A Few Tips When Advertising on Angie's List

Posted by David Chism | Tue, Feb 3, 2015

 A Few Tips When Advertising on Angie's List

A Lit­tle Background

When Ang­ie’s List start­ed back in 1995, it was a time when the inter­net was just begin­ning to become a fix­ture in homes. Con­sumers paid an annu­al mem­ber­ship fee to access a list of con­trac­tors that had been eval­u­at­ed by its mem­ber­ship. It was an excel­lent concept.

I was not real­ly intro­duced to Ang­ie’s List as a con­trac­tor until I was work­ing for my dad’s paint­ing busi­ness fif­teen years ago. Even ear­ly on, I did not get many, if any calls about how to get on the list. I just fig­ured the only way on the list was if a con­sumer used our ser­vices and wrote a report about his or her experience.

Fea­ture Your Company

Then, out of the blue, it seemed Ang­ie’s List real­ly took off! Con­trac­tors start­ed get­ting calls from sales­peo­ple explain­ing they had a cou­ple good reports on the list and won­dered if they want­ed to con­sid­er fea­tur­ing their com­pa­ny” to help more Ang­ie’s List mem­bers see those great reports. Sounds great, right? We all won­dered, What does fea­tured mean?” Was it free? NOPE. The word fea­ture” is a term Ang­ie’s List con­tin­ues to use to replace the com­mon word we all know as adver­tise.”

Tips Before Adver­tis­ing on Ang­ie’s List

Adver­tis­ing on Ang­ie’s List can, in many cas­es, be a very effec­tive strat­e­gy for your con­tract­ing com­pa­ny. The key­word here is can.” Before you sign a con­tract, here are a few tips to think about.

  • Review the cur­rent list: Ask your rep to review the active list. You can get a guest pass to review what con­sumers see. This is gold­en before decid­ing to adver­tise. You can see who the top rat­ed com­peti­tors are on the list, or check out your com­pa­ny’s stats.
  • Check how many reviews the top 5 com­pa­nies have on the list: If the top-rat­ed con­trac­tors have more reviews (i.e. reports) than you, this could be a prob­lem. It depends on how much effort it will take to get you more reviews. Let’s say the top com­pa­nies have 35 – 75 reports on inte­ri­or paint­ing and you have 5 total reports. Chances are, a con­sumer review­ing Ang­ie’s List will tend to select more top rat­ed com­pa­nies. So if you are 30+ reviews behind on the list when you signed up to fea­ture your com­pa­ny, a con­sumer will prob­a­bly still hire the com­pa­nies with more reports than you. Now they might call and get a bid from you, but the more reports you have, the better!
  • Work on Get­ting more reports: If you real­ly want Ang­ie’s List to work for you, be patient. Spend some time build­ing up your reports on the list. Ask your cus­tomers to join Ang­ie’s List and write up a review of their expe­ri­ence. I have had a num­ber of con­trac­tors slow­ly build their rep­u­ta­tion on Ang­ie’s List, and it has def­i­nite­ly paid off. They get lots of qual­i­fied leads, but it did not hap­pen overnight. In many cas­es, it has tak­en years. Those who have had the most suc­cess start­ed on Ang­ie’s List when their ser­vice area was not so sat­u­rat­ed with con­trac­tors as well. 
  • Review your geolo­ca­tion and demo­graph­ic care­ful­ly: If you are using a Cus­tomer Rela­tion­ship Man­age­ment pro­gram (CRM) then run a report to deter­mine where most of your jobs are com­ing from and how much rev­enue you’ve col­lect­ed from those areas. Don’t guess on this! Ang­ie’s List pro­vides adver­tis­ing in dif­fer­ent met­ro­pol­i­tan zones. So a city like San Diego, might have 6 or more zones: Cen­tral, South, East, North, Coastal, etc. You can ask your rep for the cost to adver­tise in all zones or just the ones you know you are more like­ly to have a brand pres­ence and sell more jobs. Your rep can give you a list of how many active mem­bers are in each zone. The more zones you pur­chase, the bet­ter dis­counts and pric­ing you’ll get to adver­tise. Yet remem­ber, it is not about how many peo­ple you are reach­ing with Ang­ie’s List. It is all about 1) who is your ide­al cus­tomer, 2) loca­tion of that cus­tomer and 3) do you have a good and sol­id pres­ence on Ang­ie’s List before you sign a con­tract. You will not be seen a lot more because you are pay­ing to be on the list. 
INNUT­SHELL: If you spend mon­ey to pro­mote your com­pa­ny on ANG­IE’S LIST and are not the top rat­ed con­trac­tor or the mar­ket is over sat­u­rat­ed, you might be wast­ing your mar­ket­ing dollars.
  • Nego­ti­ate: If all the tips above go over well and you have a great rep­u­ta­tion on Ang­ie’s List at the begin­ning, then you just might want to con­sid­er mov­ing for­ward with spend­ing some adver­tis­ing dol­lars with this com­pa­ny. This is where you want to be extra care­ful though. They have room to nego­ti­ate, so don’t sign up too fast. Take your time and get the cost to where you feel most comfortable.

Word of Cau­tion on Renewals

If you sign up for adver­tis­ing with Ang­ie’s List, you will have to review and renew your account every year. This is the most frus­trat­ing part of work­ing with this com­pa­ny. This is just my opin­ion, but I think this is real­ly where Ang­ie’s List makes their mon­ey and tends to cause prob­lems with most con­trac­tors: renewals.

If you are pay­ing $2,500 annu­al­ly, Ang­ie’s List will review your account and give you an update on any increase in Ang­ie’s List mem­ber­ships the past 12 months. If there was an increase, then your renew­al will increase as well. The biggest increase I saw from a client of mine went from around $21,000 a year to $36,000.

Obvi­ous­ly it is hard to bud­get for such an increase, and every one of my clients has dread­ed the renew­al process, yes every one of them! This is where you have to do more nego­ti­at­ing and vocal­ize your con­cerns. I have always sug­gest­ed to my clients to not put all their eggs in one bas­ket. So I typ­i­cal­ly do not advise sign­ing up for the renew­al with­out mak­ing some changes. Work with­in your bud­get. If you have to cut back, that is fine. If you have $5,000 for Ang­ie’s List and they want $10,000, just tell them what you can do. They will work with you to per­haps cut back your zones and mar­ket to few­er members.

Your Thoughts

I wrote this blog because I have had a lot of con­trac­tors ask me about Ang­ie’s List and how best to use it for mar­ket­ing their ser­vices. I have a num­ber of clients crush­ing it on the list: they get tons of leads and busi­ness from Ang­ie’s List. I have oth­ers who have signed up before ask­ing me about it and wast­ing hun­dreds and hun­dreds a month with very lit­tle if any busi­ness from the list. So just spend­ing mon­ey on Ang­ie’s List does not mean you will get a good ROI. You always have to think care­ful­ly about any type of adver­tis­ing you do for your business.

I hope you find this post help­ful. Let me know your thoughts on Ang­ie’s List: pros and cons. Who knows, maybe they will read this post and make changes to bet­ter ser­vice your needs.

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.


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