How to Get More Online Reviews for Home Service Businesses

How To: Get More Reviews for your Home Service BusinessDigital marketing is fiercely competitive in the home service industry, which begs the question: How can you cut through the noise and reach customers who are trying to swim their way through a sea of contractors?

Of course, you’ll need to offer unrivaled customer support and standout service. But even if you’re doing everything right, how will potential leads find out about your phenomenal customer support and exceptional service? How will they discover your competitive pricing and top-quality materials? And how can you capture their attention without draining your precious marketing budget? Online reviews are one of the best tools for the job.

When online reviews joined the digital marketing scene, they changed the game for home service providers—and they’re still the MVP. After all, they’re basically the online equivalent of word-of-mouth referrals. And if you’re a seasoned business owner, you already know that there’s nothing more valuable than trust.

When utilized the correct way with a calculated strategy, online reviews can serve as a powerful marketing tool for your home service business. Here’s what you need to know to fuel your business growth and drive more conversions with the power of online reviews for home services businesses.

 

Why Home Service Providers Struggle to Convert Leads

Even though most home service businesses have online reviews, they’re not using those reviews to their full advantage. There are only a few contractors who really get it. They have a strong review profile, and they’re consistently reaching out to customers to ask for suggestions and feedback.

Believe it or not, these providers are the exception—not the rule. Try scanning your local competitors’ Google reviews and online business listings. You’ll probably notice some of the following problems:

  • Not enough positive reviews. Countless home service providers have reviews, but they don’t have enough reviews on any platform to actually drive business. Sure, one or two Google reviews can help sway a few customers, but it’s not going to have a dramatic impact on your SEO rankings or conversion rate. These providers struggle to maintain a strong online presence and build consumer trust.
  • Too many negative reviews. Negative reviews might focus on low-quality materials, poor customer service, or disappointing results. Too many negative reviews can make it harder for companies to market their business and attract new leads.
  • No online visibility. Most providers have successfully collected some reviews on Yelp or Home Advisor, but their Google listing is looking pretty empty. As a result, when customers are searching for a home service provider on Google, they’re not even showing up in the search results.

Most home services aren’t cheap—and your customers want to choose the best provider for the job. On top of that, customers want to avoid nightmare scenarios where unreliable providers wreak havoc on their homes. So, it should come as no surprise that your customers are only reaching out to the businesses that seem the most trustworthy, credible, and reliable.

 

How Online Reviews Drive Business

Whether you’re an electrician, landscaper, or power washing business, trust is your main form of “currency” in digital marketing. You already know that trust can’t be bought. It has to be earned, especially if you want it to benefit your other marketing efforts.

Enter online reviews. Online reviews empower your customers to tell their side of the story, which provides social proof to other potential customers. Social proof is the level of credibility that the public places in your service. The more people enjoy your services, the more likely others are to follow.

Multiple five-star reviews provide high social proof, which can directly impact your conversion rate. Similarly, negative reviews (or a lack of reviews) can deter potential leads, driving them straight to the competition. As we mentioned before, you’re going to need a strong, balanced review profile across a few different platforms to show customers that you’re worth hiring.

Evidence also suggests that customers primarily use online reviews when shopping locally. According to a 2010 study, nearly all customers (97 percent) use online media to research local products and services—and we can only assume that this number has increased in the last decade.

And if social proof isn’t convincing enough, consider this: Customers are willing to spend 31 percent more on a business with great reviews. Plus, positive reviews can help you appear higher in organic local searches so your customers can find you when they’re searching for your services.

 

Should You Publish Customer Reviews on Your Website?

Some businesses create pages on their websites exclusively for customer reviews. Of course, most businesses cherry-pick their best reviews—and some businesses even create fake reviews. You’re going to do things differently.

To show that you’re a transparent, customer-oriented company that cares about your online reviews, you might put your TrustPilot ratings on your website, use HTML widgets, or create a customer testimonials page. If you’re planning to create a page for customer testimonials, it’s always a good idea to back up your reviews with pictures and videos. There’s nothing inherently wrong with a customer review page on your website—as long as you’re honest and transparent about those reviews.

With that said, your website shouldn’t be the only home for your customer reviews, especially since most customers rely on online review websites to research local businesses. 

Wondering why online review websites are more reliable than website reviews? They have guidelines to prevent fake reviews. They require user verification, and unlike most company-owned websites, they don’t hide negative feedback. Since online review websites generate so many reviews, they tend to give customers a more accurate representation of your business.

 


 

Targeting the Right Websites for Online Reviews

Before you start honing in on your strategy, you’ll need to figure out where to publish online reviews so they can best serve your business. 

There’s Yelp, Google My Business, Angi, HomeAdvisor, and countless other options, but you don’t have the time to manage reviews across every platform. For the most effective strategy, you’ll need to narrow your focus down to a few websites. Here’s how.

 

1. Pinpoint Where Your Customers Are

Our clients are busy getting their hands dirty working in the field and running their business. They don’t have the time to maintain a strong online presence across every single online review website. So, to avoid wasting time and spreading yourself too thin, you’ll need to pick and choose your platforms wisely.

If you already have some reviews coming in organically, look at where these reviews are coming in. Do you already have 20 reviews on Yelp? Start there. Your first picks should be the websites where you already have a good number of positive ratings.

To make things even easier for your customers, it never hurts to research which websites your customers use for online reviews. Try posting a survey to your Instagram story or asking your customer during a phone call—preferably at the end.

 

2. Be Where Everyone Else Is

After figuring out which websites you already have reviews on, you’ll want to work on your Google My Business listing. Google reviews influence your search engine rankings (and the number of stars that appear next to your business in Google’s search results). 

Chances are, your local competitors have already worked on their Google Business Profile, and your main goal is to beat them in Google’s rankings. To really “win” at Google, combine your Google Business Profile with Google’s Local Service Ads, which are triggered by specific search queries like “residential landscaper in Denver.” Google’s Local Services Ads cater to specific industries, including HVAC services, electricians, and power washers.

“Google Local Services Ads do really well for our home services clients,” says Alexa Ryan, Paid Search Lead at Company 119. “You have to make sure the ROI is worthwhile—a cost per lead can be anywhere from $25 to $45 in this campaign type—but, for example, if you are a gutter cleaning business that acquires a new client who becomes recurring, it’s worth it.”

Ryan recommends checking your eligibility to run Google Local Services Ads to see if your business is eligible. If not, be sure to check back a few months later—the list changes often.

With carefully targeted Google Local Services Ads, five-star reviews, and an optimized Google Business Profile, you’re on the right path to building a strong online presence. Google is a business’ best friend, so make sure you fill your business listing with great customer reviews.

 

3. Go Where the Best Leads Are

When choosing which websites to build a presence on, you shouldn’t just account for the sheer number of leads your business can get. Of course, driving in a ton of leads is great, but focusing on quality leads will drive your conversions. So, to sell your preferred services and spend less time guiding leads down the conversion funnel, prioritize the websites that give you quality leads.

Sure, Google is where most homeowners search for an emergency electrician. But when it comes to major home renovation projects or other less urgent jobs, people are more likely to research businesses on indexes like Houzz.

To figure out which websites provide quality leads, you’ll want to track exactly where your leads are coming from. To maximize your ROI and make the most of your marketing efforts, only work with websites and platforms where you can track the success of your lead generation strategy.

With that said, if you’ve collected five-star reviews on an online review website that doesn’t provide reliable metrics, you can always do it the old-fashioned way. Don’t be afraid to ask customers where they found your contact information during your initial phone call. Then, use that information to shine and polish your strategy.

 


 

Reviews for Home Services Businesses: Master the Art of Asking Customers

How do businesses get online reviews? Most reviews are the result of a positive (or negative) customer experience. Of course, getting a customer to publish a negative review is easy: All you need to do is give them disappointing service and they’re sure to spend some time letting other people know about it.

But how can you master the art of asking satisfied customers for online reviews? How can you encourage happy customers to spend their time reviewing your business, contributing to your marketing efforts, and building your online presence?

Although there are countless ways to ask for an online review, remember that some can do more harm than good. Never ask customers outright for a positive review. Instead, ask for their feedback, opinion, or suggestions. In addition, don’t mistake inaction as a sign to keep asking. Here’s how to ask for reviews without being annoying or insistent:

 

1. Make It Convenient

Unless you’ve truly exceeded your customer’s expectations, your customers probably aren’t going to search for ways to review your business. That’s why you have to take the first step and give them a gentle nudge in the right direction. 

According to one study, 70 percent of customers will leave a review if they’re asked, but you want to maximize the number of customers who are leaving online reviews. To do this, you’ll want to offer an easy, quick, and convenient way for customers to review your business.

If you’re working with homeowners in the field, you might give your employees a tablet that they can hand the client at the end of the job to ask for a review. It might seem a bit forward, but you’ll be surprised at how many customers are willing to leave a quick review.

Alternatively, you can send a follow-up email with a link to your business listing on your preferred online review website or a customer satisfaction survey. This way, you can direct reviews to your online review website of choice while making it easy for your customers.

Pro-tip: Both of these options can be managed with an automated review tool like Max Feedback, designed to simplify the process of requesting reviews from your customers. 

 

2. Make It Rewarding

Sometimes, getting a customer to leave a review for your business can be tricky. Maybe you went the extra mile to get the job done right, but they’re still not willing to devote their time toward reviewing your business.

Here, small incentives can make all the difference. Avoid directly asking customers for positive reviews. Instead, offer your customers an incentive for their feedback—like a small discount on future services. This way, when they’re ready for their next home remodeling job or seasonal HVAC maintenance, you’ll gain a repeat customer. Sounds like a win-win, right?

Employee incentives are even more important. Consider offering a bonus or reward to every employee whose client leaves a positive review. This doesn’t just encourage employees to offer exceptional service; it also ensures that they’ll never forget to ask for a review.

That being said, never solicit positive reviews in exchange for money. If you’re found out, it can take a serious toll on your credibility and damage consumer trust.

 

3. Make It Personal

Most people will leave a review if you ask them politely. What’s more, most people form a positive perception of businesses that care about the quality of service they provide. In other words, asking for feedback can help you score the review you’re after while improving your customers’ sentiment toward your business.

While some contractors prefer a more personal approach—by sending a personalized follow-up email or SMS text—others believe that an automated request is the best option. By going with an automated request over a personal call, you can avoid putting pressure on customers who don’t want to leave a review. 

So, what’s the best option? Our clients typically prefer a combination of both methods. Your employees can leave a business card with a QR code leading to the online review form. This way, customers won’t feel uncomfortable if they’re asked to leave a review. Plus, they can leave the review on their own time.

Meanwhile, a personalized follow-up email—using a tool like Max Feedback—can thank customers for their service with a CTA to fill out a satisfaction questionnaire, where you can then direct satisfied customers to leave an online review. If you’re sending a follow-up email or SMS, include a link to the page for which you’re requesting a review. Remember to keep your messages short and simple. You don’t want to overwhelm customers with a lengthy request.

 


 

Reviews for Home Services Businesses: When Should You Ask Customers?

To successfully ask for reviews, you’ll need to time your requests carefully. It’s always best to time follow-up emails, SMS texts, and phone calls so your service is fresh in the customer’s mind and they’ve had time to enjoy the results.

In general, you should send review requests within a week of completing the service. However, the exact timing for your request should depend on the type of service you’re offering. For example, if you’ve recently finished a bathroom renovation, you’ll want to give your customer a few days to enjoy their new bathroom. Meanwhile, if you just power washed a customer’s driveway, you’ll want to ask for a review while their driveway is still looking brand new.

If you ask for reviews at the right time—when customers are feeling satisfied with your service—they’re more likely to leave a shining review.

 


 

Grow Your Business With a Powerful Review Portfolio

Ultimately, boosting your SEO rankings, reaching quality leads, and converting more customers requires a strong review portfolio. Once you’ve spent some time strengthening your online presence and collecting customer reviews, you’ll find that most customers are willing to spend more on your services. Need some help getting started or putting an automated review platform like Max Feedback into motion for your business? We’re here if you need us.

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