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Your author discusses online reputation management for elevator contractors.

You’ve been in the industry for years. You’re QEI licensed, which isn’t easy to achieve. Your guys have been with you for a long time, and they get along with your customers. But, if a building owner searched for “elevator repair” in your area online, they’d likely see something that reflects a different history: they would likely find an older website that can’t be used on a mobile phone. They wouldn’t find any ads for your business. And they definitely wouldn’t find any reviews from other customers. This doesn’t reflect the great business you’ve built.

How do you bridge the digital gap between what your potential customers see and what your business is really like? The key is establishing credibility online, or, as the marketing industry puts it, “reputation management.”

How do you bridge the digital gap between what your potential customers see and what your business is really like?

The first and best way to do this is to claim your Google My Business page. This allows you to show up on local searches for the elevator industry. It’s easy to do and takes about 15 min. Just go to business.google.com/create and choose “Service Area” type business (because you work at customers’ locations, not your own). Once you create the page, Google will mail you a postcard with your verification code. Then, you verify the page with that code, and you’re ready to be found on Google Maps. This is the key to being found in a local search, which typically occurs on a mobile phone.

According to Google, only 33% of small businesses in the U.S. have claimed their page. This alone will set you apart from your competition and make you look more professional.

The second way to build your credibility online is to ask your customers to review you. Once you get five reviews on your Google My Business page, Google will show the star rating in orange under your website in searches. This can say to potential customers that you’re reputable and digitally up to date. According to marketing-platform company Vendasta:

  • 92% of customers read online reviews before making a decision.
  • 80% of customers trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation.

So, getting reviews online is like getting personal recommendations to everyone who reads your reviews.

The third way to boost your online credibility is to regularly post in social media. Some property managers have time on their hands, and they use it to surf Facebook, Twitter and, if they want to look ambitious, LinkedIn. Get your administrative assistant to post a few sentences about your successes a few times a week. This will also help your search engine rankings. Even posting once a week on each platform will help with credibility. And, if potential customers follow you on social media, you get top-of-mind awareness with them.

I have a window-covering client that uses Facebook and Instagram to feature before-and-after photos of draperies and blinds. They use these posts not only to gain new business, but show customers when they’re doing a presentation. In the elevator industry, before-and-after photos of machine rooms are a great way to show your attention to detail to potential customers.

Another way to boost your credibility online is to post relevant information on your website. This can be as easy or as hard as you make it. The easy way to create content is to get someone to interview you and record it. Then, get it transcribed and turned into blog posts or webpages. This takes very little time. I built an entire website for an elevator consultant from a half-hour interview; there is enough good information from the interview for about 10 updates. This used to be called “blogging,” but now it’s just a regular part of updating your website. (It doesn’t have to be in the “blog” section.)

Another way to boost your credibility online is to post relevant information on your website. This can be as easy or as hard as you make it.

You could also link to an interesting article from your favorite industry magazine. Adding regularly to the “News” section of your website is easy, as well. According to Digital Marketer Pro, you should be adding relevant content to your website two or three times a week. This seems like a lot, but your administrators can do it on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday schedule.

A final way to make your online reputation higher is to make sure your name, address and phone number (NAP) are consistent across all the local directories. According to Yext, a leader in local reputation management, “today, four in five consumers search for local businesses online. When consumers find incorrect information about a business online, 73% lose trust in that business.”

Your Google My Business page, Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, Yelp page and Twitter NAP should all match exactly. The company name should be exactly the same. The address and phone number have to have the same capitalization, punctuation and spacing. Google looks for consistency. When it sees inconsistency, it ranks pages lower. Consistency is rewarded with higher rankings, because it appears more authoritative.

These are all simple, straightforward ways to improve the way you look online to potential customers. You and your team can improve your online reputation very easily.

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