Marketing a painting and decorating business
These are some marketing strategies that have worked for me over the years when promoting my painting and decorating services.
In general, marketing is more an art than a science. No two campaigns return the same results, sure-fire winners fail, whereas less well thought out ideas can strike gold. The best approach involves a variety of tactics, the so-called marketing mix.
Word of mouth
If you have time on your side, word of mouth is the best, cheapest and most sustainable way to market a painting and decorating business. I started with a couple of jobs for friends or family. I gave them a price break (materials at trade cost or a decent discount), did the very best work I could do, and when I was paid, I asked my satisfied customers to refer me to their friends.
It is slow, but sure, and the onus is on you to maintain and improve your standards, else you are letting down your biggest fans. The biggest break I ever got in business was thanks to word-of-mouth.
Word of mouth doesn’t suit cowboys based in small communities!
When I came to Cheshire, I knew nobody. I had to hit the ground running, and so I was under pressure to kick start a flow of inquiries. Clearly word of mouth wouldn’t do it.
This is a testimonial I wrote for Distribution Unlimited in Maccleesfield. It is self explanatory how I used flyers to launch a high-end painting and decorating business.
When I contacted Distribution Unlimited about a leaflet drop, I was new to the area, to the point that I hardly knew my way around our own village, let alone Cheshire. When I explained that I offered a high class decorating service, I was sent maps of three locations that DU considered had a demographic to suit the standard of work I do.
In addition, they advised me to produce a flyer on good quality card with a clear message.I followed their advice to the letter, and 3000 cards were delivered on a solus distribution mid January.
Within 3 weeks I was booked up for 5 months, plus I have passed on leads for several thousand pounds’ worth of small building works to a local contractor…
I will definitely consider using Distribution Unlimited again when the time is right, and would recommend that anyone considering a leaflet drop talk to them first, because according to my own feedback, most cheap flyers being delivered en masse these days end up in the bin without even being read.
This flyer campaign was a resounding success, but as I said at the beginning, no one can predict results. Later in the year, I sent out two similar flyers to other areas with similar demographics, and the short term results were far from stellar. However, I still get inquiries from those drops 6 months later. So, who knows? Regular flyer drops will generate results, and I advise budgeting accordingly.
btw Flyers aren’t necessarily a sign of a struggling business! If I were to expand or diversify my current services, a quality flyer would be a great way to spread that message quickly.
Once I have completed work for a customer and been paid, I tell them about my simple referral scheme.
If you recommend to me friends, I will give you a nice gift by way of thanks for supporting me.
About 30% of my work is coming from recommendations, and I have surprised a few customers with iTunes vouchers, or a meal for two at a local restaurant. Financially, it is not exactly life-changing, but it is a neat gesture, a genuine sign of appreciation, and generates major feelgood for both parties.
Marketing a painting and decorating business online
I am a big fan of the internet – unlike traditional methods involving bespoke designs, 4-colour printing, distributors… it is so easy to create a full colour brochure of all your painting and decorating services, upload it to a website, and be instantly accessible to a global audience.
The hard part is marketing to the online masses! Millions of potential customers go looking online for someone with your skill set and services but how do you stand out from the thousands upon thousands of other painters and decorators with a web presence too?
Twitter, website, blog
I started off with a website, so when I got inquiries via flyers, word-of-mouth and referrals, my online presence made it it easier for me to sell myself to those respondents. ie Check out my website to see the sort of work I do.
But the internet really started working for me as a marketing tool when I was advised on the three-pronged online approach by James at Projectbook. The Twitter-website-blog marketing tactic generates work from customers who don’t receive my flyers and don’t know me from Adam.
In my opinion, Twitter is the simplest and most efficient way to build up a network of contacts. When other Twitter users get to know you and trust you as a person, they begin to trust you as a business too. We are what we do! It takes about 10 minutes a day twice a day to keep in the Twitter loop.
Ideally you should have a website – a digital brochure, so that when Twitter users find you on Twitter, they can check out your website to find out more about you, your services, your portfolio.
A website can be as simple as a (Word) document with your name and contact telephone number, or be a complex dynamic ever-changing compilation of millions of pages full of text, images, videos and music, all interlinked, all aimed at promoting your painting and decorating business.
However some tweeter painters like master craftsman Richard Ireland don’t have a website and do really well on Twitter.
This article on marketing a painting and decorating business is an example of a blog post. I published it, and told everyone I know on Twitter that I have published it. Anyone interested in an article on this aspect of the painting and decorating business can read it, and then tell their friends on Twitter about it.
If the blog article is interesting, the reader may be motivated to check out my website to see what else I do. And so the circle is complete – website/Twitter/blog – People visit your website via Twitter, and to further reinforce that you know what you are talking about in relation to your decorating business, write a blog on decorating topics and tweet it!
Twitter is free. If you sign up, you are welcome to follow me – @acmasterpainter
Projectbook explain in greater detail how to maximise Twitter for business.
If you don’t get any business or benefits from Twitter read this.
To set up a website and blog, check out WordPress, a very free and powerful program. To find a style of website that suits you, check out free wordpress themes.
Please share it on Twitter, Facebook, or print it out for reference. Thanks.
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