them, ask questions, and connect with you on a regular basis. You can even upload a list of your past customers and advertise specifically to them!
Watch the 30-minute webinar here to find out how.
I’ve Watched the Webinars. Now what?
You should probably take some time to inventory where you are in regards to having an effective Facebook page. Here’s what you should do:
- Go to your Facebook page and see how many likes you have. How many reviews? Do you have services listed? Offers?
- Call me. I want to talk to you about your Facebook page and help you get more out of it. Even if you’re working with a vendor, let’s get together.
- Sign up for our last webinar of the month focused on creating a joint venture between you and other local business on Facebook.
In March, Facebook reported 1.65 Billion monthly active users.Instagram (owned by Facebook) reported 500 Million. Twitter chimed in with 310 Million. Pinterest has 100 Million. Google Plus is all but useless. And LinkedIn? Well, that’s their little brother that went and got an MBA and now only talks about business.
But what does that matter? They’re just places for sharing news and cat videos, right? WRONG.
Let’s talk about them.
Facebook is by and large the most prolific and influential social media platform in the world – and for good reasons.
Instagram is actually owned by Facebook, which means some pretty seamless integration between the two platforms. Its primary focus is on visual media, and it’s ONLY available on mobile (you can view pictures from a computer, but you can only post from a mobile device). Here’s how it applies to you:
- Instagram accounts can be associated with business Facebook and Twitter accounts simultaneously. Anything you share in it can be also be shared to both places instantly. It saves time.
- It’s great for online business to highlight your services and capabilities.
- It influences SEO by generating impressions and possible web traffic by showing interesting media that will garner attention and potential business.
Bottom Line: While Instagram has a HUGE user base, it’s not a necessity for your Chem-Dry business. Nice? Sure. But at this time, you’re going to have significant difficulty driving and tracking business with Instagram.
Twitter is a great outlet for worldwide sharing of information quickly. Each tweet is limited to 160 characters – and most are far shorter. Engaged audiences on Twitter are numerous but, like the messages, have short attention spans.
Here are a few things to know about Twitter:
- Very easy to use. Quick. To the point.
- Can get lost in the mix. A Twitter feed is often a MASSIVE overload of information, which means you can get ignored. The loudest, most obnoxious gets the most attention.
- Can contribute to your SEO and website traffic.
- Ideal for international, online sales.
Bottom Line: Get a Twitter account for your business. Connect it to your website.Use it to share what you’re doing. DON’T spend a ton of time on it, and don’t expect to get a ton of jobs from it.
The Bottom Three: Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn
Pinterest is a good resource for connecting with your key demographic,
adult women interested in families, home care, and health. However, it’s primary function is for people to “pin” things to be saved for later. Meaning you’re not getting immediate action from customers. Once again, not a necessity. It takes a LOT of time to turn it into a profit center.
Google+ serves a purpose, and a somewhat
major one. Here it is: registering your
business with Google. That’s about it. You NEED to have a Google+ (“Google My Business” or “Google Business” or “…”. They keep changing the name.) listing. It is imperative to your online success to have your business listed with Google so you can show up on map listings on Google Search. Other than that, don’t worry too much about posting on Google+. Maybe a new post every month or so, but the traffic and user base on G+ is so minimal in comparison that your efforts online are better spent elsewhere.
LinkedIn is a wonderful resource that connects
people on a professional level. Its primary purpose is to connect people based on their skill sets, whether you’re a boss or a peon. It can be very useful for job seekers and hiring managers. It can also produce good opportunities for Chem-Dry franchises to acquire commercial accounts. You can even run ads that are targeted at facility managers within your area. Once again, however, while it is definitely part of a well-rounded social media regiment, don’t make it your primary focus. There is more fertile ground elsewhere.
Your business needs social media activity. In today’s market, you’re going to fail in the long run if you aren’t doing it NOW.
- Create a business Facebook page. If you don’t know how, watch this webinar from July 7.
- Create a Google+ Business listing. Learn how.
- Have your technicians sending you pictures from every job possible. These are incredibly valuable for posts.