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Category Archives: Reputation Management

Angie’s List is Now Free: Now What? What the Change Means for Your Business

angie's list

The importance of reviews

Reviews matter to businesses more than ever. Once upon a time, word of mouth, advertising and formal reviews in traditional media were the only way for businesses to receive publicity, and it was relatively easy to prevent negative reviews from affecting your business. Now, reviews are crowdsourced and easily accessible to any consumer with a computer or phone. In fact, 88% of consumers have read reviews to determine the quality of a local business, while 39% read reviews on a regular basis. Reviews give customers a voice and influence the decisions of other potential customers. Additionally, today’s online reviews can add credibility to a business’ website, and therefore influence the business’ appearance in local search results rankings. For these reasons, obtaining positive online reviews is a crucial component of contemporary business marketing, reputation management and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy.

What is Angie’s List?

Today, many think of Yelp or Google reviews when they think of online reviews, but the impact of online reviews began in 1995 with the founding of Angie’s List, now the oldest online review site on the web. For a subscription fee, Angie’s List enabled users to browse and post both positive and negative reviews of home, yard, auto and health service providers. Angie’s List currently reports 10 million verified reviews from its members.

The problem for Angie’s List was that, until now, the site was viewed by just over 3 million paid members, which translates to less than 1% of the population. Today’s digital consumers are often unwilling to pay a nominal subscription fee when they have free access to alternative review sites. This meant that, while Angie’s List subscribers were better informed than the vast majority of review readers, the site did not have a significant effect on businesses.

However, the number of consumers reading and providing reviews will soon grow and make Angie’s List a much more formidable component of lead generation for businesses. Last March, Angie’s List announced its intention to abandon its subscription model and open the website and services up to the general public, free of charge. As of June 2016, this change has taken effect. This decision to change the Angie List model may stem from recent competition by newer sites like Home Advisor and Thumbtack and free sites such as Yelp. Competition from these sites has been affecting Angie’s List’s earnings in recent years, well before the company decided to remove the paywall.

Without its paywall barrier, Angie’s List will most likely be a key player among review sites due to its unique, end-to-end customer experience. When announcing the change, CEO Scott Durchslag noted that Angie’s List gets “over 100 million [unique] visitors each month, but 90% of them have been bouncing because of the reviews paywall . . . We expect to see traffic explode with the change.” Since then, Durchslag has reported that “new member sign-ups increased nearly fourfold compared to a year ago and, among those members, unique visits more than doubled. In that same period, unique members searching have more than doubled and the number of service provider profile views from those members more than doubled.”

What the change means for your business

Angie’s List’s impact on search results will grow with these recent changes, making it a necessary tool in reputation building and local SEO strategy. Reviews, and good reviews in particular, contribute to a business’ website traffic. Google’s local search algorithm uses data from third-party directories and platforms, including review sites such as Angie’s List, as a key determining factor to authenticate a business’s website and thereby increase or lower its search rankings among competitors. Businesses will now have to account for Angie’s List in their SEO strategy along with other popular review sites such as Yelp and Google reviews.

Unlike the average review site, however, Angie’s List’s longevity and commitment to quality make it an extra credible and “weighty” site among search engines. A business website linked to Angie’s List reviews will have an improved Search Engine Results Page. Furthermore, because of the site’s emphasis on length, Angie’s List reviews simply contain more content than typical blurb-type reviews and will provide more weight than reviews from other sites.

This all simply means that businesses should work to encourage positive reviews on Angie’s List as a major part of their marketing strategy. However, many business’ current monitoring tools may not be able to identify reviews from Angie’s List since the site’s content was, until recently, secured behind a paywall. In order to make sure that you can detect and track Angie’s List reviews, you can claim your business’ Angie’s List profile by proactively registering your company on the site.

As Angie’s List grows, it will most likely expand into different markets and categories of business. Even if your type of business is not included in the scope of Angie’s List currently covered business categories, it may soon be, as the company continues to look for growth opportunities.

If you would like to ensure that your business and site are fully optimized for this change and others to come, contact DAS Group.

Local Listings: Why We Hate Them and Love Them

Local Listings

Cleaning up local listings is not easy. Generally, agencies employ services that merely create new listings instead of repairing the old. Ensuring your business’s local listings are up-to-date and accurate takes attention to detail and a lot of hard work. There are numerous services that provide so called “quick fixes,” but the truth is most services only touch a fraction of the sites that make up the local search ecosystem. DAS Group takes a holistic approach that combines feed management, local profile development across hundreds—sometimes thousands—of locations, manual verification and claiming and more.

Why Do We Hate Local Listings?

Generally, agencies employ services that merely create new local listings instead of repairing the old. However, if an agency only creates new listings for an existing company without either repairing or getting rid of the old listings, a company’s business can suffer. Incomplete online data can lead to confused customers and a sizable revenue loss.

How do Inaccurate Listings Negatively Impact Sales?

When customers look up a business, all of the old, inaccurate local listings will come up along with the new, correct listings. This gives potential customers confusing information. For example, if addresses or hours of operation vary from listing to listing, a customer won’t know where a business is located or what times the business is operating. To maximize your business’s potential, accurate local listings are essential.

What Causes Multiple, Inaccurate Listings?

Perhaps there’s a misspelled business name on one listing. Maybe a business has changed its phone number or moved to a new physical address, or perhaps the URL has changed or been updated. Potential customers may think that each listing—whether correct or incorrect—represents a separate business. Businesses need to be aware of this common pitfall of local listings.

Let DAS Group Manage Your Local Listing Data

When you work with DAS Group, we carefully comb through the many listings on the web, deleting duplicates, claiming correct listings through owner verification and updating incorrect data about your business as needed. Removing incorrect listings may involve many online searches, contacting each search engine directly to remove incomplete listings and making sure that each individual listing has the correct Facebook, Twitter, website and other social media links readily and clearly available.

This can be an extremely overwhelming, potentially confusing and time-consuming process for businesses. It’s extremely important that your business’s online data is complete and accurate. Talk to us today about a comprehensive strategy for improving your business’s multi-location presence in local search results.

How to Broaden Your Online Opportunities Using Social Media

It will come as a shock to no one that social media has changed the way we communicate. And while social media may be a great tool for keeping in touch with our personal connections, it is also a great tool for brands. Social media is an important tool for expanding your brand online, and with the right messaging these tools will broaden your business’ reach.

Getting Started Building Your Online Presence

Social Media

Before diving into building your online persona, it is smart to familiarize yourself with social media, especially how it relates to your brand. If you’re not familiar with Twitter & Facebook, spend some time researching your competitors to see what they are posting and how their customers are interacting with them. If you’re considering building a blog for your brand, you should visit their websites and see what they are blogging about and where they are sharing those blogs. When you begin posting online, you must be conscious of your tone of voice.

Engaging With Your Audience

Posting on social media is more than just providing information to your followers, it is about engaging with them by creating unique experiences. If you want your customers to care about what you are selling, you have to be informative and entertaining when you post. Your posts should be a mixture of information about your brand and posts that are not directly about you, but still relevant to your industry. Whatever you do share it needs to be informative, entertaining, inspirational, and remarkable.

Create Quality & Useful Content

Sale AlertA clear, concise message increases the chances of your followers reading your messages and sharing them with their network. The key to getting any social channel to engage your customers, is to ensure everything you post is backed by strategy. Twitter adds millions of new users each year that are looking to engage with brands and their influences. Most twitter users access Twitter through their mobile devices so depending on your type of business, share posts that would benefit users on the go. For instance, local storefront businesses can share sales or events to their local following. These posts can bring customers into your business when they may not have intended on stopping by.

Be Social

Continue to engage with your followers after you have posted on social channels. Your followers will use social media to ask questions about your brand. These questions may be about your products or services, and ignoring them can cost you a follower and sales. Stay on top of the conversations happening on your channels and be informative to your customers.

Optimizing Your Social Presence

The social media landscape changes rapidly and therefore you will need to be constantly updating your strategy and goals. Consider new features to social media channels and create strategies that fit new features and offerings. If you’re not optimizing your presence often, it gives a savvy competitors the chance to take some of your market share.

Build Your Audience: Remarketing What’s Possible

Building your online audience profile has become an essential component to the development of your digital marketing strategy as more and more consumers are using their mobile devices to access information about the products and services that you offer. This presents an exciting opportunity for marketers to execute creative mobile and online solutions for capturing audience attention, in turn, converting prospective leads into real time sales.

Local MarketingDeveloping a closer relationship with your ideal customer rests in the palm of their hands. With the increased usage of mobile phones and a high consumption rate of smart phones and tablets, marketers can improve the effectiveness and relevancy of their mobile marketing campaigns by capitalizing on location data and local targeting. Through a focused approach, integrating these localized campaigns and harnessing the power of mobile technology, can prove to be truly successful in reaching your ideal customer.

So what is an online audience profile?

As with any marketing strategy, your online audience profile, also known as a persona, provides data and information that highlights specific habits of your online customer. A well-defined profile gives clues to individual lifestyle choices, demographic and geographic information which digital marketers can then utilize with highly targeted advertising, social media campaigns or email marketing campaigns. This provides valuable insight into the products and content that most interests them and enables them to find out through careful messaging placement.

Gone are the days where marketers simply used basic information such as zip codes to define who their customers really are. Location targeting can unlock valuable opportunities for gaining powerful insight into how consumers are really using their mobile devices and what the best strategy is for creating engaging experiences for them.

Location-Based Technologies for Mobile

Mobile Promotion AlertYour ideal customer is within reach of your new product or promotional offer. But how do you capture their attention and delivery a compelling message? More than just “check-ins” or “likes,” consumers are seeking mobile alerts and offers that are most relevant to them in that moment. Ultimately, the more targeted the content is, the better the results for the brand in question. If you’re ready to develop your businesses’ mobile strategy, there are several location data strategies that you can employ:

Geofencing

A geofence is as the name implies; a virtual ‘fence’ or perimeter that surrounds the physical space that your consumer is shopping in or visiting. This offers a targeted way to deliver specific advertising to those who are within those parameters through push notifications that users have opted into.

Geo-Search

Here, users enter specific location details to find what they’re looking for by way of state, city, street or zip code making for a much more accurate result. For marketers, this is important since the user has indicated that they are seeking products and services in that area, even if they are not physically present at the time.

iBeacons

In the form of small, Bluetooth transmitters, iBeacons are similar to Geofencing, but with a shorter range capacity. iBeacons can trigger notifications when a customer comes in close contact with the device, for example if placed on a billboard, poster, painting or clothing rack.

This is a great way for marketers to capture consumer attention by offering them information or offers directly related to the object that they are close to.

WiFi – Hot Spots

Ideal for targeting ads to those in close proximity to a specific physical location, WiFi hot spots will estimate the user’s location within the radius of a wireless network access point and offers an accurate geo-location method.

GPS

Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite networks orbit around the earth, allowing devices to pick up signals from it. Although accurate, GPS signals sometimes do not work well depending on where the user is situated and is usually coupled with Wi Fi access.

Privacy Considerations

While there is no denying the benefits of location based marketing, it is important to understand the risks and privacy considerations for the user, especially with regard to geofencing and GPS tracking.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) outlines a detailed report surrounding the privacy guidelines and recommendations for those wishing to employ location based marketing techniques.

As the FCC states, “Because mobile devices have the ability—and often the technical requirement—to regularly transmit their location to a network, they also enable the creation of a precise record of a user’s locations over time. This can result in the creation of a very accurate and highly personal user profile, which raises questions of how, when and by whom this information can and should be used.”

When implementing a location based marketing campaign, keeping in mind these top 5 privacy concerns will assure that your customers are 100% aware and knowledgeable about the activities that they are participating in.

  1. Relevance – No one likes spam! Content that is shared with your user should be kept relevant to what they are expecting.
  2. Notification – End users should be aware of how their location information will be used or shared before they are required to authorize this activity.
  3. Opt-out – Consumers should be given the option to retract their decision to allow any activity based on providing their location.
  4. Opt – in – It is absolutely essential that your users are clearly given the choice to agree to receive notifications before disclosing their location information. Any messaging or campaigns that are advertised should constructed in such a way that is obvious to the consumer that they are being given the choice to agree.
  5. Security – Three’s a crowd! Consumers should be expected to receive security measures that do not allow non-affiliated third party notifications or activities.

By treating your consumers as the unique individuals that they are, you open the floodgates for a wealth of opportunities and success with your location based mobile campaigns. Personalized, targeted promotions are a powerful way to connect with your audience and provide them with relevant messaging that drives engagement and instills brand loyalty. Consumers are on the move and so are their phones. Delivering strategic information to them means they will be more likely to consider your products and services over mass marketed, generic messaging.