For business owners in many industries, word of mouth is one of their strongest marketing tools. If you’re a contractor, you are certainly aware of this and probably receive calls from referrals on a regular basis. In fact, you can probably attest to the saying “Your best customer is your current customer.” And this is exactly why you can’t afford to ignore online marketing in the form of the review-based website Angie’s List.
If you aren’t familiar with the site, Angie’s List allows its members (your current and potential customers) to rate and find local professionals in home repair and renovation, auto repair, and healthcare. In the last year alone, Angie’s List membership has increased by 80% to 1.2 million subscribers in over 185 U.S. markets, and, because members pay for a subscription to the site, you can be sure that these people are committed to finding the right contractors to fill their needs.
While consumers pay to search the site, businesses can create profiles free of charge, and, unlike other sites and general Internet searches, businesses can’t pay for better ratings or more visibility. However, businesses that are rated at the A or B status can advertise and offer coupons and discounts to users.
Are you starting to see why, as an online marketing agency, we think that you should be using Angie’s List? Read on for tips that will optimize your presence on the site.
1. Optimize your business description.
Write a description that is succinct and to the point while making your business appear professional and helpful. Include information that emphasizes your products or services and highlights your industry experience.
2. Include photographs.
Angie’s List allows businesses to upload a few photos to their profiles. Include quality photos that showcase some of your best work. This will give potential clients a vivid idea of exactly what you do.
3. Provide all of the relevant information.
Providing as much pertinent information as possible not only provides valuable insight for the customer, but also indicates that you are thorough, reliable, and engaged. Some good information to include on profile would be your full service area, your full contact information, including your phone number, business address, and e-mail address, a link to your website, and links to your social media pages.
4. Ask your customers for reviews.
Your past customers probably won’t think to automatically go review your work on Angie’s List. However, there’s nothing wrong with sending an e-mail that politely asks for a review, along with the link to your review form. Of course, you will want to avoid sounding pushy, but you can also ask your customers to post the same reviews on Google, which also equals an SEM boost for you!
5. Respond to your reviewers.
Since reviews are the main component of Angie’s List, it’s important to appear attentive and engaged. Respond to reviews and comments quickly but thoughtfully, and comment back to positive reviews with a personal thank you and short note about that specific customer or project.
6. Turn negative reviews into positive reviews.
Even if your products and services are consistently high-quality, it’s hard to escape a negative review once in a while. Responding to these can put you in a sticky situation, but it’s important to respond in a way that is thoughtful and sensitive. First, take some time to consider the reviewer’s grievance, and then write back that you appreciate this feedback and will contact them to resolve the complaint. Next, investigate the situation and take the necessary steps to reach a resolution. After that, respond back to the review, listing all of the steps you took to rectify the complaint and the final outcome. According to Angie’s List, companies that earn the highest ratings are those that actively engage with their clients.
Of course, creating a profile on Angie’s List alone probably won’t triple your business, but, in this highly-competitive information age, it can serve as a valuable tool in your online marketing arsenal. Read more about other digital marketing tools, like Google+, and e-mail marketing.
By Drew Himel