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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 GetAppfor 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     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     and 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     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     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. He believes in truly     and implementing their ideas. 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. Amazon employees report the     expected of them while working for this technology giant. 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. If you want to GAIN business check out 10 ways to gain a customer!

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

10 ways to lose a customer