Online Reputation Management for Contractors
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Every business relies on its reputation. After all, it’s what prompts customers to make a decision about whether they should hire our services or buy our products.
A strong reputation for a contractor is hard-won but a highly valuable commodity in today’s marketplace. Gone are the days when word of mouth was limited to just a customer’s immediate circle. In today’s digital age, anyone with internet access can leave a review about your services, impacting your business on a much larger scale.
Unfortunately, mistakes are common in the construction industry and the unforgiving nature of upset clients leaving bad reviews can make it difficult to secure projects. That’s why every contractor must prioritize their business’s reputation and take practical steps to maintain a positive image.
We give you all the online reputation management tips you need to build and maintain a solid and positive presence online.
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Why Contractors Should Care About Their Online Reputation
The ‘why’ is pretty evident: reputation management allows you to see how clients perceive you – an important aspect when you’re a customer-oriented business.
In today’s digital age, consumers trust other consumers, and online reviews are the new word of mouth – the go-to for customers to judge a business. When your potential customers are browsing search results for a contractor, they’ll find those all-important reviews right in front of them, ready to influence their decision.
For general contractors, this is especially important. Why? Because you visit people’s homes, and many of your clients need a certain level of confidence and trust before allowing just anyone in, around, or on top of their home.
But a strong online reputation doesn’t only instill trust in clients, it can also do wonders for your SEO ranking. A search engine like Google has algorithms that rely heavily on customer reviews. So the better your reviews, the higher your visibility!
If that’s not enough to convince you why you should care about your company’s reputation online, here are three sobering statistics you should know:
84% of customers trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations from friends and family.
A single star increase on Yelp can lead to a 5-9% increase in revenue.
95% of unsatisfied customers are willing to do return business with a company if they resolve a negative customer experience quickly.
And the statistics don’t lie – a positive online reputation can be a game-changer for your business.
How Contractors Can Manage Their Online Reputation
1. Assess Your Current Online Reputation
If you’re curious to know how your business is perceived online, the first step is to assess your current reputation. Sure, you may already know what people are saying about your business on your website, social media, or Google, but what about other sites?
While this may seem like an impossible task given the vastness of the internet, you can use an online reputation management tool to help. You want to look for tools that can monitor feedback across various digital platforms to better understand what you can improve on.
Remember, you first need to know what your clients are saying about your business before you rush head-first into changing your processes.
2. Create On-Brand Content Across Multiple Channels
With so many businesses vying for attention in the digital space, it’s essential to establish a strong and consistent brand presence. By doing this, you’re creating a powerful signal that communicates to potential customers who you are, what you stand for, and what they can expect from you.
Consistent messaging and visual branding across social media, your website and blog, and other channels can reinforce your brand and help customers remember who you are.
When you stay true to your brand message and maintain consistency across all channels, you’re building a business that’s going to stand the test of time. Remember, a strong brand leads to more positive reviews, which ultimately leads to more business and a better reputation!
Plus, regularly posting relevant content is great for your digital marketing efforts.
3. Make Sure Your Client Testimonials Are Seen & Heard
As a contractor, you work hard to make clients happy and receive great 5-star reviews because of it. So don’t let those warm words go unnoticed!
Customer testimonials are a powerful tool that you can use to showcase social proof. Simply put, social proof is the idea that people are more likely to try something (like your services) if they see that others are doing it too.
By displaying real-life accounts of happy customers on your website or social media pages, you can give prospective clients an inside look at the experience of others. This can help establish trust and credibility, two essential components of a strong reputation.
4. Encourage Positive Reviews
When it comes to establishing strong online reputation management, there’s nothing more effective than positive online reviews from satisfied customers. A happy client can be your biggest promoter, spreading the word about your excellent service and giving you free advertising!
But while consumers read reviews, only a small percentage actually take the time to write them. So how can you encourage happy clients to leave positive reviews? Start by asking them! Sure this may seem a little daunting, but if you remind customers about how valuable their feedback is, you’re more likely to get an online review from them.
What’s more, many happy customers are deterred by the time-consuming process of leaving a review – like having to log into a review site to give their feedback. This is where online reputation management software comes in. By making the process easy and accessible, more satisfied clients may be encouraged to leave positive reviews.
5. Don’t Avoid Negative Reviews
Let’s not kid ourselves – negative feedback is inevitable, no matter how much effort you pour into keeping your customers happy. While a negative review will naturally discourage you and affect your reputation, this doesn’t mean you should turn a blind eye and ignore it.
Potential customers aren’t only searching for positive feedback on your brand or services, but also negative feedback. However, by addressing negative reviews or ratings, you can demonstrate to potential and existing customers that you’re willing to resolve and improve on issues.
Not responding to these online reviews can confirm the negative feedback, and portray your company as indifferent to customer concerns. Even if a problem wasn’t your direct fault, owning up and prioritizing customer satisfaction will certainly help in establishing a positive brand reputation.
6. Use Social Media to Boost Brand Awareness
In addition to increasing the number of good reviews and minimizing bad reviews, improving your social media performance is also a crucial step in online reputation management.
Social media channels like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook can be amazing tools for boosting your business’s reputation. There are a few things you can do with your social media presence to enhance your credibility:
Engage with your followers. Remember, your followers are also your customers, so engaging with them is key to building a strong perception of your business. Respond to every query made to you, answer their questions, and get them interested in your service.
Post helpful and appealing content. Share videos and pictures of your projects. This generates positive engagement on your social media and contributes to your online reputation in a positive way.
Consider running a competition or deal. Not only is this great for engaging customers, but it can also help spread the word about your business. You can run an online competition or quiz where you reward customers with a free consultation or a discount on your services.
7. Leverage Local Business Citations
Local business citations are basically shoutouts from other websites that mention your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP). They’re kind of like breadcrumbs that lead customers straight to your website.
When your NAP is consistent across multiple sites, it helps search engines like Google index your website more efficiently, making it easier for potential clients to find you online. But local business citations also do more than just enhance your visibility.
When your business receives these ‘shoutouts’ from reputable sites, it sends a signal to potential clients and search engines that your business is credible and trustworthy.
So how can you leverage local business citations? Start by claiming your business on popular directories like Google Business Profile, HomeAdvisor, and Yelp. Then, make sure your NAP is consistent across all sites and encourage satisfied customers to leave online reviews.
What are some effective ways to respond to negative reviews?
Dealing with an angry customer and a negative online review is a task that can be tough for any business owner. But it’s a crucial part of reputation management. Your response to a negative review can be an opportunity to win back a customer. Here are some quick tips on how to handle a negative review:
Respond quickly and empathetically
Apologize and address the issue (even if you are not at direct fault)
Express your commitment to customer satisfaction and provide a solution
What are the best review sites for contractors?
As a contractor, having a strong presence on a review site with a high number of positive online reviews can help you build a solid reputation. There are several review sites that customers use when looking for contractors. Google Business Profile is among the most popular for local businesses. Other great sets include Angi, Facebook, and Yelp.
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