STAND APART FROM YOUR COMPETITION! Add video into your reports. Integrate a pop-up glossary over terms. Use digital stationery to create sharp looking reports.

Kevin & Mike from COA Support (http://www.COASupport.com) invited Dominic Maricic from Home Inspector Pro (http://www.HomeInspectorPro.com) talks about Google+, Google Local at Hoot Suite.

I also mentioned Home Owners Network (HON). You guys can sign up for that at http://www.homeownersnetwork.com/

 


Home Inspector Website Optimization Video (SEO) filmed at InterNACHI studios a few years back. Some of the sites referenced in the video may have changed since the filming.
Google has added a new advertising method for a flat $25 a month (which is great as nobody can run up a bill against you by clicking it). The new feature allows you to add a one line tag/ad below your map listing. This draws people's attention right to your map listing. You can advertise a coupon code, special services, etc.

Here's a sample:



This does NOT affect your map ranking or search engine ranking.

If you use it and you get rotated into the first page of the map for areas, it will definitely help out your business by attracting people to your map listing. Right now few people are using it as it just came out. Eventually more and more people will start to use it and it will lose it's affect, but the price is still low enough that 1 job a year pays for it.

First you need to make sure you have added your Google Places listing, or claimed your listing.

Whether you need to claim your listing, or get started on this new advertising method go to http://www.google.com/local/add/businessCenter and login.

Scroll down the page and you'll find an option for "Make your listing stand out on Google"

Select the option for Highlight Your Website

Click Proceed to Billing, Fill out your billing info and start working on your tag! Watch the results carefully. I'd recommend going with each ad for 2 weeks and see how they do. Rotate through a few to find the ones that give you the best results.

When you're done or if you have questions, go to http://www.homeinspectorpro.com/inspector-forum/Search-Engine-Optimization/2563-SEO-TIP-Google-Map-Advertising-Tag/ to the message board thread on this topic. Let us know how it's working for you! I want to hear results!!

Oh, and I guarantee that you guys will start getting calls from companies 'offering' this service to you for $50, $100 or even more per month. Hang up on them!

Now you know, and knowing is half the battle (hmm, sounds familiar).
Time for another SEO/Website Marketing Tip  Grin

How many of you are on Facebook? Who ISN'T? How many booked an inspection in the last month because of Facebook? You haven't! Why not?

Facebook has over 500 MILLION people. 250 million of them log in each day. There's only 300 million people in the US (and 33 million in Canada)!

Facebook is quickly becoming one of the best marketing tools you can have but many inspectors are completely ignoring it. Lets go over some of the advantages of Facebook and some of the ways to use it. If you don't want to, that's up to you, your competition thanks you.

It's FREEeeee (picture guy in green with the $$ all over him shouting)

When a person logs into Facebook they see recent comments by all of their 'Facebook Friends.' The goal here is to get as many clients, potential clients, friends of potential clients and Realtors to be friends with you on Facebook so they see the comments you make on your site.

Each time you post a comment and it is seen by someone, you're reminding them that you're around! You're reminding them that they know a home inspector. This means that if they need an insector, or a friend or family members does, they will remember who you are to refer you. By keeping in constant contact with past/potential clients you keep them from forgetting about you, your name, your website. That's what would normally happen a few months after they hired you. This fact alone will help drive traffic to your site and inspections to you.

Post photos of crazy things you see at inspections and make a few comments on them. Tell people what city you were inspecting in. People like seeing things that they can identify with as being very WRONG. This helps you build a connecting again that will stick out in their mind. This gives people, especially guys a chance to post on your site and further identify with you.

Post some pictures of friends & family and events. Your son hits a home run in baseball, daughter just got accepted to the Navy, dog does something funny, Linas & Bob go to dinner and a movie together (okay, maybe leave that one out). Posting small events gives people, especially women a chance to comment on your post. Each time someone posts on your site you're furthering the connection with them. EVERYONE knows at least a few people who will buy a house over the next year. Past clients are future clients and more importantly, connections to others. You might want to leave out the binge drinking you did over the weekend.

Those of you who are currently on Facebook might have noticed a HUGE source of information that arrives every Sunday night via email... a list of all your Facebook friends who have birthday's it the upcoming week. There's quite a few things you can with this information. For most of your past clients you can send them a postcard. For the past clients that are investors and send you quite a bit of business, send them a Starbucks gift card a birthdary card. For the real estate agents send them a gift basket, chocolate or a card. The last one might be borderline in a few licensed states so make sure it's okay. At the very LEAST you can get on their Facebook page and say HAPPY BIRTHDAY! You'd be surpirsed at what this small gesture can do. How many other inspectors do you think will be doing this?

Are you donating money to a Charity during Breast Cancer month? Post this on your Facebook. What do you think the response is from the Women who see this? Giving a discount to Active Military & Vets around Veterans & Memorial Day, post it.

If you're blogging on your website (which all of you should be doing), write a teaser on Facebook linking to your sites blog.

Post videos!! Facebook allows you to post videos up to 20 minutes long. These can be great ways to grab people's attention if done right.

Now, the next big secret for those of you who are still with me. Facebook not only allows you to post a 'Like' button on your website, but more importantly allows you to post a list of "common friends" betwen you and the site visitor. What do you think the reaction is when John Smith, first time home buyer logs onto your site and see's that his buddies, Larry, Moe & Curly
are ALREADY friends with you? They're going to realize that you've probably done inspections for them. They're probably going to contact their friends and get a review of you. This connection will guarantee you jobs. Gone are the days where you just have agents referring you, you will have friends referring you without even knowing they're doing it!

There's a lot more that you can do with Facebook, but this should get you guys started. So if you don't have an account, go to http://www.facebook.com and get one. Once you do, make sure to go to http://www.facebook.com/HomeInspectorProSoftware and be my Friend Wink
Google has released a new tool to allow you to connect with you Google Map listings, improve them and help bring you more business.

Last year I told everyone how to make sure you were listed on Google, Yahoo & MSN's local business listings. If you haven't already done this and verified your account, read the article here: http://www.homeinspectorpro.com/Search-Engine-Optimization-For-Home-Inspectors/Google-Yahoo-&-MSN-Business-Listings.html to get yourself listed first.

Google now allows all of us to get statistics based on these listings! Go to http://www.google.com/lbc and log in with your Google username and password. If you don't have one, you need to claim your site by following the article above and create an account at the same time.

Now for the fun stuff, once you're logged in.

The first thing you see is a graph of the last month showing Impressions and Actions.

Impressions are how many times your site was shown in the Google Map area in. You're given the overall count for the month (for a comparison our site was shown 1837 times in the last 30 days). This is an important number as it lets you know how active your area is for the searches you're targeting and how often you're showing up.

Actions are how many times somebody actually clicked on something to do with your map listing. This could be them clicking on the link to your website, a link to more information about your company or driving directions to your site. I don't know who it is that wants to come visit me be 35 people got directions to drive to our office in the last 30 days, 40 clicked to see our website and 14 wanted more information on our business. This makes sense as we have had quite a few calls in the lately for people asking for a home inspector. I guess they don't realize the business name says software. I just give the names of some of our local users.

For you, actions are very important. They show the conversion rate of the number of times your site is showing in the maps versus the number of clicks. I would expect your Actions numbers to be much higher than mine (people don't look for software in rancho cucamonga, ca but they are looking for home inspectors in your cities).

There are several changes you can make to your Google maps listing. Make a few changes, watch your Actions and Impressions for the next month, then make changes again to try and improve them.

Google also displays the keywords that your listing is appearing for. This is important and I'd like to hear what words your sites are being listed for. This is a great way to finally find out if Google Maps is properly locking into search terms for home inspectors. Most of the terms our site came up on the maps for had to do with home inspections or house rentals (remember they have to be searching the local area for your site to even appear in the maps).

Along the top you can also click on Coupons and add a coupon. Even if it's a $20 off coupon, or a coupon just for seniors and military personnel, it's an extra reason for people to click on your Google Map listing.

On the top right Your Business Info is listed as Google knows it. For me , it showed my information was 82% complete. Since I filled everything out in the past , they must have added more. I'm assuming most of you will be in the same boat. Click the Edit button to complete your profile.

Add a photo to your info of yourself and your business info. This will help you connect and differentiate yourself from your potential client.

If you've added video testimonials to your site like Ben suggested recently, you probably uploaded them via YouTube. Add your YouTube video to your listing to really draw people in.

Make sure to list your business hours. The fact you inspect on a Saturday or Sunday might be the deciding factor to someone.

Make sure to pick the categories closest to home inspections (more than likely real estate).

Watch the video here for more information: http://maps.google.com/support/bin/static.py?hl=en&page=guide.cs&guide=21029

So, lets hear it! How many times has your listing been shown, been clicked on, and what phrases are your sites appearing for?

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