Merchant: All Plumbing
Location: Arlington, Virginia
Bottom Line: Local merchants are willing to spend more when they work with vendors that offer full-service customer support and send regular account updates.
Social media, search engines, and local review sites can all generate attention for businesses in the home services industry, but when it comes to actually making sales and closing deals, nothing beats the effectiveness of a good old-fashioned telephone call.
“Listening to phone calls and listening to how my associates communicate with clients is important. If there are bases they are not covering in the phone call, we tend to discuss that,” says Kabir Shafik of All Plumbing in Arlington, Virginia.
Shafik has been a ReachLocal client for seven years, and gives the company credit for helping to grow his business. He currently runs two search campaigns with a budget of more than $5,000. He also spends $1,299 on a contract for ReachCast, a service from ReachLocal that builds brands on search engines, social media sites, local directories, and review sites.
“We usually use up the majority, if not all, of our budget every month for all three campaigns,” Shafik says.
Around 85 percent of All Plumbing’s marketing budget is devoted to online marketing, and 50 percent of that is spent on ReachLocal and ReachCast. Shafik says the rest of his budget is distributed between other online marketing vendors. He can’t afford to scrimp on his digital budget, because 80 to 85 percent of customers now say they discovered his business online.
All Plumbing’s relationship with ReachLocal started with a cold call. Shafik says an account representative from the company found his business in the Yellow Pages and called to ask questions about what he was doing with his online marketing. The account representative went on to explain how ReachLocal could help, and the rest was history.
Now, years later, Shafik says he usually logs into his ReachLocal and ReachCast accounts once or twice a month, mostly to listen to recorded phone calls. He’s also in regular contact with his account representative about social media management.
“Our ReachCast account representative sends us our ReachCast report every week for us to look at. However, more often she sends over any reviews — positive and negative — that our company receives on a day-to-day basis. Once she sends the reviews to me, she will then ask how to go about a proper response,” he says. “If there’s any content that I would like to push out via social media, she’s just one e-mail away.”
Shafik also works with his account representative to make sure his company’s landing pages have strong positioning when consumers search for specific plumbing-related keywords.
“She will notify me if there are things that would help raise my ranking. She will also tell me what keywords may help my ranking,” he says. “I then go to my web host or developer and have them go behind our website and implement the keywords we talked about.”
Although Shafik says he tracks “all metrics,” he’s most interested in the number of calls his business receives. He regularly goes over monthly campaign reports to determine which keywords are and aren’t working based on ReachLocal’s calculations.
“I use the reports to see how our online performance is doing,” he says. “This shows me what areas are working well for us and which areas need help.”
Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.