As you brace for a recession, and cope with the necessary limits social distancing places on your business, it’s natural to wonder where to go from here. But marketing for painters shouldn’t be nonexistent. Instead of relying on your sales funnel as-is (getting new leads to make new purchases), it’s time to think of a sales hourglass. 

Focusing on marketing to and through your current painting clients and customers means they can help you stabilize your painting business through a strong, growing base of repeat customers and referrals. 

Here’s how you do that. 

Brand Awareness: We’re Still Here

One of the most comforting and compelling things you can do for your customers is let them know you’re still here for them, and you’re still open for business. There are a few ways you can use existing marketing channels to get your business in front of customers and keep you in their front-of-mind:

  • Advertising: Get the word out with paid search advertising through platforms like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and more.
  • SEO: Optimize your paid search and organic search campaigns with keywords your current, loyal customers actually use.
  • Calling or Emailing: Call people or drop them an email to check in. Let them know you’re available to help and there to serve during this challenging time.
  • Direct Mail: You’d be surprised how effective a card, letter, or handwritten note can be when it comes to keeping business going. Just be sure to add personal touches, and keep your tone clear and sincere.
  • Video: It’s reassuring to see someone’s face and hear their voice. Video offers a way to do that readily without overspending, overstretching your resources, or posing a safety risk. 

Engagement: Keep Up the Conversation

Engagement is the next crucial step in this process of shaping your sales hourglass. Taking initiative and being strategic is important. Otherwise, you risk losing leads as customers and prospects fall through the cracks. The good news is, you can likely do this by making minor tweaks to your painting business marketing plan:

  • Opt-ins: Use simple opt-in forms to capture email addresses so you can share special offers, news, and other happenings via email newsletters.
  • Social: Keep social channels up and running and continue posting content regularly. As always, interact with people who like, comment on, and share your social media posts.
  • Cookies and Retargeting: Use cookies and retargeting to tailor the online customer experience for each visitor.
  • Appointments and Offers: Stay available for appointments (even if they have to be by phone or video for a while). If there are some enthusiastic “hand-raisers” who jump on board for these meaningful conversations, let them know you value their time with an offer.

Action: Keep Conversions Coming

Taking action: that’s what you want from your customers. Your conversion strategy should always be under the microscope. There’s a lot you can learn from data, and a lot you can do to nurture the customers that drive your business:

  • Track purchase activity for every customer in your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.
  • Thank every customer for every purchase or service, every time.
  • Provide strategic opportunities for them to write a review. 

Retention: Keep Customers Happy

Getting customers to take action is great. But repeat business from happy customers is what really makes a difference to your bottom line. To get there, it’s all about consistency and great service:

  • Do Good Work: Doing what you do, and doing it well, is always the best way to keep your customers and make them loyal advocates for your brand and your team.
  • Don’t Be A Stranger: Find ways to check in and maintain a “human element.” This is always a great way to build trust, but especially when times are tough.

Additional Services: Do More for Customers

Your customers are likely uncertain right now, too. But they know one thing. They want to keep their business viable and growing. Get creative about additional services you can provide to help them reach their goals. Use your values as a guide:

  • Empathy: Be empathetic toward their evolving challenges and offer solutions to rising and changing needs.
  • Vision: During your check-ins and meetings, ask what is new and upcoming for your clients and customers. Help them envision growth and success, and offer ways you can help them get there.

Referrals: Get More Work

As a painting company, referrals are likely crucial to growing your painting business. And you can still get referrals, even when the going gets tough. Here are some suggestions for growing referrals from the SearchPrimer team:

  • Ask for referrals as part of your email marketing.
  • Add “refer a friend” content to your landing pages.
  • Add value for people who refer new customers with finders’ fees or other special offers.
  • Send a thank you gift for referrals: gift cards, plants or flowers, or their favorite treat. Get creative!

One thing is clear, if you’re dedicated and driven to be there for your customers and clients, they’ll help you turn your sales funnel into an hourglass as you continue to grow and evolve your businesses together, no matter what comes your way.