In the not too distant past, if our basement flooded or we were considering a home remodel, we pulled open our kitchen junk drawer, hoisted the phone book onto the counter (thunk), and flipped to the yellow pages. But these days, our phone books typically serve one of two purposes: a booster seat for our niece at Thanksgiving… or kindling.
That’s because we now have an entire internet’s worth of information at our disposal: There’s Google, of course, but also Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, Yelp, neighborhood Facebook groups, and on and on. That’s great when we’re on the buying side of things, but as a small home services business owner, it can feel overwhelming trying to stay on top of all the places your business might be listed or reviewed.
In fact, you might even wonder if it’s worth the effort necessary to manage your online listings and reviews. Let me help you out with that: Yes. It sure is. 90% of people say they’re influenced by positive reviews when they make purchasing decisions, and “review sites are at the epicenter of ‘near me’ searches.” So, it’s 1,000% worth-it to get intentional about managing your online reputation through listings and reviews.
Here, I’ll show you how you can make listings and reviews work for your home services business. I’ll go over where you’ll need to have a presence, how to manage your reviews and listings, and how to gain more reviews to build a positive online reputation.
Which listing sites make the most sense for home services businesses?
First of all, it’s important to understand you aren’t necessarily in charge of where your business gets listed. Sometimes, listings are automatically created (because the internet is weird that way), and sometimes customers create them.
I get how that can feel a bit unnerving, but there’s good news: As the business owner, you’re able to take control of these listings by “claiming” them — which is often as simple as clicking a button and submitting requested information that proves the business is yours.
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Once you’ve claimed your listings, make sure all your information is current and correct, including your business name, address, phone number, website, and hours. If the platform allows you to add email addresses and/or service options, keep that information current, too. The last thing you want is for someone to find incorrect information, since that could cause you to lose business.
6 listings and reviews sites to attend to first:
- Facebook. OK, Facebook’s not technically a “directory,” but it can operate like one! So make sure your business page is up-to-date and active. Read more about how to use social media for your home services business here.
- Google Business Profile. Claim your Google Business Profile (GBP) listing to take advantage of the prime placement in Google search results.
- HomeAdvisor. HomeAdvisor isn’t free, but because plenty of homeowners research contractors here, it can be worth establishing a profile.
- Angie’s List. Although I don’t recommend spending your marketing dollars here (or with HomeAdvisor), it’s good to be listed. Claiming your Angie’s List basic profile is free, and you can respond to reviews without a paid account.
- Houzz. Houzz is a must-have for building and remodeling companies. And it’s about more than just showing off your work; it’s also a trusted source for reviews.
- Yelp Page. Yelp isn’t just for restaurants! Many people use it to find home services businesses “near me” and to read reviews. The more robust your listing, the better your chances are of standing out among competitors.
How to manage online customer reviews
No one believes much of what they read online these days — other than reviews. You can talk all you want on your home services website about how great your services are and how much value you bring to your customers, but if you’re the only one saying it, all that horn-tooting is unlikely to bring you a single new customer.
It’s not enough to get reviews, though. You also have to respond to them. If it’s been some time since you checked yourself out online, set aside time this week to do so. Check all the listings you’ve claimed, any of the six I mentioned above that you’ve not yet claimed, and the Better Business Bureau.
If people have left you high star ratings and/or said nice things about you, say thank you. It’s polite and it shows prospects you value your customers’ opinions. And if people have left you poor or unkind reviews… argue with them.
Just kidding! Don’t do that. Seriously. If you have a bad review, resist the urge to defend yourself or justify your position. But also, resist the temptation to simply ignore the review. Recent research shows that while 94% of people indicated a negative review has convinced them to stay away from a business, up to 70% of people say they’d give a company a second try if they respond to a complaint. That number jumps to 96% if the business offers a satisfactory resolution.
So be kind and courteous, and offer to take the conversation offline so you can work out a solution.
How home services businesses can get more reviews
Clearly, ratings and reviews are important. But how do you get people to offer them? Here are three simple tips:
- Create an automated email process to request feedback from customers after you call on them. Make it ridiculously easy for them to leave you a Google review.
- Create a script your team can use to assess a customer’s level of satisfaction right there in the moment. If there’s frustration brewing, it’s better to address it right then and there than to read about it in a negative review later.
- Do not post reviews yourself, and do not buy them — even if you suspect your competition is. There are no shortcuts here. You will be found out if you’re posting fake reviews — and that inauthenticity will deteriorate trust with your customers (and with Google!). By the way, if you’re getting a landslide of fake negative reviews, you can appeal them. Learn more in my video: What’s the Deal with Fake Reviews?.
Get our free guide to online marketing for home & building services
Listings and reviews are just one tool among many in your online marketing tool belt. To learn about email marketing, social media marketing, content marketing (pretty much allllll the marketing), check out our free guide, The Download: Making Sense of Online Marketing for Home & Building Services.