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Housecall Pro blog

Everything you need to succeed as a Home Services company in a digital world.


The ABCs of Marketing

August 27, 2016 • ABC, it’s easy as 123! Marketing, just like the alphabet, is complex, but can be broken down into chunks that make it easier to understand. Start by learning the building blocks of marketing. Soon enough you’ll become a master at growing your business! There are many more ways to market your business than there are letters. Below we’ll go over the different types of marketing to give you lots of new ideas for how you can promote your services. Types of Marketing For this lesson, we’ll focus on direct marketing, which is everything you can do to find new business, including: Direct advertising Google display: Google places ads on different websites Google search: Paid search ads, not to be confused with organic SEO AdRoll retargeting: Advertise to people who have visited your website while they surf the Internet (these are those ads that seem to follow you everywhere you go!) Print: Paid ads in a newspaper, magazine, or other print media Advertising on listings and directories Digital: Yelp, Angie’s List, Manta, etc. Print: Yellow Pages, etc. Social networking Engagement: Connecting with customers and potential clients by posting interesting content and engaging in conversations Advertising: Paid ads on social media channels, such as Facebook Communication & outreach Public relations: Editorial coverage in the press, meaning you must provide a story interesting enough to gain media interest Email marketing: A free, easy way to reach people Direct mail: Sending postcards or letters to advertise your business EDDM: A way to send direct mail to every house in   a desired   area SMS: Text messages are an emerging marketing channel because they are opened far more often than emails or direct mail Broadcast Radio: Running an audio commercial on a local radio station TV: A costly, yet effective way to get your message out to a wide audience Billboards: Requires a high budget, difficult to track, but can allow you to reach many new eyes Podcasts: A budget-friendly way to reach a more niche audience Hopefully, you are now inspired to try a new method for finding new customers. Now that we’ve covered the different ways you can expand your business, we’ll learn the ABCs! These are essential elements that you want to be sure to include in all your marketing campaigns. ABCs of Marketing A- ttention-Grabbing: However you choose to market your business, make sure you succeed in grabbing your audience’s attention. Think outside the box to set your campaigns apart from the competition. One way to grab attention is to make sure your marketing efforts appeal to your audience. Create a marketing person to really get inside the mind of your ideal customers. You can even ask some of your existing customers for their opinions when you are creating marketing materials to gain valuable feedback about how your target customer thinks. B- randing: What is a brand? It’s goes far beyond just a logo. Building a powerful brand allows you to create an emotional connection with customers. Imagine the emotion you want customers to associate with your brand. Channel that feeling in all of your marketing campaigns. For more tips on branding and how emotional branding can allow you to charge 200% more than competitors, check out this blog post. C- all-to-Action: What do you want people to do after they are exposed to your marketing campaign? Make sure the action you want them to take is clearly conveyed. It is pointless to invest in marketing if you forget to include a call-to-action. Stir people to take action by using action verbs in phrases such as “call today” or “book now!” Remember your ABCs to ensure the success of your marketing!

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

Blocks that say ABC

Do You Even Promote?

August 25, 2016 • Everyone loves a good discount. So, how can you run a successful sale to increase your revenue and gain more customers? Check out these tips and tricks to learn how to expand your business! Have a Reason For Your Promotion Sending out promotions willy-nilly might lead to some success, but to really create a great promotion you should have a reason behind it. Do you want to generate more referrals? Introduce a new service that you are now offering? Up your business during a slow season? Be sure to define a goal you want to accomplish during your promotion and create the discount accordingly. You also need to pay close attention to the timing of your promotion. If you want to run a New Year’s sale to increase your business in January, make sure you’re not sending out the information on the promotion in September. Sending out discount coupons too far ahead of when the sale actually takes place will cause your customers to forget about it. Have a Target Audience It’s important to know your customer and create a promotion that appeals to them. Oftentimes, it may even be better to cater your offer toward a specific subset of your customers. For example, if you’re offering a service to remove pet hair from couches, it would be a waste to send this promotion to customers you know don’t have pets. A little extra time in the planning of your promotion can save you lots of money in the long run! Give the Right Incentive Too big of a discount and you’ll be losing money, too small and your customers won’t use it. It’s all about finding the discount sweet spot to make you more money and make your customers happy! This will take a bit of trial and error, so we recommend starting out with some test discounts to see how they fare before putting resources into bigger promotions. Get Creative How are you going to tell people about the discount? Emails? Postcards? Newspapers and magazines? Get creative with your wording and messaging on whatever medium you choose. Eye-catching graphics and slogans will go a long way in getting your audience to actually participate in the promotion! In this day and age, social media can also be a great resource for getting the word out about promotions. Remember not to be too wordy and to use attention-grabbing pictures. You can also utilize other unique ways to grab customer’s attention. Holding a contest or giving out a prize can help incentivize your customers to take advantage of your promotion! Specify Start & End Dates Giving people a time-frame to utilize the promotion will help create a sense of urgency for them. Having a specific end date will help ensure that customers realize they need to act quickly in order to get the discount. Keeping things open-ended doesn’t give customers any reason to use the promotion now, and chances are if they don’t use it quickly, they will simply forget about it. Track Your Success Once the promotion has launched and you’ve started booking customers from it, you need to keep track of how the promotion did. Pay attention to the type of customer that responded. You can then create a simple return on investment (ROI) calculation to see how you did. ROI is equal to the (gain from investment – cost of investment)/cost of investment. For example, if your promotion results in $500 in revenue and cost you $200 to run, then your ROI would be: (500-200)/200 = 150%. This calculation gives you an easy way to tell how well your promotion did and whether it will be worth repeating again in the future! Keep An Eye On the Competition As a final word of advice, make sure you are always keeping an eye on what your competition is doing. If you are both offering a Labor Day discount, you want to be sure that your discount is at least on par with theirs, if not better. If your audience sees you are both running promotions but your competition is offering a better discount, they will likely go with your competitor, meaning you spent a lot of time and money on a promotion that won’t be very successful. Promotions can be key to getting and retaining customers, so it’s important to make sure you are running them in the most effective way. It will take a bit of testing to figure out what works best for your target client base, but with these tips you’ll be building up your revenue and outrunning the competition in no time!

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

Sale megaphone with yellow backgroun

Do This Before You Hire Techs

August 8, 2016 • What is your process for hiring new techs for your business? Does it involve an interview process? Technical tests? Personality assessments? If you don’t currently utilize personality assessments in your hiring process, we think you should start! Learning your technician's personality traits will help you to identify those individuals whose personalities may not fit with your current business culture. It may be that a job applicant has the hard skills necessary for a job but maybe they're not quite a fit with your team. These effective personality assessments can also help you after you hire the tech as they will give you better insight into their communication methods and reactive tendencies.  Personality assessments will also help you create a team that will work well together in order to better your business while simultaneously lowering employee turnover by ensuring you are hiring the right people the first time around! There are a variety of tools that you can use for these personality tests available on the Internet, but we’ve narrowed it down to the best for you (and found the free ones!). Myers-Briggs The most popular personality assessment tool out there, Myers-Briggs, breaks down each person into one of 16 different categories by assigning them a four-letter combination. Myers-Briggs will assign these letters based on where a person gets their energy, how they gather information, how they make decisions, and how they live their lives. Each of these types has their own unique strengths and weaknesses and is better suited for certain jobs.  WHY USE MYERS-BRIGGS: Since Myers-Briggs is the most widely used personality tool out there, there’s been tons of research done about the different personality types and the way they interact with all other types. This means that as soon as you find out your personality type, you can start analyzing how you can change your communication strategies with everyone! If you want to find out a lot about the personality of your techs, this is the test for you! RESOURCES: Click Here to visit the official Myers-Briggs Website and take the assessment test.  Click Here for the FREE short version of the Myers-Briggs personality assessment.   The Big 5 The Big 5 Personality Traits Test lets you know where you fall along a spectrum of five different traits: extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness to experiences. While there are many complicated factors involved in a person’s personality that may not be captured by this assessment, it can provide good insight by describing their spot on each scale. It also does not put a person into one particular type but rather rates them on a scale meaning it's much more helpful in providing a broad overview of an applicant’s typical behavior! WHY USE THE BIG 5:  The Big 5 Personality Traits Test gives you a good overview of how a person is likely to act in different scenarios. If you are concerned with how your tech will behave on a typical day, this is the test for you! RESOURCES: Click Here to take the Big 5 Personality Traits Test DISC The DISC assessment is another personality assessment that will give you results on a spectrum, this time of four different behavioral styles: Drive, Influence, Support, and Clarity. In this case, the amount of each style you are will add up to 100. So you might be 25% of each, or maybe 40% Drive, 20% Influence, 35% Support, and 5% Clarity. Similar to The Big 5, this test measures behavior, rather than just personality traits, meaning there is more flexibility for change and growth than in just personality. This test is helpful in learning more about how a person relates to others and a general framework for their behavior. WHY USE DISC:  The DISC assessment is a great tool to help with coaching and development. If your management style is coaching, then this is the test for you!  RESOURCES: Click Here to take the DISC Personality Assessment Test Enneagram The Enneagram test assigns each person a number from 1-9, with each number representing unique characteristics. Similar to the Myers-Briggs test, lots of research has been done regarding the different Enneagram types and how they interact with each other, so you can learn a lot about your potential techs personality through their Enneagram number. For example, you may be an individualist, a peacemaker, or an achiever. This assessment will give you a generalized understanding of the applicant’s personality type, similar to a snapshot of their personality. This test is particularly helpful in gathering a general idea of each applicant’s personality and will give you insight into how they will likely interact with others. WHY USE THE ENNEAGRAM: The Enneagram test can give you a good understanding of how your potential tech will relate to others. If you are concerned about your team working together well, this is the test for you! Click Here to take the Enneagram Personality Assessment Test Finding great employees is no easy task, and we understand that personality assessment tests alone won't singlehandedly help you achieve success.  However, we strongly believe that these assessment tests can provide incredibly valuable insights for your business.  Personality assessments should be used as supplementary tools to enhance your understanding of personality traits and tendencies. You can use them to help you in your decision to ensure you are hiring the best candidate not only for the job, bur for your company as a whole. Also, these tests are not just designed for your employees, but for you as well. Understanding your own personality type will help you tremendously, especially with your communication approach. So go ahead and take them all! Let us know how it goes!

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

Two service professionals standing in front of a van

How to Make Your Business #1

July 22, 2016 • How do you rise above the competition? Whether you do business in small town or big city, there will always be others vying for the customers in the same market. Find out what you can do to show that your business is the best! HouseCall Pro is excited to announce that we’ve been named as the top field service management app by GetApp for the 3rd quarter in a row! So, we know a thing or two about ranking above the competition. We want to show you how you can do the same with your business. Here is our advice: 1. Step up your customer service. Make your customers happy. Deliver a level of service that goes above and beyond their expectations. Strive to provide the best possible experience for every customer, new and old. Satisfied customers will be happy to sing your praises! Providing high quality service will give a boost to your business’ reputation, referrals, and reviews. 2. Boost your reviews. Ask and you shall receive! Getting more reviews is as simple as making it a priority to ask for them. Make it as easy and convenient as possible for your customers to write you a review. Send an email after each service such as a “Thank You” message (bonus points if you do it through marketing automation and save time). Include hyperlinks to where customers can review you. Send a friendly reminder so your customers have another opportunity to write the review, but be careful to avoid spamming them. Remember that they are doing you a favor, so express that you are appreciative of their time and thank them if they do post a review! 3. Increase your social media following. Establishing a strong social media presence will show that your customers care about your business. When people search for information about your business, they will be sure of its legitimacy when discovering a large audience on your social media profiles. Further, you can also leverage social media to attract new business through campaigns and promotions, which will prove to be more effective when you have more followers and likes already. 4. Improve your communication and organization with mobile technology. Show your customers that you are reliable and trustworthy. When you are on top of your appointments, your customers will be less likely to consider ever doing business with your competitors. Also, by keeping your customers in the loop, such as through automated notifications when you’re on your way to their home, their respect for you will grow. Luckily, increasing your level of communication and staying organized doesn’t have to take up all of your time. You can let technology help you gain the loyalty of your customers! Of course you want customers to choose your business over competitors and to keep coming back forever. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to showing that your company is heads above the rest. Win the lifetime loyalty of your customers by mastering your trade as well as the art of building a company that customers love.

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

GetApp 2016 Category Leader

What Kind of Boss Are You?

July 6, 2016 • How do you motivate employees to achieve your entrepreneurial dream? Leaders come in many shapes and sizes. Learn about the different styles of leadership and how you can use them bring out the best in your team! Authoritative:  Authoritative leaders create a vision for the company and motivate employees to achieve it. This type of leader inspires their team yet provides minimal direction, allowing employees the freedom to innovate. Authoritative leadership is effective at driving employees to contribute to a common goal, but it is not ideal for employees who are inexperienced and need extra direction. Example: Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, was a true visionary. He imagined the future and set out to make an impact on the world. True to the authoritative leadership style, Jobs inspired his team to carry out his vision while also offering them the opportunity to be creative. While Jobs was a leader who rejected and criticized many ideas, he stayed true to his vision and maintained Apple’s high standard of quality in its products. Jobs’ leadership allowed Apple to revolutionize technology and change the way that humans interact with each other and their environment. Affiliative: Affiliative leaders focus on caring for the needs of individual employees and establishing unity among the team. Affiliative leaders emphasize employee morale and build it through positive affirmations. Business leaders are cautioned to avoid using the affiliative leadership style exclusively, since too much focus on relationships can lower employee productivity. Example: The Dalai Lama is a leader who teaches people about caring for others. He exemplifies the affiliative leadership style by connecting with people all around the world and highlighting the importance of forging strong, loving relationships. Coaching: Coaching leaders guide the individuals on their team toward personal and professional development. Coaching leaders help team members grow in their strengths and overcome weaknesses. For businesses, this leadership style is effective when aiming to help an inexperienced employee develop their skills. Example: Mr. Miyagi in Karate Kid coaches his student, Daniel, toward growth and discovery. My. Miyagi provides Daniel with a problem to overcome, teaching him to balance strength with kindness.  Coercive: Coercive leaders give direct orders and expect obedience. At the opposite end of the spectrum of affiliative style, coercive leadership is more likely to include harsh criticism than praise. Coercive leadership is only  recommended during a crisis when time is of the essence. If used too frequently, coercive leadership can damage employee morale and decrease motivation. Example: The United States military employs coercive leadership. The goal of this style of leadership is to reach sub ordinance in military recruits. Coercive leadership in this context also works to break down individuality and replace that with a sense of duty to one’s country.  Democratic: Democratic leaders place a high value on the input of their team members. Democratic leaders value taking a group consensus before making decision. This style of leadership gives employees a sense of involvement and influence in business processes. Democratic leadership is helpful for tapping into the team’s  collective wisdom, but it should be used with caution when team members lack experience and knowledge.  Example: Richard Branson, billionaire and founder of the Virgin Group, embodies the democratic leadership style. Branson advises hiring employees who are strong in your areas of weakness so that you can learn from them and achieve harmony in your team. Pacesetting: Pacesetting leaders place extremely high expectations on their team members. Pacesetting leaders set the bar high for employee performance, leading by example. This leadership style can increase business efficiency, but can also contribute to employee burnout. Pacesetting leadership is most beneficial when team members are already motivated and skilled. Example: Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com is a pacesetting leader. Although Amazon is often criticized for its near-impossible expectations of employees, yet this productive culture has led it to become the largest Internet-based retailer in the United States.  So, what kind of boss are you? Since the above leadership styles are effective in different circumstances, choose the styles which you believe will work best for your team and incorporate them as needed. As Steve Jobs  once said, “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” Believe in yourself and your employees. Inspire yourself and your team to accomplish your goals.

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

Guy giving thumbs up with a green background and woman with hand on head with white background

10 Ways to Gain a Customer

July 1, 2016 • Customers are like friends; you can never have too many! Still, it's important to find and keep quality clientele so that business is consistent. What are the best ways to find new customers? Let's start with these 10 trusted methods for gaining new business! HERE ARE 10 WAYS TO GAIN A CUSTOMER 1. Get referrals from your existing customers. Are you struggling to get word-of-mouth referrals? The key to boosting your referrals is simply asking for them! Tell your customers how important they are to your business and ask if they know anyone who could benefit from your service. Remind them later in your postcard and email marketing efforts. Keep reminding them, but avoid being too pushy, as that can backfire.  Offering rewards to your customers is enticing if asking alone is not working for you. Set up a referral program to reward customers who refer new business to you. If you don’t want to offer them a monetary reward, such as a discount or credit toward service, make sure to express your appreciation when customers send new business your way. 2. Boost your online reviews. When potential customers are searching for a service provider, reviews truly matter.  88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. How do you increase your reviews? Just like with referrals, you have to ask! Don't expect customers to write reviews on their own, as most people won't go out of their way to help you without a little nudge in that direction. After every job, send customers an email thanking them for their business, ensuring their satisfaction, and inviting them to write a review by including the links to do so. Make it as easy as possible and you'll see your reviews go through the roof! 3. Develop a strong social media presence. If you aren't already leveraging social media to gain new customers, start now! Start sharing content that will draw in new customers, such as before and after photos of your work, as well as videos of you in action. Start writing helpful blog posts, such as energy-saving tips if you are an electrician, on your website and sharing them on social media to build your digital presence. Paying to advertise on social media will help you reach a larger audience (more on that next), but if you are just starting out, you can effectively generate new business at no cost. How? Begin by leveraging your current customer base. Invite them to like your page and engage with them so that their connections are exposed to your business. 4. Advertise on Facebook, Google, Yelp, Angie’s List , etc. Digital advertising is a key tool in the arsenal of many modern service businesses. How do you select where to advertise your business online? We'll go over a few of the available options! Facebook is a relatively low-cost and powerful tool to reach a wide audience. Once you start sharing engaging content, it is worthwhile to pay to boost these posts so that they have the greatest impact. You can also create ads just for Facebook to direct people to your website. Learn more about Facebook for business  here.  Google Adwords campaigns are a great way to reach people who are already looking for the service you provide. Paid search results display at the top of Google's rankings, so they can easily capture leads that become new customers! Since there are so many opportunities for promoting your business online, you'll want to test them out for yourself to see which ones deliver the highest return on investment. It will vary greatly based on your region and clientele, so it's up to you to discover what works best for you. 5. Increase your search engine ranking through organic SEO. Rank high on search engine results and your phone is guaranteed to ring. Think about the terms your potential customers will be searching for, such as “carpet cleaning in Atlanta.” Optimize your website with these keywords, and hire a specialist if it’s in your budget. Organic SEO is not to be confused with Google Adwords, which are paid advertisements. Organic SEO means your website will be boosted higher in the unpaid search results. Allocating a budget to both Google Adwords and SEO is recommended to maximize your exposure! 6. Do some old-fashioned advertising: send out mailers and brochures, place an ad in the newspaper, put up flyers in local stores, etc. These advertising methods are tried and true. Old-fashioned advertising will also help you target an older demographic of customers who may not be very tech-savvy. For direct mail campaigns,  Marketing Donut recommends first checking with data protection laws to avoid any illegal activity. The success of your old-fashioned advertising campaigns will vary based on your area and the habits of your target customers. Test one method at a time to see which delivers the best return on your investment! 7. Sponsor charity events or school functions. Get your business involved in the community. Research local events or charitable organizations that you could contribute to and find those that fit within your budget. Not only will you be able to get your name out there in your area, but you will also boost your business’ reputation by donating to charitable causes. 8. Turn your truck into a moving billboard by boldly displaying your logo, phone number, and website URL. Get your business’ name out there in as many places as possible! Having a well-designed branded truck is essentially free advertising, that is after you buy the truck wrap. Since you are already traveling around your city for work, you might as well turn that into an opportunity for branding and advertising! Make sure your business’ name, phone number, and website URL stand out and are easy to read! 9. Leave behind promotional items at every customer’s house. Never forget to leave a branded item behind after every job! Whether it’s your business card or a useful household item, such as a bottle opener, chip clip, etc., this is an effective method for gaining and retaining customers. Not only does it help increase your repeat business, but it also serves as an effective way to increase referrals. Your customers will have this item to pass along to friends and family, allowing you to gain new business at a low cost. 10. Participate in networking events. Networking events are an excellent way to get your business’ name out there and meet potential new clients! Professional societies in your area will also be a great way to meet business partners and form mutually beneficial relationships. Research what kind of events and groups meet in your area. Be sure to bring business cards and dress in business attire!  After employing these strategies for finding new customers, your phone might just be ringing off the hook. Maybe you'll even find yourself needing to get rid of some business. If that's the case, check out 10 Ways to Lose a Customer. 

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

10 ways to gain a customer

10 Ways to Lose a Customer

June 21, 2016 • Dealing with customers can be a total pain. When customers are being difficult, don’t you just want to tell them to take a hike? Well, stop holding back! Tell them how you really feel....if you want to lose their business forever!! HERE ARE 10 WAYS TO LOSE A CUSTOMER 1. Demand positive reviews. Bully everyone you work with into reviewing you. Guilt them if they don’t. Insult dissatisfied customers. 2. Ignore your customers' calls. Have a robotic answering machine and make it impossible to reach a human. Never call back. 3. Drive recklessly in your company vehicle. Cut your customers off on the road, nearly causing an accident. Use inappropriate hand signals if they honk. Aggressively tailgate everyone who isn’t going at least 10 mph above the speed limit. 4. Ignore complaints. Pay no attention to customer service.  Give customers an attitude when they bring up concerns. 5. Steal from them and/or trash their home. Blame someone (anyone) else. Never accept responsibility for it! Definitely don’t apologize. Let them know they can try to sue you if they want compensation for damages. 6. Send technicians out into the field with no training. Make no effort to train them in your trade or teach them how to interact with customers. Eagerly anticipate the inevitable problems this will cause. 7. Try to squeeze extra money out of them. Take payment for your work and then request payment again. Keep requesting more money from them. Maybe they will be tricked into paying twice and not even realize it! Quote them a price for your service. After you’ve completed it, double that figure. Make up a silly reason why they need to pay twice that price, like “my rates double on Mondays!” 8. Disrespect them. Be as creepy as possible. Call the woman of the house “pretty eyes.” Invade their personal space. Touch them more than is normal while speaking. 9. Act a fool on social media . Post inappropriate, inflammatory commentary from your personal account. Engage in heated arguments with anyone who opposes your viewpoints. Offend and insult anyone and everyone. 10. Break promises. Guarantee results, then fail to deliver. Laugh at the idea of living up to your commitment. When customers get upset, let them know you think they’re unimportant.  As you can see, losing a customer is easy! Follow these steps if you’re just too busy and you need to get rid of some business.

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

10 ways to lose a customer

Scale Up Your Service Business

June 10, 2016 • Should you stay or should you grow? Every owner/operator will reach a point when they must decide whether to stay a solo act or scale up the business. What will you choose? Get some advice from a pro who decided to grow! When Kevin Cole started his business 3 years ago, he was a sole proprietor providing carpet cleaning services. Today, his operation has grown exponentially. By offering additional services and hiring employees, he has doubled his average sales tickets and more than doubled the size of his business. Does the inevitable headache of managing a team hold you back from expanding your business? As you probably already know, hiring employees is key to growth. What is Kevin’s advice for managing a team and broadening your offerings? Take the time to train new hires Establish an onboarding process to give new employees the education they need to succeed. Relinquishing control to new hires can be scary, but with the proper training, they’ll be ready for the responsibility. Kevin emphasizes the importance of teaching his employees all the features and uses of the app he uses to run his service business. He is grateful that the app allows him to “spend a lot less time managing and directing” because it provides his staff with their schedules, information about customers and jobs, and price lists, making up-selling and cross-selling a breeze. Let digital tools work for you! Using technology to run your business allows you to save time by increasing your efficiency. Kevin appreciates that the mobile software he uses also saves him money, as he doesn’t have to pay additional office staff to handle things like scheduling and communicating with customers. For Kevin, the technology not only streamlines his communication with customers, but also employees, keeping everyone in the loop automatically. Through the automated reminder texts and emails built in to his system, Kevin says he is able to establish a sense of professionalism with customers before he even walks in the door. Kevin credits these notifications with giving him extra authority that allows customers to gain trust in his knowledge and experience, they are extremely receptive when he suggests adding additional services. Diversify your services  While he was still an owner/operator, Kevin noticed that as he was cleaning carpets, oftentimes his customers would also hire house cleaning services. He discovered the need for a company that provided both services at once, so he capitalized on it. Since then, he has expanded his business to become a full-service firm, offering carpet cleaning, commercial and residential house cleaning, and tile and grout cleaning. Cole’s Cleaning Care sales have gone through the roof! Kevin found success through by seizing new opportunities and being versatile. By adapting to the needs of his clientele, Kevin effectively scaled up his business in a short amount of time. Leading an organization may not always be smooth sailing, but being flexible makes all the difference. Adjust your sails with the wind and keep Kevin’s advice in mind!

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

Scale Up Service Business

How Stories Make You Money

May 10, 2016 • Are you taking advantage of email marketing? If you you need ideas to get started or to up your current campaigns, this is for you! The secret is telling a compelling story... Email is the most effective marketing tool you have in your arsenal. It reaches the largest audience, leads to  more purchases than any other marketing method, and is the medium through which most customers would  prefer to receive promotional content. However, if you don’t give your email campaigns enough attention, you may not get the best response from customers! So, how can you make your emails stand out? Let’s think about it from the customer’s point of view. You probably receive emails all... the... $%^&... time! You probably take a quick glance at the subject line, sender, and the first few sentences before deciding whether or not it’s even worth your time to read. More than half of readers spend  less than 2 seconds looking at an email. Two seconds?! That’s all the time an email recipient is going to give you to get your message across, so what do you do? How do you grab their attention and make them want to read more? The answer is simple: tell a good story. Storytelling is the basic foundation of communication and the backbone of  word-of-mouth marketing. For your service business, that story can extend far beyond a personal tale. You can craft a narrative around how you care for your customer’s homes, through holidays, seasons, or even generations. You can share a unique experience shared with a customer. You can gather testimonials from happy customers and spread the word about the value of your services. No matter where you start, you can use stories demonstrate how your work solves problems and lives up to (and hopefully exceeds) expectations. How to Get Started When you’re coming up with the story to tell your customers, you should ask yourself three questions: Who is the target audience – are you reaching out to all of your customers, or are you only reaching out to some, like new customers, or families? How do they like to communicate? What sort of tone should you be using? (ie. professional, humorous, etc.) What promotional offers will benefit them the most? Once you’ve narrowed that down, you can select the type of story you want to tell! A good marketing email will do three things: Entertain, Educate, and Earn. Entertain your readers with a story or metaphor. Provide some type of content or education connected to the story. Finally, use your story to earn the trust and loyalty of your customers. Timing is Everything You could have the most interesting message in the world, but if your customers don’t open your emails, it won’t make a difference. The pattern that you send your emails in (such as how many, how far apart, etc.) can have a huge impact on how well your message is received. Send too many emails, and you risk annoying your customers. Send too few, and your message can slip through the cracks. This pattern depends on the type of email campaign you want to run. Here are some guidelines: Repeat business:  If you are trying to remind your customers about your company's services in time for them to book you again, the spacing between your emails depends on your industry. For example, carpet cleaning might be every three months, whereas maid services might be every other week. You just want to be sure to catch your customers early, before they might start searching for a service on their own! Branding:  If you just want to stay top of mind, try sending out a biweekly or monthly newsletter, with updates about your company, community news, new hires, or other fun facts! Reviews and Referrals:  Campaigns based on your company's performance should be tied to jobs themselves. For example, you could send out one email the day after service is completed, asking for feedback on your customer's experience, one email three days after that with links to review sites if they were satisfied, and one email the following week offering a discount for referrals. The time of day you send your emails is important too. Most messages land in inboxes in the morning, so those sent in the afternoon have a higher chance of being noticed, opened, and  clicked. Additionally, emails relating to homes and finances are most likely to be opened between  3-5 pm, when your customers are starting to lose focus at work, and are thinking about their personal lives, so take advantage of that window! Other Tips: ✔ Use attention-grabbing subject lines! For some tips on subject lines, check out this post. ✔ Set the stage. The first two sentences of an email are the most important, so you want to make sure your email is captivating write off the bat! ✔ Less is more. Keep your message clear and concise, and stick to ONE call-to-action per email. If you are the customer, do you really want to read through long paragraphs in order to get to the point? Keep it simple and short! ✔ Make it emotional. The key to positive attention via email is enticing content. Make your story is one that excites, empowers, or tugs on your customer’s heartstrings, and it’s sure to be unforgettable! We know this is a lot of emails to keep track of,  which is why we're here to help! HouseCall Pro can help you automate your email campaigns to help you stay organized without sacrificing your free time. We can’t wait to hear what stories you have to tell!

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

HouseCallPro Storytelling

Step Up Your Email Subject Lines!

May 3, 2016 • “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” This old saying warns against assuming the value of something based on its exterior alone. While this phrase may be helpful in some cases, just know that it absolutely does NOT apply to email subject lines! Everyone judges an email by its subject. If someone fails to see value in your email’s subject line, they will not open your email at all. Pay extra attention to your subject lines to ensure the success of your email campaigns! So, what can you do to make your emails enticing enough to open? First, we will take a look at what NOT to do. After we learn how to avoid subject line pitfalls, we will then cover what you can do to make your email marketing initiatives thrive! Subject Line DON'Ts: 1. DON’T make it too long! Example: Thank you so much for your business! It was such a pleasure to serve your needs.  Keep subject lines under 50 characters! This is the commonly accepted rule for email marketing best practices. To test your subject lines, highlight the text and do a word count. The example above came out as 80 characters, which is 30 too many. Long subject lines will lose your recipients’ attention! The shorter, the better, as long as you are still conveying your message.  2. DON’T make false promises. Example: FREE Carpet Cleaning Only make this the subject of your email if you are truly going to deliver on this promise. Your customers will definitely be annoyed if they open this email and you were actually just offering one free room. False promises might get your recipients to open the email, but they likely won’t be happy to find out they’ve been duped. If you’re misleading, it can definitely do more harm than good. 3. DON’T go crazy with CAPS LOCK! Example: SPECIAL DEAL ON PRESSURE WASHING! While this subject may be attention-grabbing, it comes off as spammy. Getting too cozy with the caps lock button may prompt your customers to mark your messages as spam, decreasing your delivery rate and preventing them from receiving further messages from you. As a rule of thumb, if you want to make your subject line stand out, make 1 word maximum in all caps. If your entire subject line is capitalized, not only will it look spammy, but your customers will also feel like you’re YELLING AT THEM! See? Nobody wants that. 4. DON’T keep repeating the same subject line. Example: Mike’s Cleaning Service If you use the same subject line for all of your email messages, such as the name of your business, it might get opened the first time. After receiving many messages with the same subject, your customers will begin to ignore them or even send them to the trash bin. Give your recipients an idea of what the messages’ contents will hold with your subject line. Using the same subject line over and over will not accomplish this goal. Subject Line DO'S: 1. DO let your recipients know how they will benefit. Example: Tips to Lower Your Electricity Bill Offer your recipients value in a clear and concise way. In the example, an electrician could send energy efficiency advice to his customers, who will be happy to hear about how they can save money on their monthly bills. Before writing your subject, imagine you are on the receiving end of your email. Ask yourself “how does this benefit me?” Think about why they should open the email, and then clearly state that reason in the subject. 2. DO create a sense of urgency! Example: 15% Off Upholstery Cleaning - Offer Expires Today! Provide a deadline in your subject line to get an immediate spike in business. That way, your recipients will see that they need to act immediately or else forego the deal, according to Hubspot. Include some of these keywords in your email to establish urgency: Book today Today only Special offer Act now Limited-time deal 3. DO ask questions to spark interest. Example: What Makes Green Cleaning Different? Adding a question mark inspires your readers’ curiosity. Pose a question so that their curiosity will get the best of them, and they will be very inclined to learn more. This example would work well for a green cleaner to explain what differentiates their services, which will then serve as a reminder for customers to book appointments. No matter what industry you are in, gain the interest of your audience by asking questions in your email subject lines and offering helpful explanations in the body, or else linking to a blog on your website with this content. 4. DO personalize it! Example: Melanie, We Miss You! Include as much personalization as possible in your email subject lines. If including the recipient’s name is not an option through your service, personalize the email based on location, such as the name of your city, or time, such as the last time you did business with a customer. Personalizing email subject lines makes the recipient feel as though the email is just for them, even though the message may be automated. Subject lines that are personalized make for more successful email marketing campaigns, reports Hubspot. If you haven’t already started using email marketing to increase your repeat business and customer loyalty, now is the time to start. You’re already well-versed on what to avoid in your subject lines so that your emails don’t go ignored, as well as what the best methods are to spike interest in your emails. Enticing subjects are essential to hitting a home run with your email initiatives. Stay tuned for future blog posts with plenty more email marketing ideas and strategies!

Matt B., Marketing Coordinator