Polish up your marketing to make your painting business shine

BUSINESS | October 2019

Painters are great at painting, but they’re not always so good at marketing their business. Often, business promotion efforts are limited to signwriting on the van and maybe the occasional flyer drop in local letterboxes. In today’s digital world, these traditional tactics aren’t going to cut through.

So how do you shrug off the paint-splattered overalls and slip into the shoes of a savvy digital marketer? It’s not as hard as you think. Here are the basics for getting your painting business noticed:

1. Spruce up your brand

A brand refresh for your business is like a new coat of paint for a house; it helps to make a great first impression. So before you do anything about your marketing, take a long, hard look at your business name and logo. Have they seen better days?

If you decide it’s time to start from scratch, try to choose a new name that’s either linked to a customer benefit or hugely memorable. For example, The Painting Champion, Masterstroke Painters, Paintmaster or Trusted Painting are names that link to a benefit. If you want to go the memorable way, then something like Paintzilla, Paintmania or Pleasure & Paint might do the trick. There are name creation websites that help with this kind of thing.

If your business name is well-known and respected, you’ll want to keep your name. But it’s possible your logo hasn’t had a touch up in years. A graphic designer can evolve your logo and colour palette to bring your brand up to date.

2. Set up a Google My Business profile

It costs nothing to set up a business profile on Google. It will help home owners find you when they’re looking for a local painter (and ‘local’ is often one of their key requirements). To get started, just go to the Google My Business home page and follow the step-by-step instructions. Once your profile exists, it will appear when people are searching for painters on Google Search and Google Maps.

Loading some good pictures of your logo, vehicles and team will make your profile more complete and help to draw potential customers in.

3. Get some Google reviews working for you

The next thing your business needs is some positive Google reviews. These will appear as part of your Google business profile. It’s not difficult to get some good reviews – just think back to customers who loved the work you did for them. You can do this by including a link to your Google profile review form in an email. The only catch is that the customer needs to have a Google login (most people do these days).

To find and copy your review link, go to your Google profile and click on the ‘write a review’ button beneath your listing. When the form pops up, copy the URL (web address) in the nav bar and paste it into your customer email. If this all sounds a bit hard, ask a digital native to help you (i.e. the youngest person in your painting team).

4. Put your business on We-do, No Cowboys and/or Builderscrack

When potential customers are looking for a painter, they want to find someone they can trust. Web portals like We-Do, No Cowboys and Builderscrack are popular, because home owners can place reviews about tradies and other types of contractors. Good reviews are a fantastic marketing tool; bad reviews, not so much.

If you’re confident about your ability to make customers happy, consider using these sites to attract work.

5. Get a new website

If you don’t have a website, it’s time for a reality check: a business without a website is like a bicycle without tyres. It just won’t go anywhere.

A good website is like hiring a sales person to focus entirely on attracting new customers for your business, and you won’t have to pay it a big salary. Whether you build it yourself using a Word Press template or hire a web company to do it for you, your website will work better if it is carefully search engine optimised. This means all the search words and phrases that customers might use to find you should be included in the writing on the site. There are people who do this for a living – they’re called SEO specialists.

Your website also needs to be ‘responsive’, which means it will automatically resize to whatever device it’s being presented on. Many old websites aren’t responsive, so their writing and images are tiny and almost impossible to read on a mobile phone. Google doesn’t like these sites and penalises them with low rankings in search results (i.e. your website is presented on page 104 of search results where nobody will ever find it).

Websites also need good-looking images, so pay a professional photographer or enlist a friend with a nice camera. Take pictures of homes you’ve painted, your vans and anything else that makes your business look good.

6. Run a Google Ads campaign

In the 1960s, running a campaign was straight out of Mad Men. It involved television, radio, newspaper and magazine ads and cost a significant amount. But now people who need a product or service tend to go straight for the nearest Google search button, which means that running an ad campaign for your painting business can be super simple. Just try Google Ads.

If you don’t know what we mean, here’s a quick explanation: When you do a Google search, the results will have Google Ads listed at the start and finish. You can tell they’re ads by the box below the heading that says ‘Ad’.

If they’re done correctly, your Google Ads will be seen by people searching specifically for painters or painting services. And you pay nothing until they actually click on your ad to visit your website.

For a competitive industry like painting, Google Ads can sometimes be the only way to get at the top of the search result lists. You can control the cost by allocating a daily budget.

You can teach yourself how to use Google Ads using online tutorials or you can hire an expert to run a campaign for you.

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