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Your heating and air conditioning customers may rave about the work you do within their homes, but this kudos won’t get you (or your business) anywhere if these word-of-mouth recommendations aren’t being heard. And since this World Wide Web trend seems to be sticking around, Google+ Local reviews have become an online version of word-of-mouth referrals.
Online referrals on sites like Google+ Local can improve your local search engine optimization (LSEO)—increasing your website’s visibility in search engine results for geographically-specific online searches. These positive reviews can also boost your lead and sale conversion rate.
Getting more Google+ Local reviews can help you increase your search result real estate – maximizing the odds of an online user clicking on a link to your website. You can dominate by optimizing your organic listings, PPC campaigns, Google+ Local pages – which will encompass both reviews and map listing.
Don’t Be Afraid to Reach Out
Since your customers are choosing to pay for your HVAC services, don’t be afraid to reach out to them for reviews. While it may seem boastful or selfish, asking them for an online review will prove that you care about your business and wish to grow within the community.
Now that they are sitting, satisfied, in the comfort of their air conditioned home, follow up and outright ask for an online review. You can follow-up in many ways to do this, including:
- Email requests
- In-store display ads
- Leave-behind postcards
- Call-to-action website banners
As a marketing strategy, you should already be collecting email addresses. So for best results, ask for reviews through an email. Since your customers will already be on their desktop, tablet, or mobile device when they receive an email request, the link to the review your HVAC company is only a click away. In addition, asking for Google+ Local reviews is especially easy for those customers already with Gmail addresses.
Reviews solicited at the time of service (directly after fixing their AC vent) have a much higher chance of being both completed and detailed. They will remember your employee Tom’s charisma and customer service much better immediately following the service, than trying to remember if it was Jill or Jane who installed their heating unit last November. A detailed paragraph of the service provided will go much further than a review of, “From what I can remember, no complaints. Satisfied so far.”
An important thing to remember when reaching out is to do so in a way that your customers would expect. Just as I wouldn’t fly over my clients’ business in a blimp to deliver their monthly reports, your HVAC customers don’t expect (or honestly want) you to ask for reviews by making dinner-time house calls.
When reaching out for reviews, you can include a message like:
“Thank you for being a valued customer of Blue Corona’s HVAC Company. We hope you are happy with our heating and cooling system services and we look forward to continuing to provide quality HVAC services throughout Montgomery County.
We’d like to ask you to help us spread the word about the quality services from Blue Corona. Your opinion, and recommendation, is valuable to us to continue providing service throughout our community. You can write an online review by following this link and help others like you find our company. It only takes a minute and we look forward to serving your home in the future for all its heating and cooling needs.
Create Clear Instructions for Your Customers
Google provides directions for Google+ page reviews, so you should also provide clear directions to your potential reviewers. In asking for reviews, include easy instructions for setting up a Google+ account, finding your Google+ Local listing, and posting the review. The easier it is for them, the more likely they are to do it.
With Google, ease of and user experience has always been key for well-ranked webpages. Take this advice when asking for good feedback. You don’t want them to work hard or they might change their mind about your business!
You can also go a step further and give them ideas of what to talk about in their review. Providing a template or idea bank can help boost your review details and keyword relevancy. Ask them to comment on their experience with your employees, how their house feels after you’ve installed the heating unit, what timeline of service was initiated once they asked for an estimate, etc.
When asking for online reviews, remind your customers that it will only take a few minutes, you appreciate their time and business, and that you care about your customers. To you, your HVAC company is not just a paycheck, but your livelihood. You probably don’t see your customers as just invoices, so humanize your company and ask for personal reviews.
Ask for Genuine Online Reviews
Never offer to pay for online reviews. Getting blocked by Google for this can do more damage to your business and SEO than having zero reviews online. If a local competitor found out you were discounting services or offering incentives for online reviews, they could report you to Google and lead to harsh penalization of your site within search engine rankings – Google sees this tactic as a major conflict of interest.
Most true customers will be willing to write about the value of your business – if you are giving them great value in the first place! Be candid; your customers understand the slow economic forecast and that you are trying to grow your business.
If you’re nervous about being too bold when you ask for reviews, say that your internet marketing company told you to ask for them. And if you don’t have one, hire us at Blue Corona and we can take the “blame” for increasing your local SEO, online rankings, and making you the HVAC authority in the area.
About The Author: Hannah is the SEO Team Lead at Blue Corona. If she's not busy daydreaming about the training session for her team, you can find her improving client conversion rates and planning her next trip.
View more blogs by Hannah Nelson