The last time you wanted to know something, what did you do? There’s a pretty strong chance that you Googled it. That’s how we find out whether the actor in the show we’re watching was in that one movie and it’s how we find service providers when we need a new roof, the gutters cleaned, or an attorney. As a service provider, if you’re not taking advantage of your Google My Business Listing, you could be missing out on these opportunities.
What’s a Google My Business Listing?
When you search for something on Google and one of the top results is a business, the Google My Business Listing is what shows up on the right-hand side of the page with links for directions, website, etc. It usually contains photos of the business, the address, hours, phone number, and any reviews.
These listings are automatically created by Google based on activities like creating a website for your business, people checking in at your business, and information about your business on other sites. Because this information is being pulled from a variety of sources that may or may not be up-to-date or accurate—and because Google users can make changes to the listing without notifying you—the information there may be incorrect.
How can you take advantage of your listing?
The first step is to claim and verify your listing through Google. This allows you to have some control over the listing and ensure that the information on it is accurate. Go to https://www.google.com/business and complete the form there to claim and verify the listing.
Once you’ve done that, you can log in to Google My Business to manage the listing. There you can see if anyone has made updates to your listing and review those changes, giving you the chance to remove any info that is incorrect.
You can also add posts to your listing, which can serve as free advertisement. In the Google My Business dashboard, you can create these posts, which can include images, calls-to-action, and even links to your site. These posts are great for promoting sales, events, products, or good publicity that you’ve received.
A particularly useful feature for service-based businesses is the Booking button feature, which works with your integrated scheduling software to allow people to book appointments right from the listing. If you’ve ever booked a flight through Google, it works just like that. It’s super convenient, and it makes it so quick and easy for someone to become a customer.
Good reviews are also critical for service providers, and Google reviews are definitely influential to potential clients. You can ask satisfied clients to leave honest reviews for your business on Google, and if you’re managing your listing, you’ll be aware when false, malicious, or particularly negative reviews are made so that you can address them quickly.
Managing your business’s presence on Google is just one of the many ways you can use your online presence to reach new customers. If you’re interested in learning how digital marketing strategy can work for your service-based business, get in touch and let’s get started.
Testimonials have always been an important source of advertising for home service providers, and most professionals in this field cite referrals and word-of-mouth as major sources of new leads. In the digital era, testimonials haven’t disappeared—they’ve moved online, in the form of online reviews. If you’ve ever looked up a new restaurant on Google, you know how influential reviews can be in deciding whether to eat there and just how catastrophic for business a negative review can be. If you get a negative review of your service online, how can you recover?
The first step is determining the authenticity of the review. There are people out there who will post false, negative reviews, and most places where users can leave reviews, Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc., have means for reporting and removing reviews that are not legitimate. If you can’t get the reviews removed—which is often the case, as it is difficult to impossible to prove, with anonymous usernames and all that, if the reviewers were actually clients or had any experience with your company at all—there are other ways to respond.
One way is by posting on your social media about the fake reviews; it’s an experience that others can relate to and can ever be a source of humor, especially if the spammers have awful fake names. Another is by responding to the negative review—in a comment on that review, if possible—politely asking for the reviewer to contact you to clarify and rectify their experience. If the review is fake, the person will never get in touch, but other people reading the reviews will see that you take customer service complaints seriously and will follow up with them.
If the review is real, the first step is seeking to rectify the situation. Respond to the review publicly, as described in the last paragraph, and get in touch with the client directly to ask them how you can make good on the situation. In some cases, if you fix the problem, offer a discount on future services, or offer an apology for the error or poor customer service that compelled them to write the review, the client may choose to delete or amend the review.
What If There’s Nothing I Can Do?
If there’s nothing you can or will do to satisfy this negative reviewer for whatever reason, whether because they can’t be satisfied or the issue was monumental, you’re not doomed to sit in one-star purgatory forever. The thing about reviews is that the more you have, the less each individual one counts in the average, just like with grades in school. If you get a C on the test and it’s the only grade in the class, you’ve got a C in the class; but if you got a C on the test but all your other grades were As, you might make out with an A or B in the class. Same applies to reviews. So, solicit positive reviews from other clients, ones you know are satisfied with your service.
Bad reviews suck, and they can have a negative effect on potential customers, especially now that so many people are researching home service pros online, but they aren’t the end-all, be-all. If you get a negative review, determine its authenticity and respond accordingly by addressing the review itself and bolstering your rating with good reviews.
Online reviews are just one part of a strong online presence and digital strategy for home service providers. If you’re ready to improve your digital presence and marketing efforts, it’s time to talk with Evenbound.
When it comes to digital marketing, you’ve got a lot of options to choose from to drive sales. There’s paid advertising on engines like Google, there’s paid advertising on social media sites, there are ways to drive organic traffic through your website, and there are equally as many ways to drive engagement through social media. With all the options, it’s tough to figure out which methods might be right for your company, and how much time and money to invest in each.
For this blog post, we’re going to focus primarily on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SMM (Social Media Marketing), the two free ways to drive traffic and boost sales. We get the most questions about these two digital marketing methods, likely because they’re the cheapest ways to get eyes on your site, and they’re the two methods that are the most proven.
Most often, people want to know which method is right for them: SEO or SMM. And it makes sense. You don’t want to spend time or money on a digital marketing method that won’t produce the best ROI for your company. But unfortunately, a solution isn’t as easy as picking one or the other. No matter what it is you’re selling, a quality digital marketing strategy makes use of both SEO and SMM strategies. Think of it like this:
SEO is the bones of your operation. First and foremost, you’re catering to the robots that run the Google algorithm, because without their favor, your site will never see the light of day.
SMM is the skin, hair, and makeup. It’s what gives your company a personality, and it’s ultimately what attracts actual people to your website when they trust you as an authority in your industry.
Unfortunately, one can’t exist without the other. If you think about it, when you offer deck repairs and someone types in “deck repair near me” into Google, it’s quality SEO that’s going to make sure your website pops up on the first page of search results. But if you’re looking to get the word out about your deck repair company, social media marketing is what is going to build your following, and let people know that you exist in the first place, before they even head to Google.
So, it’s important to remember that the question isn’t “which one should I use”, but “how should I combine my SEO and SMM efforts to produce the greatest results for me?”
And that question isn’t as easily answered.
Getting Started with SEO
If you’re just starting out, we always recommend you focus on basic SEO. Make sure your site is at least visible to Google, because if Google can’t see your site, no one can see your site. For more info on SEO basics, be sure to check out our Complete Guide to Inbound Marketing. Again, SEO is the bones of your operation, and you need to have quality SEO to have a foundation where you can drive your social media marketing finds. Make sure your website is functional and up-to-date. It should be responsive and user-friendly, so people who make it to your site don’t just bounce right off.
Then focus on creating content that will help you rank for a number of keywords important to you company. Again, you have to rank for people to see your site. Social media marketing is an awesome way to raise awareness about your company, but it’s important to remember that it doesn’t contribute to positive rankings in any way, and it doesn’t typically get more eyes on your site. SEO typically draws fewer people in, but it’s more effective at converting the people who do make it to your site to customers. So developing SEO content means developing content that solves pain points, and targets keywords. With a base of quality content like this, you can begin to start SMM.
Adding in Quality SMM
Remember that SMM doesn’t mean just creating a Facebook page. Facebook is a graveyard of well-intentioned business pages that no one ever posted to. Just because you have a Facebook page doesn’t mean you’re going to get followers. SMM means creating a Facebook page, and creating community around that. Focus on generating content that makes people want to interact with you, rather than buy something from you. If you build or remodel homes, post pictures of your projects and invite people to comment. If you’re a lawyer, consider posting fun infographics that breakdown complex legal concepts into easy bite-sized pieces of info, and ask for people to tell you if it makes the concept easier for them to understand. Remember that the primary goal of SMM is to create a community, rather than sell things.
SMM is quick and fleeting. Someone sees your social media post on Facebook or Twitter, and they share it or like it. Most often, SMM doesn’t actually send many people to your site. It functions more to create a community around your company, increasing your reach and alerting this online community that you exist. The goal of SMM is to build a presence that can later be harnessed for sales. Search engine optimization has a much more transactional approach of getting eyes on your page. SEO is focused on converting people who do eventually wind up on your site, while SMM works to make sure people know your site and your business exist, even if they don’t go to it.
SEO + SMM = The Ultimate Win
SMM functions as a sort of long game. You’re developing a community around your company’s social media presence, and once that community comes to trust you as an authority in your field, and someone they genuinely enjoy interacting with, they’ll convert to clients when they eventually need your services.
SEO ensures that when there are people who need your services right now, your site is discoverable. A combination of SMM and SEO ensure you’re playing on both fields: the immediate, right now leads, and the long-game: that social media community who will eventually become lifetime clients.
Any quality digital marketing strategy combines both search engine optimization and social media marketing, to ensure you’re catering to both the robots who shape the digital platform your site lives on, and the actual people you need to buy your product and service.
We get that digital marketing strategies are complex, often confusing concepts. If you have more questions on properly harnessing the powers of both SEO and SMM, don’t hesitate to reach out. Evenbound has been in the game for years now, and we’d be happy to help you figure out how to best combine your search engine optimization with your social media marketing strategies.