Nothing to Fear in Asking for Reviews

May 21st, 2015 By Jasmine Reynolds

Recently, I’ve found I encounter more and more clients who are afraid of asking their customers for reviews. There is a lot of value in having online reviews and being proactive about itAn online poll we did showed that most customers do not write online reviews. While that was in 2012, if we were to do the same kind of poll today, I doubt that would change much. And you don’t want to wait for customers to leave a review without asking because you’re leaving it up to those with exceptional experiences–good or bad (mostly bad)–to write reviews for you. My advice?

Just ask. Customers expect to be asked for their feedback for a public forum, i.e., an online review. Just make it easy for them.

On BrightLocal, Thomas Bellantyne wrote a post on the best way to get 5-star reviews. The points to take from this piece are timing and making the reviews steps simple. Besides post-service thank you emails, you can be calling your customers. I was a call agent for a year before working as an account manager here at Customer Lobby and I can tell you that the majority of customers I called a day were happily surprised to get a phone call asking for feedback. These are not cold calls from people they do not know. This is a follow up to a service to help out a business they are familiar with. Many will even return our messages to give their review! There’s nothing more simple or convenient than giving a review without having to write it yourself.

Bellantyne also mentions giving employees incentives to request reviews and I could not agree more. Some business owners I’ve talked to think they should incentive the customer to give a review and I have to tell them that is generally frowned upon in the industry. For reviews to have value, they have to be credible and to have credibility, they have to come without bias. Your reviews strategy will also affect customer loyalty and having a rewards program to drive review acquisition will look…unseemly. Finding a way to encourage your employees to care about reviews and getting the best reviews they can will not only increase your number of reviews but will also benefit their work performance in the long run.

Customer Lobby can help you with email marketing and calling your customers for your reviews as well as a toolbox of review management not offered elsewhere. Sign up for a free trial of our package of tools to help you craft your own reviews strategy.

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How to Get The Most Out of Email Marketing

May 14th, 2015 By Jasmine Reynolds

You've Got Mail

Recently, I’ve encountered more and more small business owners who do not collect emails from their customers. That is a big mistake! You are missing out on an incredibly low-cost avenue. If it’s a matter of not knowing what to send to engage your customers

Kevin Gao at Comm100 has some really great tips for how to craft engaging email content. An important take-away is to do the research on your customers and use that data to market effectively to them.

Below is a great infographic to give you an idea on how to format your thank you email for subscribers (also useful tips for post-service thank you emails):

Infographic-Email-Subscribing

Whatever you decide, focus your content not on what you would read but what your customers want to read. It seems like an obvious tip but it’s simple enough that most content creators forget it.

If you’re a Customer Lobby member, you can also throw in a custom invitation link to your reviews page in that thank you email to customers. 

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M-A-P-S and S-P-A-M

May 12th, 2015 By Kelsey Brown

Four months ago, Google Map Maker looked like a promising tool for editing local business listings. As of today, the community mapping service is suspended.

mapmaker

Google disabled Map Maker after numerous prank map edits and fake listing entries. Responding to these spam attacks, the Map Maker team announced, “We have hence decided to temporarily disable editing across all countries starting Tuesday, May 12, 2015, till we have our moderation system back in action. This will be a temporary situation and one that we hope to come out of as soon as possible.”

We’ll followup on this story as it develops. For now, talk to us about finding and managing unfair feedback that can damage your reputation.

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Marketing Tips From A Food Truck

May 7th, 2015 By Jasmine Reynolds

Beast Food Truck

A food truck in Little Rock, Arkansas had the ingenious idea of selling their wares in gym parking lots. The owner of BEAST Food Truck, Gwen Jones (pictured above), advertises a Paleo-inspired menu using ingredients sourced from local farms. Who else would crave a Paleo Taco Salad more than someone right out of an hour long Crossfit session? There are a few things you can learn from their marketing strategy.

What Did We Learn Today?

Your social media presence should connect with customers. BEAST changes their menu according to the local produce they’ve collected and post their updates on Facebook. Makes sense right? Use only the mediums you need, cross post constantly, and only post what actually interests you and your customers. Post customer reviews on your social media pages to show how much you appreciate their feedback.

Admittedly, a food truck has the mobile advantage to get to their customers directly that other companies don’t. If only there was a way to brand market to your past customers who are most likely to return to you in the next 90 days–go here and click on “Campaigns” to find out how to do exactly that!

 

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Easy Website Tweaks To Capture More Leads

April 30th, 2015 By Jasmine Reynolds

404-error

One of my biggest roles as an account manager at Customer Lobby is making sure our clients get as many new customers as possible with their online representation. If you have a website for your business, this is the central online representative of your company and brand. The good news is that your website does not need to win design awards–it just needs to be functional. Here are a few things to consider and mistakes to avoid in ensuring your future leads have a good experience navigating your website.

Broken Links

This is a basic mistake found on many websites that screams of neglect. Having links that go nowhere or to pages that are still filled with its prescribed Latin filler can frustrate visitors to your website. Broken links can also negatively affect your ranking on sites like Google and Bing. The good news is that there are a ton of free tools available that can check for broken links for you. When installing a new theme, make sure you take a thorough tour around your site to make sure all the pages are formatted properly.

Too Pretty

Yes, there is such a thing. Your website has so many fun animations, crazy fonts, and hi-res images that people have no idea where they even are. That layout that makes your website look like a magazine sure is fun but the average consumer looking for plumbing services are not going to know what’s going on. You want your brand to be memorable but…for the right reasons. When choosing a theme, remember that less is more. You want to wow consumers with how easy it is get around your website. The website is for their needs, not yours.

Call to Action

If you’re a storefront, how can customers contact you? Is a phone number or contact form prominent? If you’re a Customer Lobby customer, we have a nifty little Appointment widget where people coming to scope out your site and request appointments with your business. You can see it here on the website of Eco Choice Carpet Cleaning who has it prominently on their landing page above the fold. Your phone number, ways to contact you, and any sort of Call to Action should be in an eye-catching position.

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As I mentioned above, the main objective of a business’s website is to provide information to the consumer. You are selling some type of service and they are considering your business for those exact services. Your website is the doorway to the doorway of your shop and any time spent to ensure it’s clean and clear as possible is time well spent.

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Keep Calm…There’s an App for That

April 29th, 2015 By Kelsey Brown

keep calm

Apple’s recent numbers show a continuing trend for the company: iPads just aren’t flying off the shelves like they once did. In fact, the number of iPad sales decreased 23% from a year ago.

CEO Tim Cook isn’t worried, though. He says he’s definitely not pulling the iPad even though it seems stuck in the shadow of fellow Apple products like iPhone and Mac.

According to Geekwire, “Part of that confidence stems from Apple’s partnership with IBM, which is focused on generating enterprise-specific apps for Apple products and selling them to businesses.”

Latest iOS and Android App for Reviews

Asking customers for online reviews can be tough (here’s how to master it anyway). The best time to ask is right after service, when happy customers have a lot of fresh reasons to recommend your business.

We recently released an app that makes it easy for you or your staff to get more reviews when meeting face-to-face with customers.

iPad, iPhone, Mac, Android, desktop computers – we cover all of them.

Current Customer Lobby members using Plus or higher can get the apps right now:

Get iOS App

 

Get Android App

Not a member yet? Give us a call at (510) 230-0588 for 5 free reviews.

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Free Marketing Kit for Your Business

April 22nd, 2015 By Kelsey Brown

time is money

Customer Lobby’s Direct Connect system is automatically getting local businesses in core service industries great customer reviews and more repeat revenue after every sale.

Call us at (510) 230-0588 and get:

  1. Free Direct Connect evaluation for your business.
  2. 5 free customer reviews to keep.
  3. Custom-designed repeat marketing plan.

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Customer Lobby tracks spend, revenue, and ROI all in one place.

More Info on…Great Reviews

Direct Connect integrates with your billing system to eliminate the manual process of asking your customers for reviews. When you complete a transaction, your happy customer is automatically asked for a review.

Customer Lobby broadcasts reviews on Google, 15 major directories, social media, and more to get you found first.

More Info on…Higher Revenue

Direct Connect builds insights around your transaction data over time. We send postcards and followup emails with dynamic content that’s customized for your business to a targeted selection of your existing customers using this hard data – not guesstimates.

Upgrading to a targeted approach and tying marketing dollars spent to dollars returned reduces cost by 40 – 50% on average.

Give us a call at (510) 230-0588.

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How to Exceed Mobile Readiness to Mobile Superiority

April 16th, 2015 By Jasmine Reynolds

Green extra mile sign

Google’s algorithm update intended to reward “mobile-ready” sites is right around the corner and we’ve covered how to ensure that your site doesn’t get penalized for not catching up. If you’re already prepared, here are couple of things you can do to be the high achiever in mobile-readiness.

Social Media Updates

Social media sites have been rolling out with new features and partnerships lately that can really have a positive impact on your outreach to customers. Facebook now allows you to embed videos on other sides without the need of third-party plug-ins or services. This is great news if your video marketing is primarily through Facebook’s platform. Twitter and Google are also working together in putting tweets live in Google search results. This is something to look out for if you use Twitter for content marketing but also to manage your brand reputation (see what customers say about you). The lesson here is to be vigilant. Stay on top of what these sites have to offer and you can stay ahead of the competition.

Create a Mobile App

If you really want to get ahead of the competition, you can make your own mobile app. It can be an expensive and difficult process but customers are more comfortable navigating an app rather than a mobile site for shopping. I personally use an app to navigate not only Amazon and Ebay but clothing retailers as well like DSW and Modcloth. All have fine mobile sites but an app has an ease of use and customer service aspect that’s tough to beat. You can utilize an app for scheduling and customer service-related inquiries as well as setting reminders for customers to return when service is needed again. It’s definitely something to consider as it’s not something most local businesses are utilizing yet.

Make sure to subscribe and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to always get the latest updates and developments to make sure you’re always going the extra mile.

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Don’t Call It A Comeback

April 9th, 2015 By Jasmine Reynolds

The Spring catalog is on display at the J.C. Penney store in Westminster

…Even though it kind of is. Six years after discontinuing its publication, CBS News reports that JC Penney has announced the return of their “Big Book” catalog. In an era where online shopping is rising, why would a business return to such an “analog” endeavor? They understand the behavior of their customers and made direct mail work for their particular industry. So much so, that even e-based online retailers like Bonobos has adopted the traditional print catalog after successful testing. They found that customers who received a catalog spent 1.5 times more than new customers who hadn’t. The benefits they found in mixed-channel marketing to their past customers can inform how your own business might use print publications in retaining and increasing repeat business.

Make Direct Mail Work For You

The most important aspect of launching a direct mail campaign is understanding your customer base. Who is more likely to return and when? Then, tailor the messages sent to those customers to remind them of the services they need and how you can provide them. The effectiveness of any direct mail campaign is identifying who will more likely respond to your efforts. Customer Lobby has a great communications product that can tell you who those customers are and then tailor your marketing to them that you can try out for free here to see for yourself.

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Do This Because It’s 7x Cheaper

April 7th, 2015 By Kelsey Brown

There are actually three reasons local businesses need to market to past customers. We’ll start with that huge, titular reason:

1) Keeping Customers Is 7x Cheaper Than Getting New Ones

If you’re spending any money on advertising, you’re already living this statistic. You can retain the happy customers you already have at 1/7 the cost of trying to attract brand new people.

Do This: Get new business from your existing customers’ great reviews and glowing recommendations online. Customer Lobby helps businesses get more online reviews from happy customers, which is the best way to establish trust with your prospects today.

2) Repeat Customers = 65 – 80% of Revenue for Businesses

Customer Lobby has been working with local businesses in core service industries since 2008. In all this time, we’ve found that repeat business makes up a dramatic majority of revenue for businesses providing painting, plumbing/HVAC, window cleaning, carpet cleaning, auto repair, or home maintenance services.

If you’ve ever sent out holiday cards, magnets, calendars, email reminders, or anything similar to customers who used you before, you recognize the value of repeat customer revenue. That recognition is important, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg and doesn’t save your business from sinking.

Do This: Try the best repeat customer marketing program available today – for free, zero obligation. Instead of dumping your past customers into generalized buckets, we look at your customer data to make accurate predictions on who to target, when, and with what postcard and email messages.

We show you who comes back, what day, what message they got, and how much money they spend when they come back. We wrap everything around a 300% money-back ROI guarantee.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNlW8AwMRM0

3) Big Companies are Aggressively Poaching Your Customers

Today more than ever, big companies with bigger reach are aggressively trying to steal your customers. All. The. Time. You might get hit yourself. Companies like Groupon, Livingsocial, and Amazon are now selling services and gobbling up more real estate online every day.

Now more than ever, you need to remind existing customers that you’re the right choice for them – every time.

Do This: Get new insights into your business and your customers’ lifecycles in just 24 hours. Customer Lobby helps thousands of local businesses hold onto their customers to drive higher margin services.

This isn’t a one size fits all system that only hopefully works. We track everything. You see exactly what’s working to bring your customers back sooner and keep them coming back.

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