Marketing is an important part of running a successful painting business. No matter how good you are at doing professional paint work, it won't help you if you don't have a marketing strategy in place to promote and sell the services that you offer.
In this article we look at how effective painting business marketing strategies can help your company get the painting jobs that you need on a regular basis. We also off ideas and tips on putting such a marketing plan together.
Right from the start you should set out to develop a brand. Give some thoughts to how you want to shape public perceptions of your business. A great name and logo design can give your brand visual representation but there is much more to it than that. A winning brand strategy is to have the right attitude and to adopt a business philosophy that will ensure that you slowly start to develop a good reputation. Strive to become known as a reliable company that always meets and exceeds customer expectations.
Painting Niche Markets
Before you can start to develop a marketing strategy you need to know exactly what painting services you intend on selling. Depending on the size of your local market and the number of competitors you may decide to specialize in one particular area or to be a 'jack of all trades'.
The market can basically divided into two broad areas, exterior and interior painting. Exterior or outdoor painting work is usually easier to get as people are less likely to do it themselves due to the perceived danger of getting up on ladders. The great thing about outdoor painting work is that customers are usually less demanding then they are when you are painting surfaces inside their home. With outdoor painting you do have to consider safety to a much greater extent though, particularly for multi story buildings. You don't even have to limit yourself to house painting as all kinds of buildings need painting from time to time.
Do some thorough market research and identify all of the opportunities that are out there in the market. You also need to try to understand who your customers are likely to be and how you can market your service to them in a way that they will respond favorably. Put together some customer profiles and chat to a few typical customers to find out more from their prospective. Get into the customers shoes and try to understand what they are looking for in a painting company.
One great way to pick up some regular jobs is to approach people who you think are in a position to be able to refer customers to you. Try to make relationships with property developers, interior decorators, real estate agents, home staging companies, property management firms and others who are out there in the market. Other networking options include joining a local builders association or the Chamber of Commerce.
Look for other well established service businesses that have large lists of clients and regular communication with them. You may find cleaning companies or lawn care businesses that will promote your service to their mailing list for a fee.
It can be great to have relationships with other painting contractors. While they are competitors in some sense of the word, they can also be helpful. If you specialize in different kinds of painting or you work in different parts of town then you may just be able to refer business to each other. If you are lucky there may be times when you have more work then you can handle. Being able to pass work on to other painters that you know are reliable will be good for your customers and good for them. They may also reciprocate and send work your way.
One great place to meet people is at home improvement stores. The painting section in Home Depot can be a gold mine if you are friendly and strike up some casual conversations. You will meet other contractors there and you may even meet a customer as well.
The obvious way for a new business to get in touch with prospective customers is through advertising. Test a variety of methods that will put you directly in touch with your target market. For more information see our article on Painting Business Advertising.
It helps if you have some marketing materials to show to prospective customers when you meet them for a consultation. Have some brochures made up or at least take a folder along with you with pictures of some of the jobs that you have completed in the past. Testimonials from previous customers also offer the prospect the kind of reassurance and 'social proof' that they want before they sign the dotted line.
What can you do if you have not completed any paint jobs yet or don't have any suitable photos? One great tip is to purchase stock photography from an online retailer. Featuring pictures of beautiful paint jobs in your brochure or on your website is not fraudulent if you don't make false claims about the depicted work being your own.
Fine Tune your Sales Process
To be a huge success in the painting business you do have to have someone on your team who is able to go out there and sell your services. There are many different sales strategies and techniques and they all have varying levels of success depending on the sales person and the prospect. Learn about some of the different approaches, test them out and then find out what works for you.
Don't be intimidated by the idea that you have to sell. Sometimes if you just be yourself, stay positive and guide the customer through a pleasant conversation about how you can help them, that's all it takes.
Try to up-sell customers on additional painting work. Once they have agreed to hire you to paint a certain area you can also start suggesting other areas of their house or property that could do with some paint work.
Ideas on Customer Service
In the painting business you have to be a good communicator as well as a good painter. It is necessary to take the time to understand every customers unique requirements. Always give them the best standard of service and make sure that they have open lines of communication with you. This should start right from the moment they get in contact with you to enquire about your services. Try to have someone answering your phone calls in person and if this is not possible then make sure that you return calls as soon as possible.
Marketing to Existing Customers
Once you have a customer and have completed some work on their home, that doesn't have to be the end of your relationship with them. Build up a client list with notes about each property that you have painted. You can then contact them from time to time and offer to do any other painting work that they require.
There are many great guide books available online that will offer you additional ideas and strategies for your painting business marketing. If you study marketing in general you will find that most concepts relate to the painting industry and can be applied in your business.