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Housecall Pro blog

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

INDUSTRY: Small business

Online Booking Services

September 10, 2016 • What's New: Online Services Booking Do more with the online booking widget for your website! Let customers select the exact service they need. In-App Company Setup & Customer Import from Contacts Edit your company information and import customers from your phone's address book. Online Services Booking Now you can give your customers a list of your services to select from when online booking! You will be able to choose which of your services clients are able to see. Then, they can pick exactly what they need from the list you choose. They will also be able to see the cost of the service when they scheduling a job.  If you would prefer not to allow your clients to see services and prices, not to worry, you can leave it how it is. Either way, your customers will still be able to add notes to their online booking requests. This is just adding the option for you to display services and prices and make it even more convenient for your customers! What's New on iPhone: In-App Company Setup & Customer Import from Contacts We just added the ability to add your logo and set your tax rates, all from your phone. We are working on adding more functionality to the app so you can run and grow your business on the go. You also now have a new way to import customers - from your phone's address book. Build up your customer database by adding your contacts with just the push of a button. Sneak peek: Android users, these features are coming to a phone near you very soon! Questions about New Features or Need Help? Chat with the Customer Success team in your web portal (through the blue bubble on the bottom right-hand corner of the screen), or email pro@tryhousecall.com.

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

Online services booking on Housecall Pro

How Should You Connect With Your Customers?

August 31, 2016 • Running your service business is a full-time job. Not only do you need to worry about getting the right supplies and equipment to get the job done, you also need to pay attention to the specific needs of your customers. Even small, local businesses need to have a finger on the pulse of shopping habits so that they can maintain a steady stream of satisfied clients. Since the world is ever-evolving in the Digital Age, staying up-to-date on consumer trends and preferences can fall to the bottom of your priority list. We understand that your time is a precious resource. No sweat - we’ve got you covered! So, check out the facts on the infographic. Here are some lessons we can learn from it: 1) Smartphones are still gaining popularity:  Since 2010, mobile device usage has gone up 575%. This trend is here to stay. More than half of Americans, 65% to be exact, have smartphones. That number is only continuing to rise. 2) Consumers spend a significant amount of time on mobile devices. About 2.5 hours every day, on average. 80% of that time is spent using mobile apps. 3) Your business’ online presence truly matters. Consumers need to be able to first find your business online, then be able to find reviews to guide their purchasing decisions. You also need an easy-to-use, well-designed website so that your website visitors can easily convert into customers. 4) Having an app will help you reach customers where they spend their time. People spend hours of time every single day using apps. If you want to reach potential customers where they are, having an app is a good start! Of course, the average service business probably does not have the resources to allocate to design and develop a fully-functioning app. To get your business featured on an app, we suggest finding a 3rd party organization that you’d like to work with, such as a lead generation program or a program that offers mobile booking. No matter the size of your company, understanding what customers expect is key to ensuring that your business is booming. That’s why this infographic is called “Digital or Dust.” If you fail to adapt with the times, you’re business could get left behind in the dust. Stay one step ahead of the competition by offering exactly what consumers demand.

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

Woman in black at white shirt smiling at phone

Get 5x More For Your Marketing Dollar

August 28, 2016 • Investing in marketing is crucial to growing your business, but how do you ensure you aren’t throwing away your hard-earned cash on failed attempts? There are endless options when it comes to marketing your business, and some are more successful than others. Types of Marketing Direct Marketing: When you think of marketing, you’re likely focused only on methods for finding new customers, or direct marketing. Be sure to check out this article for ideas on how to go about acquiring new business. Re-Marketing: Reaching out to past customers to spark more repeat business, reviews, and referrals. This often-overlooked element of marketing can greatly increase your revenue, at a lower cost to you! Meet your new secret weapon when it comes to increasing revenue: your existing customer base. That’s because re-marketing is actually 5x cheaper than finding new customers. Not only that, but it's also 2x more effective! What gives? Re-marketing is much cheaper and more effective than direct marketing, that’s due to the fact that your past clients have already done business with you, so they are much more likely to book your services again than someone who is totally unfamiliar with you. Ready to start re-marketing? Read on to learn the different types of re-marketing that you can use to see a major spike in business. Thank You Re-Marketing Do you thank your customers after you do business with them? Step it up by sending an email or postcard after each job to make your customers feel appreciated. It’s such a simple gesture yet it is so often forgotten. Top-of-mind effect: Sending a “thank you” note keeps your business fresh in your customers’ memories, plus it ensures that your information is readily accessible for the next time they require your services. Seals the experience: Expressing your gratitude after your job is done leaves your customers with positive feelings about your business. Customer loyalty: Thanking your customers builds their loyalty to your business. Customer lifetime value (CLV): How much you profit from a customer throughout your entire future relationship with them. CLV is increased when you send post-job “thank you” notes. Bonus tip: Include a plea for reviews or referrals mixed in with your message to make your thank you marketing do triple duty! Reminder Re-Marketing Don’t expect your customers to remember when it’s time to schedule their next appointment with you. Just assume they’ll forget, so be sure to remind them! Reminder marketing has the highest and most direct ROI out of all the different types of re-marketing. Timing: Important factor consider when engaging in reminder marketing. Determine your company’s schedule for sending out reminder messages based on how frequently customers need your services. Upsell: Use reminder marketing as an opportunity to encourage your customers to purchase upgrades or add-on services. Cross-sell: Kill a few birds with one stone - let your reminder marketing inform your customers about additional services you may offer. Bonus tip: Offer special discount or promotion to compel your customers to book you right away! Get tips for running successful promotions here. Referral Re-Marketing Despite the world going digital, word-of-mouth marketing definitely isn’t dead. Referrals have the potential to be your cheapest marketing channel. When your customers are pleased with their experience, they are likely to tell their friends and family about your business, sometimes without you even having to ask. High conversion: Referrals are likely to turn into customers than other types of leads. Increase CLV: Referrals that become customers 16% higher lifetime value than customers that came from different channels. Incentivize: Set up a referral program and offer rewards to make your customers even more compelled to participate in growing your business! Bonus tip: Give your customers two options instead of one. If you ask for either a review or referral, your chances of getting at least one improve compared to if you only give one choice. Since both reviews and referrals are invaluable to your business, it’s a win-win scenario for your business! Focusing on building customer loyalty truly pays off in the long run. Make sure you invest your marketing dollars wisely by not forgetting about your past clients! One last piece of advice for your re-marketing efforts is to boost your efficiency by automating the processes. There are many different marketing automation platforms out there, so explore the options and find the one that works best for your needs.

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

Cartoon rocket taking off

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