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The Sharpest Tool™

Google Part 2 | How to Reach Your Ideal Clients through New Technology

Tatiana Schafer, Strategic Partnerships Manager for Google, and Vanessa Villa, LSA Manager for Scorpion, discuss advances in the Google Local Services Ads and how they can drive growth for home services businesses.

Speaker 1 (00:08):

[inaudible]

Josh Smith (00:09):

Hello everyone. Welcome back to the sharpest tool where we take the sting out of marketing. My name is Josh and I'm back here. Totally thrilled for part two of our podcast with Tatiana Schaefer of Google. Tatiana is a strategic partnerships manager. She's here with us to discuss advances in the Google local services ads, and how they can drive growth for home service businesses. And we also have our very own Vanessa Villa, who is our resident LSA manager here at scorpion. We'll be talking about the importance of bidding booking and dispute resolution. So ladies, welcome back to the sharpest tool.

Tatiana Schafer (00:43):

It's good to

Josh Smith (00:43):

Have ya. All right. Let's dive right into it. First. Let's talk about the application process for LSAs any advancements that have been made. What does the application process entailed? How does a business owner go from not being in Google LSAs to now being able to take advantage of that great product?

Tatiana Schafer (00:59):

Yeah. T to help customers feel really confident when booking a provider through LSAs. As I mentioned in part one, a businesses must pass Google screening and qualification process for their business category. Um, the screening process is free for businesses who want to participate and it varies by category, but may include things like licenses, insurance, background checks, and advanced verification. And I will say it takes a while. The average onboarding time for an advertiser is one to four weeks at a minimum. Um, but it's really due to the rigorous background checks, um, because we're screening, um, and can take up to three months at the longest.

Josh Smith (01:38):

Yeah, I know the background checks are always a testy topic for a lot of home service businesses, especially because I remember when these first launched the background check companies were just flooded with, uh, these requests. And so that kind of fed into the length of time. And then there were very specific requirements that needed to be met in order for everything to be kept in line. You know, you often, it wasn't uncommon to see, um, somebody misspelled a business name on submitting one of the checks, and then we're expecting 10 and we got nine, you know, there's a whole host of things that businesses have to work through. So Vanessa, tell us a little bit about the background checks. How do they work? Exactly.

Vanessa Villa (02:20):

Yeah. So I would say like, you know, we mentioned this is the screening process, so this is the bulk of it. This is kind of where, um, the, it goes out to the providers, making sure that they're screened correctly, which means background checks. So, uh, business owners that advertise directly with Google will undergo background checks with a third party that Google has vetted themselves, um, to make sure that they're, you know, legit and that they partner with their partnering with Google, that they're also vetted, uh, the background checking ball's identity and criminal history checks like crosschecks against natural assesses sex offenders and terrorists are sanctioned registries in the us. Um, and then the company actually goes through a background check and that provides that process includes civil litigation, history like judgements and liens from the federal and state courts in the U S um, the background checks are done through two different vendors, uh, pink and Pinkerton, I'm sorry, investigative services or evidence. Those are both of the partners that have been vetted by Google to do those background checks for you guys. Uh, Google does not have visibility into the background check results of these individuals, if those large number of questions that we get from our clients and our providers like, Hey, where's my information going? I don't want Google to sell it. It doesn't work that way. So businesses should contact their local background check companies if they ever have any questions specific to their background checks

Josh Smith (03:38):

Understood. Now, why is it so important? Do you think to work with a premier partner specifically for the application process?

Vanessa Villa (03:45):

Well, suburbian has an immense background check, uh, like experience in LSA and, and it has the dedicated, Google support, like we said, in our part when we kind of have the red phone into Google, so they really help us kind of guide those, those scary moments for the providers or the clients and this background check process. So they really help us do that.

Josh Smith (04:06):

Yeah. So, all right. So LSAs, w we talked a little bit about, about this on episode one episode two beginning here, like it started off in this world of what they call the HSHS, and then it kind of evolved the name evolved into the LSA name. Um, so let's talk about the changes that we've seen in LSA. Specifically it start with bidding. What changes have we seen with LSA bidding over the years?

Tatiana Schafer (04:28):

Yeah. And, uh, November of 2020 Google began offering bidding on LSAs for home services companies and law firms nationwide giving business owners greater ability to manage their marketing budgets, um, and much like traditional paid search ads. LSAs as a result, give business owners the option to place ads via an auction based pricing system. Um, the higher you bid the greater, the likelihood that your ads will be seen by the maximum number of potential customers or clients. Um, Google offers two types of bidding, the maximize leads and set max per lead. Um, the max leads option gives Google the ability to choose your bid based on competition in the market and set max per lead allows business owners to sub the amount of money that they're willing to spend on a single lead. Um, so as you can see a very customizable approach that you can fully manage and calibrate as needed on an ongoing basis.

Vanessa Villa (05:21):

Right? Right. And then to kind of top it off, scorpion also has some more customizable approaches to LSA for our clients to take it to the next level. If a business wants to maximize the performance and the ROI of their LSA, scorpions, bidding strategy and marketing technology kind of make that happen for them, our system automatically builds an employee strategy that maximizes your budget on the platform, bringing those business owners into a new kind of intelligent, intelligent growth for their business.

Josh Smith (05:51):

Yeah. I think that's so important to take away too, you know, Tatiana, you mentioned machine learning when we were introducing Google on part one and here we're seeing it come up again, intelligent growth machine learning, artificial intelligence, Skynet is taking over the world apparently. Um, but when it comes to marketing and business technology solutions, I think that's a really important thing to kind of, uh, use in terms of your vetting process you're as you're invading tech or you're vetting technology, uh, for your business, um, because things have gotten so complex in the marketing space, especially for small business owners, the, the marketplace is noisier than ever we've become brand agnostic. So to speak just because we've been so exposed to so many brands in the space. So being able to take a look at, um, first off your business operation, seeing how the seasons ebb and flow, because every business has got seasonality and your customers are constantly moving up and down their funnel.

Josh Smith (06:44):

They're going to be in different places of where they're at in terms of their intentionality. And so I think it's really important to start vetting and looking at technology that helps you understand and get a bigger picture of what your customer looks like, how they move about their day on and offline, where they hang out and help you understand where the smartest investments are. So you can get in front of your customers when they need you. So I think it's a really important thing just to kind of tease out a little bit there too. Um, so let's transition over to booking feature. I know the booking features hot topic right now. I was just watching, uh, a wonderful video scorpion dead, um, on social media, just announcing this, this awesome feature. Um, what changes have we seen with respect to this, uh, is obviously a new feature. Tell us a little bit about that, Tatiana.

Tatiana Schafer (07:28):

Yeah. I'll give you the background then pass it on to Vanessa. Um, as, as you may all already know, consumers can book a consultation easily anytime from their mobile devices, by clicking on the schedule button, um, and then completing their booking in one sitting, um, they can see the provider's availability select the time windows that fit their schedule. See the estimate upfront, um, if any, see notes that providers left for them. And after finishing the booking consumers receive a confirmation email with all of the details, um, on the provider side, there are less opportunities for, um, for you as a provider to miss a potential customer. So you can manage see all the bookings, like I said, in one place. Uh, and most importantly, you don't have to rely on only receiving phone leads. Um, you can choose to spend more time on the actual appointments, um, hopefully instead of answering phone calls.

Josh Smith (08:19):

Yeah. And I think that's important too. It's just teeing back into something that you mentioned. There are less opportunities to miss, uh, potential customers. Customers have shown a preference to communicate with businesses and transact with businesses in the way they want when they want using whatever tools they want. And so it's so important as a business owner to make sure you're in front of all those avenues. So you don't leave any customers hanging. I can't tell you how many times we dive into, for example, Facebook accounts with small businesses and because a business isn't, so isn't daily connected into their Facebook account. They miss out on opportunities from clients who message them through their business page. And there's, there's this opportunities bound in different ways. And so making sure you have tools employed to be able to in front of be in front of all those opportunities for your customers is, is powerful. Um, you know, Vanessa, how does this directly impact lead generation for our clients from scorpions perspective?

Vanessa Villa (09:11):

Right? So basically it just simplifies the booking process. So it should minimize any lead drop-off and it actually increases engagement with your customers. Um, but remember you need to have the Google guarantee bad in order for this booking feature to work.

Josh Smith (09:25):

Yeah. Kim, can providers use our current CRM software system to utilize the new booking feature?

Vanessa Villa (09:31):

Uh, no, but there are a few partners CRMs that are eligible for this feature and scorpion is when

Josh Smith (09:38):

That's cool. Awesome. Well, that's good to know. Yeah. Cause that's definitely something from a workflow perspective that especially home service businesses who are using software and tools and technology to manage your customer database, really making sure it's, it's keyed into as few places as possible, just streamline the operation. Um, I love that. So dispute resolution, I know there's a big talk about like, well, if I get a lead and I don't have it, like how does disputing, uh, leads and resolving that, um, that a potential issue for a business? How does that work through Scorpion's client management system?

Vanessa Villa (10:10):

Right. So this is actually something pretty new that we've integrated with our systems. Um, the grading system for these and the scorpion client management system has been adapted to include the option to mark the lead for a dispute. Um, the options you see will appear in the, in the categorization that it falls under for Google's accepted reasons to dispute, um, our, our clients, any third party organization that they employed to grade and categorize these leads now can simultaneously categorize an LSA lead and submit it to scorpions dedicated LSA team. My team do them with Google directly. So this separates scorpion from any other agencies that we have, uh, that we are running. So we built into the system that allows our clients interact with LSAs without leaving our client's scorpion system. Um, they don't need to navigate into the local ads platform to do this. They can just do it on one easy convenient place. One-stop-shop categorize their leads, dispute, LSA leads by they're in there. So this has made it really easy for, um, uh, our unique relationship with Google and they've made this possible.

Josh Smith (11:15):

That's incredible. I know that I know how cumbersome it's been in the past for some business owners where they have, they're like running their leads through their dashboard, taking a look at leads, classifying leads, seeing who's a new business, a new potential business versus a repeat customer, so on and so forth. And then they come across this LSA recorded, lead that they're listening to. And they're like, oh, that wasn't like the viable or it's outside our service area that we have marked in our LSA thing. And then you have to go to another platform to now go in and then, uh, report that, uh, and dispute it. And B it was this whole process, that extra steps in the day. And so, so all of this can now happen in the tools that scorpions providing right Vanessa?

Vanessa Villa (11:56):

Yes, definitely. Um, yeah. So as far as what the future holds, um, we're always working with Google to work on a complete integration with a scorpion. So anything LSA related that Google will be able to display for for the, through the LSA platform or even the onboarding process we're working to get that integrated with scorpion system. So hopefully in the near future, that'll be something that'll be very, very streamlined.

Tatiana Schafer (12:26):

And I love it when NASA and on our side, of course, we're always rolling out new verticals, new geographies, new features, as I said in the beginning change is the only constant. So we're definitely focused on making this product better and better. And as a Google premier partner, scorpion is the first to know all of these updates. Um, so make sure that if you're not, you're talking to your scorpion rep, um, as this is a specific benefit of working with a Google premier partner focusing. So specifically also on LSA is as scorpion has. Cool.

Josh Smith (13:01):

I love that. Yeah. I love that. Now to wrap this up, do you guys have any final advice for the homes and those in the home services industry who want to have a stronger online local presence? Vanessa, go ahead and give me your thoughts for,

Vanessa Villa (13:15):

Um, if you're not an LSA, you should be, uh, I encourage you to please please talk to your scorpion representative. You haven't yet. Um, you can ask questions about some of the things that we went over today, um, leverage our expertise. Um, like, you know, Josh said, we have a team here dedicated for the onboarding process. We've been doing this for at least I've been doing this for almost three years. So anything, any kind of question that you have to throw at us? We probably have an answer for it. If we don't, we can definitely talk to Google for you.

Josh Smith (13:44):

Awesome. And Tatiana, what about you? Any, any advice for home service industries?

Tatiana Schafer (13:49):

Yeah. I'll give you some additional tips, a bit of a laundry list, but these are all things that you can do right now. The first is the three RS love the acronyms or radius reviews and responsiveness. So add in all of the relevant zip codes you serve, ask for reviews on every job that you do and answer as many calls requests as you can, um, add all of the relevant job types and verticals so that you're showing up in the results that matter for you. Um, highlight your differentiators, for example, are you family owned, BBB approved? There's so many things out there. Um, upload photos of your team, examples of the jobs that you're doing, um, based your budget on the amount of new calls you want to receive, um, and always stay in the know and, and try new features. And I'll second what Vanessa said, definitely talk to your scorpion team. Um, in addition to all of these things, cause it's a lot and you can't do it all yourself. As we said from the beginning,

Josh Smith (14:46):

Every business owner is wearing multiple hats these days. So Tatiana, Vanessa, this has been so fun, so awesome to have you on the sharpest tool podcast, Tatyana for you specifically, where can listeners learn more about to, or follow everything that you're doing at Google?

Tatiana Schafer (14:59):

Yeah. Go to LinkedIn, Tatiana Schaffer. Find me friend me. I'm happy to connect

Josh Smith (15:06):

Short, sweet to the point. I love it. Thank you ladies so much for your time. I really appreciate having you on and for everybody listening, wherever you might be listening at, definitely hit that like button and give that subscribe button a nice little pound share this video around or this podcast episode around to those who might need to hear it. You might have some friends in the home services industry that is really confused about LSA is maybe they've had a hard time navigating how to understand LSAs and all the changes that are constantly being thrown at them. Scorpion's here to help. Please reach out if you have any questions otherwise until next time we'll talk to you soon.

Speaker 1 (15:45):

[inaudible].

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