Customer Reviews are worth Money
We recently took on an electrical contracting company as a client and the owner was extremely concerned that his business was not expanding, or he was not sure that it was. Essentially, he had plateaued. In fitness terms we know that hitting a “plateau” means that you have made significant gains in either reps, pounds lifted, sets done, or mileage covered, but you can’t seem to make any increases no matter how hard you try. Athletes who hit plateaus beat them by changing up their routines. I find that the same advice works in the business world extremely well.
The problem that the electrical company faced was that the owner wanted to extend the business to offer more residential electrical services. He has plenty of corporate contracts that provide him a good source of revenue, but no business really wants to be a one trick pony, so he wanted to look at getting into more residential electrical repairs as a separate income stream for the business.
That was the problem that my company was presented with, and we were told that budgeting was going to tight as the owner was not completely sold on digital marketing techniques. That is a pretty common sentiment around tradespeople as they have had the luxury of often getting “word of mouth” jobs from other contractors or their own network. Now that purchasing agents and CFO’s have the internet at their fingertips they have the luxury of reviewing companies who are tendering bids for projects and forming opinions about them from what they see on the internet.
The Immediate Solution
When we face challenges like this where the decision maker is not completely sold on digital marketing or the world of the web, we tend to look for a quick win so that the decision maker sees the power and the return of investing in digital marketing.
The Power of Reviews
In most businesses 80% of their sales come from 20% of their customer database. In this case I took a look at the Electrical company’s digital footprint and realized that they did not have many Google or Facebook reviews. I asked the owner to take 50 random customers from his database and reach out to them asking if they would write a review stating how they enjoyed the service and rate his company.
He started at the beginning of May and by the third week of May he had 24 new reviews! I also asked him that when he received an inbound call to ask the caller how they found him. 85% of the new calls that he received said that they read the Google reviews from his happy customers and chose his business because of those positive reviews.
Now the company owner can sit down and look at the revenue that the new calls made him and compare that to what activity triggered the customers to call. Essentially closed loop marketing. I also forgot to mention that all the calls that the company owner received were from clients who were not already in his customer database. This made him extremely excited as we showed him a way to use his existing customer database to generate new business which not much effort. All it took was him spending about 30 per day emailing or calling clients and asking for the Google Reviews. Essentially all that we did was remind him that the first place that someone should go to look for growing new business is the people that you already know. They liked your service in the past and are typically very happy to recommend your company to their friends and family, so you are not targeting the people that you have already done business with, you are targeting their networks.
There are many terms for this process, but I like to call it “second level marketing”. For those who use LinkedIn your profile will have 1st level connections (people that you know already), 2nd level connections (people who you can get introduced to through your first level connection, and 3rd level connections (or people who are not in your network or know no one in your network).
This tactic went so well that we have won the contract to rebuild the electrical company’s website and implement a digital marketing strategy to help them expand their business and grow their yearly sales.
July’s column will be Part 2 of this 5-part series in Lead Generation and how to cost effectively leverage the digital tools that are out there to increase sales and grow customer bases for any business.