Hey, what's going on, everybody? My name's Rob Satrom. I have a little agency called FeedbackWRENCH and I help small businesses drive leads, fill their sales funnel and win online. And we do construction, home services, businesses, real estate. And yeah, this video is all about HomeAdvisor, Angie's List, Thumbtack, but in particular, HomeAdvisor and Thumbtack for construction businesses, for general contractors, for home services businesses. Are they a good idea?
And this is really a review of Angie's List and HomeAdvisor. I have a couple other resources out there about Angie's List and HomeAdvisor and whether or not they're good for construction. Here's the number one premise and then I'm going to give you three real practical steps that you can take, to make sure that you expand further than HomeAdvisor and Thumbtack and help protect yourself.
Should contractors and builders or home services companies use Angie's list her home advisor?
This is always a difficult one because when you're first getting started in any business, particularly when you're just trying to get your first interactions, the best thing for a business owner to do is to simply get sales no matter what it takes.
Many people have great success leveraging Home Advisor, Thumbtack, Angie's List, Houzz, and an array of other third-party aggregate websites out there.
The big question the people eventually get to is whether or not it's a good idea to pour much cash into these because it's easy to get skeptical after you start to get some bad leads.
In this article, I'm going to talk about whether or not you should spend time getting reviews and building out your footprint on home advisor and Angie's list, is it a rip off? Is it good to get new customers? And what are the alternatives to using Angie's List or Home Advisor.
Do Angie's List and Home Advisor work for construction and contractor leads?
In short, yes, Home Advisor and Angie's List will definitely work to get new customers.
You will have to build up your profile with enough information, branding, and eventually reviews, that people are willing to give you a shot and get a quote.
Remember though, you would be benefiting from a strange chain reaction from customer, to Google, to Home Advisor, to your profile, to a paid lead, to a phone call, to an appointment, to hopefully becoming a customer.
Angie's List and Home Advisor have three things going for them.
There's something comforting for every customer when they select somebody from Angie's List or Home Advisor, particularly when they have a whole bunch of reviews and client testimonials on their profile.
Would I recommend that people invest into Angie's List and Home Advisor for their roofing, construction, or contractor business? Well, it's not that simple of an answer.
As I started to talk about earlier, the bottom line is that you need to get sales, and if you can get sales on Home Advisor and Angie's List, then dog on it go ahead and do it.
Some people have a ton of good luck with these platforms, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend pursuing it if they have good luck with it.
The first main drawback is that the same thing that would cause a person to trust you on the Home Advisor or Angie's List platform are similar to the things that would cause a customer to choose you and trust you from a regular Google search on the Google My Business platform.
In order for you to have great success, you're going to have to flood your Angie's List profile and Home Advisor profile with customer photos, customer reviews, and you'll have to be super engaging with anybody that's messaging you.
That's exactly what it takes for you to grow in the manner that I tend to recommend, using your Google My Business and even Google Local Services.
It all comes down to google
For years, Angie's List and Home Advisor have been treated generously by Google and Bing. Home Advisor and Angie's List have giant budgets that they have committed to television marketing on major network cable channels, as well as highly produced inbound content for every niche and customer query they could possibly arise around every subject matters to their categories.
They get a ton of traffic because they tend to be in the top three spots in the organic search engine results pages which means that people will go to that site in order to get their questions answered.
What happens when Google decides to take over their categories?
Up until this point, Google has even placed Home Advisor and Angie's List reviews in their Google my business rich snippet for companies that have optimized their pages to send the proper signals, and there have even been agreements between Google and these companies.
10 years ago, organic search results dominated the top of the search engine result pages.
In 2021, the organic search engine result is buried underneath a litany of search engine results page features.
On top of every single result are one of two things, a Google ad or a Google home services ad.
These have transformed into very large and prominently placed features on the SERPS.
After you get through the Google Ads top three positions, you will often have a Google My Business local map pack underneath that. Google my business is a dominating force and Google continues to develop and exploit this feature for their own good.
So the organic results that Home Advisor and Thumbtack tend to dominate and are always underneath the Google ads in the Google my business. Now, let me talk a little bit about the Google Home Services system and advertising.
Most people have no idea that it exists, but there is a new set of advertising and website functions tied to a new Service called the Google Home Services.
Google Home Services started in large metropolitan areas on the coast, for particularly intimate services such as plumbing, HVAC, and other in-home services where confidentialities and security are paramount.
A business could set themselves up on the home services platform, and then prove that they were insured, and also go through a background check, to become google guaranteed. Google guaranteed has a little bit different bidding system where the business will simply decide to pay a monthly or weekly estimate in order to get leads.
Compared to Google Ads, Google Home Services provides much less information around the search query, the auction, and much of the information that Google ads managers like myself, have come to really appreciate. In exchange for that simplicity, Google has shoved the home services and google guaranteed rich feature above everything else.
That means, in many categories that Angie's List and Home Advisor would be helpful for, there are Google home services ads with the Google guarantee sitting on top of regular Google Ads, which are positioned above a Google My Business feature, meaning there are three super prominent and compelling solutions to queries before Angie's List, Home Advisor or Thumbtack.
All this to say, business owners should be weary about investing too heavily into Angie's List and home advisor because I've think that Google will continue to push them down and out.
Therefore, if you spent lots of time building up reviews and investing into that platform, and Google has a change of heart over the next decade or rolls out some big-time feature changes, all of the hard work you have put into your Home advisor profile would be lost.
That may sound a little speculative, but I assure you that Angie's list and home advisor will not be growing in terms of the number of visitors to their website from organic traffic. In fact, Google home service ads cannibalize Google ads and Google my business, to a very high degree.
I have a customer that suddenly saw a major drop in the traffic they had from their aggressive Google ads campaigns and we were kind of at a loss. After doing some analysis, we came to realize that Google had recently rolled out the home services google guarantee feature for the junk industry, and the Google ads platform was no longer being utilized as much which led to a dip in our business.
If Google is willing to cannibalize its own Google ads, I assure you that it will cannibalize the organic results.
What's a better plan than Angie's list our home advisor
Rather than investing in building out your Angie's List or Home Advisor profiles, I would recommend that you invest into your website and into your Google my business, and even Facebook.
You can read throughout my website about how to enhance your website so that Google and Bing will prefer you in comparison to your competitors, but it kind of pains me to say that you should do a little bit of work on Facebook.
Facebook bothers me a great deal. They're hypocrites, authoritarian, and they play political games.
The reason why I like Facebook reviews at the moment is because Bing uses Facebook reviews in their Bing places feature.
Bing places is Microsoft's version of Google my business, and Bing actually has a pretty strong use case because in the same way that Google continues to bias it's on systems and advertising features above third parties or organic search results, Microsoft continues to bias it's all in the search engine program against Google.
Why is Bing important? Well, just watch a non-tech person open up their new Windows computer and make some sort of query in a search bar and you will quickly realize that Bing looks almost identical to Google, and that less sophisticated users really don't care as long as they are getting good search engine results. Bing has actually improved in a massive way over the last 20 or so years, and they are right on Google's heels even though they have a minuscule portion of the search engine market. They are number two, but Google outpaces them drastically.
In conclusion, Angie's List and Home Advisor is a decent idea, but I would much rather a business owner enhance their own website and their Google my business profile and other Microsoft or Google tools because they are what will matter the most.
So, first of all, there's two little premises I want you to think about. First of all, you always have client acquisition costs. One of the fallacies that you'll see out there, when people complain about Angie's List or doing a review on Angie's List or HomeAdvisor, is that they're like, "Hey, I pay money and I get bad leads."
You know what? In general, you're going to pay a cost to acquire leads and some of those leads are going to be garbage. That being said, I tend to see that people that go to Angie's List and HomeAdvisor are looking for quotes. And when you're looking for quotes, you're looking for price.
You're not thinking value and generally, the type of person that often goes there, not always, but I think there's a higher percentage of people that are price focused, not value focused. And if you're a company that likes to deliver good value to your customers, that's not the best situation. So right off the bat, there's just the situation of getting quotes, getting bids is not helpful.
The second big principle is, is that you're only good on HomeAdvisor and Thumbtack if two things happen. If you turn it on, you need to be paying to get the leads, A. And then B, you also need to have a lot of reviews. Now that means that you've been following, you've been doing work, getting reps and building up your review footprint. And if you do that, you'll have all these reviews of your business sitting on their website.
Which isn't bad, it's good to have ... The main goal of most businesses would be that when people search for your service, as a core commercial keyword, so if I'm looking for driveway seal coating, for example, parking lot seal coating, or if I'm looking for anything. When you search that, you'd like your business to pop up on the Google My Business snippet. It'd be good if you popped up number one or two in the organic.
And the idea, wouldn't it be sweet if of the 1500 searches a month that occur in your sector, you'd be able to intersect. That would be the best. It wouldn't cost you much money, you'd just organically rank. But it takes a while to get there and Google and Bing have adopted this framework to rank high in their search engine result pages. And one of them is that you would have authority, and one of the ways that you build authority, is that you have reviews from third party aggregators.
So what I'm framing up there is of course, we want to win an organic search, that's the number one choice. Angie's List and HomeAdvisor intersect in between you and those searchers, that's a problem, but it's also good to have good reviews on those platforms, no matter what. Because it's just, it's a third party good review that you can have.
In fact, when you search your business name, you'll see that HomeAdvisor and Thumbtack pop up. So it is good to have, but the main problem is that you are building up their platform rather than your own platform. And what that means, is that rather than having your reviews on your website, you're basically building up their web presence and their authority.
And every time you follow up through their clients and do all that, you're helping them. That's not the goal. The goal should be that you develop ... Yes, you get reviews all across third party platforms, but you also need to invest in your own. So here are three or four specific things that you can do because my principle is, it's not bad to grow HomeAdvisor or Thumbtack. I would push it to be a secondary or even third tier review platform.
So here are things that you should do before you get reviews for HomeAdvisor, Angie's List, Thumbtack and those guys. So first of all, your Google My Business is absolutely critical. So google.com/business, make sure you optimize that, make sure you integrate it into your website and remember that your website and Google My Business work together to help you intersect with core commercial keywords.
There's a whole set of keywords that are local based and they use proximity and they have an authority factor. And those two factors, proximity to the office and the authority of your overall web footprint, will determine whether or not you actually pop up when people search accountant near me, CPA near me, seal coating company near me, whatever service, those are just top of mind right now, you're looking for.
So there's all these factors that determine whether or not you're an expert, you're authoritative, you're trustworthy and Google will have you pop up, but in that local snippet, that's critical. So get that set up, work on your website to send signals to your Google My Business. You want to make sure you have a services section that explain all the services with the core commercial keywords that actually trigger and get that set up.
The second thing you want to do is be active on there. Be posting and making information relevant to those core commercials keywords. And then the third thing, the most important thing, get more reviews than everybody else in your sector. If you do that, you'll get traffic and you'll close more deals. So get more reviews than everybody else, get it filled up. So your Google My Business is your number one, primary thing that you absolutely need to dominate and fill out. Spend time on that.
The second one is one I almost hate to talk about cause they chaff me a little bit and I don't like their business practices, but whatever. You're going to want to go on to, well not these guys, but Bing. So Bing is good, Microsoft's fine. Go to Bing Places and make sure that you fill out your Bing Places ID and you get ... It's basically the equivalent of Google My Business. Go on there, fill that out and make sure that it's all set up.
And the reason why is because one of the things that Microsoft does, is Microsoft works very hard on new Windows machines and Windows10 machines to make sure that their Internet Explorers and their searches within Windows are using Bing rather than Google. And anybody who watches somebody who's not super cognizant and isn't a tech person, start to search on their new Windows machine, will realize that Windows is very relevant. So make sure that you get Bing Places filled out.
Now Bing Places is interesting because they don't have their own review platform. And this is where the second most ... So Bing coupled with Facebook. So Facebook reviews would be more valuable than getting Thumbtack, HomeAdvisor, because when you search on a Windows machine, the Bing Places pop up, but it basically aggregates multiple different reviews.
But right now they're really latching on to Facebook reviews. So I would focus, in 2020, right now it's August of 2020, I would be focusing on Google My Business, Bing Places tied with Facebook. So those two things take precedence over HomeAdvisor, Thumbtack, Angie's list and these third parties.
Then the next thing that I would do is I would work with us and we actually work to develop a review page on your website, where people can leave a review and it aggregates your other reviews from around the web and so we can pull from multiple different places. And the idea is that you would house them on your own website with what's called schema markup and by doing that, you'll basically get these little rich snippets stars in your search engine result pages.
But house your own testimonials with reviews and we built systems around all of this to help you automatically get reviews and automatically get testimonials to follow up with your customers. Now, in some businesses you have hundreds a week, in some of them, you have hundreds a year or dozens a year. So the flow to get reviews and testimonials needs to be customized for you. But we use automation tools, true SMS texting tools, to gently follow up with people and ask them for review.
It works really well, but if you house them on your own website, you have a page with reviews. And then if you put them on there and you mark it up properly, your own website can be a phenomenal place to have your own reviews. Then I would say, I would go onto Yelp. Now Yelp is an interesting thing because here in the Midwest and in certain areas, Yelp is kind of nominal, people don't use it as much. But out in California and in other areas, Yelp is one of the most primary tools that they use to grow their business.
Different sectors have higher or lower Yelp abilities, but Yelp is difficult because you have to be a Yelp reviewer in order to leave a review. Whereas Google My Business, all you need is a Google, so if you have a Google or a Gmail account, you can leave a Google review. If you have a Facebook account, you can use a Facebook review, but in Yelp you actually have to be a Yelp reviewer, which is a little bit different. You need to be active on there. So not all your customers are going to do that, but that's a good platform to invest in.
After that, I would absolutely invest in getting reviews on HomeAdvisor, Angie's List, Thumbtack because here's the bottom line. Search your business name, search your Google My Business and in the search engine result page, you'll find out whether or not they have ... There's a little box there that have the reviews of other platforms. Google pays attention to those other things.
So pay attention to that. Hey, give us a call, feedbackwrench.com. We'd love to have a consultation with you. We know how to use Google Ads to dominate with your reviews and God bless, good luck. Have a wonderful day. And I tell you what? If any of you are out there and you're trying to get your business started, give me a call, I love doing consulting calls as well.