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Archive for February, 2020

The Biggest Marketing Mistake – Choosing Beauty Over Effectiveness

February 28th, 2020

If you asked people what factor impacts a home’s price the most, many would tell you the size.   They’d be wrong.  The size of a house is an important factor, but not the most important.  It’s all about location.

Consider this example: there are several places in the US that are desperate enough for new residents that they’ll pay you to move there.  It turns out that rural Maine, Nebraska and Oklahoma aren’t popular places for new college graduates to start families.  On the other hand, the average monthly rent in San Francisco is around $3,500, and the median house price is $1.3 million.

The same is true for online marketing.  If you have money to spend, there are website developers that can make websites that look like a work of art.  The visuals on these sites speak loudly, and they make your business look very professional.  Unfortunately, these websites generally aren’t in the best part of town – and on the internet, the best part of town is somewhere on the first page of Google.

The reason these sites don’t search well is that Google looks at a site’s written content to figure out what the site is all about.  When someone asks Google a question about painting contractors near them, Google wants to return websites that feature information about services the painting contractor provides in that person’s area.  Typically, the most attractive websites don’t have much written content.

Even if customers do find these websites, they don’t necessarily lead to the most requests for service.  You want to make it really clear what your phone number is and how to contact you – even if that means a small sacrifice in the site’s visual appeal.

None of this means that ugly websites perform well.  Painting contractor websites still need to look good, and they need to use modern coding (Google doesn’t like ancient websites either).  But you should always make sure that your web designer understands what you’re trying to do with your website.  If your goal is to impress people who already know about your business, a cutting-edge visual design might be the way to go.

But if you’re using your website to attract new painting customers, you don’t need stunning visuals – you need plenty of pages worth of written content about your services.  Make sure your web designer is focused just as much on leads as they are on layout.

To learn how ProPainter Websites can help your website bring more customers to your painting business, call us at 919-424-6121 or email us at

Painting Contractors: Don’t Lose Sight of These 3 Key Things During the Busy Season

February 25th, 2020

The first day of spring is about three weeks away.  For many painting contractors, this is when the work begins to pick up again, as the weather starts to cooperate more.  The phone starts ringing more often.  Empty calendars begin to fill up, and soon you’ll be looking for a place to schedule customers.

This is when the money is made.  But unfortunately, it’s also when it’s destroyed.

Once your calendar starts to fill up, you aren’t going to have time to figure out how to maximize your revenue.  Which types of customers are top priority?  Which ones will you politely tell you aren’t able to complete their small job? If your schedule is light for a few more weeks, this is the perfect time to answer these questions.

Most importantly, how are you going to respond to all of them (including the ones you can’t help) in a reasonable amount of time?  This is important; never responding to a quote request makes some people angry, and some choose to take it out on your reputation by trashing you online.

What often ends up happening is that you make on-the-spot decisions, angering high-value customers, prioritizing low-profit work, and scheduling right through your weekend breaks.

Don’t get stuck in this trap!  Here are a few tips to maximize the value of peak season.

Use an alternative to ‘no’.  Even when your schedule is packed, many people feel insulted when you refuse to take their business.  Instead of telling them you’re unavailable, tell them you wish you could help but are booked for the next few weeks. Offer them a time a few weeks out.  The odds are high that they’ll call someone else instead – but at least they made the choice.  And if they do decide to take you up on your offer, they’re probably not going to be a very demanding customer.

Prioritize referrers – and referrals.  If someone calls and mentions they heard about you from a friend or family member, that person becomes a priority.  If the referral source hears that you weren’t able to help them, they’ll probably stop referring business to you.  That might not sting in the summer, but the next time you’re looking for jobs to fill up your calendar, you’ll probably regret not finding some way to work that referred customer into your schedule.

Don’t lose focus on what matters.  When jobs are stacked up one after another, it’s easy get overwhelmed and focus on getting them knocked out.  But the 15 minutes you spend with a customer after a job making sure they’re satisfied might be more important than the 20 hours you spent on the job itself.  Don’t destroy a potential referral source to save 15 minutes of customer service work!

To learn how ProPainter Websites can help your painting business be more successful, call us at 919-424-6121 or email us at


Achieving Maximum Customer Loyalty

February 14th, 2020

Everyone knows that loyal customers recommend companies to friends and co-workers.  But what is a loyal customer?

Type “customer loyalty” into Google, and you’ll get ads for companies trying to sell you loyalty programs.  Below the ads is a quote from book The Intuitive Customer defining customer loyalty as a “result of a consistently positive emotional experience”.

Of course, loyalty programs are pointless for residential house painters; customers generally have one house, and they get it painted once every few years at the most.  But who are loyalty programs designed for, really? When you think about it, does a rewards card make you feel great about a company?  Who really has an emotional experience when they scan their grocery store loyalty card and get told they have ten cents off their next fill-up at the gas station?

Customer loyalty isn’t a “yes or no” trait.  There are four different levels of loyalty: Best Option Loyalty, Habit-Based Loyalty, Conscious Loyalty, and Identity Loyalty.  You aren’t going to get recommendations from customers unless you get them to Level Three.  Here’s some information on each of the four levels.

Level 1: Best Option Loyalty

Customers with Best Option loyalty choose a painting contractor because they’re the best option at the time.  In most cases, it’s because they know you will paint houses in their neighborhood, and that you did a good job painting their house or their friend’s house.  It might also be because they’ve got a coupon or they stored your number in their phone.

This may seem like a weak form of loyalty – and it is.  People’s loyalty to most companies they use or visit regularly never gets past this level, however.  They’ll keep using the same provider until they get a big discount at a competitor, a strong referral for another painter, or what they feel is a disappointing experience with you.  That might take years – or it might happen tomorrow.

Level 2: Habit-Based Loyalty

If a customer uses one business enough times, it will become a habit.  The average person makes thousands of decisions per day – several per minute.  The only reason they can do this is that most decisions aren’t conscious.  They’re based on habit – when you decide to set your alarm clock, you set it for the same time every morning unless you have a good reason to change it.  If there’s a track record of something going right, you don’t change it until something goes wrong.

Customers with Habit-Based Loyalty will bring up your company if a friend or co-worker is looking for a painter. They might say you’ve done a good job for them a few times. This is a referral, not a recommendation, but it’s probably enough to get you in the running for a quote.

Customers with Habit-Based Loyalty will probably also call you for future house painting needs.  At this point, a 10% off coupon from a competitor or a small issue with a paint job isn’t going make them change painting contractors.  It takes too much effort.  Do other painting contractors do jobs in this town, or do they do jobs of this size?  Will they show up?  Does the customer have to provide the paint?  Will the work be terrible?  There are too many questions to deal with to justify changing painting contractors.

Level 3: Conscious Loyalty

To reach this level, customers have to feel like you’ve done something for them that is beyond what they expected.  Unlike Levels 1 and 2, this is an emotional connection – “This painting contractor is great because they’re the only one that does X for their customers” is an emotional statement.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be anything expensive.  It could be a simple gesture like offering to paint a small place you’re weren’t paid to paint with the remainder of an unused gallon of paint.  A hand-written thank you note is a nice surprise to most customers these days.

Ironically, Conscious Loyalty often results from how you handle a bad customer experience.  When customers complain about service quality, they expect some acknowledgement of the response (and some unethical customers take advantage of this fact).  But they don’t expect anyone at the company to actually care – most people are too used to calling overseas customer support offices at giant companies to expect that.


As a small business, however, you can offer something those places can’t. If a customer isn’t happy with something and their concern is legitimate, you can admit the error, apologize, and fix it at no cost.  At this point, the customer might feel guilty for making a big deal out of the issue and that can lead the customer to want to return your kindness.  This can lead to online reviews or in-person recommendations to your painting business.

Level 4: Identity Loyalty

Most people only have a few brands in their lives that form a part of their identity.  Coca-Cola or Pepsi? Apple phones or Android phones? Wal-Mart or Amazon?  These decisions form major patterns in a person’s life, and changing would take a huge investment of time.  These brands also become a part of some people’s identity – many people describe themselves as Coke drinkers, or Amazon users.

Once customers reach this level, it takes a tremendous level of effort to get them to change products.  In fact, the only way they’ll change brands is if the product or service really lets them down or does something that makes them very angry.  That’s because using a different product requires more than just changing products. It requires changing who they are and how they live.  Most brands have to invest a tremendous amount of money to earn customers with Identity Loyalty, and most small businesses don’t have any customers who reach this level.

To learn how ProPainter Websites can help bring you new house painting customers, call us at 919-424-6121 or email us at