A couple weeks ago, we posted about some of our favorite small business friendly apps that we have used to help grow our business. We hope you got the chance to download and start using some! We shared about becoming a 'Top Pro' on our favorite lead-generating app, Thumbtack, and one of our sweet clients requested we blog about tips for how to be successful on the app! So, we're doing just that :)
When just starting out with your new business, thinking about affordable ways to generate business and market yourself can be very stressful. We've found Thumbtack to be so helpful because it literally matches you with potential customers looking for the exact service you offer for a pretty small fee! Talk about jumping right into your target market! For anyone who may have missed our previous posts, Thumbtack is "an online service that matches customers with local professionals." Currently, Thumbtack lists 1,100 types of services in categories such as home, wellness, events, lessons, design, and more!
Here's how it works: (per Thumbtack)
Customers come to Thumbtack to find local professionals.
They need to hire someone for a project – like a kitchen renovation, a wedding or pretty much anything. We ask them specific questions, and they ask us to find local professionals to help.
Thumbtack sends you (The Professional) those warm leads.
When you sign up with Thumbtack, you tell us what you’re looking for – how far you want to travel, what projects you can work on, and when you’re available. Then we match you with customers that fit. We’ll send you the customer’s project description – we call it a request.
Pros send quotes.
You set your specific budget for each service you offer. You send unlimited quotes to whatever jobs suit you.
You are only charged if the customer reaches out to you. This is beneficial because you can reach more people, but aren’t being charged if a customer doesn’t choose you.
Customers review pros’ quotes.
They’ll look through everyone’s prices, profiles and reviews and either hire someone right then or send a message for more info. You can email or text back to finalize the details of a job. And once you’re hired, we’ll ask the customer to review you.
It's that easy! Now, here's how to stand out above the rest and ensure you are the professional that gets hired over competition:
1. Spend the time to make your profile unique. While it certainly takes time to fill out your profile, upload pictures of your work, and write out your quote templates, trust us, it is worth your every effort! Businesses with profiles that are not completely filled out and are missing a portfolio will be the first to be thrown out when your potential customer is deciding between you and your competition - it looks unprofessional and like the pro lacks experience. Be thoughtful in your 'About Me' section and stay true to who you are and what your business represents so that you're attracting the clients you truly mean to. Lastly, the app provides several questions for you to fill out that explain more about your business and your story. You don't have to fill all of them out but pick a few that you really want to answer well and do so.
2. Reply QUICKLY and FOLLOW UP to any and all requests you think you'd be a good fit for; the quicker you reply, the faster your potential customer will be seeing your profile. Start a conversation and get talking about how you can get your lead exactly what they need. Utilize the Quote Template feature to help reply quickly but don't forget to add a personal touch to each quote - you'll want to avoid sounding too automated and impersonal so add in their name and anything else you can pull in from their request. After your potential lead has viewed your quote, don't be afraid to send a follow up message. We follow a rule of waiting no more than 24 hours after a customer has viewed our quote to follow up if we haven't heard back from them. Since Thumbtack is a phone app, they'll likely get a notification buzz which may remind/encourage them to get going on their project(s), i.e. hiring someone like you to get the job done!
3. Don't get discouraged. On average, pros send ten quotes before getting their first hire. Thumbtack is still a pretty new service and definitely a new way of finding qualified professionals. We've found that often times this is the potential customer's first time using Thumbtack to search for a professional which sometimes leads to your quote being unseen. Don't get discouraged when this happens, Thumbtack will refund your quote credits if your quote goes unseen by the potential lead. Take those credits and keep on quoting! It's also easy to get discouraged about the cost you are spending to gain a client, so it's important to think about your return on investment. The saying goes you have to spend money to make money and yes, it may cost more in the beginning to gain clients via Thumbtack but once you're an established pro with a number of reviews, your ratio of how many quotes you send vs. how many clients you gain will improve.
4. Ask every (positive) customer for a review. Woo hoo - you received a request, you quoted, you got hired and the project went off without a hitch. Now what? Ask your client for a review and make sure they mark you as "hired"! The more positive reviews and times hired you have on your profile the better, for the obvious reason that your potential leads can see that you have completed job(s) that have satisfied past customers. You can also ask clients outside of Thumbtack to review you on the app as well but note that the app only shows your 10 most recent non-Thumbtack client reviews so what you're really after are reviews from Thumbtack clients.
Additional bonus: the more 5 star reviews you have, the better chance you'll have to become a "Thumbtack Top Pro". We earned our badge for the second year in a row with 34 five star reviews. After getting "Top Pro", Thumbtack gives you links to display the badge on your website! Our goal for 2018 is to get to 50! Only 4% of professionals make it to Top Pro so it's definitely an honor. The criteria for making Top Pro include maintaining an average of a 4.8 rating, having 5+ verified reviews (meaning the clients came through Thumbtack), and being marked as "hired" 10+ times.
We couldn't be more thrilled with the business Thumbtack has brought us - we've met so many amazing people with unique businesses and have had the opportunity to work on so many cool projects that we wouldn't have had otherwise. We hope you take the leap and try the app out yourself! Come back and share with us how your experience goes!
Happy Business Building!