interview with Aaron HockelAaron’s company specializes in marketing for home service companies. They are based out of Baltimore. He claims that his history with remodeling sales in 2008 taught him a lot about going into peoples homes and trying to sell them something.  He has been working with Alta Vista for the last 7 years, which is marketing for contractors. They offer search engine, direct, social media, and digital marketing service.

A little about the company:

altavista logoAltaVista administers strategies for companies, firms, and organizations looking to achieve accelerated growth. Our progressive solutions help companies expand sales, increase market penetration and broaden their customer base. Our marketing solutions include: search engine optimization, direct marketing, social media, and digital marketing services.

AltaVista will manage an effective, sustainable growth strategy. When you outsource to our experienced firm, you will get the most progressive ideas in the industry. Since its inception, the company’s revenue has increased by 2400%. We proudly serve hundreds of customers across the United States.

Their onboarding process and where it all begins:

journey statistics and planningThey start with a needs analysis so they can understand exactly what their customer needs. The most important thing is knowing their finish line and knowing exactly where they want to be. Once the client can identify who it is that they want on the other end of the phone, the next step is to determine what they are calling for. For example, you may say that you do garage doors. The question then is do you repair them, service them, replace them?

After they have worked through all of that with their client, it just becomes how do they get that person to call the client’s business when the time is right.

“Our onboarding process really starts with figuring out who’s the dream customer and what’s your service. From there, we figure out what makes the most sense for your business.”—Aaron Hockel

Onboarding, to him, is really like figuring out the end, the goal, first. The rest is just working backward from there to the starting line, choosing the right vehicle (or marketing technique), and then launching it for their clients.

The difference between home service vs. home improvement:

They are really two categories. The second one is more construction oriented, utility and cosmetics.home improvement

Here is an example:

If your pipe explodes in your basement and fills it with 4 feet of water, your process for buying a service to fix that is much different than trying to find a landscaper to plant trees in your backyard or a blinds company to sell you new treatments for your windows.

The home service industry is full of the people that are installing and caring for the items around your house that need to be serviced where the home improvement is more upgrading and changing the actual house.

Call service company vs. actual call center:

With a call center, you know that your calls are being answered consistently, that your calls are being answered, that they are being answered in a way that fits your company. Call answering services can be great if you need them, but they are not as good as having a knowledgeable professional in your office.

call centerHaving the phone answered is the main concern, then it becomes the how and the what is at the other end.

“Wait time is a huge deal.”—Tommy Mello

Another thing to consider is location. For their customers, they recommend to include a local number to where the company is when reaching out to customers. People seem to enjoy having a local area code and feel more at ease dialing in.

Having a good CRS (customer reference system)

This is a must-have, especially for people in a service-oriented business like HVAC companies. It is really the only way to stay in front of consumers with there being so much marketing and fatigue out there. They manage all of the past customer data and make emailing them a breeze. A lot of this is even automated now. CRMs also do dispatching, text messaging, and accountability for your booking rate.

Getting more reviews:

AltaVista recommends using software called Reputation Stacker. It is very easy to use and sends customers directly to the platform to write a review of your service. Sometimes those reviews can even sell you against your

“Software, preparation, and language are the three pillars of effectively getting a review.”—Aaron Hockel

How your company is asking the question to the consumers has a huge impact on their response to your marketing.

Combatting negative reviews:

“A rule of thumb: any negative review, regardless of the circumstances, deserves a public facing response.”

97% of home service consumers will use reviews during some point in the purchasing process. This says that, whether it is before or after their call, people are making their decision based on the reviews they are reading about your company. They will find your reviews, it is unavoidable.

With your customers reading these online reviews, you do need to understand that a negative review will not be a deal breaker. To those negative reviews, you need to address them on the platform they are written. If a consumer can read the negative review, your response to it on that platform next to the review will also be impactful. This will show all future readers that may want to use your business that you acknowledge your mistake, that you genuinely care, and that you are willing to look into a problem.

“90% od people will use a business with an aggregate star rating of 4 out of 5 or higher.”—Aaron Hockel

unhappy customerThis means you need to take some time to digest the negative review so you are prepared, in a calm manner, to respond.  Never go to the review and automatically start typing away, you need to be in the right mind frame because how you respond is very important.

You want to apologize, own it, and ensure they know you are reading their reviews and listening.

“Most people assume the good reviews cannot be trusted so they go directly to the negative reviews.”—Tommy Mello

Facebook: the low hanging fruit:

In marketing, Facebook ads can be a hit or miss. People on that platform are passively looking for anything. When you are not proactively looking, your decision will generally be the first search result. These ads can place you at the top of the list, but they cannot guarantee a sale.

Optimizing your website:

If your budget is too small to place your ads at the top on Google, you are already at a disadvantage. Raising those click-through rates is important. Having a great landing page once a person clicks on it can also make a huge difference.

“The essentials of a landing page are clear call to action, fast loading time, testimonials, a video that is engaging, and a really good site map.”—Tommy Mello

Research says that the more information that a user has to fill in, the more likely they are to get form fatigue. So keep your contact form short, between 4 websiteand 6 fields is generally recommended.

Post an image that explains as much as it can. You want your website to tell a story, explain to the people who are there what you do, what your offering, and how you are going to help solve their problem.

Use bullets, checkmarks, and visual cues to highlight your most important information.

Try and use bigger fonts as often as you can.

Social proof:

Standing out from your competitors using longer form articles will help drive traffic to you because you will be the authoritative company on that topic. Google is looking at things like backlinking, content clusters, and extensive information.

The quantity of what you are putting out matters. You need to make sure that it is good quality, researched, and structured.

Message from Aaron to the listeners:

Aaron Hockel profile picture

“A warm word of mouth referral is hands down the best opportunity there is because there’s instant social proof.

One thing we’re seeing in our Facebook groups and microsites is that people are going on to ask for recommendations. So recommendations are important.

Make sure you have a good Facebook page. It needs to have pictures and reviews that are easily accessible. Install facebook chat on your phone and enable the notifications. I say this because many homeowners in the 30-40-year-old age range prefer chatting this way and it will open you to that market. “

Books recommended by Aaron:

  • Shoe Dog by Phil Knight– fascinating look at how businesses grow and scale
  • Jobs by Walter Isaacson
  • They Ask, You Answer– your customers are asking for things, you be the answer

Aarons contact information:

Google Alta Vista Strategic Partners


Phone number: (443) 960-4004

Email: [email protected]


If you have good reviews, if people can only read mostly positive things about your business online, they WILL call you. It will help you and your company close more deals.