In this conversation, we had the privilege of sitting down with Tim, our online reputation expert with over 20 years of experience, to uncover the secrets of lead optimization and crushing your competition online.
Matt: Hey, Matt here in the Service Core Studio where we produce ToiletTalk. ToiletTalk is our conversation series where we sit down with industry leaders to discuss topics that help PROs increase productivity. These conversations will help you get more done and stress less. So today’s conversation, it’s all about your reputation. That’s right. People are talking behind your back about your business right now and they’re doing it online for everyone to see. So what are they saying? Are they telling the world that they had a five-star experience with your business or are they telling the world about your competition? Because your website is hard to use. Today’s conversation is all about improving your online reputation. We brought in Tim, he’s an online reputation expert. He’s been helping service businesses improve their online presence for over 20 years. He knows a thing or two about this. In this conversation, we cover topics like how to make your website your best salesperson. What is SEO and why does it matter how to get more five-star Google reviews? And Tim will share his secret for crushing your competition on buying. So let’s get back in the studio right this way. Hey Tim, how are you doing today?
Tim: I’m doing good, Matt. How are you doing?
Matt: I’m doing good. Welcome to the ServiceCore studio. What do you think about the inside?
Tim: Oh man. It’s so much bigger in here than I thought it was gonna be. Thanks for having me. Excited to be here.
Matt: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So today I’m really excited about what we’re talking about because for portable restroom operators, improving their online reputation and their online presence is super important, but I don’t think that a lot of them really understand what that means. And so we’re really excited to sit down with you, Tim, and pick your brain and talk about how portable restroom operators can put some stuff in practice today in their business to help improve their online reputation. So let’s jump right in.
Tim: Absolutely. Sounds good, man. Fire away.
Matt: Alright, so let’s start with. You know, when I think about online presence, I think about a few things. And one of them that comes to mind is when you show up at someone’s front door, what does it look like? Is that door ugly? Is it really nice? Do I wanna go inside? Am I scared to go inside? But what I’m really talking about is their website. Why should someone care about what their website looks like and how it functions?
Tim: It’s a fantastic question, and I think it’s probably something that a lot of business owners overlook, at least in my experience. A lot of business owners assume that it’s just something that they need, but they don’t really see how much it can actually do for their business when it’s built and optimized correctly. So I think a lot of people look at their online website as more of a billboard when in reality it’s probably more like an employee. It’s something that works for you. It does stuff for you even while you’re sleeping. It’s getting leads. It’s bringing people into the business, and it’s the foundation of your entire business. Everything that you’re doing outside of it, whether it’s in real life or even online with SEO, and PPC, which we’ll talk about later. It leads back to the website, so it’s extremely important to make sure that that website is welcoming. It’s engaging, and it’s also very easy to use. You wanna make sure that no matter what device they’re on, they’re able to go there and quickly find what they need, as quickly as they need, and be able to get the information to you. And I think that’s one of the most important things for your website to do. And if it’s not doing those things, then you’re losing a lot of business.
Matt: Got it. So what I’m hearing there is what website should really be your best salesperson because it can sell around the clock no matter when someone comes to it. And so how would someone know if their website is their best salesperson?
Tim: Well, there’s a lot of ways to know. I would say probably the easiest way for a business owner to know is, is your phone ringing? But also are you getting emails? Generally when people are looking for your business or your services, more likely they’re going to come across your website. If they come across your website, then you’re either gonna be getting phone calls or emails, and if you’re not getting those or you’re getting very few of those, then your website’s probably not working for you. There’s a lot of other things that you can do too, depending on how advanced you want to get. You know, there are programs that you can install on your website that’ll help you see what’s going on. It’ll help you see conversions that are happening, et cetera. And those are a bit more advanced. They can take some to install, but that data is insanely valuable. But I’d say at the simplest level if you’re not getting phone calls and emails and people seeing it, then that tells you right there, your website’s not performing for you as well as it should be.
Matt: Got it. That’s a really good analogy there, like, “Hey, this thing should be selling for me all the time, and if it’s not, I’ve got a problem that I need to address.”
Matt: So one word you mentioned or acronym that you mentioned that I think a lot of portable restaurant operators get tripped up on, or it’s just like, it seems like it’s magic in the background, but can you please tell our audience what SEO is and why does it matter?
Tim: Absolutely. SEO is a very broad term, what it stands for is search engine optimization. In its simplest form, all that means is where do you show up on Google? It’s where are you ranking on Google? How much are you showing up on Google? We all know that Google is. The most used search engine out there, and so it still remains to be king. So the important thing is where are you showing up on there and how do you look on Google? So search engine optimization can mean a lot of different things, and a lot of people assume that it’s this magical thing that suddenly gets you all this new business and no one really knows how it works, but they know it takes a long time.
Matt: And, well, there’s unicorns involved too, right? Like a unicorn flies by?
Tim: Unicorns and like just all sorts of magic dust sprinkled all over it. And I think the reason is because it is a very complex thing that you’re trying to explain too. People don’t always completely understand it, and it’s not their job nor do they care to. And that’s totally okay. That’s our job. It’s our job to understand that and simplify it. And so there’s a lot that goes into it. You know, SEO can help you with your local search, people being able to find you locally, which I think for most service businesses is the most important thing. If you have a business that operates in a city or local area, having really good SEO is gonna ensure that people can find your business, and that’s the most important thing. At the end of the day, you want them to be able to find your business, to easily find it. You don’t wanna be buried on like page three or four of Google, and if you are, then. It’s something we can absolutely help with.
Matt: Got it. So what you’re saying is if I’m in Atlanta, Georgia and I’m a portable restaurant operator and someone in my community types in “port-a-potty rental near me”, if I’m not showing up on that page, something’s wrong with my search engine optimization.
Tim: Yes, and there can be a lot of different things wrong. There’s no one thing that can really fix it and that’s where kind of the magic comes in is, you know, there’s a lot that needs to be done there. But yes, if you’re just searching that and you’re not coming up, then you’ve got an issue with your SEO and that can actually be two different things. A lot of people view it as like, it’s just Google, but it’s not. It also goes back to what we just talked about, which is the website. The way your website is built and the content that’s on your website and the way that it’s structured helps your SEO as well. And that’s why it’s also so important to have a really good website foundationally, making sure that it’s optimized for SEO so that Google sees it, recognizes it, and then knows where to rank it or where to place it so that people can find it. So I think that’s why SEO gets so confusing, there are multiple different pieces. And it’s not just one thing that’s gonna fix itself. There’s a lot of different pieces and if you can get all those to work together, you’re gonna do really, really well locally.
Matt: Gotcha. And so, you know, what I’m hearing there is that your content on your website does matter. If someone comes to your site and you have, you know, just a little bit of content, it doesn’t do a good job explaining it. To my understanding, Google’s like the big brother who’s not the nicest brother that says you lose, you’re going on page two or three because I can’t read the content on your site. Or it doesn’t make sense when I’m in Atlanta again and I search, “porta potty rental near me.” Google is the big brother that’s not gonna reward you. Did I get that right?
Tim: Absolutely. And I think for a lot of people, it’s like if you put yourself into Google’s shoes and you understand what they do, they’re in the business of providing the most relevant results to visitors of their website, which is a Google search page. Now, if people don’t find what they’re searching for, they’re gonna go use Bing or Yahoo or some other search engine, and Google’s gonna lose business. So when Google evaluates your website, It looks at a lot of different things. Not only does it look at the content it watches when people come to your website, how long are they staying? So people are just coming to your website and they’re bouncing off really quickly, going to a different site that tells Google that whatever content you have there, it’s not relevant to them. So then they start to move you outta that page. And that’s why content and like conversion optimization, making sure that you have very clear calls to action to get people to engage with your website is so important because Google watches that and they wanna make sure that, Hey, is this person engaging with the website? And if people do, people come to your website and they start really engaging with it, that tells Google, oh man. People really like this. They’re staying here, they’re learning more, they’re engaging with the website. This is clearly very relevant for this. Let’s move it up so more people can see it. And that’s kind of how all of that works together to make sure that you’re getting the best results but also so that Google’s delivering the best results. So you kind of have to work together there and at the end it’s a win-win situation.
Matt: So far my website, if it’s easy to use, if it’s got good content on it, and people are staying on it, I’m gonna be doing okay. But another thing that I look at, and I think a lot of people look at as, as homeowners, if we’re, you know, if I need some port-a-potties for my backyard event, I’m gonna go to Google and I’m gonna see how many reviews someone has. Can you talk about online reviews and how that affects your ranking, if it does at all?
Tim: Absolutely. And I think in probably the past four or five years, your online reputation or your online reviews has become almost more important than SEO, which is what we just talked about. And the reason why is it’s kind of what I refer to as the Amazon effect. This never really happened before Amazon, but when Amazon came along the way we shopped completely changed. When we go on Amazon, we’ll search for a product and we don’t care what comes up first, second, or third. We scroll down the page and we look to see who has what product has the most reviews, because that right away tells us, oh man, this is really good. Yeah. I also do it when I’m looking for a new book to read. I’ll actually go on to Amazon and I’ll just look and see what are the top-reviewed books out there because clearly everyone’s loving those. So we use reviews to kind of guide our buying decisions more now than ever before. And it’s because the reviews are so readily available through Google. And so reputation management is extremely important because a lot of times this is gonna be a lot of people’s first interaction with your business. So if they’re typing in, you know, “portable restroom unit in Denver,” or “portable restroom rental near me,” one of the things that’s gonna come up even before the SEO is the Google reviews for the businesses that that applies to. And so when that comes up, You wanna make sure that your business has a lot of reviews, because another business could have four more reviews than you, but people are gonna still view that as much, much better, because they’re gonna be like, well, they got more reviews. It doesn’t matter if it’s three or a hundred. If they have more reviews than you and they’re your competition, then you’re losing out to them. So making sure that you have reviews that people can find, especially through Google, is gonna be huge for your business. It does help your SEO because again, it’s through Google. So it’s gonna help your ranking. It shows Google that you’re a very relevant business, and that’s the important thing too, is when you’re engaged in your business, you’re gonna naturally be getting reviews. Also, a lot of people worry about negative reviews, like, well, what happens if I get negative reviews that’s gonna completely crush everything that I’m doing? And as long as you don’t get too many, negative reviews are a really good thing because we all know, we’ve all worked with difficult clients. We know that you can’t please everyone. And so if you go to a business and you’re looking at their reviews and they have nothing but positive reviews, people are actually more likely to not trust that because it doesn’t look real. If you have some negative reviews in there, that’s more trustworthy because it’s more realistic. And then the other thing you can do as a business owner is you can go in and you can respond to those reviews. If someone leaves a horrible review, you can respond to that person. Let them know, Hey, we’d love to work with you. Please reach out to us. We wanna resolve this issue. And everyone reading these reviews also sees that. And they see, hey, he got a negative review, but he wants to work with them. He wants to make it right. And that’s so important with the business because it shows that even when you have difficult clients, you still want to work with them to make it better. So that’s how you can kind of take a negative review, review and turn it into a positive thing.
Matt: That’s awesome. You know, so it’s, if I see that and I’m, I’m the person looking for your services, and I see on there how you responded and, and you handle the situation that’s gonna make me trust you even more, versus a bunch of, “it was great. It was pixie dust in there and I love them.”
Tim: Yeah, because it’s just, you know, anyone can say that. I think it’s during those difficult moments, it really shows what type of operator you are. And I have seen people that respond very negatively there, like business owners that go on and get upset and it’s like that will ruin everything for you. So yeah, that’s what not to do. Be positive, be understanding, and just realize that everyone’s gonna see this so when you do get it, it can impact your business for the long term.
Matt: Nice. So what can PROs do today? Because this is something they can take away from this conversation. How do you get more Google reviews?
Tim: It’s a fantastic question. It’s probably one of the ones that I get asked all the time, how do I get more? I’m not getting any. And the thing that I tell people, which is the simplest thing in the world, is ask. Most people just don’t ask. A lot of business owners expect people to just go and leave business reviews for them. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t really work that way. All of us are busy with our own personal lives and stuff like that, and we’ll forget. So one of the best things that you can do is simply ask. Now there are a lot of different ways that you can ask. If you’re out there servicing it and when you’re finishing up, when you’re collecting payment, anything like that, you can just let them know that, “hey, we thrive on Google reviews. We’re a small business. It helps us out a ton. If you had a great time, please leave one. Here’s the link to it.” You can also set up a really simple email campaign so that way whenever you close out a job and you finish, one of the last emails you send to them is, “Hey, if you had a great time, would you please send it? Please leave a review. And here’s a link to our Google business account. Leave a review there. It helps us out a ton.” And people, especially today, love helping local businesses for sure. So when you tell them that, like, “Hey, we’re a local business and this helps us, this helps us thrive and helps us continue and make sure we’re gonna be here next year.” People want to help local businesses. So make sure you kind of pull on that string a little bit. It goes a long way.
Matt: Nice. So key takeaway there, I think if you’re listening to this, is all about making sure that you are getting people’s email addresses when you, when you make the sale and asking them, “Hey, is it okay if I ask for a Google review afterward?” And if you set them up in the beginning, I think you’re a lot more likely to get something. So great stuff there, Tim. You know, a lot of what we’ve been talking about is, hey, someone is searching for your services online and you show up and hopefully you’re showing up higher on that, that search result, and your competition’s not above you, but you know, How do you know you’re getting the right leads to your business? And I want to use a bit of an analogy here. We know that the PROs that we work with spend a lot of time optimizing their routes to make sure that they’re getting the most efficient route, that they’re not driving all around town, that the windshield time is getting cut down. And I think if you think about your websites you could be sending the wrong people and not optimizing your site, so that way you’re getting the best leads. Can you tell us a little bit about how you make sure that you’re getting the best leads to your site?
Tim: Absolutely. So one of the things that we refer to it as is lead optimization or conversion rate optimization. What you’re looking at doing is ensuring that you get leads that convert, that are relevant to your business, that are also gonna become clients. The last thing you want to do is to be getting a whole bunch of leads through your site that you’re calling and they’re not answering, or you’re reaching out to and you’re not able to engage with them. Or they’re just like a lot of tire kickers, people just looking for information but not looking at it closely. It is wasting a lot of your time and as an operator, your time is insanely valuable. So a lot of the things that I’ve seen that work in the past is, you know, we’ve talked a little bit about SEO, your website, primarily making sure that the content on there is optimal. If it’s vague, if you don’t have a lot of really good content on there, that’s when people are gonna be reaching out. Asking questions, but then probably not getting the right thing because your website was not clear and concise on what you do. So when you’re not able to do that, then people are gonna reach out and try to clarify that. But the other thing too, would say the biggest, one of the things that I have known works really well, especially from a marketing point of view, is when you’re running any, any campaign, whether it’s pushing SEO, blogs, or anything like that to your website, that traffic going there, or if you’re running ads on Google and you’re pushing that to your website, you wanna make sure that everything is connected to each other. One of the things that I’ve always noticed where a lot of people go wrong is they’ll run, you know, an ad on Google for a special that they have at that time of year. People will click on that ad and it will drop them onto the homepage, which says nothing about that special I. Hmm. Now you’ve got someone that’s extremely confused and you’re not optimizing that lead opportunity. What you should be doing is sending them to a specific page on your website that talks more in-depth about that special, maybe has a little bit of video on there, a snippet of you talking about it, and then an easy way for them to convert. We’re gonna get your information, and then we’re gonna reach out with a phone call and we’re gonna get this, this, and this going for you. So I would say that as far as lead optimization goes, most people miss the boat because somewhere along the way there’s a massive disconnect between what they want to happen and what the client’s actually doing. That’s where it becomes very difficult, and that’s where your website really comes back into play as far as it’s not just this billboard in the desert. It’s a marketing tool that’s probably one of your best marketing tools. And it’s the foundation because it’s where everything leads and when everything gets to there, it should have all of its own spots that engage the client specifically on what they’re looking for. Something that you brought up earlier, Matt, was doing a Google search. And having a business come up and see how they could do that. And one of the things that you talked about was the words that you typed into Google. Now this is also important too because a lot of what you can do is if people are looking for “portable toilet rental near me” and your business comes up and they click on it and let’s say you offer, you know, roll-offs and portable toilets and septic and like a myriad of different services and it just drops them on the homepage. Once again, that’s a massive disconnect. What you should be doing is creating content that’s specific to that keyword. And that’s where kind of like the analytics and tracking also comes into play is if you have that software on the back end of your website, you can see who’s coming there, what keywords they’re using to find there, and then you’re able to create content based on those keywords so that they can engage with that. And if they’re able to engage with what they’re looking for, then you’re gonna get a really, really good lead that understands what you do. How you do it and when they’re reaching out, it’s because they want your service, not because they’re confused about what they’re seeing or they’re not able to find what they’re looking for.
Matt: Got it. So it’s all about intent. Are you capturing the intent of what your potential customer is looking for?
Tim: Absolutely. Yeah.
Matt: Nice. Okay. That’s some great takeaways there. I think we’re gonna try to land this plane with one last question. We want, you know, we like to bring on people that give our PROs something juicy. So what is the one thing that you can walk away from today from this conversation put in your business today to crush your competition online? What would it be?
Tim: I would say blogging.
Tim: Blogging. So this is one that always surprises people when I say it, but Google loves content. It loves fresh quality content that’s regularly given to it because that’s honestly what it’s ranking is content. And so what you as a business want to do is you wanna be good friends with Google. You wanna make sure that you two are getting along really well. And the best way to do it is to give it what it wants, which is content. And by doing that, you can create blogs. Now blogging is insanely simple. There’s. Depending on what you read, there’s a lot of different information on blogging, like how you should do it, how many words it should be, what you have to do, and it can get really, really complex. But I would say that you do not have to go that far. You can do a 300-word blog post on a myriad of different things. Like one would be, you know “How to determine how many portable rest restrooms you’ll need for your back backyard wedding.” So, It can be anything about your business. It doesn’t have to be this hugely in-depth blog. I would say, you know, 300 words or more is fantastic. Something that’s more important than how many words it is, is how consistently you’re doing it. So if you’re putting out one blog every two weeks, make sure you’re always doing one blog every two weeks, because Google loves that. It shows that you’re engaged. That’s the important thing. It’s consistency and then quality content that people are looking for. I mean, as long as you can do those two things, 95% of businesses are not doing that. And I would say that that is the thing that most businesses are missing out on. It’s a very easy thing to implement, and it’ll have a massive impact on your SEO as well as the organic traffic that you’re gonna get to your site.
Matt: Got it, man. That’s cool. So you could just write content, which, you know, a lot of PROs don’t have a lot of time. So if there’s someone in your office that maybe likes to do this or you give them a break to do something that tickles a creative side. You know, write about, you know, like, I love what you brought up, “How do I choose the amount of portable toilets I need for my backyard wedding?” In fact, you know what? I’m gonna give our audience something here because I think this is really important. We will, at ServiceCore, write a blog that’s about just that, how to choose how many portable restrooms you need for your backyard, wedding or event. We’re gonna create a template and we’ll link it here on this page, so that way you can download that and start your first blog post. Alright, Tim, well it has been fantastic talking to you. I think that we’ve covered a lot of great topics, and we finally took the magic out of SEO. We know that content is king on Google, that people should be looking for more Google reviews for their business. And that getting into blogging is gonna help you set yourself apart from your competition.
Tim: Thank you so much. I appreciate the conversation. It was wonderful being here.
Matt: Can’t wait to have you back, Tim.