Blog Posts & Product Notes

Introducing our new QuickBooks® integration

  • Product post by John J. on March 15, 2021

HomePro Reviews has integrated its software with QuickBooks - the #1 accounting software for small and medium-sized businesses. With this integration you can now put the important task of collecting customer ratings & reviews on AUTO-PILOT!

quickbooks-plus-homepro

Once you authorize HomePro Reviews to be connected with your QuickBooks Online account, your business will benefit from a steady stream of new reviews. This improves your exposure on Google, provides a mechanism for new content on your Website and Facebook page, and facilitates more word-of-mouth referrals.

On a nightly basis, we query your QuickBooks account for any invoices that were paid in full on the previous day (i.e. zero balance due). HomePro Reviews only collects your customer's name, address, email, and phone#.  We do NOT have access to any financial data.

Review request(s) will be delivered to your customers automatically. Both your name and ours will appear as the email's Sender. We also send up to two follow-up reminders, if necessary, to help ensure that potential 5-STAR reviews aren’t being left on the table!

QuickBooks Integration is a feature of our Premier membership, and it can be set up within seconds by logging into our Website and clicking on our Account Settings tab.


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Why cherry-picking reviews is a mistake

  • Blog post by John J. on January 21, 2020

Too many home service pros cherry-pick reviews from only their happiest customers. These pros end up getting very few reviews due to a misguided concern that clients might submit an average or negative review. This mindset is a mistake and it can cost you $$$$ in the long run.   So here's why your business should request a review from every client it serves...

There are two important factors that impact one's reputation online: Google's algorithms and human psychology. Let’s take a closer look at both of these:

Protecting & expanding your online reputation
A reputation marketing platform, like HomePro Revews, can help you get lots of great 5-STAR reviews. It also helps with keeping not-so-great reviews in their proper context. So even if a few negative reviews occur, they won’t do much harm as long as they’re mixed in with dozens of positive reviews. In fact, a negative review that’s handled properly can demonstrate transparency which most people respect.

In contrast, sites like Yelp and Rip-off Report frustrate home pros because extreme opinions often appear in isolation- typically by just a few past clients. Your online reputation can suffer because your MUCH larger "happy majority" of customers simply aren't represented. To make matters worse, it can take YEARS for a local business to bring its overall rating back to normal- say from 2.5 stars up to 4.3 stars.

Improving search engine optimization
SEO experts agree that customer reviews are a TOP 4 ranking factor on search engines. Google’s algorithms examine the QUANTITY, DIVERSITY, and RECENCY of one's reviews. This means that more reviews are better than less, and recent reviews help your business more than old ones.

Studies show that consumers have greater trust in a business with a long track-record of positive reviews. They also view them as being more “successful”. And it's a safe bet that these pros have a much higher click-thru rate (CTR) on search engines, too.

Creating more referral opportunities
Everyone knows that WORD-OF-MOUTH is the best type of advertising. HomePro Reviews is designed so that satisfied clients can easily refer your business to their friends & neighbors- via Email, Text, or Facebook.

The reasons to send out review requests go beyond improved SEO and customer feedback. It’s also a highly effective way to gather LEADS for web-savvy home pros like yourself!


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“Stream” reviews to your Website with iFrame widgets

  • Product post by Sam L. on October 3, 2019

As a bigger & better alternative to the badges and buttons we offer, Premier members can now choose a HomePro Reviews iFrame widget to place on their website. This is an excellent way to showcase the reviews you’ve received, and give proof that your business has a solid track-record of satisfied customers.

iFrames make it easy to add 3rd-party content on a webpage. This is especially helpful for small business owners who use tools like Wix, Wordpress, or GoDaddy to build their website. The most common example of an iFrame is embedding a Youtube video on one’s site.

An iFrame’s content is dynamically generated which means all of your latest ratings & reviews will appear instantly. There’s no need to update anything!

Here are a few tips for integrating our iFrame widget on your website:

  •  To make the iFrame’s size adjust automatically, change the “width” attribute from pixels to a percentage (e.g. width=80%).

  •  A simple way to center an iFrame on your webpage is to include a paragraph html tag. (e.g. p align=”center”).

  •  An iFrame’s border can be either be removed (frameborder=”0”) or you can make it wider (e.g. style="border:2px solid black;).

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Lead Generation Sites: Be aware of the downsides

  • Blog post by John J. on July 14, 2019

Simply put, lead-generation websites are online marketplaces.  Their primary goal is to introduce Sellers to potential Buyers in exchange for a fixed fee or commission.

When home pros decide to offer their services (i.e. become a Seller) on marketplaces such as Home Advisor, Thumbtack, or Houzz, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy profit margin. A similar challenge exists for the small retailers who sell their goods on eBay or Amazon Marketplace, and for the drivers on Uber and Lyft.  In each kind of marketplace, Sellers are often the ones squeezed financially.

This isn't to say that paying for leads is always bad. It can be worth the high cost when you're trying to jump-start a new business or you move to a different city. But, as many Home Pros now realize, there are serious risks if your business becomes too dependent on lead-gen sites.

Unqualified Leads are Profit Margin Killers
Go to any online forum for contractors and you’ll see lots of complaints about leads that never resulted in actual jobs. Some pros go as far as to call these websites “scams”, but it’s more likely that those homeowners were just window-shopping a project or looking for multiple bids.

Whatever the reason, chasing low-quality leads can do serious harm. It’s the time, the energy (i.e. gas expense), AND the cost of buying the leads that will put a major dent in your net income.

The bottom line is that online marketplaces work best with commodity items or very simple services. Most home improvement projects are more complex than that. There are too many variables that distinguish one project from the next as well as one contractor from another.

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Expect a higher Price-Per-Lead as a Marketplace grows
Venture capitalists pour TENS OF BILLIONS into online marketplaces every year. A lot of this VC money is spent on “eyeballs”. This means attracting Buyers (e.g. homeowners) to visit their websites because they know that Sellers will have little choice but to follow.

As a marketplace grows, there’s more competition to be on / near the top of the search results. Since the amount of “real estate” is fixed, marketplaces respond by increasing their price-per-lead, or by allowing Sellers to bid for the top positions.

eBay and Amazon Marketplace are both prime examples in which small Sellers have been pushed out by rising lead fees / higher commissions. When Home Advisor paid $500 Million for Angie’s List last year, many Wall Street guys cheered the news as a way for the merged company to increase its scale and, therefore, command higher lead fees from home pros.

A core marketplace goal is to "own" the Buyer
Marketplaces like Home Advisor need buyers to return to their website again and again. It's what marketing people call maximizing Customer Lifetime Value- CLV. Each time buyers come back, it’s another opportunity for the marketplace to generate more lead fees.

To them, it doesn’t matter that your business paid big $$$ for the Lead and actually performed the work (successfully!). The marketplace still “owns” the customer in their eyes, and they don't like it when YOU market to these customers later, or try to get referrals from them.

This is why many Lead-Gen Sites have invested in features like payment processing and text messaging tools. While they’ll say it all about improving the user experience, the unstated goal is to maintain their middleman status and drive users back to their website. The Terms of Service on some marketplaces, like Amazon Home Services, go much further and actually PROHIBIT you from "marketing communications of any kind" with the customer.

The value of repeat business and word-of-mouth advertising is obvious to any web-savvy home pro. It’s a huge reason why you deliver excellent customer service and top-notch workmanship. Be careful before diving into Lead-Gen Sites!

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Post dynamic content on your Facebook Page in 2 clicks

  • Product post by John J. on May 19, 2019

Every local service business should have its own Facebook Page. No matter how you feel about the company personally, an undeniable fact is that Facebook has over 2 Billion users and it’s a very influential force in word-of-mouth marketing.

For many local service pros the problem is that they don’t have the bandwidth to post content regularly on their business’s Facebook Page. After all, taking photos and writing copy are not the reasons why most pros decided to get into their trade.

It’s always a good idea to think of your excellent ratings & reviews as a marketing opportunity. Because of its enormous reach, Facebook Pages often rank high on Google’s search results (sometimes higher than one’s own website).

With HomePro Reviews, it takes just two clicks to post the positive reviews you’ve received onto your Facebook News Feed / Timeline. There are two easy ways for our Premier members to do this. First, you can click on “post this review on Facebook” that appears in the email notification you receive for each new customer review. Or second, you can log into your HomePro Reviews account and click on the “facebook post” button under MY PORTFOLIO.

Finally, just remember to post it to your FB business page rather than your personal timeline. There’s a drop-down list in the upper-right where you should choose the “Share on a Page you Manage” option.

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4% vs 60% - which odds do you like better?

  • Blog post by Sam L. on December 12, 2018

97% of homeowners have searched online for a local business according to a recent report, and 85% say that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

On the flip side, home service professionals tend to get a review from only 3-5% of their satisfied customers. That's the industry average, and those odds aren't very good obviously.

HomePro Reviews is hands-down the fastest & easiest system for collecting lots of great customer reviews. Most of our home pros see a success rate of 55-65%. That's about 15 times better and all it takes is 25 seconds of your time!

Why does our platform deliver such superior results?.

Timing is everything.   Use our handy smartphone App to EMAIL or TEXT review requests at the most effective moment- before you even leave a customer's driveway. If you really want your requests to turn into actual reviews, then it’s best to “strike while the iron is hot”.

Reminders work.   Even your happiest customers need a friendly reminder at times. Our system automatically sends follow-up messages (if necessary) which increases your chances for more 5-STAR reviews.

Customers want hassle-free.   Keep in mind that satisfied clients are doing YOU a favor by submitting their review. They prefer easy options, and don’t want to be forced into logging in or creating a new account on a 3rd party website. Our data proves that this method works best.

It's time to step up your marketing game. Start making reviews a routine part of every job you do!


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Google highlights "Reviews from the Web"

  • Blog post by Sam L. on Sept 2, 2017

When Google makes a change on their search results pages, it’s a good idea for local businesses to pay attention. “Reviews From The Web” is a new feature that you’ll see on the right side for most company-specific searches done on Google. It appears directly below one’s N.A.P. information (Business Name, Address, & Phone#).

For premier members, HomePro Reviews embeds search-compliant microdata into each customer review you receive. Google prominently displays the aggregate rating, # of reviews, and a link to each website listed in this section as you can see below.

google-my-business

If you haven’t claimed your "Google My Business" profile, then we strongly recommend you take advantage of this free service. Click here to sign up for your GMB account. With a rock-solid presence on Google you’ll significantly improve your chances to get more calls and win more bids.

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