Local businesses need reputation management software and services to help them manage their reputation across the web, and agencies like yours are there to provide it.
The question is: what service type produces the best results for the businesses?
Is simply offering local businesses the platform and technology to manage their reputation enough, or is managing their reputation and reviews for them the better way to go in maintaining a positive online reputation?
We compared the data from one Vendasta partner that offers two service models to find out just that.
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Types of Marketing Fulfillment Models
There are a variety of service models an agency can choose when it comes to fulfilling their clients' marketing services.
The three main types of service models are:
- Do It Yourself (DIY)
- Do It For Me (DIFM)
- Do It With Me (DIWM™)
With a white label partner, a reseller can pick and choose which of these service fulfillment models works best for them and their clients. TechCrunch notes that Do It For Me (DIFM) options are the next big thing in SaaS. DIFM options make digital marketing much simpler for local businesses as they don't have to juggle various DIY software, and can rely on the marketing experts to get them results.
On the other hand, Business2Community notes that small businesses (think one-man-band type) prefer a suite of DIY marketing tools. This comes from a BIA Kelsey small business research study that polled the preferred fulfillment model of marketing services for small businesses.
While DIY is a great way for businesses to manage their marketing, DIFM offers the hands-on assistance of marketing experts to help them navigate the complex digital marketing waters. DIWM™ is a great meet-in-the-middle solution that keeps both parties (agencies and local business clients) involved and promotes collaboration.
[clickToTweet tweet="What #marketing service model is right for your business? #DIY is budget-friendly, and #DIFM gives you hands-on help!" quote="What #marketing service model is right for your business? #DIY is budget-friendly, and #DIFM gives you hands-on help!"]
With Vendasta, these three service fulfillment options mean that an agency can fulfill their services through Vendasta's white label agency, through the partner's in-house agency, or leave it up to the business client themselves.
In our case study, ForRent.com offered reputation services through DIY and DIFM service models.
Do It Yourself (DIY) Marketing Services
Do It Yourself options are where the agency provides the platform/products, but it’s the local business client themselves that uses the platform to manage their digital presence.
DIY is an option that’s best for business owners with more time than money. These managers and owners have the time to be hands-on with their business’ online presence management. They want to be involved with customer interaction online, know where they’re listed, and everything else that managing a business’s virtual doorway involves. These business clients are excited to learn and have the time and desire to be involved.
This option is also the most cost-friendly option for businesses, with the only costs outside of the product being time and effort. With most small businesses having a small marketing budget, DIY can be the best option.
[clickToTweet tweet="#DoItYourself or #DIYMarketing is perfect for businesses with more time than money!" quote="#DoItYourself or #DIYMarketing is perfect for businesses with more time than money!"]
Do It For Me (DIFM) Marketing Services
Do It For Me options are where the agency handles the online reputation on behalf of the local business client. With the agency handling the work, this option is a very hands-off option for the local business owner. It's the perfect balance for businesses that have more money than time.
Business owners that opt for DIFM solutions keep very busy schedules, have very little knowledge in the digital realm, and/or do not have the time to sink into learning and managing it.
This option is also a great choice for businesses that may not be familiar with the world of social media or the internet. And yes, trust us, these people still exist! Leaving the heavy lifting to the agencies puts the business in expert marketing hands, and the business can trust the quality of service.
DIFM options are more costly than DIY, but they give the online reputation management into the hands of the partner's in-house industry experts to provide the best results. This also allows the business owner to focus on running a great business, instead of trying to be a digital marketing expert.
As an agency, having both marketing service fulfillment models also allows you to properly organize and prioritize the accounts based on the type of service model attached.
[clickToTweet tweet="#DoItForMe or #DIFM Marketing is perfect for businesses with more money than time!" quote="#DoItForMe or #DIFM Marketing is perfect for businesses with more money than time!"]
DIY vs DIFM Reputation Management Case Study
The Partner: ForRent.com
ForRent.com® was founded in 1982 to provide property managers and owners with diverse marketing and advertising services, products, and education. ForRent prides itself on offering products and services that are easy to use, easy to understand, and are designed with the modern renter in mind. Operating in a global rental market, ForRent's mission is to help their clients drive leads, retain residents, and build their brands.
ForRent.com offers two service models for their reputation management services: a Do It For Me and a Do It Yourself solution.
The Reputation Management package ForRent.com gives business clients access to manage their own reputation through the ForRent.com-branded platform. The Reputation Concierge package has the ForRent.com team using the Vendasta Concierge platform to handle the fulfilment work on behalf of the businesses.
Both solutions are dedicated to helping local businesses improve their online presence.
We compared the data of ForRent.com business clients accounts that utilized the DIY model against the accounts that chose the DIFM option. The results proved without-a-doubt that Reputation Management in general was a huge benefit to their business, but it also shows that leaving business reputation in the hands of experts can generate higher review growth.
Reputation Management: DIY
Average monthly volume growth
Reputation Concierge: DIFM
Average monthly volume growth
Average star rating improvement (stars)
Both account types received huge growth in total number of reviews. However, it’s clear to see that the DIFM service accounts are generating reviews at a much faster rate than their DIY counterparts. With a 29.8% average monthly review volume growth, it’s easy to tell the value of a full-service reputation management solution for small businesses who oftentimes don’t have the time, expertise or resources to dedicate to managing their online reputation.
Additionally, by ForRent.com managing the online reputations of their clients, the review responses are being handled by agents with years of experience in review response best practices, and it shows with the statistic of average star rating increasing by 0.13 stars over all DIFM accounts. Some DIFM accounts saw a nearly two star increase in their overall star rating after putting their reputation management into the hands of the ForRent.com experts.
The average star rating for DIFM accounts saw almost no change. This is better than can regularly be expected for star ratings over time, as the cap of a star rating is only five, so the average star rating for a business will naturally fall over time as the business accumulates more and more reviews. Keeping the star rating at a high constant with the DIFM package is a good result to see over a long period of time.
Why You Should Offer Multiple Service Models
1. It's good for your agency
Each business will require a different level of commitment and hand-holding. By offering various service models, your agency is able to focus the resources where it matters, and increase efficiency and revenue overall. This also lets the capable businesses handle their own reputation management, and funneling wasted resources into accounts that don’t need it.
An agency will want to offer both DIY and DIFM service models for two main reasons:
1. Businesses and their needs change: by offering both, you can scale with their business as it changes. By offering a variety of service models, you can upsell clients to a more hands-on model if they need or desire a higher level of commitment as they grow their business.
2. DIY is ranked as one of the most valuable things when looking for these types of services. Businesses want to be able to do it themselves, though we know and they know they won't. Offering a DIY package allows agencies to offer an entry level package and to acquire more price-sensitive, lower end of market customers to later upsell.
[clickToTweet tweet="By offering a variety of service models, you can upsell clients as they grow their business. #agencytips #marketing" quote="By offering a variety of service models, you can upsell clients as they grow their business. #agencytips #marketing"]
2. Your clients want both fulfillment options—with more services
An agency should strive to offer both service fulfillment models whenever possible for each marketing service they offer. That way, a business client can pick and choose what they want to handle themselves, and what they'd prefer to leave in your agency's hands.
So what services do your clients want, and in what way do they want it?
BIA Kelsey's study found that DIFM clients want more lead tracking, digital presence monitoring and management, and reputation management tools.
DIY clients, on the other hand, want more tools for them to monitor their online presence, analyze their advertising ROI, and produce video.
Local businesses' digital needs are growing, and so is their appetite for service fulfillment options.
So how do you manage it all?
With resources like Vendasta's wholesale marketplace of resellable marketing solutions, plus white label service fulfillment teams like Vendasta's digital agency, you can make the best of both worlds for you and your clients.
In the end, being the local marketing expert involves knowing what your clients problems are, and knowing how to help solve them. Whether that means you set them up with the tools to solve the problems themselves (DIY), or work with them on solving the problem together (DIWM™), or solve their problems entirely with your expert knowledge (DIFM).
The reputation management world in particular is a fast-paced environment that only continues to change and grow, so now's the time to jump on board.
Get the rest of the results and check out the details of how ForRent.com used these service models to grow their clients' online reputation, and learn how you can too with Vendasta's white label solutions.