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  #1  
Old 05-22-2008, 04:29 PM
EPS Painting
 
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Default Marketing a Painting Company

Ok. Need some help, hope you can help!

What tips does anyone have on marketing a painting company. I have tried all of the obvious ideas such as direct mail through trifolds, postcards, and flyers and now looking into some newspaper advertising. We are a small company with only a few years under our belt. We mainly work in MA, so I need some new ideas on how to get our business out there. Anyone have ideas for me?


Thanks!!


www.epspainting.com
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  #2  
Old 05-22-2008, 11:02 PM
willanfei
 
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You should say something on your painting business about the details of your service. How and what?
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  #3  
Old 05-22-2008, 11:18 PM
Spider
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EPS Painting View Post
...What tips does anyone have on marketing a painting company. I have tried all of the obvious ideas such as direct mail through trifolds, postcards, and flyers and now looking into some newspaper advertising. We are a small company with only a few years under our belt. We mainly work in MA, so I need some new ideas on how to get our business out there. Anyone have ideas for me?
1. How many of the people to whom you sent direct mail pieces actually had painting their premises in mind at the time of receiving the brochure? I would guess - not many!

So where will you find people who have painting on their mind?


2. If your trifold brochures is anything like your website, it speaks about only you. How many of the people who have painting on their mind are interested in you? I suggest again - not many.

So, what would they be interested in at that moment?
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  #4  
Old 05-25-2008, 08:03 AM
Kamper
 
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Hi,

Not sure if they have this in your area but one thing that may be inexpensive is check to see if the newspaper offers insert advertising. We did this for a painting related business in our area. We went down to the local office supply and purchased bright 8 1/2 x 11 paper (ours was goldenrod) and then created an ad with a coupon. Had this printed in just black/white so it was very inexpensive and gave us a lot of room to make a great ad. Many customers will get online and check out your website for more information.

We did these in 5,000 increments, and had our ads inserted into the paper (we selected only the Sunday edition. The paper let us target the zipcodes they would be distributed to so we could choose the areas and income level of our customers. We found that people were more likely to pull the ad out and save it. We found people presenting us with our ads even a year later.

Our results were good and we repeated it as needed. This was a number of years ago so I am not sure if this is available now but thought you might want to check.

One other small tip, when it came to our company we know that 75% of our customers got a bid from us and and bid from our competitors. Our sales person would take a nice presentation type notebook. In this we had a technical specification sheet of the product we were using followed by actual letters of recommendations (in nice plastic sheet covers) we had received from happy customers. This added professionalism really made a difference and we walked away with a successful sale.

Hope this helps.

Kamper
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  #5  
Old 05-25-2008, 10:48 PM
Paul Elliott
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EPS Painting View Post
Ok. Need some help, hope you can help!

What tips does anyone have on marketing a painting company.
As a professional painter, you would scarcely tell someone how to paint his or her house without making a site inspection to determine what prep work is necessary, estimating the amount and types of paint to be used, etc., etc.

Tall order with many possibilities.

Marketing is just as complex, but let's lay some ground work.

It seems you have 3 basic customer types: 1) Commercial jobs, 2) Contractors, and 3) Homeowners. Marketing to these are fundamentally the same, BUT have many differences that are important.

In all cases, you are NOT in the business of painting! You are in the business of building relationships--whether you like it or not and whether you do it well or not.

Do not try to do them all at once. Start with one, build it, then add in another, etc.

My next question is, "What segment of your business do you wish to build first?"

The next is, "How fast do you want to build it, and how much will you need to expand to accomodate this amount of growth in volume?"

I can tell you with skillful marketing I can quadruple your business in 12 months. You would likely say, "Wow!" I would then say that that would likely be doing you a great disservice! The worst thing I can do to you is having people lined up around the block trying to get in your door and you not be able to serve them.

So, increasing your business by 30-40% in 12 months may be more within your ability to effectively service.

You have to decide. But this is part of a well-conceived marketing plan.

Your list is everything!(--See the "88" below.)

People and contractors with whom you have already done business will be your best sources of additional business. Start re-establishing the relationships you already have with these people and businesses. (--See the WOM-7 below.) When you remind them you are still in business, some referrals will begin. As you build this relationship better, more and more referrals will happen, but it takes consistent effort based on a plan and tested relentlessly.

More on this below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EPS Painting View Post
I have tried all of the obvious ideas such as direct mail through trifolds, postcards, and flyers and now looking into some newspaper advertising.
What are your marketing goals?

I would suspect that with these campaigns you have planned to target the homeowner. I agree that this has likely yielded poor results because it is not narrowly enough targeted to the people likely to need painting.

Solutions?

Who (what businesses) in your market area already have a customer list that you would love to have access to? Realtors? Investors in rental property? Lawn care companies? Plumbers? Electricians?

They can do an endorsed mailing to their clients for your company gifting some very special discount, coupon, or service from you to their clients. I've found this to be a very powerful tool. The powerful psychological effect is the transfer of the endorser's credibility and trust to you. I have seen just such programs produce a quadrupling of the yeild.

There is virtually no end of just such opportunities in nearly any market. The possibilities are limited only by your ingenuity.

Whatever offer you have, put a date limit on it, and/or state that this offer is available only for the first 20 customers, etc.

Whatever you do, test, test, test, and test . . . EVERYTHING! Any marketing dollar the results of which you cannot positively track MUST be considered a dollar squandered.(--See the "88" below.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by EPS Painting View Post
We are a small company with only a few years under our belt. We mainly work in MA, so I need some new ideas on how to get our business out there. Anyone have ideas for me?
What are your plans? How does your written Business Plan read? How does your Marketing Plan read? Don't have these? Get them fast! If you do, congratulations, you're ahead of most small businesses I coach.

Give it more thought and more planning before you spend another cent on marketing.

Start by going to the site in my sig. and getting 2 free e-courses: 1) the "7 Ways To Stimulate Word-Of-Mouth Advertising"--a big one for small businesses--and 2) "The 88 Marketing Tips That Will Change Your Life!"--a big one for any business.

Now about your site--

View your website as a separate profit center. True, it will refer customers to your business, but your visitors should have a reason to come, get help, and return later.

Start by adding a form on your home page where your customers can sign up for a newsletter (NL). Write up a downloadable pamphlet-sized PDF titled "The 12 Most Common Mistakes Homeowners Make When Hiring A Painter And How To Avoid Them." Of course, they don't get it without signing up. This is your list--the most valuable piece of equipment or real estate you can own . . . IF . . . you know how to use it well!!

Yes, your page gives me no real reason to explore or return to it.

At least do before-and-after photos of your work, not just pretty pictures of the results. Show me more pictures of your personnel hard at work in the before shots and more close-ups of the after results.

Best to you! Keep up your excellent work!
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  #6  
Old 05-26-2008, 07:37 AM
veronica
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Elliott View Post
In all cases, you are NOT in the business of painting! You are in the business of building relationships--whether you like it or not and whether you do it well or not.
Well said Paul . Every contact will convey, for better or worse, how your company will perform on the job, respond to problems, or ensure customer satisfaction. You are indeed in the business of building relationships.
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  #7  
Old 05-26-2008, 10:29 AM
huggytree
 
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i am also a subcontractor so we are alittle similar....you are luckier that when you do exterior painting everyone can see your work from the street....yard signs is the most important thing....have the homeowner leave it up for a month as part of your contract. i have a concrete friend who does specialty concrete stamping/staining...he says every yard sign gets him ATLEAST 1 more job. he is booked months in advance

What i like to do is market to builders/remodelers.....i send out mailers every 3-4 months and pick a few up each time...the advantage is they find you the work....the good ones get most of their projects....instead of bidding on 4-10 to get 1 job you bid on 2 to get 1 job.....disadvantages are payment and personality problems(or so im finding out)...

chamber of commerce gets me nothing, phone book barely gets me anything

i am in a BNI networking group and have done fairly well...if free time is not a problem then you cant lose....
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  #8  
Old 05-26-2008, 11:05 AM
Spider
 
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Good post, Pauil. I have signed up for the ecourses you recommended. Look forward to learning more about marketing.
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  #9  
Old 05-26-2008, 12:28 PM
Paul Elliott
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veronica View Post
Well said Paul . Every contact will convey, for better or worse, how your company will perform on the job, respond to problems, or ensure customer satisfaction. You are indeed in the business of building relationships.
Thank you, Veronica. You put it much more eloquently and made the point with greater precision. Every interchange with another person, no matter how casual or superficial, still gets "recorded." These are somewhere on the scale from good-neutral-bad.

The good news is that we can always turn the interchange into a better one . . . AND we can build them on purpose over time until they become very strong affinity bonds.
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  #10  
Old 05-26-2008, 12:48 PM
Paul Elliott
 
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Default Marketing Education

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider View Post
Good post, Pauil. I have signed up for the ecourses you recommended. Look forward to learning more about marketing.
Welcome aboard, Frederick.

Understand that my site (and interest) is to provide marketing techniques and education. There are few pushbutton ideas though many that can be turned into a rather quick payoff. Any business with true longterm goals MUST learn about marketing. The principles are not hard, nor is there anything new under the sun, but the principles are not necessarily intuitive.

Unfortunately, there are millionaires, considered gurus, who are really nothing more than "one-trick ponies." They stumbled onto one thing that worked, but they are handicapped because they fail to recognize the importance of understanding why the thing they found that worked did work. My hat's off to those who enjoyed massive success and then studied marketing to graduate to other things on purpose instead of continually searching for another magic bullet.

I am thankful to have become a student of Jay Abraham and Jay Conrad Levinson years ago. They taught me to learn to think and react in the way my customers do. It revolutionized my approach and effectiveness.

I enjoy focusing on the psychology of the customer, how to recognize it, and how to ethically maneuver it. Yes, it can be done unethically for a time until they figure it out, but life's too short to spend it playing underhanded subliminal tricks on you customers.

<Set SOAPBOX MODE = OFF>

Watch your customers and learn!
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