How ‘service areas’ help us find the best leads for your business

We help tens of thousands of small businesses throughout the UK find new customers every single day – from accountants in Acton, to window cleaners in Wandsworth.

But with customers coming to Bark looking for everything from personal trainers to masseurs, wedding planners and more, matching each customer with the right service providers is no small feat.

That’s where ‘service areas’ come in – and today, we’ll show you how to update your service areas to hear about the best leads for your business.

STEP 1: Let us know which services you provide

Service areas let you adjust the type and quantity of enquiries you receive from us. If you’d like to hear about more leads, you can add new services or widen the service area you cover – and vice versa.

Similarly, if your business relocates or branches out into a new type of service, you can update your service areas to reflect this so that we continue sending you enquiries you’re interested in pursuing.

The first step is to click the ‘Service Areas‘ tab in your dashboard. This will take you to your service areas page, where you’ll see a box that looks like this:

Enter your services here
Enter which services you provide into your ‘Services’ bar to get started.

Type the service your business provides into the box and click the ‘ADD SERVICE‘ button to let us know what sort of customers you’re interested in hearing about.

STEP 2: Add relevant ‘related services’

When you add a new service type to your service areas page, we’ll then suggest some related services we think your business might also provide.

For example, if you tell us you’d like to receive photography enquiries, we’ll present you with a list of related categories like this one:

Add related services
Next, add the related services you also provide.

Simply tick the check boxes next to the categories you’re interested in to add them to your services.

STEP 3: Tell us how far you’re happy to travel

At this stage, we know what you do – but before we can start sending you relevant enquiries, we also need to know where you do it.

To specify your travel preferences, type where your business is based into your Travel Preferences bar and enter how far you’ll travel from there:

Enter your travel preferences here
Specify how far you’re prepared to travel using the ‘Travel Preferences’ tool.

Clicking ‘ADD LOCATION‘ will plot your chosen radius onto a map around your chosen city, so you can visualise where the customers we alert you to will be based.

If you offer multiple services, you can then click the ‘Show categories‘ button to specify a different radius for each of them:

Your advanced travel preferences
Click ‘Show categories’ to specify different service areas for each of the different services you provide.

This can be useful in cases where you’re prepared to travel further for certain types of high value job (e.g. loft conversion) than you are for lower value ones (e.g. bricklaying).

Finally, you can select whether you want to receive enquiries from customers who are searching nationwide using the toggle button at the bottom of the page – and after that, there’s just one thing left to do.

STEP 4: Start contacting customers!

Once your service areas are set up, you’ll automatically start receiving emails whenever a new customer requests your services. You can also find a list of everyone who’s currently searching for services you provide in the ‘Requests‘ tab of your dashboard.

When you see a job you’re interested in doing, simply click the green ‘CONTACT‘ button to send them a personalised message and estimate.

We hope you’ve found this simple walkthrough useful, and that it helps you secure even more business with our service. If you have any questions, send us an email at team@bark.com, or leave a comment in the space below!

Now you can show off how many times you’ve been hired on Bark!

You can now display how many of our users have hired you prominently on your Bark profile.

Whenever someone hires you, simply click the new ‘I was hired‘ button next to their Bark in the My Responses section of your dashboard and we’ll automatically add them to your total.

Then, when new customers view your profile, they’ll be able to see you have a proven track record of helping other Bark users with their projects – like It’s Magic Time here:

It's Magic Time I was hired
Tony Charles has been hired seven times since he joined Bark in June.

Buyers can also let us know when they’ve hired you using the new ‘I’ve hired someone‘ button in their dashboard – and we’ll ask them who they’ve hired when they close their Bark.

You can see all the Barks you’ve responded to in the My Responses section of your dashboard, so be sure to go back and click ‘I was hired‘ for all the jobs you’ve secured through Bark to date.

Who hired you button

We’ll also now show you your average response time if you get back to customers quickly Bark Messenger. So be sure to respond to customers as quickly as possible to maximise your chances of success!

King Pest Control response time
King Pest Control responds to pest control Barks in four minutes flat, on average!

This feature should prove especially useful if you work in an industry like pest control or boiler repair, where  customers are often looking for someone who can help them right away.

Combined with the customer reviews you collect on your profile, these new features will give you a real edge over the competition when pitching for business on Bark.

We hope you find them useful, and look forward to helping you secure even more business in the coming weeks and months.

If you have any further thoughts or ideas about how we can help you promote your business one Bark, send us an email at team@bark.com, or leave a comment in the space below!

Ask the Expert: How to get more customers and grow your business with Bark

Thousands of people throughout the UK use Bark every single day to find new customers and grow their businesses.

Some use our service here and there to fill the gaps in their diaries. Others use us to generate thousands of pounds a month, often using Bark as their sole source of qualified leads for their business.

But, in our experience, there’s one thing that all our best pros have in common, no matter how frequently they use Bark. They know how to make their businesses stand out by presenting clients with a great sales pitch.

To help you get the most out of our service, we spoke to some of our most successful professionals to discover their biggest pitching secrets.

“We’ve made some great contacts and
generated £10,000 in business”

“I made a 30x Return On Investment on my second Bark response,” says Very Clever Marketing’s Dom Murphy. “We’ve made some great contacts and several loyal customers, and generated approximately £10,000 in business.”

Dom initially joined Bark because, unlike other lead generation services, it doesn’t cost a penny to open an account – and you can hear about customers in your area completely free of charge.

Since then, he’s generated roughly £10,000 using our service, and says the key to his success is his ability to quickly form relationships with customers.

“Focus on building relationships,” he says. “Offer the customer something for free – tell them about a special offer you have on. Encourage them to call you or perhaps even call them yourself and say you’re calling in response to their Bark listing.”

“Explain to the customer that you’d like to meet with them or talk on the phone,” he adds. “This will allow you to build a relationship with them, instead of just throwing the book at them and quoting.”

“Realise that there are several others responding too. It’s not a ‘solus’ lead just for you,” he concludes. “Make yourself stand out from the get-go and avoid using terminology or jargon.”

“I recommend Bark to all my friends
with small businesses”

Having been in business for 11 years, Janet Gow has historically been wary of lead generation companies – but after a great experience with Bark, she’s now changed her tune.

“In the six months I have been listed with Bark I have already secured £7,000 worth of business,” she explains. “I now recommend Bark to all my other friends with small businesses.”

John Austen from Marvel Booths agrees Bark has the potential to help small businesses grow exponentially.

“Bark has helped us grow the photo booth side of our business exponentially,” he says. “We have already invested in a magic mirror and second photo booth, four months ahead of schedule.”

“You need to have great marketing material, and you really need to think about how you’re going to stand out from other competitors,” he adds. “You can only be the cheapest for so long.”

He says the best advice he can give to someone who’s thinking about signing up to Bark is to just give it a go – so long as you remember to treat it the same as you would any other part of your marketing strategy.

“I’d say put aside some budget and give it a go. Perhaps enough for 100-odd credits, which is around £115,” he explains. “If the client doesn’t read your response [and their phone number doesn’t work], you get a refund anyway.”

“If you get even two bookings it’s probably been worth your while,” he adds. “And you’ll get direct contact with around 20 potential clients for that fee. In theory, that’s probably better value than advertising on AdWords and Bing.”

He concludes: “Think about your USP and make sure your customer service is exceptional. Who knows where it might take you!”

Join today and start hearing about potential
customers completely FREE

We hope this article has given you some fresh insights into how our most successful pros pitch for business on Bark.

Put their advice into action today and soon you too could be growing your business online with our qualified lead generation service – just like Dom, Janet and John.

If you’re new to Bark, you can start hearing about customers in your area completely free, so you can get a feel for just how easy it can be to secure new business with Bark.

Simply click the link below now and claim your free Bark account to start growing your business with Bark right away.

Click here now to start growing your business with Bark.

‘Modern day word of mouth’: how to promote your business online with Bark reviews

Word of mouth has always been a powerful tool for promoting your services to new customers – and it’s only getting more important as the services industry moves increasingly online.

A full 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, according to SEO experts BrightLocal. They’re the first thing customers look for when hiring professionals online, and having great customers reviews can give you a real edge over the competition when pitching for new business.

Today, we’ll show you why collecting reviews on Bark is an integral part of promoting your business online – and look at how you can start collecting great feedback on our site right away.

How Bark reviews improve your online presence

The moment you start collecting great reviews on Bark, you’ll be awarded a Bark star rating. Not only will this appear on your Bark profile and in our pro directory, but it will also show when people search for you in Google.

LexisTech five stars
Collect Bark reviews to earn a 5-star rating on Google

As digital advertising company WordStream notes, this boosts your online presence by making your profile distinct from the search results around it.

That means, when people see your Bark star rating, they’re much more likely to click through to your business page. Better yet, they’re also much more likely to hire you when they do.

Convert more business with Bark reviews

Online reviews are critically important to the vast majority of online shoppers. For example, diners regularly check reviews sites like Yelp to inform their decisions when choosing somewhere to eat.

Entrepreneur Magazine reports that more than 35% of shoppers say they’d never eat at a restaurant that had a 3-star review. What’s more, this Harvard study found that a 1-star improvement on Yelp can translate to a 5%-9% increase in revenue.

That’s a big difference, and we’re already seeing exactly the same thing happening in the services industry as more and more people use Bark to hire great local tradespeople online.

That’s why we believe collecting great reviews on Bark is an integral part of promoting your business online – and why we make requesting reviews from your customers as easy as possible.

Asking for reviews is easy with our ‘reviews tool’

The more great reviews on your profile, the more confident our users will be that you can provide them with a top quality service –  and the more business you’ll be able to secure using our service.

We recommend asking each of your customers to review your services within 14 days of completing a job for them to ensure you’re still fresh in their memory.

To do this, simply log into your Bark profile and visit the ‘Reviews’ tab in your dashboard. Once there, enter your customer’s email address into the reviews tool and click ‘invite’ to ask them to review your services.

You can test it out right now by visiting your ‘Reviews’ tab and entering your own email address into the box provided.

Start collecting great reviews today
with the Bark Reviews badge

You can also start collecting great reviews today using the Bark Reviews badge. It makes collecting feedback easy by reminding everyone who visits your website to review you on Bark.

Absolutely anyone who clicks your badge can leave a review on your Bark profile, even if they didn’t originally find you through us.

Simply copy the code from the ‘Badges’ tab in your Bark profile into your website wherever you like – and we’ll do the rest:

Collecting great reviews is easy with the Bark Reviews badge

To help you with this, we created this simple walkthrough. It looks at all the most popular website building platforms used by Bark pros like yourself – including WordPress.org, Squarespace, GoDaddy and more.

Click here to log into your Bark profile and visit the ‘Badges’ tab in your dashboard and follow the simple steps provided to claim your new Bark Reviews badge right away.

If you’d like any further help getting great reviews on your Bark profile, send us an email at team@bark.com or leave a comment in the space below!

Why you should add the Bark Reviews badge to your website today

Getting great reviews on Bark is one of the easiest ways to show clients you’re the right pro for them.

That’s why we created our brand new Bark Reviews badge. It lets you show off your Bark star rating on your website, and reminds your customers to leave even more great reviews on your Bark profile.

We believe it’s the perfect way to promote your services and show clients you’re a trusted Bark pro – and today, we’re going to show you why you should add it to your company website right away.

Prove you’re the best with the Bark Reviews badge

Word of mouth is the cheapest way to advertise your business and attract new customers, and in the modern world that means collecting great reviews on websites like Yelp or Bark.

That’s why we believe it’s so important to ask your customers to review your services, and to share their great feedback with your prospects – and our new range of Bark Reviews badges will help you do exactly that:

201609-bark-reviews-badges-mixed

Displaying this badge prominently on your website sends a clear message to potential customers that you deliver a quality service they can trust.

When someone clicks it, they’ll be taken to your Bark profile to leave their feedback – and when your star rating is high enough, the badge will switch to show everyone that you’re a rated Bark pro.

It’s the perfect way to show people you offer a top quality service, and adding it to your company site couldn’t be easier.

Adding the Bark Reviews badge to your website is easy

The best places to add your Bark badge are in the header, footer or sidebar of your website. This will make sure it’s displayed prominently, so everyone can see you’re a trusted Bark pro.

To help you with this, we created this simple walkthrough. It looks at all the most popular website building platforms used by Bark pros like yourself – including WordPress.org, Squarespace, GoDaddy and more.

Simply log into your Bark profile using the link below and follow the quick and easy steps provided to claim your new Bark Reviews badge right away.

Get your Bark Reviews badge now.

If you’d like any help adding this new badge to your company website, send us an email at badges@bark.com or leave a comment in the space below!

How to promote your business with the new Bark Spotlight

We created our new Bark Spotlight to highlight some of our favourite Bark pros to our users, and to help your business connect with even more new customers online.

It doesn’t cost a single penny to feature in it – and Spotlight pros will appear prominently on our ‘new look’ category pages (like this one) so they’re one of the very first things people see when they visit our site.

All you need to do to be eligible is provide a great service, and fill out the questions in the Q&A section of your Bark profile.

To help maximize your chances of being selected, here’s a brief guide to the sort of thing we look for in our Spotlight pros:

1. Show us what’s unique about your business. Many of our questions are designed to help our users get to know you a little better. People like hiring pros they think they’ll get along with. So try to provide honest answers that show people what makes your business different.

2, Write your answers from scratch. Search engines rank web pages that feature plenty of unique, relevant content. While copying and pasting content from your website may be quick, it often won’t read quite right – and it certainly won’t improve your Bark profile’s SEO ranking.

3. You only need to answer your favourites. In some categories, we’ve included several possible questions you might like to answer – but they’re only suggestions. If you’d prefer to pick your favourite three or four and focus on them, that’s totally fine!

4. Use short sentences and simple language. Our ideal answers are those that use the same words you’d use if you were speaking. So try to tell your story using simple, everyday language. Web apps like the Hemingway Editor make it easy to keep your writing clear and simple.

5. Have fun with your answers! First and foremost, we’re looking for interesting answers our users will enjoy reading. We believe this is the best way to showcase the great pros on our site – so don’t be afraid to have fun when filling them in.

Time to get your business into the spotlight

Following these simple guidelines will give you the best chance of being chosen as one of our Spotlight pros, so we can promote your business prominently on our site.

So why not take a moment now to update your Q&A responses? Simply log into your account using the link below and visit the Q&A section of your profile to get started.

We can’t wait to take a look at what you have to say – and if there’s anything else we can do to help, please do let us know in the comments below!

Click here and submit your Bark Spotlight responses now.

Get the right kind of publicity with
our new Bark Spotlight

Getting the right kind of publicity is the key to drawing hundreds (or even thousands) of new users, prospects and customers to your business.

The biggest companies in the world can spend millions of pounds trying to win positive media coverage, like Oreo did to pull off their “dunk in the dark” stunt during the 2013 Super Bowl blackout.

But flashy PR campaigns usually aren’t an option for small businesses. So we decided to build something anyone could use to enjoy the instant interest appearing on social media and popular online blogs can generate – whether you’re a wedding planner in Leeds, or a plumber in Watford.

It’s called the Bark Spotlight, and it gives our pros the chance to promote their services prominently on our site, completely free of charge.

Why being “in the spotlight” is great for your business

We recently added a short Q&A section to every Bark profile to give you yet another way to promote your business on our site.

Filling in the questions that are relevant to you will help boost your SEO ranking and promote your services to potential customers. (If you haven’t completed yours already, you can login and do so here.)

But this feature is a lot more than just another section for your profile. We’ll also be picking our favourite responses to be highlighted in our new Bark Spotlight feature:

spotlight-koco-ltd
The Bark Spotlight lets us highlight our favourite pros on our category pages

The Spotlight is a key part of our ‘new look’ category pages, designed to highlight some of our favourite pros to people who visit our site. Every time someone visits one of these new pages, our Bark Spotlight will be one of the first things they see.

We’re working to roll them out across all our most popular categories right now – and you can take a look at one that’s live already right here.

But that’s not the only way we’ll be promoting the pros on our site using the new Bark Q&A. We’ll also be using the quotes you provide us with in our regular blog posts and on our social media pages to promote your business to hundreds of thousands of potential customers nationwide.

In short, completing your Bark Q&A is an easy way to get your business promoted heavily online with Bark. So, if you haven’t already, click here now and fill it in.

How to leave the perfect voicemail sales pitch in 5 easy steps

We’ll now give you instant access to a client’s personal phone number when you respond to their Bark, making it easier than ever before to secure new business with our service.

You’ll find each customer’s phone number beneath their name in the in the My Responses section of your Bark dashboard – so you can use it to call them directly.

But, from time to time, you’re bound to reach someone’s voicemail. To help you prepare for when that happens, we put together this simple guide to leaving the perfect voicemail pitch in five easy steps.

STEP 1: Get their attention first

Your objective right off the bat is to get the client’s attention, so don’t start your voicemail the same way as everyone else. As CRM company Salesforce notes, almost all sales voicemails begin: “Hi, my name is X and I’m calling from Y.”

Most people delete these messages straight away. If you recognise the company, you probably already have an opinion about who they are and what they do – and if you don’t, you usually don’t care who they are anyway.

A far better approach would be to take advantage of the specific information we send you about what each of our clients is looking for.

For example, if you were responding to Toby’s request for a wedding photographer, you might start your message: “Hi Toby, Bark just emailed to ask if I’m free to be your wedding photographer next month.”

STEP 2: Capture their interest

At this early stage, it’s really too soon to be going in for the hard sell. You’re just trying to get the customer to call you back to discuss their needs further – and for that, you need to capture their interest.

You might do this by explaining how you’ve helped people with similar requirements in the past, by running through any qualifications you have that make you perfect for the job, by stressing the benefits of choosing your service over your competitors – or all of the above.

Ultimately, the aim here is to present yourself as the best pro for their needs, and focussing on the specific details in each client’s public Bark is a great way to do this.

STEP 3: End with a ‘call to action’

It goes without saying that you should end your voicemails by giving your name and contact phone number. This is your ‘call to action’ – so be sure to state your number slowly, repeat it twice, and lead into it with the phrase “Please call me back on”.

One thing that works really well at this point is to give your client a specific reason to call you back. For example, if you were responding to a catering Bark, you might ask the client to call whenever is convenient so you can create a bespoke menu together.

STEP 4: Keep it short – but not too short

People don’t typically look forward to receiving voicemails from unknown numbers, and if your message is way too long (or too short) it’s possible they could delete it without even listening to it.

Inbound marketing experts HubSpot recommend aiming for the 20-30 second mark as a good rule of thumb. This should give you plenty of time to deliver your pitch, without taking up too much of the client’s time.

Remember, if you don’t hear anything back in a few days’ time, you can always follow-up again by text, or use the Bark Messenger to ask when would be convenient for you to call back.

STEP 5: Plan before you dial

Last but not least, always know what you’re going to say in advance. Before you even pick up the phone, give yourself a few seconds to summarise the purpose of your call in one or two sentences.

This will help you avoid long pauses and unnecessary stammers should the call go to voicemail, and will ensure you’re always ready to deliver the best pitch possible for your business.

Time to pick up the phone!

Sticking to these five simple steps should maximise the number of call-backs you get from your voicemail sales pitches, so you can win even more business thanks to our service.

Why not put them to the test right now by logging into your account here and reviewing your latest matches?

Or if you have any extra voicemail pitching tips or feedback about this latest upgrade to our service, let us know in the comments below!

Writing the perfect customer response – secure more business with Bark in 6 easy steps

The first response you send to a customer is far and away the most important. Many people will decide whether or not they’d like to hire you based on this message alone, so it’s essential you get it right.

Making sure your pitch is the best one a client receives is a key part of pitching for new business with Bark, and we want to do everything in our power to help you stand out from the crowd.

So, in this week’s blog post we’re looking at how to write the perfect customer response in six easy steps.

STEP 1: Promote your company

The best sales pitches all have the same basic structure.  You start by getting the customer’s attention. Then, you explain what’s unique about your pitch. Finally, once the customer has decided you’re the pro for them, you give them an offer they simply can’t refuse.

That’s why your opening message should stress exactly what experience and qualifications you have that make you perfect for the job. Include links to your website, your online portfolio, customer reviews – and anything else you think might improve your chances of securing the business.

STEP 2: Explain what’s included

Next, make sure the customer knows exactly what they’ll be getting for their money, and explain why your service is great value.

In many industries there are ‘extras’ which sometimes aren’t included as standard. If you’re a photographer, are prints included in your estimate? If you’re a cleaner, will you provide your own products?

If your service costs more than some other providers, explain that’s because you offer a superior service – if you’re cheaper than your competitors, be sure to stress what a good deal you are offering.

STEP 3: Move the conversation forwards

Unless you’re really lucky, the chances are you won’t secure the business from your opening message alone.

Your customer will usually have a few questions they need answering before they’re satisfied that you’re the right pro for the job, so ask them to call you whenever is convenient to discuss things further.

Encouraging the customer to take a look at your previous work and offering to meet them in person to provide them with a bespoke estimate are also good ways to move the conversation forwards.

STEP 4: Give your contact details

Customers you contact through Bark will always be able to reach you via the Bark messenger, and they can get your phone number and email address by clicking the “view contact details” button under your display name.

But to make sure it’s as easy as possible for them to get in touch with you, we also recommend including your contact details in the body of your message, so they’re impossible to miss.

STEP 5: Respond quickly

It’s important to respond to new Barks quickly. Our analysis shows that pros who get back to the customers we alert you to right away are twice as likely to secure the business as those who don’t.

So when we alert you to a potential customer you like the look of, it’s best to send them a message right away to register your interest in their business. To help with this, we created our ‘one-click response’ feature – you can find out how it works right here.

STEP 6: Check your spelling!

Finally, once you’ve finished your response we we highly recommend reading it through carefully before you click ‘send’.

A message that contains typos implies you don’t pay attention to detail, and makes people feel you don’t really care about their custom. So it’s always worth checking each message carefully, just to be safe.

Put these steps together and you should be able to craft highly effective responses for your customers – like this example reply to someone with a serious pest problem:

Hi Hans,

Bark just emailed to say you’re in need of pest control, so I thought I’d get in touch to offer you my services.

I’m a BPCA-approved exterminator with 15 years of experience under my belt. In that time, I’ve dealt with everything from ant infestations to escaped Ocelots (don’t ask!), so there really is no job too big or small.

Take a look at my website – www.the-verminator.co.uk – for more info about my experience, qualifications and pricing. If you like what you see, I’ll happily visit your home to take a look at the problem and give you a free quote.

You can reach me any time on 07811 545548 or at theverminator@gmail.com.

Best wishes,
Vincent
07811 545548 | www.the-verminator.co.uk

As you can see, this response explains clearly what services Vincent provides in a way that’s both attention-grabbing and intriguing.

It makes it easy for customers to contact him by phone, email or in Bark Messenger – and it moves the conversation forwards by offering to visit the client’s home to take a closer look at the problem.

Employ these same techniques when responding Barks and we’re confident you’ll be securing even more business with us in no time.

If you have any thoughts or feedback about how we can help you secure more business with our service, we’d love to hear from you. Send your thoughts to team@bark.com or leave a comment in the space below.