Diversify Your Customer Reviews

June 11th, 2015 By Jasmine Reynolds

Eggs in a basket

“Don’t put your eggs all in one basket” is my favorite idiom for it’s irony. I’m not exactly sure why you’d want to travel with your dozen or so large grade-AA eggs in their own individual compartments–seems like a hassle. The lesson is sound while the straight meaning may not be (unless there’s some 17th century egg-carrying method I’m not aware of).

The lesson of this strange, seven-word fable is valuable for numerous reasons.

Customers Want a Choice

Customers are more willing to leave you a review if you give them more than one option. Even if it’s a site as widely known as Yelp, that doesn’t mean customers will leave reviews there. In order to leave a review on sites like Angie’s List or Yelp, they have to have an account (for the former, they have to pay for their membership). For the ultimate golden nuggets, Google+ reviews, customers need a gmail address which might have a slightly higher membership than Yelp but not much. Basically, give customers the option to leave reviews where they feel most comfortable.

Customer reviews in more places will also result in more links showing up in Google with your business name attached to great feedback about your business. This builds credibility not only of your business’s brand but seeing your customer base spread across the field, so to speak, makes all those reviews the more believable. It’s hard to accuse a business of faking or influencing the content of reviews when they’re all over the place.

Besides asking customers to leave a review for you, let them know that you appreciate their feedback however they feel the most comfortable giving it to you.

When the Clouds Disperse

Without turning to obvious examples, let me give you an example from my personal life. Outside of my 9-to-5, I write screenplays and writers like me have a lot of storage options. Cloud storage is growing as the most convenient for writers who like to work on the go and for teams of people working on one project.

Some screenwriters were using a specific cloud storage service called Scripped as their primary storage option. When the site’s servers were accidentally wiped in the middle of a transition in ownership, thousands of subscribers lost their work all at once.

I never used the service but it was a wake up call. I now back up all my work on a flash drive, my OneDrive cloud, and back up my computer every other week on an external hard drive.

Location, Location, Location

Screenwriters must diversify their storage sources as much as business owners must diversify their review sources. Google is an ever changing giant of features and Yelp has been up for sale for quite some time. After going public in 2012, it hasn’t grown as steadily as people expected it so now arguably the most recognized reviews directory is looking for a buyer which could mean anything for the future of the reviews and it’s system in place.

Having reviews on these sites are still important but having reviews on one of these sites can prove disastrous if they were to change tactics. If you’re a Customer Lobby member, use Smart Invites to provide links to Google+, Yelp, Angie’s List, and Facebook.

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You Could Be Making 3 Common Mail Mistakes, So We’re Hosting a Live Lab on Avoiding Them

June 10th, 2015 By Brinda Lee

Learn how to bring your existing customers back sooner and more often.

We’re hosting a live talk. Join us for 30 minutes on Thursday, June 18th at 11:00am PT / 2:00pm ET.

Register for the Live Lab

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It is a VERY noisy market out there. Your average customer is hit with 200+ advertising messages every single day.

If you’re running a successful local business and want to keep it that way, you know it’s important to stay top-of-mind for your repeat customers.

Research shows the best way to win at bringing your customers back sooner and more often is to use a two-channel approach: postcards AND emails.

We’ll cover how local businesses leverage both channels for their most cost-effective customer magnetism.

Save your seat and join us!

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One Size Does Not Fit All: Choose Marketing That Fits You

June 5th, 2015 By Jasmine Reynolds

one-size-fits-all

Both luckily and unfortunately for small business owners, there are a lot of options for going about local marketing. The upside is that you can find almost any product or strategy to fit your business specifically. The downside is that there are so many options so it’s easy to misunderstand the goal of the product you’ve signed up for.

Your marketing strategy should fit the specific business you’re in, which sounds obvious but I get questions from our clients about other review or advertising products that all sound similar but don’t necessarily do the same thing.

Over the past couple of days, we at Customer Lobby have fielded some questions from clients about how to integrate us in their Google Adwords campaigns. Google has a list of trusted third-party review companies it will allow you to provide an extension for. These review sites, however, will come from reviews specifically designated for seller and product ratings, not the customer testimonials our clients want there. This kind of misconception is common and completely understandable.

If you run a business that is service-oriented like plumbing, auto repair, or carpet cleaning, you’ll want a marketing strategy that advertises the service you provide. Unless you are selling products or moving into an eCommerce model, you may not find Google Adwords appropriate or useful in those endeavors.

When it comes to reviews and reputation marketing, we’ve got your back. Sign up for a free trial to see what we can do for your business.

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Winning Local Hearts: A Lesson from the Field

May 28th, 2015 By Brinda Lee

IMG_3312

Customer Lobby got into game mode Tuesday night

My colleagues and I had a blast cheering for our Oakland A’s Tuesday night. Admittedly, it wasn’t their best game. But that didn’t stop us from having a great time and feeling the swell of local pride every time an Athletic stepped up to the plate.

Each good play and fan cam moment got us excited. They also made me think of a lesson in local love.

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Win or Lose, You Can Win Hearts

We’ve covered how every business loses customers, and how you can easily build your best cheer team.

It’s really important to remember that happy customers are more than just fair-weather fans. We’re all human – we could honestly strike out on a job, or run into a review stalker who just doesn’t want to play fair.

When you consistently show compassion and integrity as a business, you gain loyal fans. Your loyal fans – a.k.a. your repeat customers – are always happy to give back for great service. This comes in payment, but also in new positive reviews, more services sold for a lot less effort, and valuable trust.

NOTE: A lot of marketing services out there claim to reach your customers. Then they drop the ball with a one-size-fits-all approach for your unique business.

Contact us at 510-230-0588 or check out our website to learn how our predictive marketing service helps get more repeat revenue.

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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 Brinda Lee

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 Brinda Lee

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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