Welcome to the final post in our 6-part blog series, Marketing Your Paving Company. In Part 5, we discussed why lead tracking is the most important component of your marketing strategy. (Lead tracking is what identifies which of your marketing initiatives are the most – and the least – effective for increasing your return on investment.) Today, we switch gears and dive into the world of reputation management; or in simpler terms, how to get good Google Reviews and/or Facebook Recommendations so you get more business.
If you’d like to read the earlier posts in our series, you can visit them by clicking the links below:
- Part 1: Marketing Your Paving Company
- Part 2: Your Website
- Part 3: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Part 4: Local SEO
- Part 5: Lead Tracking
We’ve worked with a lot of service providers, and we can assure you that paving companies aren’t alone in this, but a major missing link in your marketing strategy is probably asking for recommendations and reviews on a consistent basis. Do any of these reasons sound familiar to you? (Don’t worry, we’ve heard them all—more than once!)
Top Five Reasons Service Providers Don’t Ask for Reviews:
- I forget to ask for it.
- It’s been so long since I did the work, I feel it’s too late to ask.
- I don’t know how to ask for reviews.
- I’m scared to ask because what if the review is negative?
- I don’t like all my past customers, so I can’t send out a blanket request.
All of these reasons may feel perfectly valid to you. But the truth is, that if you let these excuses stop you from asking for reviews, it will stop you from getting leads. Trust us, when your potential customers are deciding which paving company they want to hire, good reviews count. And if you have a system in place that intentionally and consistently asks for reviews, it eliminates many of the reasons that were listed above.
In the next section, we guide you through the process of setting up a dependable reputation management system—one that lets you consistently ask for reviews AND fix problem areas in your process, which is a big bonus in asking for reviews.
Building a Reputation Management System
- Create a document outlining your customer workflow. It should start with the customer signing the contract and paying your retainer, then move through to the end of the job when you receive your final payment. Look at the process and ask yourself, when is the customer the happiest? Is it when they give their first payment and are excited about having us come out to start the project? Or is it at the end, when they see the finished product?
- Determine your platform. Decide where in that process you want to ask for a review. Once you know that, the next step is figuring out where you want them to leave it. Some of the most popular (and influential) sites that feature customer reviews are Google, Facebook, Angie’s List, and Yelp. The two main ones that are a must-have are Google and Facebook since your customers are probably on them.
- Create a place for templates. Many of us waste time (and money!) by routinely hunting through old emails looking for words or phrasing we can copy and paste into a new communication. Eliminate that search time. We suggest you keep a running Word Doc or Google file that contains templates for all the emails you send on a regular basis. In this case, you would set up a templated email that asks for a review. Then, when you’re ready to send one, you know exactly where to go to quickly grab the verbiage you need.
- Draft the templated email. We suggest that your review request include the following components:
- “Thank you for using our paving services.”
- “We’d love to have your feedback on our process or product.”
- Link(s) to the site(s) where you want your reviews to appear.
- “If you were unhappy with our service, we’d like to hear from you directly…” (See next step for more info.)
- Identify a process for complaint collection. Nobody likes complaints. But don’t worry—we’re experts at helping our clients deal with the problem when it does come up. We suggest you include a line or two (in your request email) that gives your customers a chance to email you directly if they aren’t 100% satisfied. Include a link that opens an email to your “Complaint Department. This gives a chance for the negative feedback to come directly to you, and not online where other potential customers can see it.
- Respond to complaints. Complaint resolution is paramount to reputation management. The most important part is letting your customers know they’ve been heard. So, whether you get a raving recommendation on Facebook, a less than stellar review on Google, or an email voicing dissatisfaction, respond to them. Sometimes all it takes is a public “thank you for a great review” to convince potential customers you’re the paving company they want to work with. And if it wasn’t a great review, publically ask them to call or email you so you can resolve their issue.
Reviews are vital because they aren’t just for the people who stumble across them—Google promotes the companies with the highest ratings first. Search engines routinely put the “best” companies first. So whether it is Google or Facebook, ideally, you want your star rating to be 4.0 or better. The more organic, awesome reviews you have, the more likely you are to become a featured business in local search.
If the manual process seems daunting, we offer this service and can handle everything from start to finish. Or, if you’d like more information on automated systems, or to see how they could generate more leads as part of your digital strategy, schedule an appointment with us today for a free one-hour strategy session.