Service Industry Marketing and The New Phone Book. By Taf Baig


Are you keeping up with the times? 
I have to tell you that I hear a lot of Marketing techniques but a lot of them don’t apply to us in the Service Business.  Even the new techniques that tell you how to promote your business online are inapplicable.
So, I’ve been working on trying to show people what is working for me online and what I think might be the future for us.
You can tweak your website all you want.  You can even have it listed on the top of search engines for a time.  You may pay for search advertising and get some visits.
But, if you have a long term view of your business then you need to start now and continue working on what I think is the single most important Marketing device for the service business.
When people look for a local business, what do you think they are looking for more than a fancy website?   I believe that it is reputation and then price.
Why reputation?  Without a good reputation, the price doesn’t matter.  If a company has a good reputation, the customer knows that they will get what they paid for.  The next thought in their mind becomes what price will I have to pay for this service.
What can you do today to start building your “local” online reputation?
If you haven’t done so already, then go to the three major search engines listed below and set up your profile in it’s entirety.  From pictures to everything else.

Google:  https://www.google.com/accounts/ServiceLogin?continue=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2Flocal%2Fadd%2FbusinessCenter%3Fgl%3DUS%26hl%3Den-US&service=lbc&hl=en-US&gl=US.  You’ll need to open a gmail account if you don’t have one already.

Bing:  https://ssl.bing.com/listings/ListingCenter.aspx

Yahoo: http://listings.local.yahoo.com/

Once you have done that, then when you are on a job and as soon as you finish that job ask the customer to go online to give you a review.  Find out if they have a Gmail, Bing (MSN) or Yahoo account.  Take them to that search engine and type in your company name and city.  This will bring your company to the local listings.  Now have them give you a review right there and then.  Also, have them read the other reviews if they like and see if they will press the “I liked this review” button.
That’s it!  If you do this every day, then you are telling everyone in your community that you have a good reputation.
Now, there are other ways to do this faster.  Like contacting your customers, telling your friends who are customers and also others who are in the service business to trade reviews with you.
Why I think this is important is that in the future this way of finding local service will serve as the fastest and safest way for a customer to find you.  It will eliminate the “newbies” from getting a jump on you.  You’ll have the jump on them by years.
Here is the local listing future as I see it today.  The search engines have a free listing right now and the services listed are in the order of who is closest to the person doing the search query.  Eventually, they will charge for the top listings.  But, if your reputation is sparkling clean, your target audience will choose you over the paid ones.
So, do it now.  Book-mark this article so you can return to it for questions and links.  Don’t wait too long, as this information will be out dated like everything else.
The exact same thing can be done on Angie’s List.
Taf Baig is a veteran carpet cleaner, who manages many companies and is also an IICRC Certified Instructor.  He is also a formulator of many of the popular carpet cleaning chemicals in our industry.

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