Reputation Marketing for House Painting Companies PART 1

What is your reputation online?  

If it’s 

  • bad
  • you don’t have one or
  • don’t know what it is

Then, this article is for you!

Painting a house, kitchen or even a room is costly and time-consuming, which is why most people will go online to find a reliable painter.

To seem credible, a home service business must have a Google rating of at least 4 stars and a steady stream of fresh reviews. Reputation marketing may be the answer you’re searching for if you want to cut down on callbacks while still offering high-quality service.

Let's get the basics out of the way first: what is reputation marketing?

Promotion, monitoring, and acquisition of positive third-party brand content, like reviews and social media posts, is called “reputation marketing.” This is done to improve your online reputation.

Your painting company’s online reputation will benefit from this tactic. It’s also a tool you can use to find more positive opportunities and make it into a line of defense for your brand.

When it comes to accumulating favorable information about your company, there are two options: organic and paid

Organic Reviews

Organic evaluations are always more dependable and trustworthy in the eyes of the public than paid advertisements. The majority of consumers are able to discern whether reviews are authentic and posted by other customers who have used the product.

Paid Reviews

Because they are not “earned,” which implies that anybody may obtain them, paid-for evaluations are not the ideal choice, and they often have a bad image as a result. This covers the payment for reviews, press releases, and interviews, among other things.

The use of exclusively paid-for information, according to seasoned marketers, is a lousy business strategy. In a well-thought-out reputation marketing plan, both kinds would be utilized, with a higher emphasis placed on the organic method.

While purchasing phony reviews, bribing consumers to submit reviews, or attempting to have your company listed on particular websites may sound appealing, these strategies are likely to provide little to no return on your investment in the long run.

The Many Benefits of Reputation Marketing

The unfortunate reality is that smaller painting companies tend to overlook or entirely disregard reputation marketing and management as helpful tools until they are confronted with an inflow of negative reviews.

In truth, reputation marketing serves as a safety net for your business. As long as it is implemented in a timely and appropriate manner, it will assist you in establishing strong brand authority and reputation before a crisis scenario spirals out of hand…like receiving multiple bad reviews in a row.

So, if you are still unsure about how reputation marketing might assist your painting business, here are a few ideas to consider:

IMPROVED PERFORMANCE RATINGS

Make sure to pay close attention to the comments and reviews people post about your service and that their comments and reviews portray your home service business in the best possible light. You won’t be able to avoid bad feedback, but you can at least curate third-party reviews over time to mitigate the effects. The fact of the issue is that public opinion counts, and the difference between a 4-star and a 5-star rating may translate into hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional income.

GOOGLE KNOWLEDGE PANEL

google knowledge pannel

It is the short description with info (and pictures) about your business that Google pulls and appears on the right side of your screen in desktop search results. This Knowledge Panel can be an important business asset and a game changer when it comes to getting more people to visit your home service website. That said, getting it to be shown frequently depends on how well your brand is known and how much structured data you have on your site/Google Business Profile.

GOOGLE PROFILE OPTIMIZATION

If you really want to get serious, you should set up a Google Business Profile (formerly called a Google My Business account). A well-optimized business profile can help your house painting business show up in search results above the rest. Plus, it’s free to set up and allows you to connect with potential and current customers and build your brand’s trust.

WEBSITE SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)

SEO is all about getting your site to show up high in search engine results.  If Google and other search engines think your page is an authority for certain target keywords, like “house painter near me”, then you will get more traffic that all of the painters in your area are fighting for.

GET YOUR BRAND INTO THE SEARCH RESULTS

As time goes on, the hard work that you do pays off in a big way. By building your brand online in multiple directories, you should see more branded results. Your website will show up at the top of the search results if someone searches for your painting company’s name.  



LOCAL SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)

Local SEO is one of the most important tools for home service companies because it allows you to target the specific community that you serve directly. Implementing an effective local SEO strategy can boost the search exposure of your business.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this topic, where we will discuss the impact of online reviews and how to create a successful reputation marketing campaign.

The Complete Guide to Online Reputation for Small Businesses: How to Grow Your Business, Improve Your SEO & Get Found Online

The sales cycle for most businesses today has more steps because customers are smart and informed.  The more that you can present your company in a positive light to your target market, the more likely they are to buy from you…and not your competition.

This is where your online reputation factors into the equation.

Growing the online reputation of your business positively consists of two main tasks:

  • Reputation Management
  • Reputation Marketing

Reputation Management is the process of soliciting, collecting and supervising online reviews for your business.  This will both build and protect your reputation, ensuring the people that Google you find positive, persuasive content.  It also will help you improve customer experience with the feedback that you receive.

Reputation Marketing highlights and boosts positive online content that customers provide (like reviews).  This may be done through both traditional and digital channels.  Leveraging positive reviews/ratings increases the visibility of a company.  

These two tasks must be done on a regular basis to be competitive and help ensure the future growth of the company.

Why Should Online Reputation Matter to You?

Don’t underestimate the importance of your online reputation!

Small businesses, especially ones that have a local target market, should have a plan in place to grow their reputation positively.  In fact, 82% of local searches are followed with an in-person visit to the store.  Local searchers are definitely using the internet to check out where they want to spend their money before they leave the house.  Any business that lacks an enticing online presence is risking losing business to well-positioned competitors…even if that competitor has a worse product or service.  

Even when you have the best product with the best customer service at unbeatable prices, if you have negative social signals or if your online reputation isn’t great, prospects will be hesitant to give you their time or money.  Consumers are now searching for the best service at the best price.  They are using Google, Facebook, Yelp, Instagram and more to find it.  Social media, search results and online content are allowing buyers to make very informed spending decisions.

“82% of consumers read reviews for local businesses, including 93% of people aged 35-54” (BrightLocal)

When your ideal prospect searches for the type of product or service in your location that you provide, you need to ask yourself two questions:

  1. Does your business show in the search results?
  2. Are you the obvious choice with 5-star reviews and a professional, authoritative online presence?

If the answer to either of the above questions is “No”, then chances are you just lost a customer.

Customers Trust Online Reviews to Guide Their Decisions, But Don’t Just Take Our Word For It…

“Consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a local business.” (BrightLocal, Local Consumer Review Survey)

“Businesses ranking in Google’s local positions 1-3 have an average of 47 reviews, while businesses in positions 7-10 have 38 reviews.” (BrightLocal, Google Reviews Study)

“Having a 5-star rating earns a business 39% more clicks from Google local results than having a 1-star rating.” (BrightLocal, Impact of Reviews and Ratings on Click-Through Rates)

Want more clients?  Using the facts above, a well-positioned online reputation can help you grow your business more efficiently than practically any other form of marketing.

What are the Benefits of Online Reputation Management for My Small Business?

Crafting a positive online presence has a multitude of benefits for a small business.  It will establish credibility and authority, which gives your company a competitive advantage over others in your market.  Be the obvious choice for your prospects!  

Want a salesman that works 24/7/365, advertising you as the best in your locale?  This is what a positive online reputation can do for you.  According to BrightLocal, “Review ratings are the biggest driver of clicks in local search engine results”.

Additionally, a great reputation can help with your search engine optimization (SEO).  Online reviews, directories, business profiles and more help your website rank higher.  Thus, exposing you to a new and wider audience.

You now may be asking yourself, “This is great, but how do I start?”

That is what the rest of this guide will cover.

What Should A Small Business Do To Grow Their Online Reputation?

Step 1: Claim, Manage and Optimize Your Business Listings and Online Review Site Accounts

Review sites are vitally important when maintaining your reputation.  This is where consumers go to research companies and products.  One goal for your business should be showing up in Google local results with good reviews.  

Sometimes, people are willing to take their research to the next level.  This is where review sites come in.  For example, did you know that Yelp has over 178 million site visitors monthly?  They are all looking to confirm that they will get what they want from a particular business.

Make review sites work for you.  Build and protect your online reputation by building your review set on multiple sites.  Make sure to respond to every review in a way that is consistent and persuasive to potential customers reading.

Claim your business profiles on all review sites that are pertinent to your business.  Don’t forget any local directories as well!  Complete the profiles and be sure to use keywords and phrases that your target audience may be interested in.  Make sure that your NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) are consistent across all profiles.  For example, don’t use “Road” in one and “Rd” in another.  Pick one usage and apply it across all online properties.  Be sure that your website has the same exact information, as well.

Missing, incomplete or duplicate information in these listings can hurt your business and your SEO!

Some of the top review sites that you may want to consider are:

  • Google My Business
  • Yelp
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Facebook
  • Trip Advisor
  • Foursquare
  • Angie’s List

Step 2: Create and Optimize Your Social Media Profiles

When you are first starting this plan, Googling your business normally results in various social media profiles for the owner and the business being returned.  This is exactly why you should claim and establish your social media profiles.

Social media profiles generally rank highly for personal names and business names.  If you have not done much to establish yourself, this is a great way to control what prospects can see about you.  You have complete power over what your profiles say and the imagery displayed.  

It’s important to claim these profiles as soon as a business is established.  Profile names are first-come, first-serve, so it is possible that someone else could claim your name.  Don’t let your competition block you, or even worse, create a fake profile and pretend to be you.

An active social media presence lets you promote your brand and establish your voice.  Your content will help create relationships with your clients.  It also lets you showcase your thoughts, opinions, interesting articles, reviews and more.

When claiming your profile, be sure to fill everything out in its entirety.  Include your NAP from above, your website, contact information, logo and lots of photos.  People like to see the people behind the business.

Step 3: Solicit and Manage Reviews

Create a process for your business to request online reviews from your customers and make sure that you and your employees follow it every time.  

“76% of consumers that are asked to leave a review go to write one.” (BrightLocal, Local Consumer Review Survey)

Monitor your review profiles for new reviews and be sure to respond to all new feedback.

When you receive a positive review, it is easy to write a response. Thank them for their time and review, use their name, talk about your commitment, let them know that their feedback is important and invite them to take another step with your company.

Receive a negative review?  You need to reply!

“45% of consumers say they are more likely to visit a business that responds to their negative reviews.” (ReviewTrackers, Online Reviews Survey)

Reply to the reviewer using a courteous tone, and apologize for the experience that they had.  Then, offer to discuss the issue offline.  This way, potential clients will see that you care about customer satisfaction and that you tried to make it right – allowing you to flip a negative into a positive.

Step 4: Create a Blog with Consistently-Published, Quality Content

Your online reputation also comes from the authority that you have established.  A blog is a great way to accomplish this.  Blog entries published regularly with proper SEO ensures that the content and images that you create occupies the top search results for your name and business.

Worried about how to start your blog?  

Here is our blog quick-start guide:

  • Set up your blog in WordPress (You can follow this guide if you run into trouble https://www.wpbeginner.com/start-a-wordpress-blog/).
  • Install the free Yoast SEO plugin (https://wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-seo/).
  • Identify 13 commonly asked questions that you hear from your customers frequently.
  • Answer the questions.  If writing is not your thing, record yourself answering the questions on your phone and use https://otter.ai/ (free tool) to transcribe it.
  • Create one blog entry per question.  
  • SEO each entry with page titles, meta descriptions, tags, URLs, image names etc.
  • Use WordPress’ built in functionality to schedule one of these entries to post every 2 weeks.  This gives you a regularly scheduled post for the next half-year.
  • BONUS: Film yourself reading the blog entry and post the video to YouTube with a link back to the blog.  This will help with authority and SEO.

Step 5: Get Started

You now have everything that you need to begin.  Don’t jeopardize the time, money (and maybe tears) that you have put into your business by neglecting to build and maintain a positive online presence!

Need help getting started or want someone to take over the responsibilities of this task?  Contact IFTS and ask about our ReviewLead free trial.  We make online reputation a stress-free experience for you.

10 Proven Ways to Get More Positive Online Reviews for Your Business

Do you want your business to stand out from the competition? 

Do you want to completely DOMINATE local search?

Do you want to have a steady stream of leads coming in online every month?

If you answered “YES!” to even one of the questions above, you need to work on building a system that creates a stream of positive online reviews for your business.  When someone in your area looks for a business like yours, you need to show up first organically and be the obvious choice.  

One factor that Google uses in organic ranking is online reviews.  They will look at quantity, quality, how often you receive them and product/service keywords.  Then, they will look at the same thing for your competitors.  It is crucial that your business does better than your competitors in all of these categories to show up higher in the rankings.

To be the obvious choice, getting multiple positive reviews consistently is key.  They help you strongly influence potential customers.  Reviews provide the social proof that people are looking when researching a buying decision.

In this post, we will cover 10 ways to get more reviews, increase your visibility on local search and take your company’s online presence to the next level.

Ways to Get More Online Reviews – Tip #1: Create a “Review Generation Strategy” to get reviews on all of the sites that matter to your clients.

Make sure that you are visible on sites and search engines that are used by your clients and prospects!

To start, identify review sites and directories commonly used in your industry and location.  Don’t forget to research lesser known sites that may be specific to your town or niche.  Once you have your list complete, create profiles on those sites (if necessary) and start asking for reviews that funnel to those locations.

Ways to Get More Online Reviews – Tip #2: Ask your 5-Star Reviewers for referrals

Is there anything better than getting a 5-star review from a happy customer?  

Not only do they leave social proof online to help others make a decision, but they identify themselves as excellent people to ask for a referral.

Happy customers can make the BEST brand ambassadors for you.  They made the effort to leave you a great review, which shows an investment in your business doing well. Reach out to these people with an email or phone call.  Thank them for the great review and ask if they know anyone that would benefit from your services.  Be sure to personalize these messages.  In some cases, they may even offer to introduce you to the referral themselves!

Ways to Get More Online Reviews – Tip #3: Train your employees to ask for reviews

Training your employees to ask for a review should be a top priority in every business.  To make this an easy, repeatable task, develop an internal review request system within your company.  Make sure that all of your employees know how to use the system and stress the importance of its utilization.

Ways to Get More Online Reviews – Tip #4: Use feedback forms proactively to stop negative online reviews and comments

Bad customer reviews can negatively impact your business in multiple ways.  With this in mind, it may be scary to send out review requests to all of your clients. In order to put your mind at ease, there is a middle layer that you can add to your review system that will “catch” those bad comments before they make it to your review profiles – feedback forms.

You can use the feedback forms to funnel the people that want to leave a good review to Google, Facebook etc. and the bad reviews can come directly to you to deal with offline.

Ways to Get More Online Reviews – Tip #5: Respond to every review to build trust with future prospects and increase your online authority

Generating new reviews and monitoring review sites are not the only review management tasks that you need to perform.  You need to respond to every review that you receive, as well.  This shows your current and future customers how much importance you place on their experience with your company.

Businesses that have review replies are more likely to receive useful, detailed reviews from their customers.  In addition, if people know that you are likely to respond, they will be less likely to leave mean-spirited comments within their review.

Make sure to thank the reviewer for taking the time to leave a review and let them know how valuable their input is.  If you do receive a negative review, leave a reply with a cool head and offer to discuss the issue that they had offline.

Ways to Get More Online Reviews – Tip #6: Request online reviews from your happiest customers

The best time to ask for a review from a client is immediately following their service or transaction.  The experience is fresh in their mind.  You have just done a great job for them.  Their appreciation for you will be the strongest and they should be more open to leaving a review.  Make it easy for them and they will put more effort into leaving an awesome review for your business.

Ways to Get More Online Reviews – Tip #7: Ask your 5-Star Reviewers to leave reviews on multiple platforms (or on video)

Has a client left you a glowing review that you think would benefit others?

If someone has given you a great review, there is now an easy opening to ask them to leave that review on multiple platforms.  Additionally, you can ask them for a video testimonial, which is simple to create.  They just have to record themselves on their phone reading their review and send you the clip via email or text.

Ways to Get More Online Reviews – Tip #8: Make collecting customer emails part of your onboarding process

Online businesses typically collect customer emails by default as this is part of the buying or opt-in process.  However, when you are in a brick and mortar store setting, email collection should be a part of your buyer’s journey as well.  Create a system that will help you easily assemble this information.

Ways to Get More Online Reviews – Tip #9: Use SMS texts to request reviews

Did you know that you can send a customer a text with a link to a review site?

This strategy is quite effective for companies that already use phone numbers as their primary method of communication with clients.  As mobile device usage is so popular, clicking a link in a text message is a fast and easy way for an enthusiastic customer to leave you a review.  Because they have received other information from you by phone in the past, they will not be put off by a review request via text.

Ways to Get More Online Reviews – Tip #10: You can use incentives, but be cautious with the rules

Giving customers a perk in exchange for their feedback is an acceptable method of gathering reviews, but keep in mind that there are regulations.

Make sure to look at the “reward” rules for the review sites that you use and follow them.  The Federal Trade Commission also has their own rules for incentivizing people to leave reviews.  They basically say:

It’s okay to invite people to review your business after an actual purchase if you tell them in advance that they should disclose what they received from you in exchange for the review and that the discount or incentive is conditioned upon their making this disclosure.  This protects the consumer by giving them a choice to decide how much trust to put into those reviews.

If you have further questions about this topic, speak with your legal team for more information.

Make Your Reviews Your Best Salesperson

The importance of online reviews and monitoring your online reputation is paramount to the success of your business.  This includes the following tasks:

  • Monitor review sites
  • Constantly request new reviews
  • Handle negative reviews
  • Respond to all reviews
  • Manage the review system itself
  • Make sure your employees are using the review system

This process can seem overwhelming.  Where is a good place to start?

Luckily, it is quite easy to outsource and automate the whole system.  Contact IFTS to find out how to leverage your positive online reputation and protect future revenue without any extra work.  Ask about our free trial of ReviewLead to take your company’s online presence to the next level.