Facebook has come a long way since its debut in 2004, especially when it comes to the Facebook Advertising platform. Facebook has almost single-handedly turned paid social media marketing into a cornerstone of modern digital marketing tactics.
In the next year to come, we can all expect Facebook to evolve in deeper ways. These evolutions include both new features and shifts in the way business will be able to use Facebook ads to reach prospects.
Let’s explore the most important Facebook advertising trends for 2018. With them, you can improve your marketing funnel and hopefully find more leads than ever in the coming year.
The Importance of Facebook Video Ads
Mobile audiences eat up video more hungrily than ever. Altogether, Facebook users watch over 100 million hours of video a day.
As a result of their demand and improvements in video players, we have seen an explosion in both paid and organic video content.
On average, videos on Facebook get 135% more organic reach than photos.
Contractors can potentially improve both their organic reach and engagement on paid posts by creating more promotional assets as videos. Making the switch does not have to be expensive or painful either.
With just a few Facebook video ads, you can improve engagement and prospecting. You also help people remember your messaging since people remember video almost seven-times better than they do text.
More Diverse Ad Types
In addition to video ads, Facebook has been quietly diversifying their ad inventory. Marketers and contractors can use these ad formats to accomplish specific business goals.
- Carousel ads can use multiple images, multiple offers, or multiple USPs in one go, providing a richer experience and a more compelling CTA.
- Slideshow ads use lightweight video to load faster and intrude less on the browsing experience. They can be a great transition for contractors looking to create more video.
- Collection ads allow users to browse through multiple products or informational pages in-app. This grows awareness while generating less friction compared to an outbound link.
- Canvas mobile Facebook ad formats transform your ad from a single video or image into a full screen, scrolling experience. Use them to showcase high-quality assets or nurture prospects further along in the buy cycle.
- Dynamic ads can use a single ad template to promote several products or create customized pitches for different segments. These ads maximize relevance and returns while helping you A/B test more quickly.
- Link ads include a prominent, customizable CTA button to direct prospects to a landing page or offer. They encourage action, increasing conversions.
- Lead ads incorporate a lead capture form directly in the app! We’ll explain the significance of this ad type and similar formats below.
Understanding and taking advantage of these Ad Types will be a large key to success.
Facebook Likes To Keep People On The Facebook Platform
Ad formats like lead ads and collection ads keep audiences in-app as they interact with your brand.
For instance, Lead ads pull up a lead capture form in-app and autopopulates it with information from the users Facebook user profile. This feature dramatically reduces friction in your marketing funnel, encouraging more prospects to convert thanks to the simpler process. You also reduce the number of needed assets by getting rid of certain landing pages.
Because of these abilities, Hubspot asserts that Lead ads can “skyrocket conversion rates and make mobile ads more effective for B2B marketers.”
Understanding Facebook’s goals for their user experience will enable you to get the most out of your Facebook advertising budget.
Paid Advertising Increases (As Organic Reach Nosedives)
Facebook made waves when they announced that they were experimenting with a newsfeed that contained zero organic branded posts. All of this content would be moved to a separate “Explore” feed.
If Facebook implements this change globally, then all branded Facebook Pages will see their organic reach tank.
Even if that doesn’t happen, though, these Pages have already seen dramatic drops in reach over the past few years. With fewer people seeing their content appear on its own, these Pages must now resort to funding paid Facebook advertising campaigns in order to generate impressions.
Truth be told: this has been the situation for years. Contractors simply cannot rely on the Facebook algorithm to serendipitously show their content to meet their reach goals. By funding a paid ad or promoted post campaign, you guarantee yourself a sizeable audience.
Even better, you can fine-tune the targeting for your ads to maximize relevance and ROI. Facebook has gotten much more granular with its targeting features.
You can use these features to weed out audiences who are unlikely to need your services, increasing your conversion rate and your overall returns.
Ultimately you must embrace paid advertising if you want to continue to reach your target audiences on the platform.
Take Advantage of Facebook Advertising Trends in 2018 and Beyond
By looking to the above Facebook Advertising trends contractors can find greater successes in reaching their ideal prospects to grow in 2018.
Make sure you combine your Facebook Advertising strategy with other digital marketing practices for maximum gains.
2018 Trends in Facebook Advertising That Will Help Contractors Reach Prospects originally published by Contractor Media
After the last echoes of ringing in the New Year subside, everyone reflects on how to make 2018 better through their own actions. If you’re a contractor looking to market your services digitally, this time marks the perfect opportunity to set ambitious goals and pledge to cut out bad habits.
To help inspire you to do better in the New Year and meet success head on, here are our 5 top recommended digital marketing New Year’s resolutions for 2018.
Make More Video
We’ve hammered this point home plenty of times, but just to reiterate: video is the direction that the internet’s going. Cisco studies predict that 69% of total internet traffic over 2017 will have come from video views. By 2021, they expect that portion to increase to 82%.
The reason for rising video consumption is simple: people love video! Better smartphones and cheaper data plans also give us the means to watch video anywhere at any time.
Appetites for video content will keep on growing throughout 2018, and marketers for contractor businesses of all sizes should be willing to help satisfy that demand. If they do, they will reap substantial rewards.
51% of marketers globally list video as the type of content that earns them the best return on investment. Video uploaded to social media also generates 1200% more shares than text or image posts combined!
To take advantage of video in your digital marketing strategy, start by creating summary slideshow summaries of your most-popular blogs using tools like Rocketium or Adobe Spark. Or, go live with behind-the-scenes looks at your operations or Q&A sessions. Both of these low-cost options offer reliable solutions for engagement.
Looking longer term, investigate the budget you would need to create a few short 2-5 minute video assets. These can help raise your brand awareness, earn shares, and give your company a veneer of modern professionalism.
Tie Content Better Within Buyer Journeys
In 2018, your audience deserves better than irrelevant content. No one will click on articles that don’t offer some sort of value. And, more importantly, how your audience perceives value depends on the stage of the buyer journey they’re at.
Offer value by planning content topics and placement around your customers’ stage in their buyer journey.
For instance, if you sell RVs, don’t expect someone who doesn’t have any intention to buy an RV yet to click on your article about “6 Top Reasons You Should Buy Your RV From Us!” Instead, recognize the types of topics that would get them interested. Here are a few examples:
- Not yet aware they want to buy an RV
- 7 Top Camping Destinations on the West Coast
- Pros and Cons of the 4 Most Common Types of Camping
- Maybe thinking about buying an RV
- 5 Reasons RV Camping Blows Tent Camping Out of the Water
- Winter Camp in Comfort at These Gorgeous Destinations
- Deciding what RV to buy
- Must-Have Features for Every Modern RV
- Top RV Models by Price Range
- Ready to buy
- Why You Should Buy Your RV From a Local Dealer
- 6 Warning Signs for Dishonest RV Dealers That Should Make You Leave the Lot
Each hypothetical blog title is aimed at a particular area of interest within a particular informational scope. If you have an email list, you will want to offer each piece based on the information the buyer has looked at before and their indicated interests. For your website, include suggested blog topics logically within the section the buyer is currently within.
Going one step beyond this approach requires personalization engines and marketing automation. But you can get started by creating several buyer personas and customer journey maps, then devise a content strategy to help nurture each persona type towards a final sale.
Reshape Your Website to Be Even More Mobile Friendly
It’s 2018, and mobile phones are officially grafted into our lifestyle. Americans spend 71% of their time online using mobile devices, and visits to websites through mobile devices shot up 72% in 2017.
Using responsive design and passing Google’s mobile-friendly test are therefore just the start of your contractor business. You should rigorously explore and test options for even more engaging and usable mobile layouts throughout 2018. Offer mobile visitors a true experience, but still make navigation and content consumption easy.
Improvements like these can help you stand out among competitors in an environment where mobile will only increase its share of traffic over time.
Engage More Authentically With Your Social Media Audiences
Social media audiences want to feel like they’re engaging with real people, not brands. According to one of the top social media management apps, posts with a personable approach, humor, inspiration or emotion drive the best engagement.
You can also ask questions from your audience directly. How do they handle challenges related to your line of work? What tech trends do they think have the most promise? What are their New Year’s resolutions? Questions like these drive engagement and help your audience feel listened to.
Person-centered conversations surrounding your brand can also occur outside of your owned (well, borrowed) social spaces. By setting up social monitoring tools for mentions of your brand or service area, you can engage people in 1:1 conversations and help them solve problems.
Engaging directly with your audiences in these ways can sway public opinion in your favor while making your social media pages more lively.
While Fulfilling These Contractor Digital Marketing New Year’s Resolutions for 2018, Base More Decisions on Data
All of the above resolutions can bring you success as long as you take a scientific approach. Start by setting goals and target metrics. Make predictions on how to meet these metrics, measure how accurate your predictions were, and experiment to see if you can find even greater success.
You can also A/B test two approaches simultaneously to learn even faster. For instance, maybe you aren’t sure which Facebook post for an upcoming event will get the most clicks? You can use paid social advertising to serve two different promoted posts to targeted audiences and see what happens.
Experimentation combined with dedication and a healthy dash of creativity will help you go a long way towards finding more success in the year ahead.
Keep the above resolutions in mind, and you could be well on your way towards making contractor digital marketing work for you in 2018. Good luck, and have a Happy New Year!
The Best Contractor Digital Marketing New Year’s Resolutions for Crushing It in 2018 originally published by Contractor Media
2018 is just around the bend, and content marketing has changed a whole lot in the past few years. While it was once a small component of larger digital marketing campaigns and strategies, big brands have started to realize that content can be a marketing end unto itself.
As a result, most marketers are betting big on content. 60% of marketers publish a piece of content daily. In 2015, content marketing had its sixth consecutive year of double-digit growth in spending.
People also spend around six hours a day consuming content online, on average. Note that this statistic includes people using two screens at once, so we often consume content on two different devices for hours on end.
All of these facts point to one thing: the demand for content marketing is there, and marketers are putting more and more effort into satisfying it.
How should you align your content priorities in order to reach prospects in 2018? Look to the following trends for answers on how to develop a winning strategy in the coming year ahead.
Companies Leaning in Heavily on Premium Original Content
The quality and quantity of original content has quickly become a competitive differentiator for big companies. You can see how this fact affects the business world by considering the staggering amount huge brands are investing in creating or purchasing premium original content.
Apple, for instance, just set aside $1 billion for original programming. The shows produced from this budget will likely end up on their streaming Apple TV platform. By curating premium, high-quality content, Apple not only drives subscribers to its service but builds out its brand.
Others like Johnson & Johnson have been able to convert lead-generating and brand-strengthening content into a viable business model. J&J’s babycenter.com gets so much engagement that revenue generated from the site makes it actually profitable.
This first trend may not be too relevant for contractors without deep pockets, but it helps set perspective. While you may not be keen to spend millions on a dedicated content site launch, you can know that your efforts to create quality content are considered a smart move.
As the Content Marketing Institute writes: “All senior marketing executives are curious about the creation and flow of content, especially since nearly every company is creating more content this year than last.”
With this in mind, know that high-quality content creation is quickly becoming table stakes in digital marketing for businesses of all sizes.
Mobile Optimization Should Be Viewed as the Standard
No ifs, ands or buts about it: your content should always be optimized for mobile. In fact, you may want to consider a mobile-first strategy when designing content.
Nearly 70% of media consumption now occurs on mobile, according to Comscore. That means your audience is 2.3 times as likely to be viewing your content on a mobile device as opposed to desktop.
In response, you should ensure your content strategy and design embraces a mobile-centered viewpoint.
For example, all of your blog content layouts should use a responsive design that looks good in a vertically scrolling format. You should also ensure that your photos look big and bold on small mobile screens.
Knowing that the person who views your next article or video is likely to be using a mobile device will therefore influence the choices you make and how you approach content in general.
Video Marketing (And Live Video) Gets Even Bigger
We’ve already talked a lot about how important video marketing is for helping you succeed.
Just to recap a few statistics: 45% people spend more than an hour a week, on average, watching videos just on Facebook and Youtube. People collectively watch over 10 million videos on Snapchat in a single day.
Those stats indicate that huge audiences are out there, hungry for video content. Contractors able to get their attention through eye-catching videos and a steady stream of must-watches stand a better chance at bringing prospects into their marketing funnel.
One area where video has completely taken off with small business owners is live video. Most contractors don’t have the time or budget to start producing slick video assets. Yet, they do have access to smartphones and tripods.
A contractor (or their marketing head) can quickly devise an HD recording setup on their desk and begin live streaming. People generally have lower expectations of live streaming because they are more engaged and feel more closely connected to their hosts.
In fact, viewers are willing to spend eight times longer watching live video compared to pre-recorded content. Contractors who host Q&As, live news updates, demonstrations or other types of content can attract captive audiences.
Best of all, they develop a stronger affinity for your brand. “Live streaming is a powerful content marketing tactic because of transparency,” observes Curata. “People love brands that are real; brands that talk, act and look like them.”
Native Advertising Becomes a More Consistent Source of High-Quality Content
In an era of Ad-Blocking and general marketing oversaturation, high-quality native advertisements have helped guide content strategy towards more engaging formats.
Native ads force businesses to understand their audience and what they expect when they consume media on a certain venue. For instance, a promoted Facebook post that looks like any other post from a friend can generate engagement. One that looks like an obnoxious banner ad won’t get clicks — and it may not even run.
Over time, native advertising has given companies an opportunity to flex their creative muscle. They are essentially being given a platform for standing alongside other popular content. Like amateur night at the Apollo, the last thing they want to do is embarrass themselves and get the hook.
Contractors that think about their content from a native ad perspective can often find greater levels of engagement and lead nurturing.
“Stricter advertising policies from tech giants like Facebook, combined with increasingly savvy consumers who won’t respond to noticeable, poor-quality ads will force native advertising to completely disassociate itself from terms like clickbait and wormhole,” content strategist Megan James told Entrepreneur. “Intelligent native advertising will be one of the largest distribution methods for high-end content that drives conversions.”
Putting the 2018 Content Marketing Trends to Good Use As A Contractor
If your goal is to engage and convert more prospects in 2018, content marketing for contractors can easily become their golden ticket.
By creating more live videos, using mobile as your standard and thinking about content from an audience perspective, you can boost the quality and appeal of your content like never before.
As a result, 2018 just might be the year you engage more prospects than ever through great content!
2018 Trends in Content Marketing to Help Contractors Attract and Engage Prospects originally published by Contractor Media
We hope you’re sitting down, because we have something important to tell about digital marketing that will be hard for you to hear.
Actually, we have five important things to say, and they’re all going to be bitter pills to swallow.
But facing these digital marketing hard truths is the only way to stay afloat and efficient when it comes to achieving your online marketing goals in the years ahead. Listening to them will make you a better person and a better contractor.
So you may as well get it over with. Here are the five most important digital marketing truths contractors have to come to grips with in 2018 and beyond…
1. You Absolutely Need an Ad Budget to Get Any Traction on Social
Nearly 100% of contractors have strong reasons to be on social. Without a social presence, they miss out on online reach and lead gen capabilities. Their current and potential customers will also think less of a company that doesn’t have an adequate social presence.
Yet, these contractor businesses are at the mercy of constantly changing social platforms. Companies like Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn make major changes to improve the experience for the average user and help the company stock go up.
Notice how business users and advertisers are left out of the equation.
What we’re getting at is this: organic reach is tanking.
You have little chance of your posts showing up on people’s newsfeeds unless you apply some sort of budget to promote your posts. Businesses actively trying to boost conversions may also want to consider paying for banner ad space.
The good news is that even with a small budget you can get great results. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and other platforms all have great tools for helping you experiment with audience targeting and other parameters to chase better-optimized performance.
Start using these tools now, or else you won’t get anything out of your social channels. Even a small budget of $75 – $100 a month is enough to learn the ropes and start earning positive results.
2. Vanity Metrics Won’t Get You Anywhere
When doing anything online, you should tie your campaigns to target metrics that directly generate a dollar value — or that at least have a high chance of leading to extra money in the bank.
Yet, too often contractors prioritize vanity metrics. A “vanity metric” can be anything that is easy to measure and that can make you feel good but that ultimately has no connection to higher earnings.
Take this example from Social Media Today. They posted a hilarious meme five years ago that still gets thousands of shares and likes. Periodically, the meme will pick up steam and go viral in connection with current trending news.
But ultimately the post equals bupkis when it comes to actual marketing performance.
People who engage with or share the post are not likely to visit Social Media Today’s website since the post has no link to speak of. They are also not becoming more aware of the company’s offerings.
So, instead of just focusing on the amount of likes and followers you have, think fourth dimensionally. Identify metrics that lead to actual revenue, like demo signups or quote requests.
If you have a part of your marketing funnel that is lagging, then you can also prioritize things like email signups, landing page visits, and shares for your big online promotions.
The bottom line is to think about your bottom line with everything you do.
3. Keeping Up With Digital Marketing Hard Truths Through News, Data and Research is Essential
What worked with digital marketing five years ago may not work today.
Contractor businesses used to get away with poorly written content as long as it had strong keyword signals, but that’s no longer the case. Now, high quality content that leads to low bounce rates is more important for ranking. You don’t even need the related keyword in the body of your page if your content is strong enough.
A mobile friendly website was once a nice-to-have, but now it’s essential.
Developments like these don’t come out of thin air. Companies like Google and Facebook will announce most changes well before they take effect.
Other developments, like what factors influence search engine ranking, must be learned through diligent research.
If you don’t keep your ear to the ground and actively search out this information, you will be basing your digital marketing strategy on myth and conjecture. Prioritize staying educated to stay ahead.
4. Bad Reviews Will Tank Your Reputation Unless You Actively Ask for Good Ones
50% of people check online reviews “most of the time” or “always,” but 55% of people say that they “rarely” or “never” leave a review.
This statistic shows that people put a lot of weight on the content of online reviews but usually don’t feel inclined to leave one themselves.
Contractors must therefore actively court reviews from all of their customers. Otherwise, they risk having their review score skewed in favor of people who tend to leave the most reviews: complainers.
Put another way, you have to keep actively adding to your volume of reviews. Most people who have a pleasant or positive experience will be likely to keep it to themselves unless you directly ask them. Remind them that their opinion is important to you and to others online, and you will see your score remain stable.
5. You Have to Be Constantly Gathering Data and Learning From It to Keep Up
Our last home truth is hard to hear because it involves lots of work. Simply put: digital marketing is an ongoing, fairly labor intensive process.
Most contractors prefer not to work this way. They want to establish baseline practices and stick to them.
This approach may result in happy customers when it comes to your actual operations, but it will never lead to growth through online marketing.
Instead, contractors must actively measure their digital marketing performance and learn from it. They have to establish benchmark metrics, set goals to improve them, experiment, and then measure the results. Then, they have to keep tweaking their approach until they can reliably grow their KPIs (key performance indicators).
Most galling of all, achieving consistent success is not an invitation to rest upon your laurels. Instead, you have to be prepared for ongoing changes and shifts that naturally occur.
Digital marketing is not a factory. You can’t just put in the same inputs and expect the outputs to remain consistent.
Instead, digital marketing is a sportscar engaged in a constant race with conditions that change all the time. It requires frequent tuning, measuring, testing and maintenance. It also requires you to change up your practices as the weather changes or the track itself is reshaped. Sometimes you have to swap out your entire engine just to stay in the race.
Yes, the act of continually taking your digital marketing campaigns’ temperature and making adjustments can be exhausting. But it’s the only way to stay ahead in a modern era where past performance is no guarantee of future success.
You have to make your own way while keeping your eye on competitors in the rearview mirror. And if you can stay focused on learning and improving your digital marketing strategy, you will always come out ahead.
5 Hard Truths Contractors Don’t Want To Hear About Digital Marketing originally published by Contractor Media
Instagram has changed from a way to post artistic photos to a legitimate vehicle for contractors looking to drive engagement. The rise of influencers and influencer marketing for small businesses has played a huge part in this evolution.
In 2018, expect more contractor businesses than ever to jump aboard the Instagram marketing train. The eye-catching format is easy to use, and provides businesses with tools to keep their audiences engaged and informed.
New features and toolsets, like Instagram Stories, have also expanded what the platform can do for contractors. Thanks to Instagram’s powerful advertising tools, evolving features, and highly active audiences, contractors can use the platform to make big gains.
To help your business prepare its digital marketing strategy for the year ahead, take note of the following Instagram and influencer marketing trends that have nearly every small business owner saying, “Oh, that’s Insta-worthy!”
More Contractors Using Instagram Marketing
Contractors have driven huge growth on Instagram. This includes growth of both unpaid organic account posts and paid advertising use.
According to Forbes, Instagram now has over 8 million business profiles. The platform saw 500% growth in the number of business accounts in just a few months last year.
Instagram execs credit the majority of this growth to small business users. Setting up an account is easy, and it’s also just as simple to begin using paid advertising tools to promote posts.
Why are contractors drawn to Instagram? Because huge audiences login every day, often several times a day. There were over 500 million monthly Instagram users and 300 million daily active users around this time last year.
Now, with the advent of features like Instagram Stories, that number has likely soared even higher.
Contractors can therefore use Instagram to get huge reach for their campaigns or fulfill brand awareness goals with just a little bit of effort.
Influencer Marketing Benefits for Contractors Stack Up
Big brands aren’t the only ones who use influencers to achieve marketing goals anymore. The ability for social media personalities to drive engagement and direct attention can benefit contractors and small businesses, too.
According to a recent study, 94% of marketers from a range of company sizes found that influencer marketing programs are successful.
Because influencers can pique their audience’s interests and motivate action, campaign goals like conversions or product awareness become much easier to achieve. Twitter claims that just under half of social media users trust recommendations and product reviews posted by influencers.
That power likely explains why some business owners found that influencer marketing generates 11 times greater ROI than other digital marketing channels.
Micro-Influencers Take on Huge Importance with Small Audiences
Some influencers with a million plus followers like Michelle Phan have taken on celebrity status. They get invited to red carpet events and appear on mass broadcast TV ads.
As these average people become megastars, a clear distinction emerges between them and other influencers. Marketing experts have begun to split influencer types into multiple categories as a result.
“Macro-influencers” like Phan, Kim Kardashian and King Bach have millions of followers and a huge range of topics they cover. “Micro-influencers” have a small following of a few hundred to a few thousand people but often follow a much more niche focus.
Contractors have realized that micro-influencers are not only cheaper to work with, but they also drive campaign goals more effectively. Micro-influencers have this power because their audience feels stronger connections and finds the content posted more directly relevant to their interests.
You can see this connection in micro-influencer engagement rates. Influencers with less than 1,000 followers can engage 8% of their audience on average, while influencers 10 million+ followers only get “likes” from 1.6% of their audience, and an even lower frequency of comments and shares.
Put simply: contractors can work with micro-influencers to connect more authentically to audiences and drive more consistent action.
Instagram Stories and Live Video Make Engagement a Daily Affair
Most brands generally avoid posting on Instagram more than twice a day, except for on special occasions. Their reasons include diminishing returns and a fear of oversaturating their audience.
But, two new Instagram capabilities have begun to change that: stories and live video.
Live video can encourage people to watch content for eight times longer compared to pre-recorded video. Instagram stories displaying content that gets deleted after 24 hours similarly sparks our love of authentic experiences and our FOMO (fear of missing out).
Both approaches drive huge engagement levels for businesses of all sizes.
“Over 200 million people use Instagram Stories each month,” says Entrepreneur, “which is over 50 million more than those who use Snapchat — and Instagram Stories is just one year old! At this rate, nearly half of all Instagram users will be using Stories by the end of 2018.”
Businesses interested in driving attention towards certain campaigns or maintaining more active engagement with audiences can turn to Stories and Live video to accomplish these goals.
Increasing Demand for Brand Safety and Proof of ROI
The double-edged sword to influencer marketing is that some brands worry about influencers staining their reputation.
Video game streamer PewDiePie, who has the largest YouTube subscriber base of any channel, caused waves after repeatedly using extremely offensive language in his content. Brands that collaborated with PewDiePie had to cut their ties and make statements condemning his actions.
Since influencers are not brand employees, business owners invite a bit of risk when they collaborate with them.
The best way to avoid controversy is to look to influencers’ past behaviors. Ask questions before collaborating in any capacity, and make it clear that your relationship is dependent on a positive image for your business.
Similarly, tie any relationships you have with influencers to concrete KPIs, including ROI. It’s always better to start small with a relationship and establish proof of ROI before committing marketing dollars to a true collaboration.
For instance, try sending an influencer a free gift or just a kind request to highlight your latest campaign. If you like what they do with the information, you can work toward more collaborative content or even an endorsement-type relationship.
Trends in Instagram and Influencer Marketing for Contractors Can Help Your Brand Take Off Next Year!
All of the above trends point toward growing use of both Instagram and influencer marketing in small business circles. Contractors that enter these fields have the luxury of choosing as much or as little involvement as they want.
For brands that want to go all-in and invest heavily, they can often reap measurable returns for their efforts. But, these returns must be measured!
Only by setting goals and tracking performance can Instagram and influencers become a viable component of your contractor digital marketing strategy.
2018 Instagram and Influencer Trends Could Help Contractors Drive Engagement originally published by Contractor Media
Millions of contractors all over the world struggle when it comes to generating a positive image of their company online. Despite their best efforts, they just can’t seem to get momentum behind people expressing positive sentiment.
But one simple strategy can change all that: ask for a review.
Contractors that consistently ask people to review them after a transaction or service has been completed are far more likely to receive a higher volume of positive reviews. They also tend to get more detailed feedback from both happy and unhappy customers, which can inform strategic improvements.
Developing a habit within yourself and among your employees to ask for reviews is therefore the most important thing you can do. Doing so won’t just make you look better online; it will also help you genuinely become better thanks to the feedback you earn.
If you are a contractor or business owner trying your best to improve your online reputation, you can use the following tactics to increase the rate of reviews you get.
Recognize Why Positive Reviews Are So Important Yet So Hard to Get
As with most best practices, understanding why asking for reviews is important helps a ton with motivating your follow-through.
Firstly, people care about online peer reviews more than any other form of information on a product or service.
According to eMarketer, 31% of people 18+ trust the information they receive from online reviews. That’s the highest-rated source, beating out the 23% of people who indicated they trust recommendations and feedback from friends, family and colleagues the most.
Think about that: 8% more of the population trusts strangers online more than their own family and friends!
Millennials — those 18-35 years old — have an even bigger gap. 40% of them trust online reviews the most compared to 24% who prefer input from people they know personally.
Yet, there’s an even bigger gap between the likelihood of someone reading a review versus leaving a review.
Around half of people say they check reviews either “always” or “most of the time”. But 35% of people say they “rarely” leave online reviews and 20% say they “never” do it.
Making matters worse, people are more likely to leave a review after a negative experience compared to a positive one.
Getting happy customers to review your business is therefore a huge challenge, but one definitely worth meeting head on.
Contractors must recognize the importance of pushing through the uphill battle to earn more reviews. To help them find success, they can use any of the following tactics.
Make Verbal Requests Part of Every Customer Interaction
Employees must be trained to ask for reviews at the end of their interactions with a customer. People are more likely to feel positively towards an individual requesting a review compared to a faceless request bearing a company logo.
“The person-to-person request is incredibly effective, particularly if the requester has spent a lot of time with the customer,” says digital marketing firm owner Brian Patterson. He reveals that in-person requests get seven to eight times more reviews compared to email.
Everyone in your company should therefore make it an instinct to ask for a review. Don’t be pushy or directly ask that they say something positive. Just request politely that they leave feedback “if they’ve had a good experience.”
Better yet, ask about their experience beforehand just as a barometer. If someone feels positively, suggest they leave a review.
If they react negatively, do everything you can to record their input and correct their issues. This helps them feel listened to, gives them an outlet to vent before they go online, and also gives you information for improving your services later on.
Make It as Easy as Possible for Someone to Review
How many times have you thought about leaving a review but didn’t?
This happens to people all the time, and they quickly forget that they meant to leave a review in the first place.
Fix this problem by sending helpful digital reminders.
Asking in-person is the first step since it creates intent in the mind of the customer. They promise someone something, so they have more intention to follow through compared to a generic “Review Us!” request.
The second step is to make leaving a review as effortless as possible.
Ideally, you email them a direct link to your preferred review site, such as Google or Yelp. You can also send out general reminders periodically on Facebook and other social media so past customers can remember to review you.
Some customers may even respond well to links sent via SMS, so take surveys and have customers indicate their preferred option so you can work with their tendencies, not against them.
Emphasize Strong Customer Service Basics
When it comes to positive reviews, consistent service that delivers on baseline expectations is far more important than “wowing” the customer.
According to the Harvard Business Review, many efforts to “surprise and delight” the customer fall short. They write that “89 of the 100 customer service heads we surveyed said that their main strategy is to exceed expectations. But despite these Herculean—and costly—efforts, 84% of customers told us that their expectations had not been exceeded during their most recent interaction.”
Instead of going above and beyond, try to get the ground level right. Hammer home basic customer service practices, such as asking if someone needed help or if they experienced any problems.
Listening to customers during their transaction helps improve their positive sentiment towards their overall experience. If someone has an issue, try to resolve it or offer some way to make it up to them.
Speaking of which, gathering data from older reviews is an important step for contractors looking to improve their online reputation. Find patterns within negative feedback, and work to improve these recurring issues.
Also, make note of any positive feedback so you can explain the importance of certain aspects of the customer journey to employees, such as having a friendly attitude.
Monitor Online Reviews and Respond to Those That Need Your Attention
Respond to a reasonable rate of glowing positive reviews — maybe around 5% to 10% — and try to address issues presented in negative reviews.
When responding to negative reviews, always take the customer’s feelings and experience as gospel. Work on moving the relationship forward towards resolution rather than making excuses or arguing about what happened in the past.
You want to appear pro-active and eager to resolve conflicts rather than interested in starting publicly visible fights online.
Constantly Collect Customer Review Data to Improve Your Online Reputation
Once you begin your efforts to earn more reviews and improve your reputation, track your results.
Try to look for patterns among the types of customers who are more likely to leave positive reviews. As an example, people who use a specific product or service may come away feeling more positive compared to others. Focus more on these people when requesting feedback.
You may also notice that certain tactics are more effective than others. Sending an email from a named employee email account compared to a generic “customer support” account can increase your positive review rate, for instance.
Over time, data generated from your reviews will reveal a path forward where a higher rate of your customers leave reviews, and a higher percentage of those have something nice to say.
Keep asking for reviews, and maintain focus on providing great experiences, and you should be able to improve your online reputation in no time flat!
One Habit That Will Immediately Improve Any Contractor’s Online Reputation originally published by Contractor Media