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Tuesday, October 24, 2023
The short answer is yes, but there’s more to it than just posting a quick response.
Responding to customer reviews is an important part of running any business, but it can be especially important for painting businesses. Reviews can help potential customers decide whether to choose your business, so it’s important to respond to both good and bad reviews in a professional and timely manner. According to BrightLocal, 98% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses, and 82% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. This means that online reviews can have a significant impact on your business’s reputation and bottom line.
This is the easiest type of review to respond to and by going a step or two beyond just saying thanks, you can help your business in a couple of different ways. A good way to do this is to mention something personal about the customer who left the review and to reference the service that you provided for them.
First and foremost, you should respond to thank them for taking the time to post a review for your company. We all lead busy lives these days, so it’s important to show appreciation to a customer who is willing to take the time to help your painting business.
Second, by including something personal about the customer, you are showing that you really care about them as a customer. This helps keep the relationship with the customer strong and also shows potential customers who will be looking at the reviews how much you care about your customers.
Finally, including something about the service you provided can help your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This can have the biggest impact on where your painting business shows up in the Local Pack (the list of 3-4 businesses that appears just below or next to the map in a results page from Google) when somebody searches for that service in your area and it can also help your website search better as long as it is linked to your Google My Business profile.
It can be very difficult to hold your tongue when somebody blasts you in a review, especially if you feel strongly that they are wrong. But the important point to remember is that potential customers who read the review will have no way of knowing who is right and who is wrong. If you respond in a non-professional way, you are demonstrating to potential customers that you are not professional. As unfair as that may be, that’s the way it works.
Your best move is to respond very respectfully, with something along the lines of “we are sorry you feel that way about your experience with the service.” Mention something about how “we strive to provide the best service in town to all our customers.” And follow that up with “I’d be happy to talk to you personally about your experience.”
In a case where you know that something went wrong with their service, it’s a good idea to be more apologetic. Almost all customers are forgiving and know that nobody gets it right 100% of the time. People reading the review and seeing your response will respect you more and be more likely to choose you if they see that type of response.
Responding with “our goal is 100% customer satisfaction and unfortunately we missed the mark in this instance. I’d really appreciate the opportunity to talk to you and discuss how we can make it right,” is a great way to demonstrate your care for your customers in the face of a mistake.
If you catch yourself in the process of typing out an emotional, angry response, go ahead and type it all out somewhere to get it out of your system. Don’t submit the review! Let it set there for at least 24 hours. If you go back to it after that period of time and still want to post it, let it sit for an additional 24 hours. After you look at it again, please delete it and think about what that potential customer who sees the review will want to see that shows you can handle these things professionally. I know it’s hard but your business will be better off if you respond professionally.
Occasionally, we’ll see a review pop up for one of our customers that is either mistaken or blatantly false. An example would be if somebody writes about a service you don’t offer such as auto body painting.
In these examples it is totally appropriate to point out that they must be mistaken. Writing something like, “We’re sorry that you had a negative experience with a painting services. However, we want to clarify that we do not offer auto body painting services.” Asking them to remove the review because of the mistake is also totally appropriate.
Like with almost anything, there are some nuances to how you will want to respond to any review. But, if you use the recommendations above as a guide, and remember it will not be just the person who wrote the review that reads your response but many potential customers, you can further utilize reviews as a way to help you gain more customers.
To learn more about how ProPainter Websites can help you gain more painting business, contact us at 866-665-1605 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com.
Tuesday, September 5, 2023
Winter’s frosty grip can be a formidable adversary for painters residing in colder climates. The plummeting temperatures force outdoor projects to a standstill, leaving painters with a shrinking pool of available jobs and intensifying price competition. The result? A dip in profitability that can send shivers down any painter’s spine.
But fear not, for there’s a silver lining to those wintry clouds! In this blog, we’ve compiled a treasure trove of insights from five carefully crafted articles, each designed to help you navigate the challenges of wintertime painting. These strategies will not only thaw the stress but also keep your profits thriving year-round.
If you don’t keep your marketing engine going in the summer, it won’t be as effective in the winter, when you need it most. This article explains why.
Not all marketing requires large amounts of money. Being more active on Facebook and networking with real estate professionals and apartment managers is free. In addition, some home service listing sites only take a percentage of a job’s revenue after it’s been completed and you’ve been paid for it.
Most customers will only extend an offer to quote a job to the first few painters that respond to them, so it’s important to be among the first to respond.
When you’re competing against so many painters, it pays to know how to impress the customer during the quoting process. And remember, price can certainly matter, but not as much as trust and credibility.
Hanging Christmas Lights, sidewalk salting and snow removal are all in demand in the winter in areas where it’s generally too cold to paint.
To learn more about how ProPainter Websites can help you gain more painting business, contact us at 866-665-1605 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com.
Tuesday, August 8, 2023
We have heard several painting contractors tell us, “We don’t need a website, we are on Facebook.” If you have enough business from your current customers, you don’t need to build any more business relationships, and all of your customers follow you on Facebook, then that statement might be true.
That’s not to say that Facebook can’t be a valuable tool. It certainly can be. But, for the vast majority of painting contractors a Facebook profile will be a very poor substitute for a website. Here’s why:
According to a 2023 survey from BrightLocal, “87% of consumers used Google to evaluate local businesses in 2022, up from 81% in 2021.” Google still reigns supreme when it comes to local searches. And a website is going to give you the best chance to be found on Google by potential customers. That’s because they are accustomed to typing the name of the service, such as “Painting Contractor”, into the search bar and then combing through the organic search results to look at the websites of the businesses they want to consider.
The story is very different on Facebook. Unless somebody specifically searches for your painting business by name, the only place you’ll be seen on Facebook is in the news feed of people who already follow you when you make posts. So, you are significantly limiting your audience by trying to substitute a Facebook profile for a website.
Facebook has an algorithm that determines what posts a user will see in their news feed. Their goal is to give the user more of what they want so that they will stay on Facebook as long as possible. Because people interact more with posts from friends and family, Facebook is more likely to show those posts (plus paid ads) than the posts from your business.
And you are posting, right? Remember, your only chance to be seen is by posting frequently. Contrast that with a website for which you do want to make small updates fairly regularly (like adding new photos one or two times a month) but certainly don’t have to remember to post continuously.
Right or wrong, perception is reality. While consumers may be willing to buy a t-shirt directly from Instagram, they expect more from a business that is going to have employees spending time in their home. Credibility is extremely important for home services businesses. Your website can provide that credibility.
When consumers can’t find a website for a business, they are going to think twice about calling them. They’ll question the credibility. “Is it new? Is it a fly-by-night operation? Can I trust them?” You don’t want potential customers asking those questions about your business.
Whether you build and manage your own website, or you work with a service provider like us, you get to make the decisions on the images, content, design, etc. You have a very high level of control over the messages and pictures people see when they go to your website.
On Facebook you are at the whims of what Facebook wants to do. Just like they control their users’ news feeds, they control what you are able to do with your profile. So, while you may like the “control” you feel you have over your Facebook profile today, that could change tomorrow.
While Facebook can be a valuable tool for painting contractors, it is no substitute for a website. A website is essential for attracting new customers and building credibility. It allows you to:
Don’t know where to start? We can help! Contact us today!
Friday, May 26, 2023
Have you recently heard a news report about a large company suffering a cyber attack and thought to yourself, “I’m glad that our painting business is too small to worry about those types of attacks”? Unfortunately, the truth is that you do need to worry about cyber attacks.
Now that cyber criminals have gotten as much as they could from large companies, they are turning their sites onto smaller businesses. With increased security defenses built up for medium and large companies, they are much more likely to get what they want from hitting thousands of small companies with no security measures in place.
What does this mean for your painting business? You are much more likely to be in their cross hairs. The good news is that by implementing basic security measures and by practicing caution you can greatly reduce the chances that a cyber attack will be effective.
Avoid these cyber security lapses to protect your painting business and your finances:
Don’t use the same password for everything. In fact, you should never use the same password twice. Don’t pick a password that someone could easily guess. Create passwords that include capital letters, lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. Please change any passwords that currently violate these recommendations right now, or at least tonight.
Be careful about storing your passwords in your web browser or on a personal device. If you do store passwords that way, be sure that you lock your device (computers and phones) when you are not actively using it. You should lock your device (or devices) every time you walk away. Do not write passwords down and leave them in plain view.
A much better plan is to use a password manager. Bitwarden, Dashlane, Zoho Vault and NordPass all offer free versions that are recommended. The paid versions include features that are even more important for business owners.
These types of posts are a gold mine for cyber attackers. They can use them to try to figure out your passwords and impersonate you online. Think about it, what security check questions does your bank ask you to be sure it’s you…high school mascot, first pet name, mother’s maiden name…
This was also mentioned in #2 and it’s worth repeating. It may not apply to you if your business computer is at home and stays there. But, if you use a laptop or a tablet that you travel with, it would be pretty easy for somebody to pull all of the data they need to ruin your business off of that device.
You go to a coffee shop. Place your order. Grab a table while waiting and open up your laptop. Hear your order called. Walk over to get your order. Get distracted by somebody who talks to you. When you start walking back to your table you realize that your laptop is gone…and access to all of your business accounts are on there. Lock your computer every time you step away from it.
If you get an email that looks suspicious, don’t click on any links in it. If it claims to be from somebody you know or a potential customer, call them to verify. Think before you click!
Tell me if you’ve heard this before… if you get an email that looks suspicious, don’t click on any attachments. Many file types can hold malware, including PDFs and Microsoft Office documents.
We can all now laugh about the emails that we used to get from the Prince of Nigeria who needed our bank account info so he could wire us a million dollars. But there are similar modern schemes that are going around that are much trickier.
What would you do if you got an email from a subcontractor that says that their billing information has changed and you should now send that $10,000 check to this new address or use this new bank account info for ACH? If you know the sender, call them to verify the request. If you don’t know the sender, you should probably just delete the email. If something seems too good to be true it almost definitely is.
While it’s very important for you to know these things as a business owner, your cyber security is only as strong as your weakest link. Be sure to share all these security measures with your employees. Make sure they understand the key points and how important they are. Tell them that if they see something they think might be suspicious they need to report it as soon as possible. This won’t only help protect your business, it can help protect their personal finances.
I encourage you to treat all eight of these security measures as if your business depends on them…because it does.
Friday, March 31, 2023
I had the great opportunity to facilitate Brain Meld sessions on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) at the PCA Expo in February. One of the key topics that kept coming up during the discussion with painting contractors was local links.
As I emphasized the importance of local links, I got several questions. They really boiled down to two questions. #1 – What are local links? #2 – How can they be obtained?
I briefly covered local links in the recent What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)? blog. But I’ll take a deeper dive into their value and how painting contractors can get local links in this blog.
The three core pieces of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are Architecture, Backlinks and Content. The acronym is ABC, making it pretty easy to remember. Backlinks are links to your website from other websites. Sometimes these are also referred to as inbound links. Going forward for this blog I’m just going to refer to them as links.
Google uses links to assess the credibility and focus of a website. That is what makes them so important. To simplify it further, Google sees links as endorsements for your website. The more inbound links your website gets from other websites that have proven to be credible, the higher the credibility ranking Google gives to your website.
Local links can come from the websites of local businesses, organizations, associations, events, media and more. Really any legitimate website that is based in your area and focused on your area can be a good source of a local link.
Local links are especially important for service area businesses like painting contractors. That’s because local links prove to Google that you have credibility in your service area. If you are doing business in Orlando, Florida you aren’t trying to get homeowners in Montana to find your website. Depending on which area of Orlando you are based in, you want homeowners in Kissimmee, Celebration, Winter Park and Oviedo to find your website.
To help you show up in the search results for the local towns and cities that your painting business serves, here are great sources of local links:
Most Chambers of Commerce automatically include a link to their members’ websites on their website. These hold a lot of credibility for Google. If you haven’t already, you can join your local Chamber of Commerce. If it will work in your budget, you may want to consider joining the Chambers of Commerce for all of your key service cities.
If you support local organizations or are a member of a local association, ask them to put a link up on their website to your website. Make the same ask if you are sponsoring a community event. Many of these groups are happy to include the link but you may have to ask them for it or make sure that they have your web address.
If you sponsor a youth sports team or dance team ask them to put a link to your website on their website.
If you partner with another business in town, you should each put a link on your website to the other business’s website. These could be from realtors, general contractors, restoration companies, etc.
If you are a member of a church or do charity work for a church, ask them to put a link on their website to your website. These types of links won’t help big national businesses. But for painting contractors, they can be the key to your website being found when local homeowners search for your services. Don’t stop with my list. Seek out any additional local entities that could be helpful.
Even if you are using a provider like ProPainter Websites to optimize and manage your website, you should take the initiative to seek out local links to help ensure it searches well. You don’t need hundreds of local links. If you can get a dozen, or a couple dozen, you can quickly surpass your competitors, and it will absolutely help your search results.
If you have questions about anything I covered here, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-600-5166. If you’d like to learn more about how we can support your business with a fully-optimized website and other web services, please schedule a meeting with us at a time that’s convenient for you!