Google Changed Reviews – Again!

It never seems to end, does it? Nowadays, I feel like Google changes things just to keep us on our toes and see who will respond. Almost like when the bad guy in an old cowboy movie shoots at the other guy’s feet to make him “dance.”
Well, I’ll tell you what’s happened and what you can do about it. Read on!

They Took Away My REVIEWS!

A recent development in the world of Google Reviews is that from time to time they will do an “audit” of what’s been posted on your account. What does that mean? Well, you might see a dozen or so of your precious 5-star reviews drop off the list over the course of a few days.
I know what you’re thinking – “That’s not fair! They’re MY reviews! I worked hard for them!” You’re absolutely right. BUT, from time to time, “The Google giveth, and The Google taketh away.” They will go comb through your reviews and remove any that seem to be less legitimately worded or may reflect a conflict of interest.

Another Theory

It’s possible that some of your reviews are getting flagged by competitors, which can cause Google to go through and take a closer look at them. But if a competitor is worried enough to be taking the time to do so, that’s probably a good thing for you!

What You Should Do

If it were me seeing some of my reviews disappear for a while, I would take a step back from actively requesting them or promoting them – at least on Google. This could be a great opportunity for you to try to get more Facebook or Yelp reviews. If you’re promoting them with customers, you can even tell them that Google is being funny at the moment and you’d love it if they’d help you build up your reputation on the other sites.

Reviews on Desktop vs. Mobile:

Another recent change to Google Reviews is that you can no-longer just have one link that works for mobile & desktop (at least, not that I’ve been able to find). Instead of just doing the method I describe here, I’d recommend doing two of them.

Here’s what you have to do:

The desktop method works the same as it always has, but the link you get from a computer will only work on a computer to take customers where they need to simply type the review.

To create a link that works on mobile, you’ll have to collect the link on a mobile device. What that means is that you need to follow this process.

1) Search for your franchise by name in your mobile web browser (Usually Safari for iPhones or Chrome for Android devices). It may be helpful to also type the city you’re located in.

2) When you see your Google listing, tap on “Reviews”. This is where things get different for iPhone vs Android.

iPhone: Tap the “Share” icon at the bottom of your screen. It looks like a box with an upward arrow coming out of it. On the resulting menu, select “Copy”. Then go to your e-mail app and paste that link into an email to yourself. Once you have that link, you can follow the process I linked above on your computer to create your mobile link.

Android: When you’re looking at the Reviews screen for your listing, tap the address bar at the top of your screen. With the LONG web address highlighted (probably in blue), hold your finger on the link and select “Copy” from the menu. Then go to your e-mail app and paste that link into an email to yourself. Once you have that link, you can follow the process I linked above on your computer to create your mobile link.

3) When you create the link on Bitly like I show you in the linked post above, make sure you notate which link is for desktop and which one is for mobile. You could just add an extra “m” to the end of it so you know. Or you could do something like “http://bit.ly/NoUTChemDryMobile.

Big Takeaway:

Online Reviews are going to continue to be an integral part of your business success, but you may have to adjust as the process shifts.

  1. Don’t freak out if your Google Reviews disappear. Focus on Facebook or Yelp until things settle out.
  2. Make sure you get your desktop version of your Google Reviews link.
  3. Follow the steps to create a mobile link that you can send to customers via text message.

An Update on Google Local Services Ads

Adobe Spark (28)The Latest from Google Local Services

Some of you may remember a while back I mentioned the advent of a new project from Google called “Home Services Ads”. While there’s always something new coming from the wonderland of Googledom, everything about the program tells me that these ads will be a game-changer for businesses within the home services industry.

They are Google-backed promotion for service companies that get top-of-the-page exposure with a little seal showing that Google has reviewed the business and given their “approval” (which I think will add a lot of value in the eyes of most consumers).

Now, this poses an opportunity for Chem-Dry franchise owners. Here’s why:

Here’s What We Know

Lots of this information is still forthcoming, and since Google isn’t running ads for the carpet-cleaning industry (yet), we don’t have a lot of insider info. But here’s what you can expect according to my research.

Pay-Per-Lead (Not Pay-Per-Click):

Google is running this program in such a way that you pay for the lead you get rather than the click. Meaning, that you don’t pay unless the person who made the search makes some sort of effort to get in touch with you. Usually, this will mean a phone call from a mobile device, but it could also mean sending you a message, or filling out a form. In order to charge you, Google’s going to have to determine that the customer “converted” in some way. In other words, they called, messaged, etc.

Physical Location:

As far as we know, Google is going to require some sort of verification of your physical business location. Even as a service area business (they use the acronym “SAB”), they will require that you have a publicly listed location with signage that you can verify either via video chat or with street view on Google Maps. This may pose a challenge for many of you, because many Chem-Dry’s will operate out of their homes and choose not to disclose their actual location. The address you list cannot be a hired mailbox or UPS store. It has to be somewhere that people could physically drive (or walk) to in order to contact you. So, you may want to consider showing your physical location anyway because this, I think, will be the single biggest hurdle to participation on a large scale. However, I think the change will be worthwhile.


Google will be using the quantity and quality of your business reviews to calculate not only your display ranking (it’s not the only factor), but also the cost you pay for each lead. So make sure you’re getting reviews!!

Background Checks:

Another cool aspect (but not really a problem for many franchise owners) will be how Google runs their security and background checks on businesses. If they’re going to put their stamp of approval on your business, you can bet that they’re not going to do it casually. Google plans on conducting background checks on anyone that will be stepping foot inside a customer’s home at any time. They will be conducting the background checks with their own agency, but you can expect that to take place in order to participate in the program. This will help to keep low-performing competition out of the running.

What You Can Do

I think Google has been pretty careful in vetting this program. Right now, their plan is to roll this out to at least 30 major metro areas by the end of this year. So far, they’ve been focused primarily on west coast cities like Seattle, San Francisco, LA, San Diego, etc. However, I’d expect them to be coming to places like Denver, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, Miami, Nashville, Detroit, Las Vegas, and others. (*Note: These are not confirmed locations, but my estimate of where they’ll be heading next).

Since carpet cleaning is not a service they’re catering to (yet), one of the best things you can do if you’re interested in helping us get Chem-Dry into this service is to click the button below and fill out your business information, making a request for Carpet Cleaning to be added and getting your name on the list for admission into the program.

Tell Google I Want In

Once you’ve done that, make sure you’re getting reviews! Even if you’re not planning on participating, or it won’t be immediately available in your area, the more (good reviews) the better!

Big Takeaway:

Google Local Services ads could be an absolute game changer. Do your best to be up to speed and ready for them.

  1. Fill out the form and get your name on the list.
  2. Start collecting reviews on Google.
  3. Keep any eye out for more news coming soon!

If you’d like help click here to schedule a 30-minute coaching call with me. Otherwise, you can simply reply to this e-mail or call me directly at 435-890-1055.



Tweaking Your Facebook Page for Better Local Results

FB-IG Tweaks Blog Header

Facebook is an awesome place to maintain a relationship with past customers and even connect with new ones. But a challenging thing about Facebook is making it more relevant to your local service area business. Let’s talk about a couple quick tweaks you can make to your business page to get better results on a local level.

Tweak #1: Your Preferred Audience

The first quick tweak I would have you make is this: get a list of the zip codes you cover (talk to your Franchise Administration Rep, or I can even help you get it). Use that list to refine your location and the audience you’re trying to cater to.

Facebook uses your location and preferred page audience settings to make recommendations to other potential customers (usually whose friends have liked your page). While it’s nice to get page likes and followers from outside your area, you can’t service them! It’s far better to focus in on customers you can work for.

I would recommend having your vendor go in and change the settings on your page’s “Preferred Page Audience” to emphasize the “local” nature of your business. Keep it fairly high-level by not narrowing down too much with age, gender, etc., but definitely tell Facebook where you’re most interested in being found.

You can find a step-by-step tutorial here.

Tweak #2: Location and Instagram

Instagram is a growing social media platform that’s actually owned by Facebook. In fact, it’s growing so much, that in some markets and demographics, it’s actually overtaking Facebook in growth!

If you don’t have a company Instagram account, you can create one with your Facebook account. You can even have a business account AND a personal account. The nice thing about Instagram is that if you post a picture or video there, you can have it automatically share over to your Facebook page.

BUT, that’s not even the best part! When you take pictures and tag the location where you took them, you add even more local value to your post. Are you cleaning for a local restaurant or sports team? Check in at that location with your post and get your post shared on that organization’s Facebook page too!

There are a few technical things you need to work out to do this, but that’s why I’ve created this tutorial for your or your vendor.

Big Takeaway:

Social Media can be a confusing marketing practice, but it doesn’t have to be if you use tools to pair up different systems. These are just a couple examples.


Getting Ready for Google Home Service Ads

Adobe Spark (1)

Once again, Google is changing the game. But this time, it definitely changes in our favor.

Google has recognized its relative “weakness” in helping independently owned and operated local service area businesses show up more prominently than the national behemoths. However, as always, we have to be willing to play their game – again.

What’s Happened?


Google has announced that they are moving forward with testing in major cities with a new platform for service-based businesses called Google Home Service ads. They’re an extension of their ever-popular AdWords platform, but there are some extra criteria that have to be met in order to participate.

Since each of these ads will have “Google Guaranteed” on them (see the picture), you can bet that you’ll have to jump through a few hoops to earn the green badge.

Google hasn’t released all the details yet on how you’ll get the “green stamp of approval”. So what can you do to get in on the action here? Well, I’ll do my best to keep you posted as the criteria are released, but let’s start with one of the foundations you should already be working on – Reviews.

 Getting Ready

Getting great reviews is not complicated. In fact, it’s easy and a GREAT way to influence your SEO.

But in this case, it seems to be one of the key drivers that will lead to your success in offer Google Home Services Ads.

The quantity and quality of your Google reviews will ultimately contribute the most weight to your listing.

Now, these ads will have a cost associated with them. Google doesn’t do just about anything for free (well, except these). BUT for relevant searches like “Chicago carpet cleaning”, you’ll show up at the very top of the page. Above other ads, map listings, and other websites. That’s POWERFUL.

I’m anticipating that they will run these home services ads much like their AdWords platform, which means the “bid” (amount you’re willing to pay) won’t be the key indicator they’re looking at. It’s going to come down to:

1) Who has the best and most reviews?

2) Who is going to be able to service the customer I give them the best or quickest?

Look at it as if Google is giving you a paid referral. The click on your ad is just a 2-5% cut that you send them as a “Thank-You”.

Big Takeaway:

Embrace the change coming your way and start preparing to get the exposure your business deserves.

  1. Be on the watch for updates as Google Home Services ads come to your area. Currently only serving large cities on the Pacific coast.
  2. Stay posted. I’ll share the qualification criteria as soon as it’s released.
  3. Get to work collecting reviews from customers that will boost your credibility on your future ads.

Marketing to Millennials

Let’s just get this out in the open, even though I don’t identify as one, I’m technically a millennial. That means I know a bit about how my generation thinks. Let’s talk about how you can better connect with your most “connected” group of potential customers ever.

Think FAST

Even though millennials are well-known for wanting to take
life at their own pace (aka the “Peter Pan” generation putting off adult decisions as long as possible), that doesn’t mean they move like a 3-toed sloth.
Millennials, in a very general way of speaking, want things fast. Like, lightning fast. They grew up in a world of credit cards, drive-thru windows, pop-tarts, and instant gratification. They HATE waiting with a fiery passion. They have the shortest attention spans of any generation (thank you twinkies), and “know everything” – or, at least, they know someone who does (Google). They’re all “busy”, whether with jobs, friends, or keeping up on “OITNB.”
If you’re going to land one of these customers, and it’s worthwhile to do so (I’ll explain later), you’re going to have to be ready to respond at their pace. That means:
  • A quick, mobile-responsive website
  • Text messaging (for those that don’t like actually *talking* on their phones)
  • Prompt e-mail responses
  • Being at the TOP of the list on Google searches so they don’t have to look very far

Leverage Connectivity

Millennials and their devices are virtually inseparable. 94% of college students in 2007 (I know, 10 years ago) owned a personal computer and 94% of them owned a mobile phone. They’re so well-connected, it’s ridiculous. But all that connectivity means good things for your business – if you play your cards right.
With the overwhelming presence of opinions online, it’s important for you to leverage the opinions that paint you in a good light. With social media giving everyone a voice, A shockingly high percentage of them have a Facebook account and at least one Google account (I actually have FOUR).
Here’s what you should do with your millennial customers to make sure you get more than just your money’s worth:
  • REVIEWS, REVIEWS, REVIEWS – If you satisfy your customer, you won’t get a review without solicitation. Blow them away, and you might get one. Let them down, and you will certainly get one.
  • Connect with them to find more like them. “Lookalike” audiences are a new trend allowing platforms like Facebook to find more potential customers for you based on the characteristics they know about your current customers.
  • Give them a coupon code to TEXT to their friends. Reward their referrals.

Make Them Feel Special

They’ll never admit it, but millennials are narcissists. They’re very egocentric, which means everything comes down to how it affects them. Even when it comes to their “causes”, they care about those things because it makes them look or feel better.
Take a little extra effort to pander their ego and make them feel special. They’re accustomed to it – they’ve been told they’re special since kindergarten. While you can market en masse, find ways to make your marketing personalized – as if you took the time to reach out only to them and their needs.
  • Custom e-mail/mailing campaigns that dynamically inject their name.
  • Throw in a “bonus” just for them on that job. Even if it’s just standard procedure.
  • Get a text-enabled tracking number and hand it out as a personal contact number you only give to “your favorite customers”.

Big Takeaway:

Millennials aren’t as complicated as they sound. Frustrating? Sure. Quirky? Absolutely. But they’re going to be your best customers if you treat them right. Remember these things:
  1. They move quickly. You’ll have to keep up.
  2. They’re well connected. Use their connections to grow your business.
  3. Make them feel special because, in their minds, they’re the only customers that matter to you.
Take the steps that will grow your business online. I can also help you with any of these things.

Courting Your Customers – Part II

Last week, we talked about how getting online reviews (aka your business’ “online dating profile”) can help potential customers feel more confident calling you because they see that you’ve got a good reputation. Let’s continue down that path this week.
My kids have been on a Disney music kick lately and one of their favorite songs that comes on (though they haven’t seen the movie yet) is “That’s How You Know” from Enchanted. The first lines from the song are “How does she know you love her? How does she know she’s yours?”
This makes me think of our relationships with our customers. I’ll explain.
When you ask them for a review, you’re essentially telling them “Hey. I think we had a good time and I want to see you again.” You’re setting the stage for a long-term business relationship.

How Soon is Too Soon?

I remember after my first date with my wife I debated about when to call her again. I had a great time, but didn’t want to come off desperate. (Come on, guys. You know what I’m talking about.)
Meanwhile, she was left wondering, “I wonder when he’ll call me again.” Turns out, I could have called her when I got home and it wouldn’t have been too soon.
Here’s my recommendation for your customers: Don’t wait. Whether you got a review or not, don’t wait.
In today’s marketing/business world, you’re actually expected to “call back” within 24 hours. That could be a literal phone call, e-mail, postcard, or text message (use your best judgement based on the customer). But the key is that you need to follow up. “THAT’S how she’ll know.”
Plus, if you didn’t get the review, this is your chance to find out how they feel. You get to ask for a review, a referral, or just check in make sure everything from your “date” is still okay.

Sending Flowers

There are some things that can never go wrong when it comes to following up on a job. These are all things you should be doing. Like sending a few flowers after a date, keep it reasonable, but “that’s how [they’ll] know you love them.”
Here are some ideas:
  • A personally-signed thank-you card (all but forgotten in our day and age)
  • A short, simple e-mail
  • A phone call
  • A text message
  • Referral cards
  • A review request
  • A box of dog/cat treats on a big P.U.R.T. job. (Amazon, anyone?)
Whatever you decide to do, make it meaningful. Take some time and show you care.

Big Takeaway:

  1. Make sure they know you “love” them. Feel for it by asking for a review.
  2. Don’t wait too long to “call” after the date. Follow up quickly and show some appreciation and thought.

Courting Your Customers – Part I

If you’ve been following my blog for the last little while, you’ve probably noticed that I’m on a bit of a reviews kick. That’s because it’s something that’s so easy to do that can have a HUGE impact on your business.
I’d like to take a different spin on it today, though. Let’s look at it from your customer’s point of view.

The No-Longer Blind Date

Remember the last blind date you went on? I do. It was… awkward. Largely because, no matter how much the people who set me up told me about my date, I still had no idea what I was getting myself into. The people who set me up are only going to say good things about my date because they want me to have a good time and make a connection. If only there were a way to find out more about my date… Oh, wait! There’s this new thing called the Internet!
That’s right. Thanks to the magic of Facebook, Google, and the like, we can hunt down just about anyone and find out more about their personality – especially the weird stuff.
So, when a potential customer gets a recommendation from a friend to call your business, you have the opportunity to have many of your past customers vouch for you. They talk about their experiences with you and set up expectations. And if you’re working on your social media presence, you can talk about things you’re going to do for your customers.

Building a Reputation

The best and easiest way for you to build a reputation online is through reviews – especially Google reviews if you can get them. But here’s the trick – you can’t expect customers to be so elated that they just can’t wait to look you up and write a glowing review. You have to ASK them.
I wrote a while back about how to create a link to send via text message for customers to leave a review. It’s not complicated and it pays off. The key is to catch your customers in the apex of their emotional satisfaction – as soon as they see how good everything looks/smells. That’s when you say, “Mrs. Jones, I’m so glad you liked what we did today. Would it be alright if I send you a text message with a link to leave us some feedback online? Would you prefer Google, Facebook, or Yelp?”
Darryl and Teresa Adcock of Northern Utah Chem-Dry started doing this in February of this year and, as of today, have TRIPLED their Google reviews. It works! Now whenever a customer is thinking of calling them, they know they can call with confidence.

Coming Next Week

We’ll continue this topic next week with what you could/should be putting out into the world on Social Media and other places online that will help to enhance the impression you have on potential customers.

Big Takeaway:

Customers hate gambling with their business. If you can do things to make them feel more confident in calling you, you’ll gain more market share and lifetime customers.
  1. Be aware of what people are saying about you.
  2. Make sure you have Google, Facebook, and Yelp listings for your business to collect reviews.
  3. Create links that can be sent via text message to take customers directly to leave a review.