Signpost Local Marketing Blog

Category: Construction and Home Services

Infographic: Online Reviews and Revenue Potential

When it comes to your business, it’s hard not to get caught up in the drama of online reviews. And for good reason; each glowing, five-star review that comes in can be the closest thing to an acknowledgement of a job well done for business owners. Similarly, the sting that comes with a critical review, is not one that’s easily forgotten. Beyond the hurt feelings and pats on the back, have you ever wondered what the actual, tangible impact that such reviews (for better and worse) have on your bottom line?

We’ve put together some data from our recent, local business survey, along with others, to create this snapshot of the effect online reviews can have:

the value of online reviews


Sources

http://searchengineland.com/88-consumers-trust-online-reviews-much-personal-recommendations-195803http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/12-statistics-on-consumer-reviews.htmlhttps://www.vendasta.com/blog/50-stats-you-need-to-know-about-online-reviews/http://www.marketingcharts.com/traditional/consumers-more-likely-to-share-bad-experiences-but-companies-can-recover-41037/http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/the-yelp-factor-are-consumer-reviews-good-for-businesshttp://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/hotel_guests_read_6_12_reviews_before_booking_says_tripadvisor_survey

Bad Online Reviews — What To Do About It

A negative review is enough to take the wind out of anyone’s sails. You’ve fought hard to establish your business, and any criticisms can feel personally disparaging. More importantly, bad reviews have a real impact on your business’s health and growth. A Harvard Business School study recently found that an increase of just one star in a business’s Yelp rating can boost its revenue anywhere from 5-9%, proving that these ratings have tangible effects on your bottom line.

Fortunately, most consumers are rational people who understand that mistakes can how to respond to negative reviewshappen. They are more likely to judge a business by the way management addresses and attempts to resolve any mistake or issues their customers experience. It’s vital to act immediately, so be sure to respond to every one of these, even if you were able to sort it out with the customer via email or offline. Follow these tips in order to turn negative reviews into opportunities, not only to reengage customers that would otherwise be lost, but also to show off your dedication to customer service.

And if you are still looking for more tips on the subject, register for our upcoming webinar, presented with Weebly on Online Reputation Management.

Continue Reading

The first thing you should do is take a few deep breaths and collect your thoughts. It’s never a good idea to jump into a response, especially with reviews you find rude or unfair. Yelp recommends keeping the following in mind when composing responses:

  1. Your reviewers are your paying customers
  2. Your reviewers are human beings with (sometimes unpredictable) feelings and sensitivities
  3. Your reviewers are vocal and opinionated (otherwise they would not be writing reviews!)
Although it might seem impossible to forget, it’s worth mentioning that in addition to these points, even the most unfounded, unnecessarily scathing review has implications far beyond the person writing it. Even if it’s clear that you’ve lost the reviewer as a customer, their words will continue to influence countless others in search of your products or services in your area. While it might be tempting to set the record straight, do keep these potential customers in mind. If you respond in a way that comes across as harsh or rude, you will lose out big on this future business. Start by diagnosing the nature of the review.

Minor Issues:

If the review is primarily positive, but manages to call out a few small issues, it can be tempting to respond to these hiccups. However, according to a recent Cornell study that measured the impact of online reviews on hotels, after a 40% response rate, businesses reach a point of diminishing returns. The researches believe, “managers should focus on making constructive responses to negative reviews rather than simply acknowledging positive comments.” Calling out specific comments in an otherwise glowing review can be seen as being too nit-picky or aggressive.
For other small or overly complicated issues, there’s usually benefits to keeping it simple and concise. Thank them for feedback, apologize and leave it at that. If customers perceive you’re trying to make excuses for poor service or quality it can further alienate them.

Larger Issues:

For larger issues, it is even more important to reach out to the unsatisfied party, directly. Ideally, this should be done behind the scenes and out of sight of the public forum. Send an email, or private message (as is possible on some sites like Yelp), but still approach it with the same sensitivity and consideration as you would in a public venue.  Do everything you can to find a resolution and keep them as a happy customer.
87% of consumers agree that an appropriate management response to a bad review improves their impression of the business, so try to make things right, even if you don’t agree with their arguments. Keep an open mind and look for areas to improve in to avoid future mishaps. 

Don’t Cause Further Damage:

As bad as a negative review can be, things can always get worse. Getting pulled into ugly altercations with the customers you’re trying to win back will serve to further compound the effect of an already-bad review. It will serve as a warning sign to anyone in search of your business’s offering for a long time to come. Some reviewers know this and might try to test your limits. Keep a level head and make sure you don’t do anything to exacerbate the situation. The last thing you want is for them to share your heated response all over the internet, plastering it across review sites, social media and personal blogs or articles.


Contracting and Home Services Month Bonus Tip: Take advantage of longer term (and more substantive) relationships usually associated with contracting projects. Do everything in your power to check in with clients, and make sure they’re satisfied with your progress along the way. If you receive a negative review, reach out via email to attempt to find a solution. For quick house calls or servicing, make technicians more accountable. They are the face of your business, so be sure that they are incentivized to represent your business in the best light. In either instance, you should request feedback via email or SMS following the conclusion of business to gauge their satisfaction, and circumvent negative reviews. Signpost does this for your business, automatically

Don’t forget to check out other Contracting and Home Services posts!

Growing Your Flooring Business

April is Contracting and Home Services month here on the Signpost Local Marketing Blog! This means that in addition to our usual posts with tips on connecting with customers, marketing strategy, and growing your business, we’ll be sharing insights specifically for local contracting and home services professionals. If that includes you, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get down to it. If not, don’t worry, we’ll still be sharing our usual resources that can help you effectively market your local business. And keep your eyes peeled, your industry might be the one we feature next month!

Check out other Contracting and Home Services posts!


Growing your flooring business can feel a lot like starting from the bottom. Puns aside, it can be difficult to get and maintain traction to stay top of mind with customers and promoting flooring businesspotential customers in your community. Utilize these recommendations to build a comprehensive marketing strategy that actually works for your business.  You’ll soon find that by using these methods both on and offline, you’ll be able to populate a healthy pipeline of projects to get your flooring business off the ground.

Continue Reading: 1. Decide on a specialization or focus that differentiates your offering
  1. Decide on a specialization or focus that differentiates your offering and helps you stand out to your target audience. If you’re going after hospitality contracts, then this should inform your strategy of the networking events you should attend (more trade shows and hotel industry events and conferences), and also help you identify priorities and opportunities within that market. Hotels and multi-family residences, for example, tend to be primarily motivated by affordability and pricing.Or, perhaps your offerings set you apart from the competition. Do you sell flooring but no installation services? Here, you’ll focus on the quality and diversity of materials, including the newest trends and innovations, such as environmentally friendly materials. If you provide flooring material along with installation, your potential customer will be more concerned with the process, cost and expertise of your installation experts, as well as the type of flooring they choose. Which brings us to…
  2. If you’re a full-service floorer, remember it’s about expertise. Especially for residential and commercial contracts, it’s not so much about price competition, but the professionalism and experience you and your team can offer. You’re selling a solution and customers expect your business’s installation experts to know their stuff. Make sure this is a two-way street and debrief frequently with your reps to keep your finger to the pulse of trends and customer requests, preferences etc.
  3. Create a comprehensive customer communication strategy. This should include reaching out to past and current customers via email and SMS marketing to keep them engaged and your business on their mind. Many years can pass before a past client requires more work, so make sure your business remains in front of them if and when the time comes. This way you keep a line of communication open and can remind them when they’re due for maintenance. You can also remind them to refer your business to friends and family as the need arises. Motivate them with a formal referral program or new customer discount to share, as well as seasonal promotions. Check out this full list for email and SMS Marketing ideas for home services professionals.
  4. Partner with complementary businesses to form a local coalition. Keep an eye out for businesses in your community who might have interest and be a good fit. This can include local hardware stores, painters, real estate agents, electricians, roofers, home cleaning, power washers, landscapers, interior designers, and other general contractors who don’t serve as direct competition for the products and services you offer. Hold monthly meetings to get to learn about each other’s businesses and differentiations. You can also discuss challenges members are facing and weigh in on potential solutions. This type of exchange can be very effective for tackling issues local business owners are facing. Have referrals be a cornerstone of the group and exchange print materials, such as flyers, brochures, samples and business cards so that they can share with their clients, and do the same for them.
  5. Similarly, consider joining flooring, contracting, residential and commercial building associations and obtain any accreditations (such as FITA QA) to reinforce your commitment to your craft and continued professional development.  Attend events, workshops, and meetings of your local chamber of commerce to increase credibility with customers. Use these and other networking events to meet others in the industry and keep updated on latest trends and tactics. This can also help grow your referral network and reach within your community.
  6. Host a workshop at your storefront, a hardware store or community center. Prove your expertise by teaching basic classes about flooring for homeowners or business owners. Whether these focus on the best way to clean different types of floors, using green flooring, what to consider when you need new floors, or finding the best material for your flooring project, make sure to provide value to the community. You can offer to speak on panels at trade shows or other community events. Brainstorm ways to include your local coalition in this strategy. You could provide programs that address various remodeling or home maintenance topics. Collect emails or contact info on the attendees and send them a special introductory offer, or include them on your email lists for other marketing initiatives.
  7. Use local newspapers to identify new homeowners in your area and target them with direct mail campaigns, as they are likely to be settling in and making some changes.  You can send them flyers with special “welcome offers for our new neighbors” and your business card. You can make this a part of your outreach cycle and send out mailings each quarter or twice a year, so you don’t miss out on any of these new customers.  Also try contacting owners or property managers of apartment complexes, retail plazas and residential condominiums in a similar manner and ask if you can leave some more information about your services or set up a consultation in case there should be a future need. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when using this approach, either.  A lot of people evaluate their flooring needs when anticipating an addition to their family. Incorporate baby furniture stores to your outreach, or ask if you can leave some flyers directed towards new parents with special offers.
  8. Craft a guarantee to help you attract potential customers. This helps assuage any uncertainty or fears they might have about the process and reassures them that you are committed to providing unparalleled customer service and delivering results that will floor them (last pun, I promise). Make sure your guarantee is rooted in your company’s values. Have it clearly stated on your website, in-store and anyplace else your business has an online or offline presence. Train your representatives to recite it during any consultations, evaluations, or meetings in general. Take care to select manufacturers and distributors based on your short and long-term requirements that will allow you to stay true to your guarantee. Does a supplier that delivers direct to the customer help you streamline your logistics? Evaluate your suppliers based on this commitment.
  9. Create a process for your feedback strategy that will fuel testimonials, reviews and referrals. You can use email and SMS marketing as outlets to gather feedback after completing a project, and to encourage customers to leave you reviews on the major sites. Consider any criticism as an opportunity to continue improving your service and products. On average, for every negative comment, there are 26 other unhappy customers who have remained silent.  When you receive glowing praise, ask permission to use the quote as a testimonial that can be placed on your website and in any print or promotional materials. This can also be a good opportunity to ask them to post a review on Yelp, Facebook or Angie’s List to reinforce your online presence and positive ratings. This makes it easier for your business to be found by other potential customers. You can draft these ahead of time, so that you don’t drop the ball during busy periods, or invest in intelligent marketing technology, like Signpost, that automatically drives feedback, testimonials, reviews and referrals from your current and past customers, without you having to lift a finger! 
  10. If you’re attending trade shows, make sure your booth is stocked with plenty of samples of many of your best material options. Print out or create digital displays of your full offering, as well as slideshows with images of “before and after” projects. Bring lots of business cards, and have special brochures printed based on the type of attendee you’re targeting and even an exclusive offer for them.
  11. Keep an eye out for supplier rebate programs to help fund advertising. Some companies (like ANSO and DUPONT) will give you a resources to spend on advertising. Of course, be sure to research the terms, as they’ll usually require you to use images that showcase their products, or might even supply you with the creative, outright. This can help you advertise in traditional media (local newspapers, magazines) without investing your entire budget there.

Email and SMS Marketing Tips for your Contracting Business

local marketing for contractors

April is Contracting and Home Services month here on the Signpost Local Marketing Blog! This means that in addition to our usual posts with tips on connecting with customers, marketing strategy, and growing your business, we’ll be sharing insights specifically for local contracting and home services professionals. If that includes you, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get down to it. If not, don’t worry, we’ll still be sharing our usual resources that can help you effectively market your local business. And keep your eyes peeled, your industry might be the one we feature next month!

Check out the first Contracting and Home Services post on Promoting Your Contracting Business.


Life was a lot easier when all it took to get a few new customers were print ads and sending out some flyers via direct mail campaigns. However, tactics like these provide no insight into their effectiveness, and nowadays their results leave a lot to be desired. Luckily, new tools and technologies have come along that provide better access to your audience, and improved ways to keep them engaged. The average return on investment (ROI) for email marketing is 4300%, and customers are 76% more likely to read an SMS marketing message than email, proving the worth of both strategies. Best of all, these tried and true techniques are also much easier to track and measure, so you can be sure that you’re focusing on growing your business in the best and most sustainable way possible. This allows you to be more data-driven in your approach and also to know what areas you can improve in.

Continue Reading: Email Marketing Tips

Email

  1. The first step is deciding on an Email Service Provider (ESP) that works best for your business. Most ESPs provide email analytics and reporting on key metrics, including delivery rate, open rate, and click-through rate. In addition to sending out automated messages, Signpost also allows you to create custom email campaigns for this purpose. Find the right service for your business based on which offers the easiest list management, email templates and editing, and on which fits your budget.
  2. Next, it’s time to begin building your email lists. Start by sending out an email to past clients stating that your business is starting up an email list and ask them to subscribe. You can offer a welcome offer of either a gift or a coupon for some routine maintenance or service checkup in order to entice them to join.  Extend the list for this initial email to anyone who requested a quote or an estimate, got in touch, or are current customers. This will give you a good base to start with!
  3. Next, take some time to optimize your current website and social media profiles so that you can continue to collect emails and grow your list. Add a subscription form to your homepage, as well as any blogs or social media profiles you have established for your business, so you have all your bases covered.
  4. Now that you’ve updated your online assets, make sure to also translate this practice offline. Add a field to invoices or estimates for the customer to provide their email address. Any paperwork that you provide to a customer should include this prompt to stay in contact.
  5. Create an automated, welcome email (some ESP’s do this automatically) that requests a “double opt-in” or a confirmation that they’d like to receive emails from you. This helps to protect your future emails from being marked as spam.
  6. You should ask that these recipients “whitelist” your email, by adding your address to their contacts to ensure that your messages will not be archived, or filtered out of view deep in their inbox. This is your best shot of ensuring your emails are being received and read. The above welcome email is a great opportunity to add a line requesting this.
  7. It’s important to establish expectations with regards to the frequency of emails you’re planning on sending out. If you bombard your customers with a different email every day, when they use your services once a decade, they might end up being annoyed and unsubscribing. Transparency is always helpful in preventing this, so be upfront about how often they can expect to hear from you and what types of emails (instructional how-to’s, new products and offerings, discounts, etc.) they’ll be receiving from you.
  8. Now that you’ve got some of the administrative tasks out of the way, you’re ready to start email marketing! First and foremost, you should focus on quality content that keeps readers interested and engaged. This is not the time or place for a hard sell—save that for 1-1 correspondence. Share your expertise with a series of how-to tutorials for simple maintenance or quick fixes for home repairs. Keep the text short and sweet, as many people will be reading these on smartphones or other devices with smaller screens and dislike scrolling through long, text-heavy emails.
  9. Make your emails as visual as possible. Be sure to include at least one image (but not too many, as it can greatly affect load times), to keep your audience invested. Status photos, or before-and-after photos are perfect for this. Or, include short videos that show how subscribers can perform basic tasks to improve their own home.
  10. Spend some extra time crafting a really terrific subject line. 33% of email recipients open email based on subject line alone, which puts the pressure on you to distill your entire email’s contents to an intriguing few short words.
  11. If your home services business tends to have many quick visits or short-term projects (such as HVAC repair, plumbing, etc.), request an email address when your customers are making their appointment and send them a brief profile on the technician that is coming to service them. This helps foster a sense of community, and let’s them know who to expect. It also reduces the uncertainty associated with letting strangers into their home. And, if you include a few lines about the technician’s background and interests, it provides good topics for small talk.
  12. In every email, make sure to clearly display your business’s contact info, including address, phone number, best email contact (may be different from the account you send out marketing emails from), as well as the hours of your office or headquarters if you have one. This way, when they’re ready to make a purchasing decision, not only will your business be top of their mind, they’ll also be able to easily connect with you.
  13. Include social buttons so that they can easily find and follow any network that your business has a profile on. This gives you even more options for how to engage with your customers in the future. If you’re including good content, you might also want to consider adding social sharing buttons directly in the email. Not only does it allow readers to easily share your content and brand expertise with their networks on social media, but can also lead to an uptick in click-through rate (CTR) by as much as 115%.
  14. Incentivize readers to stay engaged by offering exclusive discounts to your email subscribers.
  15. Add a call-to-action (CTA) button to emails with an exclusive offer. Emails with a single call-to-action increased clicks 371% and sales 1617%. Whether it’s a discount with a link to “Request My Free Quote”, “Make an Appointment”, or “Schedule Maintenance”, include a focused CTA button, when applicable, to drive customers towards your website.
  16. Remember to ask for referrals. You should always include a line about your referral program (if you have one), and otherwise asking subscribers if they’d like to recommend your business to a friend. It’s important to plant the seeds early and often so that when the subject comes up, subscribers will be reminded to recommend your business.
  17. Schedule emails ahead of time, so you can plan in advance and not sacrifice the consistency that your audience comes to expect. Most ESP’s allow you to do this, which provides really great flexibility around your schedule. If you have a few spare moments in the morning or evening, draft out next week’s email blast and schedule it so you don’t fall behind. Or, you can utilize marketing technologies, like Signpost, that automatically send out emails to drive reviews, repeat business and referrals at the right time, without the need to lift a finger.
  18. Devote time to evaluating your results, and finding areas to improve upon. Marketing is a process that’s never really finished. There are always new insights that can be analyzed from different types of campaigns, and refined for future efforts. Try to learn something new from each campaign or email you send out and you’ll be on your way to becoming a successful, well-oiled email marketing machine!

SMS Marketing

Although a similar approach, do be mindful of the nuances that set SMS marketing apart from email.

  1. Similarly, with SMS, or text message marketing, it’s important to find a service provider. Again, Signpost allows you to establish an easy opt-in short code, track subscriptions, send out blasts (including automated ones) and track results.
  2. Make sure you have permission. There are strict laws against sending messages to customers who did not choose to subscribe to your marketing list.
  3.   Build your lists by placing the opt-in short code (or ‘Text “Start’ to this number” prompts) on in all print items including business cards, flyers, in-store signage, coupons, and trucks or vans.
  4. Add the short code to your online assets, including your business website, social pages, blog, directories, and email signature.
  5. Be mindful of character limits (usually 140), and be sure to keep your message brief and to the point. No one likes to read more than they have to in a text.
  6. Text messages are received and read almost instantaneously. Take advantage of this by sending messages that convey urgency or are time sensitive. Incentivize the first 5 to respond. Whether a discount off their next maintenance, or a free tune up, this approach helps foster engagement while also proving the worth of subscribing to your SMS list.
  7. Ask a trivia question about something in your field or something seasonal, or do a “pop quiz” based on an instructional how-to blog you wrote, or video you made. Reward those who answer correctly first, similarly to #4.
  8. Send out a reminder the day before or morning of a scheduled appointment. This helps prompt them to do any prep you need completed before your arrival, and can convey any info you’d like to remind them of (what time, how long it will take, etc.).
  9. Send text tips, based on different seasonal or weather-influenced conditions. Try “It’s going to be a sweltering week! Be sure to check the freon levels in your AC!  Schedule your annual maintenance today!” Or, “Time for Spring cleaning! Clean out those gutters, or we’ll do it for you with $25 off!”
  10. While you can’t include images, you can link to a video, social pages or your website. Better yet, using a tracking link like bit.ly, which will not only save you some characters but will also allow you to also track how many people click the link.
  11. Issue a “Thank you” or follow up messages after a visit or project. Keep the line of communication open, and request feedback to gauge their satisfaction levels, identify areas for improvement and prompt them to review you online.

How to Promote Your Contracting Business

local marketing for contractors

April is Contracting and Home Services month here on the Signpost Local Marketing Blog! This means that in addition to our usual posts with tips on connecting with customers, marketing strategy, and growing your business, we’ll be sharing insights specifically for local contracting and home services professionals. If that includes you, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get down to it. If not, don’t worry, we’ll still be sharing our usual resources that can help you effectively market your local business. And keep your eyes peeled, your industry might be the one we feature next month!


Even with an estimated excess of $1072 billion projected to be spent on new construction in the US this year, it can be a struggle for independent contractors to Getting new customers for your constructioin businessmaintain a pipeline of new clients. Unfortunately, many contractors only worry about promoting or marketing their business when they have a lull or are in between projects. A busy schedule is no excuse! Use these twenty suggestions to formulate a comprehensive marketing strategy that will continue to drive new customers to your business.

Continue Reading: 1. Use yard signs to advertise on your customers' lawns

 

  1. Use yard signs to advertise on your customers’ lawns while you’re working on site. This shouldn’t be an issue for most customers, but as a courtesy be sure to check prior to putting it up,  and respect their wishes if they say no.  Make sure you place the sign somewhere prominent where passersby can easily see it and be able to take down the number or website.
  2. Let your trucks and equipment to advertise for you. Be sure to clearly display your business’s contact information on both the sides and back of the car for maximum exposure. Or better yet, order custom magnets that have subtle layout variations so they’ll continue to catch the attention of people around town without growing stale or fading into the background. When you’re not onsite or using a truck, try parking it in high-trafficked areas to give your business more exposure.
  3. Maximize your daylight hours on site and save the business/marketing and administrative work for after hours.  This will optimize your efficiency and balance the demands of on-site work and marketing efforts.
  4. Get involved in community events and organizations. Network with influential community leaders or join town clubs (Rotary Club, Knights of Columbus, Elks Club, Kiwanis, etc.) and attend Chamber of Commerce meetings as well. The Chamber of Commerce will also sometimes be asked to provide recommendations to townspeople, so make sure they get to know your business. You can even go one step further in number five and…
  5. Sponsor a little league team or community event to get good exposure for your business, while creating a positive association with some good will and an investment in your hometown. Local businesses are the pillars of any community, sponsorships are a good reminder of the important role they play.
  6. Use business cards to your advantage. Put one in every estimate, quote, invoice, or bill so that your customers can easily keep your contact info on file for the future, or share with a friend looking for a similar quality of service. You’ve worked hard to deliver on a beautiful remodeling, your customers friends are bound to notice. Make it easy for them to share your information. Give them a few extras to distribute to friends. And invest in ordering them for all employees to turn them into ambassadors for your company and cast a wider net in your area.
  7. Make sure you’re conveniently reachable. Your outgoing voicemail message should state your website and office hours so they can continue their research instead of skipping ahead and trying the next business on their list. If you’re really worried about missing a potential customer’s calls, consider forwarding your business calls to a work or personal cell phone after hours. Or, use a service that tracks incoming calls to your business and provides contact information so that you can follow up with them as soon as possible.
  8. Stay top of mind with previous customers, sending occasional emails to check in.  Perhaps it’s been years since you last worked with them, but they may have a new project they can use your help on. Make the decision easier for them by re-engaging periodically so that you’ll be in front of them and on their mind when the timing is right. This can be a birthday email, a newsletter or a sporadic check in, but don’t forget to ask for a referral, or remind them that you appreciate them in case they know someone planning a remodel.
  9.  Partner with other home services professionals to create a referral network.
    You know better than anyone that most of these projects require more than one skill set. Partner with local plumbers, electricians, roofers, floorers, etc. to cross-market each other’s businesses. Of course you should do your due diligence to ensure they maintain a high quality of work worthy of your word and reputation. These help not only other business owners like yourself, but also save your customer time researching and reading reviews in order to find the right person for the job. You might want to consider distributing flyers or one pagers to everyone in your referral network so that when they begin work with a new client they can provide them with a folder of all recommended tangential services. Offering an exclusive discount or promotion for each other’s clients may make the decision even more compelling for them.
  10. Utilize intelligent marketing automation technology to keep current customers engaged, and drive new business. Signpost does this by automatically by sending out emails and SMS messages (text messages) to your customers that are likely to be brand advocates for you asking them to give you feedback, testimonials, 5-star reviews and referrals. It also allows you to send out new customer and loyalty offers.
  11. Know your audience and keep updated on cutting edge trends and innovations. As you already know, different things matter to different clients. A new, environmentally-friendly practice or material may be just the differentiating factor that a customer is looking for. So, taking the time to learn and adopt these cutting edge methods could help you win more business.
  12. Frequently evaluate and refresh your website. Make sure to update customer testimonials or quotes to keep them current. Outdated testimonials or reviews make customers question if the quality of work has declined in the time since these were obtained. You can cycle through a few different variations, and make sure that they are under a year old. Make sure that your logo and website design looks modern and not outdated or clunky. Take notice of other sites you think have a great design and layout in order to pinpoint the aspects you like and draw inspiration from them for your site. Make sure it’s optimized for mobile, meaning that customers visiting your site on a mobile device will be greeted with fast load times and pages that scale responsively to the smaller screen.
  13. Set aside the appropriate resources, meaning both money AND time. It can be challenging to allocate some of your hard-fought budget to marketing and advertising initiatives, but even more difficult to find the time to dedicate to customer acquisition strategy and tasks. The Small Business Administration recommends spending 7-8% of your revenue on marketing, and most business owners also devote an average of 20 hours a week to marketing tasks. Without putting in the time, you’re unlikely to see tangible returns. If you’re short on time, consider investing in a marketing automation technology that will do the outreach and connect with customers for you.
  14. Focus on building client relationships. Make sure that you or your crew is always punctual, and that you or another representative of the company is always responsive to their various communications. Respond to emails, calls, and texts as soon as possible. We all know clients that take advantage of this policy, but do your best to remain patient and ease their concerns or answer their questions.  Making customer service a priority will delight customers in an entirely different way than delivering quality work. Both can be equally important factors when it comes time to recommend your services to a friend or family member.
  15. Establish yourself as a thought leader or expert. Start a blog or a newsletter of practical advice for small home improvement projects, or basic remodeling. Draw on your expertise and experience to answer common questions and warn against various dangers, issues or pitfalls to avoid. Your audience will be grateful for your assistance, and will keep your business at the top of their list the next time they have a project that requires a professional. You can even shoot quick tutorial videos on a smartphone and upload the files to YouTube or your blog. If possible, connect with local newspapers and magazines and contribute a byline or guest author an article with some good advice on the topic. It’s ok to reference your background or experience to speak to your qualifications, but avoid a hard sell here, which readers (and even more likely the periodical’s editors) will find off-putting.
  16. Focus SEO efforts on the hyperlocal. SEO is often an uphill battle, so if you want to maximize your chances of getting a favorable ranking in order to get found, don’t waste your time targeting broad keywords. These will force you to compete with large,  nationwide corporations. Instead, focus on terms that differentiate your business and frame it in the context of your community. This is especially helpful for discovery in searches with local intent (think “Contractors near me” or “Contractors in Lakeview”). A good example would be “roofers with solar options in Chelsea” so your business has a better shot of being included in Google’s “three-pack” of results.
  17. Run a clean worksite. Nothing shows off your professionalism like a tidy worksite. It emphasizes your commitment to safety of both the property owner and your crew, and reinforces the organization of your operation. This allows everyone driving past to see what they can expect if they hire you, and your prominently displayed yard sign provides your contact information to get the ball rolling.
  18. Make sure that your business listings and info is consistent across as many various online directories as possible. This helps to boost your online presence, and page ranks for search engines. Varying information can be confusing for customers doing preliminary research.  Here is a great list of free directories to get you started.
  19. Keep your social profiles up to date and post consistently. If maintaining numerous different profiles is too daunting, just focus on one or two. Having a couple of active profiles is much better than a slew of neglected pages. Facebook and Google My Business are great places to start with active communities. Share before and after photos of current and past projects, or blueprints for future plans.
  20. Set up a referral program for past customers. Offer a special discount or rate for new customers that were referred and be sure to send a small, “thank you” gift as a token of your appreciation to your past customer. Promote this when you send out check-in emails to your customer base.

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