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What You Should Know About Advertising With Angie’s List

With millions of people visiting Angie’s List each month to search for home related services, it definitely deserves some attention.  As one of the leading home repair review sites on the internet today, you’d be crazy to ignore Angie’s list as a method for reaching customers.

Since I started my handyman business back in 2011, I have been testing the waters with Angie’s List to see if it is worthy of my advertising efforts and dollars.  So far, I have spend about $750 dollars advertising with them, and received less than $300 in business as a result.

I’ve heard of several other businesses that have had good success with Angie’s list, so why am I different?

In this post, I plan on discussing the ins and outs of Angie’s list as well as giving some first hand insight into the lead generation giant.

What is Angie’s List?

For those of you not yet familiar with Angie’s List, it is essentially a customer reviews based search engine for paying members.  Here’s how it works.  A homeowner pays a yearly fee to be a member and have access to the site.  Once a member, homeowners can browse business profiles and search for home service providers.  Members can also read in depth reviews of service providers that were written by other members.

Angie’s List is unique for a couple of reasons.  One, you have to pay to be a member (business listings are free, however).  Two, only member reviews count for or against a service providers overall rating.  The main benefits Angie’s list offers to subscribers are that companies can’t pay to be on Angie’s List, reviews come from real people (implying they are more accurate and non-biased), and members enjoy exclusive discounts from service providers.

How to get your business on Angie’s List

Getting your business listed on Angie’s List is really easy.  Simply go to the link below and click on the “create your free account now” button at the bottom of the page.

https://business.angieslist.com/default.aspx?cid=AL

Then, it’s as easy as filling out the information and then confirming your listing.  Just follow the instructions on their site.

How to actually show up on Angie’s List

There are three ways that I know of to show up at the top of the list when a member searches for services in your category.  This is what I gathered from viewing Angie’s List from a member perspective and talking to an Angie’s List Sales rep.

#1  Have a lot of reviews and an A rating

From what I could see on Angie’s list, most of the businesses listed at the top had several reviews.  The more the better.  I saw several handyman at the top had over 20 reviews and had an A rating.  That is a lot of reviews and probably took a decent amount of effort to get that many people to submit reviews.

#2  Offer ridiculous discounts

With Angie’s List, there are a couple ways you can offer discounts.  One, is by simply listing a certain type of discount on your listing such as $50 off of the initial service or something along those lines.

The second way to offer discounts is to set up a Big Deal.  A Big Deal works just like Living Social or Groupon.  You set up a deal for a certain service at a highly discounted rate (usually at least 50% off) and customers then have the ability to purchase that deal straight through Angie’s List.  Typically you would put a limit on the number of available so you weren’t overwhelmed with calls.  On top of the discount you are offering, Angie’s List gets a cut of what the customer pays.  Angie’s list then pays you your cut and customers can call and schedule their service.

Obviously, Angie’s list wants to provide value to their members so they will make sure and place these ads so customers actually see them.  This will get your listed exposure, but at the significant cost of your time.

#3  Pay

That’s right, even though Angie’s List claims that businesses can’t be paid to BE on the list, they can pay to actually be SEEN on the list.  Sneaky little devils.

From my experience, this can be a less than ideal way to reach the top of the listings.  This is because even if you are at the top, you’re still going to be competing with companies with between 20 and 50 reviews.  If you only have a couple, like I did, then you’re not as likely to get those customers to call you.  I wouldn’t recommend paying for a top listing unless you already have at least 10 really good reviews.

When I paid for my listing, I also didn’t have very many reviews.  I had about 5 total reviews and one of theme was not so good.  If I would have had 10-20 reviews and an A rating, my experience may have been different.

Review of Angie’s List

What I Like

Angie’s list can be a great way to get new customers and there are several reasons why I like the website.

  • It’s free to get listed – A basic listing is free.  If you are willing to put in the efforts to get a bunch of reviews, it can be a great way to get new clients at no cost to you.
  • Good for link building – Building links to your website helps it to rank in Google and other search engines.  Since Angie’s List is an established website with authority, it’s a good link to have.
  • Opportunity to build trust – Customers need to trust you in order to hire you, having good reviews online is a great way to build trust.
  • Members have to pay for access – It’s free for businesses, but homeowners need to pay to have a membership.  If a customer is willing to fork out some cash for an unnecessary membership, it shows that they have money and their home is important to them.  This usually indicates a quality customer for a handyman business.

What I Don’t Like

Just like anything else, Angie’s list also has it’s cons.

  • You can’t control negative reviews – There are a lot of irrational people out there that will give you a bad review simply because they hate their life.  I usually try to avoid these customers at all costs, but I have come across 2 of them.  Unfortunately, if you get a really bad review, it can seriously hinder your ability to get customers from Angie’s list.  This is especially true when you have less than 5 reviews because the one bad one will stand out.  The bad review will hurt your chances of attracting customers, which will make it difficult to get more good reviews in order to cover it up.
  • Only Angie’s list members can effect your review grade – Any of your customers can submit a review on Angie’s list, but only members’ reviews impact your grade.  This can make it difficult to gain momentum if you don’t get hired by Angie’s List members in the first place.

Overall, I’d say it’s worth it to at least have your business listed on Angie’s List.  It’s free to do and the link to your website is worth the time to set up.  As far as offering discounts and trying the Big Deal, that’s a decision you’ll have to make for your own business.

So what are your thoughts on Angie’s List?  I’d like to hear your experience or questions.  Leave them in the comment section below!

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  • A friend recommended me to your site. Thanks for the details.

  • Tim M January 16, 2014

    . I have a question or two for you and everyone else out there. Have you seen the new Angie’s List Message Center? Be careful, because if you are listed on Angie’s List, they put you on it without asking you.

    . What that means: people who find you on Angie’s List can then contact you through the Angie’s List Message Center instead of contacting you directly. Then a message waits for you on the Angie’s List website. How are you notified it is there? You aren’t. Unless you log onto Angie’s List every day, you won’t see it. Do the send you an e-mail it is there? No.

    . Is there any way this is helpful to you? No. Clients are more likely to get in touch with you through your own website, e-mail, or phone. Is it helpful to the client? No. Getting in touch with you directly would be the best option for them.

    . So who does this benefit? Let me give you a hint? What service provider review company has yet to turn a profit? If you guessed the same one that says they don’t charge providers to be on their listings, but then charge them to be on a page clients will actually see, you guessed right: Angie’s List.

    . So what reason could they have for setting up another space for you to have to get in touch with clients? Money. This is the test run, and I’ve already seen a slew of complaints around the internet of how poorly it works. Once they get the kinks worked out, if they ever, do, what can you expect to happen? They will start charging you for sales leads generated by your own reputation would be my guess. How will they do that? At some point they will remove your contact information from their website, and the only way people will get in touch with you is through Angie’s List, and then you will be paying for the privilege of them allowing people to contact you, something they could do before Angie’s List set up this barrier.

    . For me I have enough clients already, and there have only been a few from Angie’s List that have been worthwhile. Actual word-of-mouth has been much better for me and connected me with some really great clients.

    . Sometime ago, I wrote them and asked them how to get off the Message Center. I’d had a review of my response time come up from a service I didn’t know existed. Even though my business profile on Angie’s List says I am NOT taking new clients, I got an inarticulate message that said, “We need gutter repair.” Of course since Angie’s List never informed me, they hadn’t heard back in a timely fashion.

    . I wrote Angie’s List and said I’d like to opt out from the message center, and never heard back about that, although they do call and write me three times a week asking me to advertise. So I added to my business profile that I am not taking new clients and cannot be contacted through the message center. I added a link to my contact page. That didn’t help either.

    . So, as I am writing this I tried calling Angie’s List to be removed from the Message Center, even though I knew each time I call them I have to speak to two or three different people who try to sell me advertising I don’t need. As I was on hold I went to this page:
    http://www.angieslistbusinesscenter.com/contact-us
    When I highlighted that the issue was with the Message Center, one of the three options was to “Unsubscribe from Messages”. I hope they actually let me do it this time.

    • Dan Perry January 16, 2014

      Thanks for sharing this, Tim! I’ll have to look into it for myself. I’m not a big fan of Angie’s List either and have had very low quality leads and very few at that.

      Dan

    • MimiR January 9, 2016

      This isn’t true. You get an email instantly telling you that you have a message.

  • Tim M January 20, 2014

    . Well, as I suspected, Angie’s List won’t let you opt out of the Message Center. If you get listed on Angie’s List, you are stuck having people post to you on the Angie’s List website instead of contacting you directly.

    . Here is their response to my request:

    Thanks for your inquiry; I apologize for my delay.

    You are unable to ‘opt out’ of the Message Center. However, you do not have an email address listed for consumers to message. [Right! I have form on my website so I’m not inundated with adverts.]

    In your Business Description you do clearly state you do not use the Message Center part of Angie’s List. Your current means of contact would be phone, street address, or website.

    Thanks again for contacting us. If you have any additional questions or concerns, just let us know and we’ll be happy to help. You can also find answers to many of your questions at our Business Support page.

  • Meagan July 14, 2015

    I have worked with Angie’s List for years and so much of what you wrote is true of our old ways.

    What we provide now are alternatives to slashing prices and feeling like you at the mercy of consumer feedback.

    With an effort focused on real results for real service providers, our new ranking and scoring system has an empowering effect.

    I would be happy to teach anyone the ins and outs of our system, in hopes of avoiding confusion while navigating through the ever- changing economy.

    Thank you for all of your honest feedback. Really and truly, we paid attention.

    Your friend and advocate,
    Meagan

    • Aaron August 15, 2015

      Would you please contact me, Meagan? I need the guided tour so I handle my Angies List account correctly.

    • Susan October 14, 2015

      Megan,

      Could you possibly contact me, I have some questions I would like to ask you.
      Thank you again and have a wonderful blessed day!

    • Thomas July 10, 2016

      Angie list is a concern, if you pay you get rated higher, and a lot of contractors are finding out that you don’t have to be the best or even know any thing, this site is a joke and for people that pay a lot and have friends lie and give them a good review and for contractor want a be to pay to be ranked higher and after they rip off a bunch then you find out Angie don’t care, it’s all about the $$$$$$$$$$

  • MimiR January 9, 2016

    As an FYI, you don’t have to offer truly “crazy” deals to get new clients. A smart way to use AL, if you’re just starting out, is to use AL to offer deals for fairly large things (with a large price tag)–like $299 for a handyman for a day, or $199 for a handyman for half a day. The hourly rate isn’t fabulous, but it isn’t terrible, either. You do this during your slow season to A) get new clients and B) to get guaranteed work for the day. If the job is shorter than expected, you get paid for more than you do. If it’s longer, they have to pay your regular rate to continue, and if they like you enough, they will. If they like your work, they’ll come back–and you can ask them to rate you on AL if they appear to be happy with your work, which will drive more business at your regular rate.

    I have spent over $2,500 on “deals” over the past year and more than $70,000 on home improvements total through providers I’ve found originally on AL. My most expensive “deal” was $1500 for one full day of tree work. I had 16 trees removed along with a ton of bushes, then I hired them for an additional $500 to do my stumps. It was pretty clear that they almost never actually stayed for 8 hours with a $1500 deal because few people could have that much work to give them! I have a feeling they usually did a half day at each location, grossing $3000 a day minus AL’s cut, or else they did an AL deal and then their regularly scheduled piecework. Anyway, my neighbor and I together have 5 acres, so we were able to put them to work. That was my truly “crazy” deal. But I’ve bought $2 off (not kidding) carpet cleaning deals just because it was fast and convenient to order services with one click.

    Every provider that I’ve chosen has had SOME terrible reviews. It’s pretty easy to find out if the reviewer is crazy, though, by the complaints and their other reviews. I always look for the bad reviews first to see what happens when things go wrong and how the company responds.

    I myself have left 7 A reviews (well drilling, roofing, carpet cleaning, car detailing, $20k fencing, topo land surveying, the awesome tree guys), 2 D reviews (one person canceled on me three times after payment then no-showed and I had to get a refund; another was a lawn care company that did stuff like let parts of my yard grow to 6′ high and run over flower beds), and 1 F review ($43k geothermal job that took 10 months instead of 6-8 weeks and was fraught with ridiculous problems–including delivering the wrong unit, wrong billing, people showing up without warning constantly, employees digging around in my garage, trash strewn about, etc.).

    AL has been worth every penny I’ve spent, and it’s how I found my general-work guy who now moonlights with me whenever he’s not at his day job (which isn’t always fulltime because of the nature of his work)–he’s a sub of a sub of a contractor I found there. It’s killed me to get tradesmen in this area who are really good, and now I do, so I’m thrilled. I also work to keep “my” guys as busy as I can, handing them off to my friends when they need stuff done. (My general-work guy is now booked through summer because of me–I got him a rec room, a basement, and a staircase in addition to doing the rest of my house, which is a huge job in itself, and I might be able to hook him up with some friends who need a 1600 sqft basement apt entirely redone, too, which will take him another solid 6 months.)

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