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Good, Better and BEST Online Reviews

  Image Source_ Huffingtonpost.com

In addition to last week’s message on Pay-Per-Click ads, I’d like to propose another goal for your business to work on in 2017 – online reviews.

Google’s search algorithms tend to favor two types of businesses – online retailers and brick & mortar shops that do business at their location. Neither of those describe most Chem-Dry franchises where you operate out of a home or shop and service a specific area. But there seems to be a workaround – REVIEWS.

What Reviews are Best?

When it comes to valuable reviews, I’d put them into three tiers: Good, Better, and Best.

If you’re going to put resources behind acquiring online reviews, I feel it’s worth going after the ones that are going to do you the most good.Here’s what I mean.

“Good” Reviews

Really, any review is good – wherever you get it. Some  websites, however, are more accessible to people than others and can have a higher payoff.

For instance, I would put the following websites in the “Good” category because of their visibility online, their influence on your own website presence, and difficulty to get them:

  • YellowPages.com
  • HomeAdvisor.com
  • AngiesList.com
  • Thumbtack.com
  • CustomerLobby.com

You’ll notice a trend here. These are typically websites that are aimed at helping the in-home service industry, which is not a bad thing. However, (with the exception of YP.com) you have to have an account to really view or leave a review on those sites. If you do a significant amount of business on those sites (I know some of you do), then go for it – especially if your customer came from that site. But if you’re looking for general reviews, I’d focus elsewhere.

“Better” Reviews

For the same reasons I mentioned earlier, some review sites
that I’d put into my “Better” tier are:

  • Yelp.com
  • Bing.com
  • Yahoo.com
  • Amazon.com
  • BBB.com

I’d put these sites into the “Better” tier because they will play more readily into search algorithms that benefit your business and are more visible and highly-regarded resources. But, once again, they’re not what I’d rate as “the BEST”.

The “BEST” Reviews 

There are two review venues that, to me, qualify for the “Best” tier and I’ll explain why.

Google: Google reviews are the crème de la crème of reviews. They’re the hardest to get, but they’re also the most valuable as they are built right into their search algorithm. They are the fastest way to climb the ladder in the Google Map listings and “Snack Pack”. HOWEVER, in order leave a review on Google, the customer has to have an active Google account, not just a “gmail.com” e-mail address. While most people who have a “gmail.com” e-mail address also have an account, it’s not everybody.

Facebook is the world’s largest social network, and for that reason, it’s a FANTASTIC resource for getting reviews. Almost everyone you service has a Facebook account and logs in daily, so they’re familiar with it. It’s easy for them to leave a review. PLUS, in order to do so, they’ll usually “like” your page and see updates from you afterward.
Facebook is also aiming to become a one-stop-shop for many commerce solutions, which means they’re doing a lot of work to SEO and making sure businesses show up on relative Google Searches – they WANT Facebook to be a part of the purchase process. When you get reviews on your Facebook page, you’re getting endorsements on a very visible platform that can turn into a LOT more business.
Who Can Help?  
I’ve written before about easy ways to get reviews and simple practices that can increase your marketing database. But you’re busy. I get it. Who else can help you get these reviews? We see so much value in getting good, valuable online reviews that we’ve done a load of legwork to help connect you with some of the best vendors in the world to get your business noticed. Here are a few we’ve recently partnered with and what they do:
*****Disclaimer***** These vendors provide tools for your use. They are only as valuable as you make them.

ReviewTrackers: If you’ve subscribed to a Premium  listing on Local Search Directory (ChemDry.com), you automatically get ReviewTrackers for free. I explain more about how it works here.

Broadly:
Broadly is a new PAP partner that has a very impressive résumé. They’re an integrated review platform that utilizes cookies and online sessions to streamline the process of posting online reviews. They’ll be at our convention in Nashville and I’ll be hosting a webinar with them early in 2017. You’ll be amazed at what they can do.

Podium: (From the their product page) “Podium brings your business’ reputation, from across the web, into one centralized place where your can effectively build and manage your online reviews from multiple sites. With Podium, it’s easy to see your portfolio of online reviews to make faster, better-informed decisions.”
So Tell Us: So Tell Us recently joined us for a webinar where they explained what they’re all about – video reviews. Yes, that’s right. Think about this for a second. You’re not just getting a text review from people, you’re getting video. Of their face. Saying words. Posting to your various websites. Can you imagine how valuable that is to viewers? Instant credibility.
Big Takeaway:
It’s Business 101. Your satisfied customers are one of your best assets, not only for getting repeat business, but also for finding new customers. You need to be getting reviews online. Want to get more in the “BEST” tier?
  1. Create a business Facebook page. Here’s how.
  2. Create a Google+ Business listing. Learn how.
  3. Schedule some time with me to go over a strategy for getting more online reviews.
Take control of your social media today and establish a better future for your business. Then register to receive updates about future webinars on digital marketing.
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Ready for Winter Marketing Projects?

It’s said often within entrepreneurship that you are expected to wear many hats as a business owner. You’re not only the CEO/CFO/CMO, you’re also the sales director, mechanic, and HR manager. Your time is precious and you don’t have much to spare.

With so many demands on your time, how do you decide what to work on? Here’s my suggestion for something you should focus on during slower months.

Pay-Per-Click

In most markets, the yellow pages is dead, and it’s been replaced by AdWords. In fact, we’ve even developed a formula that will help you to determine how much you’d need to spend on PPC to get however many new customers you want in a month. Here’s what I mean:

  • Say you want to add 1 new job every weekday for the month. That’s about 21 jobs. If you’re able to book 60% of the phone calls you get, you’ll need about 35 phone calls (21 jobs/60%).
  • We find that, on average, about 25% of all clicks turn into a qualified phone call. That means you’ll need to have about 140 clicks (35 calls/25%).
  • At an average cost per click of, say $8.00 (real cost will vary by market), you can safely say that you’ll need to budget about $1,120 for your click budget. Add to that a vendor management fee (if you choose to hire it out) of around $300 per month and you’ve arrived at a total cost of $1,420.

Sounds like a LOT of money, right? It may be, until you see the result.

The Pay-Outmoney_sack.jpg

So you’ve just paid nearly $1,500 in advertising money. What did you get for it?

Remember those 21 new customers? If you multiply each of those jobs by the network job average of around $250 you get a total revenue of $5,250.

$5,250 of revenue compared to a $1,500 cost is a 3.5 to 1 return on ad cost.

AND, if you do some good follow-up, you’ll not only have a great shot at bringing those customers back within a year or so at a much lower cost per job, but you may be able to get even more customers through referrals.

How Do I Start? 

Advertising through PPC doesn’t have to be hard. You can start simple with an AdWords Express account from Google, or you can go all out and hire a vendor to optimize campaigns for your specific territory.

It’s up to you, but I would go as far as to say that PPC is no longer a luxury for your business. It’s a necessity – at least, if you still want to be competitive in the next 5 years. As my friend, the Governator would say, “Do eeet NAO!”

Big Takeaway:

If you’re not currently doing PPC, it’s probably been on your “to do” list for a while, right? Ready to get started?

Schedule an appointment with me to discuss what you want to do this winter. If we put our heads together, we can come up with a game plan to add PPC to your business so you can really grow this year.

Take control of your business and marketing to establish a better future for your business. Then register to receive updates about future webinars on digital marketing.

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Apps that Simplify Your Business

free-marketing-tools

In my journeys as a digital marketing coach, I come across many different programs and companies that purport to make your life easier. Some do and some don’t. Over the past couple months, however, I’ve been testing a tool that I think can really simplify your marketing and business operations.

I’ve talked in the past about how to use Hootsuite and schedule out posts, but what if you’re more of a “right here and now” kind of person?

I’d like to introduce you to “If This Then That” or “IFTTT”.

IFTTT for Marketing

 At first when I found this app, I thought maybe the person who namedIFTTT App it had a stutter, but really what it is is a logic-based profile manager that posts and shares to various other apps based on rules that you set up. The app has gone through several different icons with the most recent one at the right. I’ll give you an example of what you can do with it.
  1. Automatically share pictures you post to Instagram to your company’s Facebook page and Twitter feed. If you don’t want to have it run every time, you can modify it to only share them when you use a hashtag like #chemdry.
  2. If someone follows your business on Twitter, send them an automatic “Thank You” tweet.
If you think Social Media takes too much time, a simple tool like this can save you tons of time.

For Business Operations

IFTTT isn’t just for marketing. In fact, you can use it for many aspects of your business and personal life.
If you’re using Square for payments, you can have a secondary list of all your interactions automatically uploaded to a Google Drive spreadsheet with the amount, the device (tech’s phone), and time of day. Great for tracking sales and technician’s use of the device.
Using a car tracking program like Automatic, you can push notifications and tracking to e-mail and sheets.
DO Button
IFTTT has a function called a “DO Button” where you can program it to quickly and automatically share information from your phone. For instance, if you want:
  1. Technicians to track their work hours at their jobs, you can have that button connect to a Google Drive spreadsheet that logs the time and location of the button press.The check in when they arrive and leave.
  2. Have your techs send a quick text message telling you they’re heading to the next job.
You can also use it with your e-mail function on the phone to create automated reminders for later in the day.

Big Takeaway:

As a business owner, you wear many hats. Anything you can do to save yourself a few minutes here and there will be worth it. IFTTT may not be the silver bullet for all your problems, but it can certainly help.
  1. Download the IFTTT app and register for a free account.
  2. Browse the app integrations available to you and see what you would like to have it do.
  3. Use it on a regular basis to share updates to social media channels, which strengthens your SEO presence.
Take control of your social media today and establish a better future for your business. Then register to receive updates about future webinars on digital marketing.
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Be There When It’s Relevant

  Image Source_ https___www.theguardian.com_careers_10-new-year-resolutions-for-managers

 

Now that it’s December, while most people are getting ready for all the parties, you’re preparing in a different way – to clean up after them.

Let’s make sure you time your marketing to reach your customers when they’re thinking about it. Here are a few suggestions:

Facebook & Instagram

Think about your core demographic. Where do they spend a lot of time – especially during/after the holidays – where they might see you? They’re checking out videos and pictures of their friends and family on Facebook and Instagram. That means it’s a perfect opportunity to plant the seed BEFORE they need it.

I recommend placing a few strategic ads during weeknight evenings targeted at your audience – especially if you can highlight some before & after shots of what you’re capable of as the best carpet cleaner around.

Use some catchy headlines like “We can cure at least ONE of your New Years’ headaches” or “In-Laws coming? We’ll let YOU take the credit.”

You can try to book the job right away, or you can just let the message marinate for a few days. Then, when the moment comes, BLAST THEM!

*****Expert Tip***** Make sure your website is using the Facebook Pixel, which tracks whenever a customer goes to your website and connects to their Facebook account. That way, if they visited your site, you can aim some ads specifically at them.

E-Mail

Yes, I’m going to talk about e-mail. Again.

Guess what? Christmas and New Years are on Sundays this year. Lots of people will have the 26th and 2nd off work, which they’ll likely spend trying to recover from the festivities and figure out how they’re going to clean up the mess and (in some cases) get rid of their hangover.

Why not time a friendly e-mail reminder to them that morning that YOU can solve the problem for them, AND help provide a healthier winter for their family?

Once again, you can utilize the before/after pictures. THANK THEM for being your customer, and give them an exclusive offer for a limited number of time slots over the next 2-3 days.

******Special Note****** You MUST include your phone number in this e-mail, and make sure it is front and center so it’s easy to call you quickly.

PPC

Talk to your PPC vendor about creating a series of ads specifically about party and holiday cleanup that will go live and have higher bids the day after. You can strike while the iron is hot.

*****Do This****
Create a list of keywords that are focused on that problem you’re going to solve (“getting vomit out of carpet”, “wine stain on sofa”, etc.). It may also help to come up with some fun/funny headlines and text like “party cleanup specialists” or “have too much fun last night?”

*****Bonus Tip*****
If you have a list of customer e-mail addresses, make sure your vendor uploads it to AdWords. When Google recognizes a search from an account with a registered e-mail address, your ads will get priority since they’re already in your customer database. (Bet you didn’t know that, did you?)

Big Takeaway:

You have lots of ways to connect with your customers this holiday season and help them by easing their burden.

Don’t miss out on them!
  1. Create Facebook and Instagram ads that will target and re-target your customers during the holidays.
  2. E-mail your database during key times when they’re likely to recognize the need to have you clean for them.
  3. When your customer Googles “carpet cleaning” in the morning, you want to be there.

Want some help getting all this going? Schedule a time for some help. Then register to receive updates about future webinars on digital marketing.