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.
The Complete Guide To Getting More Online Reviews For Roofers
Google My Business
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:
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Once you’ve verified your listing you need to complete your listing.
Here are the instructions for this:
- Make sure your NAP (name, address, phone number) are in the correct format. You can read more on how to do this here.
- Include as many images as possible. Showcase your work. Drone images are the best.
- Make sure your hours of operation are correct
- Make sure your business category is correct. As a roofing business select roofing contractor
How To Get More Google Reviews
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:
- Send bulk emails, surveys, or other mass messaging, whether commercial in nature or not; engage in keyword spamming, or otherwise attempt to manipulate the Site’s search results or any third party website;
Why is Yelp important?
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:
- 145 million unique visitors per month
- 2.8 million businesses with a claimed listing
- 121 million reviews on Yelp
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.
The Income level of Yelp Users
The Type Of Businesses That Are On Yelp
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:
- Give customers a ‘heads-up.’ Instead of saying “Write a review about our business on Yelp,” instead say, “Check us out on Yelp.” The first is a solicitation while the latter is a “heads up” — an FYI that raises awareness. The difference may be slight, but it’s worth noting.
- Place a Yelp badge on your website. Yelp offers several badges that you can put on your site, which link to your business profile. Just copy and paste the HTML code associated with each badge into the site. Review averages and counts update automatically as new reviews come in.
- Put a ‘Find us on Yelp’ sign in your place of business. You can make your own using Yelps brand assets or request one by via this form.
- Add a link to your business listing in your email signature. Companies often overlook the marketing value of an email signature, but it’s a subtle way to encourage Yelp reviews. Include the words mentioned in the first point: “Check us out on Yelp.”
- Share your ‘People Love Us on Yelp’ recipient status. “People Love Us on Yelp” is a program that provides a sticker and a letter of commendation from Yelp’s founders to companies that qualify based on their history and rating. Stickers are mailed twice per year to all qualifying businesses.
- Share reviews on Facebook and Twitter. You can share Yelp reviews on social networks like Facebook and Twitter by logging into your business owner account and clicking the “Reviews” tab. It may be advantageous to include one or two negative reviews, so long as you add a comment citing your efforts to satisfy the customer. Fans and followers may become skeptical if they just see positive reviews
- Use reviews in marketing materials. While Yelp discourages asking for reviews, it doesn’t mind you sharing those you’ve received in marketing materials. There are some guidelines, however:
- Don’t take it out of context (e.g., don’t expect a positive quote from a negative review);
- Stay faithful to the reviewer (e.g., no word substitutions or deletions);
- Only use Yelp’s recommended reviews (i.e., do not use reviews that aren’t currently recommended);
- Get permission from the reviewer and provide attribution;
- Attribute Yelp as the source using the logo guidelines above.
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
- Facebook recently passed the 2 billion user mark.
- Here are some stats on Facebook pages:
- There are over 65 million businesses that have a Facebook page
- Over 1 billion users visit Facebook pages every month
- 41% of small businesses have a Facebook business page
Verify your listing
You can verify your Facebook page by having Facebook call you. Here are the instructions on verifying your Facebook page.
How To Get More Facebook Reviews
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.
Bing Places for Business
If you have already done the work with Google why not Bing? It’s easy. You can do this in 3 steps.
- Create your listing
- Complete your listing profile
- Verify your listing
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.
How To Get More Reviews
- Make it part of your business process: You should get every employee to ask your customers for reviews. If you are having trouble getting your employees to do this you can offer incentives to your employees and provide them bonuses to whoever gets the most reviews.
- Attach every invoice with a call to action: The call to action should ask the customer to leave a review on your listing
- Follow Up: If the customer didn’t get a chance to review the first time your employee asked them you should wait 3 or 4 days and follow up with an email asking for a review. You don’t need to be pushy just say something simple like “Hey it was great working with you last week. I really enjoyed working on your roof. Anyways, did you ever get a chance to review us?” Then send them a link to your review page.
- Email Marketing: You can send emails to your database and ask them to review your work. The best strategy for this would be sending helpful content in the beginning of the email and then adding a PS to your email at the bottom asking them to review your business listing. You can also provide incentives to your customers and ask them to review your listing. You can give gift cards and other cheap items.
- Place review badges on your site: A lot of directories have review badges that you can place on your site. This article has a list of directories that allow you to place badges on their sites
- Respond to every review (even the negative ones): It’s inevitable that you will get a couple of negative reviews. I know a couple of clients of mine have had negative reviews from people they didn’t even work with. And, it’s difficult removing these reviews. You should respond to every negative review and try to provide an explanation of what happened. This will show people that you care what your customers think. You should respond to every positive review as this will increase the engagement of your listing.
- Wait a while and follow up again: If you didn’t get a review the second time you asked you can send a reminder email a few weeks asking for a review. You don’t have to be pushy but simple 1 or 2 sentence email should suffice.
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?