According to Roofing Contractor Magazine between and 80-90% of roofing work begins with an online search. If you are not online it’s like you don’t exist.
One of the biggest factors in getting more work is that your online reputation is solid. We live in a different world now with consumers having an incredible amount of choice and power.
A dissatisfied customer can leave a negative review that can hurt your reputation online and cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
Do you think I am exaggerating?
Imagine this scenario.
You have a Google listing that you rarely use. In fact, you don’t even know that it existed. A disgruntled customer leaves you a negative review. Your business now has a 1-star review out of 5 stars.
How many opportunities do you think this will cost you?
One of the first things a person does after talking with a business is to search your business online. If you are bidding on a large commercial job who do you think they will give the contract to?
A roofing business that has 20 5-star reviews or a business that only has 1 single negative review?
People rely on online reviews when making buying decisions. 90% claim that reading a positive review online influenced their buying decision. Over 85% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses.
Now get this, one Harvard Business School study found that “a restaurant that boosts its Yelp score by one full star can see revenues increase 5 to 9 percent.”
I know this study was for restaurants but believe, me a single negative review can have a big impact in your business if you don’t have positive reviews to offset the negative ones.
As a local business owner it’s your responsibility to ensure that your online reputation is solid. In the rest of this article, I am going to go over the top 4 business directories that you should focus on getting reviews.
Google My business is the most important directory. Every business should have a listing. This used to be called Google Places. The best thing about Google My Business is that Google provides your business a centralized dashboard in which you can see all aspects of your Google business accounts.
There are a few steps you need to take. First, you need to find your listing. You can do that by going to Google My Business and searching for your business.
If it’s there then you have to claim your listing. If you can’t find your listing then you have to create your listing. Once you’ve created/claimed your listing you should verify your listing. You can verify your listing on Google by phone, postcard, or email.
Google provides insructions with a video below:
Once you’ve verified your listing you need to complete your listing.
Here are the instructions for this:
Google reviews are the most important because everyone sees them. They also affect your rankings with Google. However, there are difficulties in getting reviews with Google. First, they have to have a Google account, then they have to find your account and finally they have to leave you a review.
Wouldn’t it be easier if this process had a SOP? (standard operating procedure)
The guys at Local Visibility created a 1-page Google Review handout that you can give to all your customers. Check it out below:
This one-page handout provides clear instructions to your customers on how they can write you a review on Google. In fact, you can write a similar handout with all the other directories if you are up to it.
I would have my employees hand out these instructions to every customer so they have a physical copy. I would also have my employees email this handout to every customer so they have a digital copy too.
Rank Positive Reviews as Helpful
Another strategy you can do on Google is to rank positive reviews as the most helpful. Anyone can do this. Go to your review page and respond to every review either positive or negative and rank the positive ones as the most helpful. This will give you a shortcut for getting more positive reviews.
Yelp is unique in the directory space in that they have strict guidelines on what a business can do to generate more online reviews. They want their reviews to be as organic as possible.
One of the rules is:
According to a study in 2011, Michael Luca, a Harvard professor, found that a one-star increase in a Yelp rating led to a corresponding 5-9 percent jump in revenue. Even if you don’t believe the results of the study here are some additional numbers that can convince you:
Yelp is the second biggest directory online in the world. Here are some stats that show you how big Yelp is:
Another thing to keep in mind is that the average Yelp user has a higher income level. So, if you want to target the more affluent prospect Yelp might be a good place to go.
As a roofer, you better believe that a lot of your prospects will be looking your Yelp page and seeing if you have any reviews. Home and local services are the 3rd most type of business that is reviewed. If you are not getting Yelp reviews your competitors definitely are!
According to this article here are 7 ways that can help you get more Yelp reviews without violating its policies:
Facebook business pages have become a behemoth and are necessary for your roofing business. Every roofing business should have a Facebook page. They are free to create. You can use this link to create a Facebook page in a few minutes.
Some mindblowing stats on Facebook
Verify your listing
You can verify your Facebook page by having Facebook call you. Here are the instructions on verifying your Facebook page.
First, you have to make sure that your review tab is visible and active. Facebook does not have this feature turned on for you. You have to turn it on yourself.
Click settings and scroll to the review section and make sure this is turned on:
Once you’ve turned on this feature you can start soliciting reviews on your Facebook page. Since the user base of Facebook has reached over 2 billion users, chances are pretty high that your customer has a Facebook profile which it makes easier than other directories to get reviews.
Respond to every review
By responding to every review even it’s a negative review this will get you more reviews.
If you have already done the work with Google why not Bing? It’s easy. You can do this in 3 steps.
One thing to keep in mind is like the other directories the information your listing has the more impact it will have on your bottom line. Make sure your NAP (name, address, phone number) are correct. Your hours of operation, images of your business etc.
I can’t overstate the importance of online reviews for your roofing business. It’s what separates the roofers who dominate their market vs. those that just get by.
Make it a priority to focus on getting more reviews from the big 3 which are Google, Yelp, and Facebook. You should also not ignore Bing.
If you only have to focus on one of I would make Google Reviews the main focus. It’s the most important and it applies to both commercial and residential roofing contractors.
A commercial property owner will likely not check your Yelp listing but they will definitely check your reviews on Google. What do you guys think?
Have you used reviews for your business?