2015 is coming to a close and, if all went well, another successful year for your home services company is in the books. Since most people will spend the next few weeks visiting family, attending holiday parties and popping champagne, you probably don’t have too many jobs lined up, leaving you with plenty of time to strategize for growth in 2016.

When you’re not enjoying delicious meals, exchanging gifts and spending quality time with those you love, use your extra downtime to research new online marketing methods. As the leading home services lead generation and software company, we’ve jotted down a few suggestions to get you started. We like to think of them as New Year’s resolutions!

Shift Over to On-Site Reviews

Positive online reviews are of the utmost importance to home services companies because they A) assure consumers that your services are quality and B) increase your visibility on search engines. If you’re only utilizing third-party review sites like Yelp, you’re missing out on immense SEO opportunity. To get the most out of your reviews in 2016, host them on your own site so search engines recognize the quality of your business and reward you with higher rankings.

Refine your Review Acquisition Processes

Now that you’re directly reaping the SEO benefits of your positive reviews instead of letting a third-party site take all of the credit, it’s time to think about how you’ll convince customers to rate your offerings. Unfortunately, everyone won’t be eager to take the time to share their experiences without a little push. We’ve found the following to be effective:

1) Have your sales team reach out to past customers and ask them to fill out a review. Reward your salespeople in any way you see fit for each review they influence.

2) Offer your customers incentives like gift cards and deals on your services for reviewing your company. When a reward is at stake, you’ll be surprised how many people will take the time to write a quick blurb about their experience.

Learn How to Manage Negative Reviews

With more reviews rolling in, a few are bound to be unfavorable. As undesirable and soul crushing as they are, negative reviews aren’t a death sentence for your company. In addition to adding some legitimacy to your positive ratings, negative reviews present you with an opportunity to improve on your weaknesses and strengthen your connection with your customers. In 2016, make it a priority to respond to the negative reviews in addition to the positive ones. By personally contacting unsatisfied customers and genuinely trying to fix their problems, you’re reassuring them that their voices are heard and that you actually care. As a result, that negativity has a stronger chance of turning into positivity!

For more tips on how to strengthen your home services company’s online marketing efforts and generate more leads in 2016, make sure to read part two next week. If you can’t wait until then, check out our e-book leveraging your online reputation to generate quality lead growth.