RepEquity® Blog: Digital Brand Management Distilled

Home Service Companies: Are Your Competitors Stealing Your Business?

In the race to capture attention and win new business, companies that get in front of customers first are often the ones that close deals. But what if you’re a small business competing with larger enterprises – is it still possible to reach customers before the big corporations do?


If anything, thanks to digital marketing tools such as Google’s new Home Service Ads, it’s easier than ever for small businesses to level the playing field. In our new eBook, “Are Your Competitors Stealing Your Business?” the RepEquity team outlines four strategies to make sure your small business marketing efforts are beating out the competition and bringing in new revenue.

We’ve done the research on how home service customers in the digital age are interacting with companies, and the facts are compelling. For example, most of us won’t be surprised to know that 89% of consumers start looking for a service or product by doing a web search. But how about the fact that 60% of people don’t even look past the first four listings on Google Search? This information underscores the need to secure a spot at the top of Google’s search results.

The writing’s on the wall. Digital is the best way for small companies to reach consumers where they’re at, in a way they respond to. But we know the digital ecosystem is large and complex and it’s often difficult to know where to start. From leveraging local search and online reviews to creating a consistent brand experience across your website, social, and paid advertising efforts, there’s a lot to figure out.

That’s why we’re here.

Download “Are Your Competitors Stealing Your Business?” and start attracting new customers today.



5 Lessons I Learned at My RepEquity Internship


As a junior in college, panicking that my time in school was half way done, it only seemed logical to start the process of entering the real world and interviewing for a summer internship. After learning about RepEquity, I knew they were my perfect match.  The company is high-energy, incredibly knowledgeable and diverse, and provides a close team environment. Honestly, what more could I ask for in my first summer internship? Here are some important lessons I’ve learned while working at RepEquity:

1. Every Task is a Learning Opportunity (Cliché, I know)

It’s really no secret that interns don’t always receive the most glamorous projects to work on, but I found that regardless of the project, there’s always a chance to learn something new. Working with different teams helped me learn so much about content writing, SEO, account management, and more.

2. So. Many. Tools.

I can honestly say I was surprised by how many tools the Account Managers use in order to assist their clients. They utilize Sysomos, Google AdWords & Analytics, Drupal, WordPress, HubSpot, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and many more to manage their clients’ needs. Being able to dive in and learn about each of these tools from an agency perspective taught me a lot about what clients and consumers want.

3. Every Project Offers a Chance for Branding

Interning at a company that specializes in managing online reputations, it’s no surprise that there was a focus on taking every opportunity to present your best self. Whether it’s mirroring your clients’ tone when creating content or making the decision to use red staples over normal staples for client material, each task that we completed showed me that attention to detail and keeping the brand in mind are essential to overall success.

4. Always Ask Questions

There’s definitely a learning curve when entering a new job, especially when there seems to be a new lingo that comes along with it. When in doubt, I found it was always best to just ask for help. RepEquity employs industry experts who love what they do and are top-notch teachers. They taught me to ask away. Not only does asking questions allow more clarity and present teachable moments, but it also fosters far more efficiency.

5. Have Fun

RepEquity embodies a work hard play hard atmosphere. When you spend so much time at work, it’simportant to remember to enjoy the ride. From Bono-fying an employee’s office (with 600 photos of Bono), to lunches with all members of the team, and of course Beer Cart Fridays, RepEquity constantly reminds employees to relax and enjoy their time.


A Digital Summer: My Internship at RepEquity


I had no idea what to expect when the opportunity for a summer internship at one of the fastest growing companies on the east coast presented itself. Three months later, I have not only gained critical experience to keep up with the digital age, but I’ve also learned an array of life skills that will carry on to future positions.

I was familiar with intern horror stories, and I anticipated that my work environment would consist of small spaces (a closet with a mop and laptop). However, I was happy to see an open workspace, where all the teams – including the tech team, the content team, and the account management team – worked as one productive unit.

After being introduced to my new coworkers, each team shared what they do and how their work contributes to RepEquity’s digital harmony. This gave me an inside view into how it all works behind the scenes, and allowed me to gain an understanding of how I’d eventually help with a variety of tasks.

On the second day of my internship, I found myself on a charter bus to see the Blue Angels perform in Annapolis, an annual event for RepEquity. It truly was an amazing experience, and this retreat was just one of the many ways that the company promotes team building and a familial atmosphere. From the Friday beer cart to office pranks, it’s the little things that add up to a comfortable and collaborative work environment.

I learned a lot this summer through hands-on work. I updated WordPress and Drupal sites for clients, and I created fresh, new content to keep sites up to date and help rankings on Google. I enjoyed the digital work I was doing, and I even became Google AdWords Certified thanks to the Paid Search team. Finally, I had the opportunity to work closely with management on smaller projects throughout the office, giving me insight to all aspects of the company.

The skills I acquired this summer, whether on the technical side or practical side, will go a long way. I feel confident in my abilities to take on future tasks or projects, and the time management skills I picked up will certainly help me prioritize assignments and extracurricular activities next semester.

Although I’ll miss the fully stocked snack cabinet, numerous office pranks, and my coworkers, I’m excited to get back to school and see how my summer experience will help shape my future.

Google Launches Home Service Ads

An Easier Way to Connect with Qualified Home Service Professionals in Your Area

Move over Yelp. Google is making it easier than ever to find certified home service professionals with their new advertising product — Home Service Ads. Home Service Ads are paid search listings shown above the organic results, meant to make booking a professional easy, while also bringing peace of mind.

In order to qualify, Google requires the home service professionals to undergo multiple screenings, including a background check, license checks, interviews, online reputation checks, and mystery shopping. This shows that Google wants users to be comfortable with the service that they choose, but it also gives the search giant confidence when they recommend a service. A beta test for these new paid search listings launched in the San Francisco market for plumber and locksmith services. The beta is currently only available for desktops.

What Do The Ads Look Like?

Based on a user’s search query, Google will display three listings for certified professionals at the top of the search results page if it thinks a user is trying to find a provider. You can click on a listing to show a page similar to Google’s local listing results page. It showcases a brief description, hours, phone number, and new information – like the background check and license information. If you click an individual’s profile, you can contact them directly or use the ‘Send Request’ button.


You can also expand the results to view a total of seven providers, and you have the option of sending a request to up to three of them.


Once a user submits a request, Google sends the information to the desired professionals. If a request is denied or unanswered after one business day, Google will email you to let you know, and will also include any notes from the professional as to why. Once a job is finished, Google will send an email to rate and review the business. Reviews can only be submitted by users who contacted and hired a professional through the Google home service ads. Google states that this is to confirm the legitimacy of the reviews and ensure that they “remain helpful.”

How Do They Differ From Traditional Google Ads?

The new ad listings differ from traditional ads in the following ways:

  • They allow you to contact up to three qualified home service professionals directly from the search results page, saving time and hassle. This is especially helpful if someone has a home service emergency.
  • Detailed information about the service provider is included in a profile directly on the results page. Traditional ads click through to websites, which means the user will have to spend additional time finding and comparing multiple providers.
  • All professionals appearing in home service ads go through a screening process, by Pinkerton Consulting and Investigations, Inc., a third-party risk management and security company. You can learn more here.
  • They cannot pay to be ranked higher within the ad unit. It is still unclear exactly how each professional is ranked or how the ad auction works, however Google aims to have more details to share later this summer.

So What Does This Mean?

Home service ads are quite a game changer. If the ads prove to be successful and move into other service areas and cities, it could be very necessary for local businesses and professionals to advertise in this space. These new ads will also, of course, have an impact on public companies like Yelp, whose organic visibility will suffer from the added home services ad unit. Our team will keep you posted.

For more insights on marketing trends, be sure to follow RepEquity on Google+Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting (A Content Strategy)

If content is king, then content strategy just might be the kingmaker. While everyone understands what a writer does, not many can explain exactly what a content strategist does.

It’s quite simple, really.

A content strategist plans for the creation, location, and governance of your brand’s content. Content strategy is big picture thinking + all-star writing. It’s a process that guides every website redesign, and something my team has the privilege of doing on a daily basis.

Content strategy is far from cookie cutter; the approach may vary from strategist to strategist and even from project to project. But there are some common deliverables that, as a client, you can expect to see throughout the content strategy process. Once you wipe the blood, sweat, and tears off of these documents, here’s what you’ll find.

Taking Stock with a Content Audit

As the old saying goes, you can’t know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been.  Content audits tell you where you’ve been. We typically begin the process with a website crawl that dumps all of your existing website’s URLs into a massive Excel document, along with inlinks, page level, and word count information. We layer traffic metrics into the document to better weight the importance of each page. This crawl allows us to glean some crucial insight into how your site is structured and which content items are most important to users.

Once we review the crawl results, we start to build the content audit. This manual process involves going through your website, page by page, and listing the URL, page name, page topic, and any details that catch our eye. A content audit is the best way to kick off a content strategy engagement, as it allows the content strategist to learn about the client’s business.

The content audit gets us thinking about essential content questions such as:

  • What information do we have that users want?
  • What information are we missing that users want?
  • What information do we have that users don’t want?
  • What information are we repeating in multiple places? What can we cut?
  • Is there information we have that should be repeated in other places?

Getting Organized with a Content Hierarchy

Another common content strategy deliverable is the content hierarchy. We build this once we know what content you have and what content you need (based on discovery research).

While not all content strategists use this deliverable, we find that it can be a helpful way to work toward defining next steps in the information architecture (IA) and user interface (UI) processes.

A content hierarchy shows you how your specific content should be prioritized, and it’s the first step toward organizing your content. We structure this document around top tasks and methods, and tie these to business objectives.

Here’s an example of a simple content hierarchy, with content that needs to be created highlighted in red:

Content Table

Moving Forward with Content Recommendations

We often like to fold our content recommendations into an executive summary that speaks to what we’ve learned throughout our engagement. We might begin with a review of our discovery research – interviews and competitive analysis figure prominently in this stage.

We outline the situation you face and define opportunities that we see for your brand. We review what we learned from the content audit, restate the business priorities for your project, and discuss the ways in which these business objectives inform the content hierarchy.

Then we move to the content recommendations. These are the key pieces of content that will help your brand accomplish its goals, so it’s hard to overstate the importance of this deliverable.

Executing the Strategy in a Copy Document

As a writer, I get excited about this final deliverable. This is the big, fat copy document that serves as the culmination of all of our learning, planning, and organization.

We structure the copy for this deliverable after the site map, which is informed by the content audit, content hierarchy, content recommendations, and information architecture. When we write copy for your website, we do so with a solid understanding of both your customers and your business goals.

We always create your site copy with web writing best practices in mind. This means that the writing is clear, concise, engaging, easy to scan, and written in the appropriate brand voice.

As soon as we have a draft ready to go, we share it with you (the client) for feedback. We want to make sure your brand is represented the way you want it to be, so this step is critical. Once you’ve had a chance to review the copy, we incorporate your edits and deliver a final copy document to our developers to plug in to your beautiful new website.

Content Strategy: The Blueprint for Your Brand’s Success

There’s so much noise and clutter online, and things change in the blink of a page refresh. But with a strong content strategy in place, you can feel confident that your brand will prevail. Your content will be leaner and smarter, trimmed of the dead ends and insignificant pages that waste time and frustrate users.

Your content and messaging will be carefully designed to capture your audience’s attention and convince them to stay awhile. Your new website will draw them in and guide them toward conversion. And what is it that draws them in and guides them along? It’s content – the king in the room.

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