0

Are Yellow Pages Dead?

The other day, I was having a discussion with some business owners and I floated the question of how much they used to spend with the Yellow Pages. Monthly budgets ranged from $1,000 to nearly $20,000 depending on the size of their market.

Why were you willing to put that kind of money into the phone book 10 years ago? Because that’s where new customers found your phone number.
Nowadays, it’s not unusual to see a phone book sit on a home’s front porch for months – or at least until it gets dissolved by weather. It’s like they’re trying to cling to life, even though they become tattered, worn and virtually useless – like a zombie.

What Now?

Now, I’m not saying that the phone book is completely useless. Indeed, there are still markets where advertising in the yellow pages is still effective – but they’re getting very rare.
Just for fun, I put together a quick survey the other day and shared it to find out how people use the phone books. Fewer than 10% said they’ve used the phone book in the past 30 days. Just over half said it had been at least 2-5 years. So, are they dead? No, but they need to be monitored.
Think for a moment about how much you used to spend with phone books. If you’ve decreased that money now, what have you been doing with it? Did you invest it elsewhere? Has your business died off as a result so you no longer have it?
What can be done? Is there a solution? Yes, there is. But you’ve got to believe in it. Meaning, you have to be willing to pay for it like you paid for the phone book.

Enter Pay-Per-Click

I want to make this as clear as possible.
Pay-Per-Click is the new Yellow Pages. I want you to repeat that out loud right now.
Case in point – I have some owners tell me that people in their area are still using phone books exclusively. While that may be true in a very few cases, I’ll tell you this:
My nearly 91-year-old grandmother doesn’t use her phone book anymore. She uses her computer or smart phone to find phone numbers. And she lives in a VERY small town (less than 3,500 people).

What’s Your Point, Scott?

My point is, unless you’re turning jobs away every day or have a constantly full calendar, you should take a very serious look at doing PPC advertising.
It’s reliable. It’s useful. It’s proven. It’s where the world is going.
Not sure where to start? I’ve written before about How to Choose a Vendor to run a campaign for you. I’ve also recently written about finding a budget for PPC ads.

Big Takeaway:

If you’re not currently using PPC advertising, you’re missing out on HUGE business potential. Don’t let your business become a phone book zombie.
  1. Do a quick Google search for “carpet cleaning” in your area. If you see your competitors, but not you, you have a problem.
  2. Go to the Gateway to look at approved or recommended vendors and call one TODAY.
  3. Set aside a budget that you plan on spending for PPC ads. Consider it an investment in your business.
0

How to Get Customers to Unsubscribe

More is MORE

You can’t talk to your customer too much. Just like your mother-in-law, you should be in almost constant contact with your customer. Flooding their inbox is a great way to do that.
  • E-mail them at least weekly, or daily if you can.
  • Write long, extensive text full of superfluous words – like “superfluous.”
  • Focus only on selling your products and services.
  • Formatting your e-mails is secondary to getting them out.
  • Relevance doesn’t matter.
  • Only put out e-mails that are good for everybody. The individual customer isn’t worth your effort.

Your Customers Only Care About YOUR Business

Your customer is just sitting around waiting for your e-mail to come in. If they see it first on their mobile device but can’t really read it there, they’ll absolutely go to their computer to read it instead. You can count on them waiting with baited breath.
Most e-mail subscribers also LOVE seeing the same offer over and over again. They’re thrilled by the fact that your business is so busy that you don’t have time to think of, let alone write, anything new to send them.
And when they receive a postcard AND an e-mail in the same week, they never want to see an exclusive electronic offer because they would never subscribe to the idea that they are more special or meaningful to you than every other Jane Doe. They’re just the same as their neighbor, so they should be treated the same way.

You Have WAY Less Time Than They Do

Today’s consumer has nothing but time. Don’t you dare think for a second that they’re anywhere near as busy as you are. When you’re preparing your e-mail messages to them, don’t even stop to consider how long it will take them to read it. They literally have nothing better going on in their lives.
They’re all just like The Doctor. They have a time machine in their backyard with nowhere they “have to be.” They can always stop everything and read whatever you grace them with that day.
Never put yourself in their shoes and ask, “Would I take the time to read this?” Your customers are nothing like you, so that’s just poppycock.

Are You Still Reading?

Hopefully, if you’re still reading this, you’ve realized by now that I’m being facetious. These are the cardinal sins of e-mail marketing. These are the biggest reasons people unsubscribe from one of your most valuable and lucrative methods of marketing to past customers – e-mail.
Yes, you should be e-mailing your customers and letting them hear from you. And you should do it regularly. But don’t e-mail for the sake of e-mailing.

Big Takeaway:

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when you’re putting together e-mail campaigns. Here are the top 3 things you should do.
  1. Be Personal – Keep e-mails to customers focused on things that matter to them. Their family, their time, their health.
  2. Be Brief – If your e-mail can’t be read in full within 30 seconds, it’s probably too long. You only have their attention for a moment – make sure it’s worth their time.
  3. Be Respectful – You don’t like being bombarded with e-mails. Neither does your customer. Preserve your spot in their inbox by having meaningful interactions with your customers.
Whether you’re actively e-mailing your database or want to get started, assess what your goal is when writing e-mails.
0

Make Reviews a Priority this Year!

Quick Review-Getting Tips for Your Business
 Source_ www.kudobuzz.com
At our national convention this year, one of the big messages throughout many of our sessions was the importance of online reviews. Not only do they tell potential customers how awesome you are, but they’re now one of the #1 looked-at sources of information on a businesses’ trustworthiness and level of service. They’re also a HUGE player in how your business can get found online.

Getting Reviews Can Be Simple!

At convention, we introduced several vendors that all offer services to help you get reviews that will improve your online presence. Of the lot, one of my favorites was Podium, and I’ll explain why.
When it comes to getting online reviews, you need to either catch people in the emotional moment of satisfaction, or remind them of it. One of the best tactics I’ve seen to get reviews is doing it in the customer’s home directly after the cleaning is done and you’re performing the post-cleaning walk through
In a nutshell, Podium offers an app on your phone that allows you to send a text message or email link to the customer right away. When the customer opens the link, Podium’s software scans the phone to look for active logins like Google and Facebook, giving them a seamless way to promote reviews on the site you want most. You also get a dashboard that tracks reviews and flags any negative responses that may require your attention.
It’s really a neat system that coordinates some of the key activities at key moments. And, since Podium is a PAP, they’re offering Chem-Dry franchisees a special discount on their services. Contact them at www.podium.com and mention that you are with Chem-Dry and reap the benefits of this useful tool.
_____________________________________________________
If you want to do a home-spun version, here’s a quick tip that you can use in your customers’ homes to get more reviews.

Create a Short URL

That’s right. A short URL allows you to share a specific webpage with a customer without taking a ton of space.
This makes it perfect for use in a text message, tweet, or even a Facebook message.
You can use any service you like whether it be Bit.ly, Ow.Ly, or Goo.gl to do it. But the principle is the same – it’s easy and it takes up less space.

I recommend Bit.ly because you can create a free account that allows you to make custom URL’s (that you can name), and also see tracking/analytics on the links as well.
Here’s what I mean:

Get Your Link

Do a quick Google search for your company by name. Go ahead. Open a new tab and do it now. Here’s one I did for one of my wife’s favorite restaurants: 
You might have to scroll down a bit, but you’ll see on the right hand side of your screen a “Write a Review” button.
When you click on that button, a new URL will appear in the address bar up at the top of your screen.
Highlight it, and copy it (Ctrl+C).
Now, open up a new tab in your browser and go to one of those URL shortening tools I mentioned earlier. I’ll show you Bit.ly.

Make it Short

Now that you’re on Bit.ly (I recommend creating a free account. It only takes a minute.), click the “Create Bitlink” button.
Now you’ll paste the long URL from your Google “Write a Review” button. It will look something like this:
The link will automatically shorten to something looking like this:
Now, you can be done here if you like. That link is yours and you can track it easily.
Or you can take it one step further – Customizing it so it appears more official to your customer.
Highlight everything after the “bit.ly/” and start typing something short, but custom. Your business name, for instance. If you plan on doing this for other sites like Yelp, Facebook, Angie’s List, or others, you may want to add some sort of letter or number code to the end so you can keep track of it.
In this case, I added “Goog” to the end to let me know this is the Google link.

Now SEND!

Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Now that you have these incredibly useful links, you can use them to invite customers for reviews. It’s easy.
As you’re wrapping up your work and getting ready to reload your equipment, you approach your customer (who’s probably been on their phone a considerable amount of the time you were there) and say:
“Hey, Mr./Mrs. Brown, could I send you a quick text message with a link to leave us a review?”
Since you most likely already have their phone number from when you booked the appointment, I’d bet 8-9 times out of 10, they’ll agree. Simply type in the number, paste the link with a message like “Find us on Google here: ______________.”
I’ve seen a dozen or so cases where this has resulted in a 5-star review by the time you’re driving away. The biggest reason this works, is because you’re doing it NOW versus in a follow-up e-mail or phone call (not that you shouldn’t do those).

BONUS TIP!

You can be strategic about which links you send to your customers. 
If you notice that Mrs. Brown is using an Android device, there’s a good chance that she has a Google account, so you may want to send her the Google link. There’s a lower chance of success for Google if she’s on an iPhone.
You can also ask if they have a preference. Say something like “Would Google, Facebook or Yelp work best for you?” A regular Yelp-er will opt for that because it helps their standings.

Big Takeaway:

 Your business needs reviews. It’s a key strategy to winning online business and gaining the trust of your customers before they ever pick up a phone.
  1. These vendors and methods are just tools. You only get value out as you use them.
  2. Near the end of every interaction you have with your customers, invite them to rate their experience by leaving a review.
  3. Whether you hire a vendor or do it yourself, the bottom line is to DO IT.
You can take control of your online reputation today and establish a better future for your business. You can register to receive updates about future webinars on digital marketing.