REPUTATION MANAGEMENT. Opinions Really Do Matter 3. How Your Contracting Business s Reputation Affects Your Bottom Line 3. The Whole Kit & Caboodle 5

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2 Table " Contents Opinions Really Do Matter 3 How Your Contracting Business s Reputation Affects Your Bottom Line 3 The Whole Kit & Caboodle 5 Integrating Reputation Management into Your Home Improvement Company s Marketing Plan 5 Out of Order 7 Restore Online Directory Listings to Working Order 7 Become a Don Juan of Social Media 9 Engaging Social Media Users to Grow Your Business 9 Reviews: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly 13 How You Can Make Reviews Work for You Even the Bad Ones 13 From Invisible to Viral in 60 Seconds (or Less) 15 The Big Connection between Reputation and Online Visibility 15 1

3 Conclusion 17 Taking Ownership of Your Company s Reputation 17 Surefire Social s Reputation Management Solutions 19 About the Author 20 About Surefire Social 1 2

4 Opinions Really Do Matter How Your Contracting Business s Reputation Affects Your Bottom Line I n the old days, businesses knew that word of mouth was their most powerful ally in converting leads. The same holds true today except that today s word of mouth primarily takes the form of social media sites and online directories, making it even more powerful than traditional word of mouth could ever be. The speed with which your business s online content can spread and be seen is staggering. This is great news if someone posts a positive review about your business s services, but what happens if someone posts something negative? Yikes Suddenly, the power of the online word feels like a threat to your business s success. Managing your home improvement company s online reputation is critical to your ability to reach potential customers and turn them into new business opportunities. It can be the difference between your company succeeding or failing. The importance of a solid reputation management program cannot be stressed enough and the lack of doing so can have a truly devastating effect on your bottom line. 3

5 Consider these three unnerving statistics: 2/3 of people are more likely to buy from a company if they read positive comments about it online. ½ of people are less likely to buy from a company if they read negative comments about it online. It takes 12 positive reviews to make up for one 1 negative review Yes, it s true. Other people s opinions about your business really DO matter. 4

6 The Whole Kit & Caboodle Integrating Reputation Management into Your Home Improvement Company s Marketing Plan T 1 here are three pillars to an effective reputation management campaign: Creating consistent online directory listings Inconsistent directory listings can be extremely damaging to your business s online visibility. Let s think about it- imagine a potential customer is looking for a contractor in their local area but they are finding your business s contact information inconsistent. In that case, they are most likely going to move onto one of your competitors that have easy-to-find, consistent information and you have just lost new business. Find where you are listed, selfpublish your company into the top directories and ensure your listing information (including your location) is correct. 2 Developing a robust social media presence Social media is where your customers are and that means you need to be there, too. At a minimum, you should be active on Facebook, but to get the best results, include multiple social media platforms into your marketing plan. Use these powerful mediums to engage 5

7 your customers, solicit responses and promote content from your business s website including- testimonials, blogs, contests, and promotions. 3 Monitoring and responding to reviews Positive reviews should ALWAYS be shared on social media. Not doing so is a waste of powerful marketing material that could get your contractor business high quality leads Even negative reviews can give you an opportunity to change the public s perception of you. Make sure you respond to EVERY negative review. The longer you wait to respond, the more likely it is to damage your reputation. Consider this for every negative comment you receive, it takes 12 positive ones to outweigh it in the eyes of consumers. Being proactive in your marketing plan will allow you to control your reputation rather than let your reputation control you. 6

8 Out of Order Restore Online Directory Listings to Working Order K eeping your listings clean is critical to managing search results, your ability to be found by potential customers, and your overall reputation. There are a few key ways to keep your listings in good condition, including: Correct missing information Your phone number, address, website or other key location and contact data can be easily listed incorrectly in any online directories. Monitoring your top directories can bring your attention to these damaging instances, giving you the chance to correct them as soon as possible. Claim key listings The ability to self-publish your listings on directories such as Google+ Local or Yelp is a great way to take complete control of your visibility as you decide what information will be available and can trust it will not be changed by anyone else. 7

9 Ensure variety of directories Directories can be platform specific with some being intended for desktop users, some for mobile users and others for in-car platforms. Find the most relevant ones for your business type and get listed, ensuring a mix of all appropriate platforms. Take action today If you haven t created directory listings for your business or your current listings have inconsistent information, you could be missing out on new business. Make it a part of your home improvement company s marketing plan to create and monitor these listings. 8

10 Become a Don Juan of Social Media Engaging Social Media Users to Grow Your Business F acebook has 1.1 billion users, Twitter registers 500 million daily tweets, and new Google+ signups surpass 9,000 per day. These stats represent your current and potential customers as well as your competitor s. Do you know what they are saying about your business for everyone to see? A poor social media presence gives competitors a huge advantage. Don t let them get new customers that should have been yours simply because they were on Facebook and Twitter when you weren t. Bad comment: RESPOND 9

11 Good comment: AMPLIFY 10

12 Take a look at these stats: 27% of the total U.S. Internet time is spent on social networking sites 25% of consumers who complain about products on Facebook or Twitter expect a response within 1 hour 91% of individuals who use social media for local searches choose Facebook to find local business information Here s what you need to do: Be where your customers are Find out what social media platform your audience uses and be there (hint: where your competitors are can give you clues). If needed, choose only one platform at first but be constantly active on it you ll see better results than using multiple accounts with little activity. Make sure you re posting content that your audience will find useful and remember to mix it up a little. Don t be afraid to post funny quotes, trivia questions, videos and contests in addition to your company s blog posts. The key is creating fresh content to keep potential customers engaged with your home improvement company. 11

13 Engage, engage and engage When you see a tweet or post about your business, make it a priority to respond to that comment as soon as possible. Get your customers talking to you and to each other. Actively encourage them to share your material, ask them questions, and comment on their posts. When you see a tweet or post about your business, make it a priority to respond to that comment as soon as possible. Don t be afraid to promote yourself Got a great new review? Share it Completed a new project or received an award? Show it off Social media is a perfect medium for these. Remember, the most important component of any post is relevant content. Make it matter to your audience and it will work wonders for you. 12

14 Reviews: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly How You Can Make Reviews Work for You Even the Bad Ones P eople s buying decisions are heavily influenced by what people say about your business online. This means you must take control of what is said about your company from the get-go. This is where managing your online reviews comes into play. Share the good news If you receive a positive review, take full advantage and AMPLIFY it across the web for everyone to see. Thank your reviewers and share their review on your website and all social media platforms. Embrace bad reviews As tempting as it is pretend a bad review doesn t exist, that is the last thing you should do. Even a critical customer can be turned around and when that 13

15 happens, it is gold. Reply to every negative review either with an apology or explanation (make sure you are not defensive) and include some form of incentive to win them back. While certainly you cannot make everyone happy all the time, it is well worth your time to try. The potential negative impact a bad review can have on your home improvement business is too serious to ignore. 14

16 From Invisible to Viral in 60 Seconds (or Less) The Big Connection between Reputation and Online Visibility Y our home improvement business s success requires a strong combination of reputation and visibility. How can you find that ideal balance for your business? By implementing the following 4 strategies into your marketing campaigns: Traditional word of mouth Online reviews Social media Online directories Notice that three of the four ways that people find your company are online These platforms allow you to reach a large number of potential customers at once with very little financial 15

17 investment. Additionally, the targeting capabilities online ensure that your message is being seen by high quality leads, not just the masses (as with a radio spot ad, for example). If your home improvement business has a good online reputation but no visibility (and vice versa), your home improvement company is missing out on new business and is not as successful as it could be. Here s why: If you have a great reputation among present and potential customers but are not highly visible online, how are potential customers supposed to find you? Or how are you supposed to use that positive reputation to win over new customers? If you are highly active and visible online but have a poor reputation, you will be seen by a lot of potential customers, but what they learn about you will actually hurt your business, instead of drive new business. The way to increase your number of qualified leads is to ensure a positive online reputation along with robust online visibility. 16

18 Conclusion Taking Ownership of Your Company s Reputation E veryone has an opinion and they re sharing those opinions online for everyone to see. These comments and reviews can either make or break your business. Fortunately for you, there are strategies you can implement into your marketing plan to ensure you are in charge of creating the reputation you want, need and deserve There are strategies you can implement into your marketing plan to ensure you are in charge of creating the reputation you want, need and deserve Effective utilization of online directories, social media and reviews has the ability to transform your online reputation, enhance your marketing efforts and drive in new business. With the power to reach unlimited people via the Internet and your ability to control real-time conversations with your customers, you can initiate, engage and direct conversations that make people know, remember and choose you. In summary, here are the reputation management action items to take from this ebook: Improve your online visibility make sure you are active and present on social media networks and local business listings appropriate to your audience Ensure accurate information online inaccurate business listings will hurt you, not help 17

19 Monitor what s being said about your contractor business engage with your potential customers Use your reviews promote good ones and work to turn around the bad ones Active reputation management will put you in the driver s seat and give you the best chance for more leads and an increased competitive advantage. 18

20 Surefire Social s Reputation Management Solutions W e have just released two comprehensive reputation management packages that empower you to manage and build your online reputation with ease. With this newly released management platform, you can monitor your home improvement company s reviews, visibility, social media, employees and the competition- all in one place We offer two different programs and it all depends on if you want to do the monitoring yourself, or if you would like a professional do it for you. Take a look at the two below: Reputation Intelligence the easy-to-use, comprehensive, cost effective suite empowering you to easily manage your business s reputation all on your own. Reputation Concierge this package includes everything in Reputation Intelligence plus a Certified Coach to take care of your online reputation for you so you can focus on your business. To learn more about our newly released Reputation Management Solutions, visit us here. 19

21 About the Author Chris Marentis, Founder and CEO C hris Marentis is the founder and CEO of Surefire Social, the leading local Internet marketing company in North America. Surefire Social specializes in building Internet lead generation platforms for local businesses like Home Improvement companies, Medical Practices, Mortgage and Real Estate, and Lawyers. Marentis has been prophetic in identifying the best ways to leverage and harness breakthrough technologies, platforms and new media to drive sales growth for companies ranging from startups to billion-dollar organizations. Marentis s storied career runs parallel with the evolution of the Web from Web 1.0 to 2.0. As Senior Vice President of America Online's (AOL) Interactive Marketing group, Marentis was a key force in creating the foundational blueprint for online marketing, e-commerce and content branding. While CEO of Clearspring Technologies, he developed one of the most widely adopted venture-backed Web 2.0 technology platform companies in the world. For nearly three decades, Marentis has driven, innovated and created some of the largest media and ecommerce brands by leveraging transformational technologies and understanding the needs of a constantly changing marketplace. He offers a unique perspective on what it takes for businesses to succeed and thrive in today s evolving environment. 20

22 About Surefire Social S urefire Social is a hyper-local technology-enabled marketing services company delivering powerful, personalized and comprehensive national enterprise to local SMB (small and medium business) new customer acquisition solutions. Through the Surefire Social cloud, the digital lead generation provider offers integrated yet customizable marketing services that generate quality leads for national-to-local businesses with networks of dealers, franchises or contractors. Surefire Social is a hyper-local technology-enabled marketing services company delivering powerful, personalized and comprehensive national enterprise to local SMB new customer acquisition solutions. With a distinct understanding of both national and local businesses and their marketing needs, Surefire Social Certified Coaches leverage the cloud and its tools, including data, workflow, resources and reporting to help businesses integrate local digital marketing programs into their daily marketing tasks. Launched in 2009 by a senior team that has built leading digital media and technology brands, Surefire Social s customers include enterprise clients and SMBs deploying national-to-local marketing strategies, across home improvement, financial services, real estate professionals, legal and medical services, among others.

23 Surefire Social s National-to-Local Digital Marketing Platform includes: Website and social media publishing platform Coordinated national to local SEO Content planning, development and publishing across websites, social media and directories Location data management and maintenance Search engine marketing Mobile marketing If you have any questions or need a professional to help you manage your business's online reputation, please call us at

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