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Marketing a Painting Company - Doing It in 2 Innovative Ways

By analyzing every steps of Mike Ausherman Painting, a big player in the painting industry, from the beginning to its current stage, we will figure out its secret of having such sustainable marketing plan, and how they deal with today dynamic digital world.
By Devon Vo | EnvZone Staff
on August 19, 2019 | 6 min read
Image credit: Mike Ausherman Painting

According to the Academy for Professional Painting Contractors that 2 ultimate ways of marketing are being neglected by many painting company and business. They even took the case when a painting business was grossing over $1,000,000 in revenue as an example for missing out on those strategies, or least not combining or implementing the strategies correctly.

Over the past few years, Mike Ausherman, the founder of Mike Ausherman Painting, has conducted over 250 in-depth marketing and business-growth surveys and assessments, and the following are 2 strategies that he had concluded.

#1 Customer Reactivation and Retention

#2 Optimizing the Sales Process (not the estimating process)

The reason I choose to write about Mike Ausherman, but not anyone else, is that his painting company has successfully generated an extra $232,000 in revenue in only 45 days, and this number is still climbing.

In a recent training sector at the Academy for Professional Painting Contractors, Ausherman has claimed that the 5 core business process in marketing is something that you don’t do one time it’s something that you can continually do and that there is organic spending going on in your list and we have to harvest that. He also had some commentary on the Power Presentation Process bringing family into the business, reconnecting with customers, balancing work and life.

After 4 decades of forming, storming, and norming, Mike Ausherman Painting is now in its stage of thriving. For the last several years, their sales have been approximately between $800,000 and $1 million.

Spring Customer Reactivation Campaign

In-house database

Let’s see how this 40-year-old business looks like.

Mobile phone

The painting company started out with about 1,500 customer bases. Unfortunately, they don’t go back before 2000 because everything was paper and not in the company’s QuickBooks. They’ve purged probably 150 names for people who have moved or deceased or for one reason or another are no longer customers.

Now, there’s a good solid base of 1,200-1,300. However, they were reported to be not sufficient enough in keeping records, because they only had phone numbers only half of those people.

Unfortunately, the phoning component in the customer reactivation plan is a very important component. And the more phone numbers you can have to actually contact the people the more beneficial it is.

Emails

And of course, they also capture emails. As having no full-time marketing staff, they are insufficient when it comes to doing monthly newsletters and making more contact too. But they do aware of the value and benefit of it.

So, the database consists of probably 1,250 people roughly that they’ve mailed to and used in the campaign.

The campaign

The Spring Customer Reactivation program was inaugurated in 15th March 2017, and the whole program triggered 78 replies for proposals. Until now, they’re still getting a response from it.

It is remarkable that people really enjoyed it and loved being considered as VIPs.

The campaign was carried out between March and April through all of Ausherman’s business. Until 2017, he had made over 128 sales calls.

"It’s a bit of a stressful situation, but I have enjoyed it.”, Ausherman said. “I’ve liked getting back in the feeling of connecting with the customers.”

It’s an important thing. Viewing from Ausherman’s point of view, your whole plan is when you wrap your arms around your customer base basically and keep in contact with them, make offers to them. That is a wonderful plan.

You could go out there and try to cold call your life away but if you’ve built a customer base like the Mike Ausherman Painting has, just use it.

Monitor and Track the Process

As being asked if there are any tips or tricks on monitoring or tracking the process, Ausherman answered comfortably that marketers just need to make sure to go out there and meet with people, connect with the people, and reconnect. Because that’s an important part of reminding them that you’re there and the job that you did for them in the past.

As far as the process goes, the company tries to keep it as organized as they can. Ausherman admitted that he tried to stay to no more than three-four sales calls a day at most because he liked to visit the jobs and there are other things he had to do. And the company usually try to during this time to keep everybody as close as they can. They get out maybe two weeks and people get a little antsy but most of them who are past customers are willing to wait.

The operation also has a CRM program where everything is entered, and this is for new customers and/or re-established repeat customers, they will in two weeks have a schedule, a task in that CRM program for them to call their customers.

“It’s not as big an issue with your repeat customers because, you know, as I say, most of them are (inaudible 00:16:33), but with a new customer you’ve got to be a little bit more formal and a little bit more regimented. But that’s kind of what we do.”, Ausherman added.

It is also highly recommended to tell the customer ahead of time what they can expect of you and it’s kind of like a little mutual contract that you go in and that way the people aren’t going to be so alarmed when you start asking them questions and trying to find out what it is they’re trying to achieve or what goals they have about their painting and all of that.

Mike Ausherman believes that those are some of the most important components in winning a job is really finding out what the people’s expectations are and solving them.

Further Interesting Ideas for Marketing a Painting Company

#1 Marketing for Painting Referrals

Most painting contractors make the marketing mistake of taking a “wide and shallow” approach to generating leads. As a result, painters run out of resources before they see results. Instead, focus your efforts narrowly and deeply. Pick a target market that can not only give you leads but also represents an excellent source of referrals. When you do this, you get the benefit of the immediate sale and the ongoing stream of referrals.

#2 Improving Your Estimate Process

Many painters believe that they are like a clerk at Wal-Mart. They think that conducting an estimate is all about giving the customer a price. They’re just there to “ring up” the sale. This is the opposite of what should be happening in your estimating process.

As a painter, you are often offering services that are just as expensive as cosmetic surgery, legal services, or accounting services. Yet we try and sell these services with a weak and wimpy email two days after the visit – at a great distance and at a remarkable disadvantage.

#3 Marketing for Commercial Repaint Contracts 

Your local area is swimming with opportunity for high margin, recurring commercial maintenance painting contracts if you’ll simply take the time to market for them in a systematic way.

#4 Marketing Maintenance

Of all the neglected aspects of marketing a painting business, this is it. If you work at the four fundamental aspects of 1) marketing to past customers, 2) referral sources, 3) commercial contracts, and improve your 4) estimating process, you’ll have four precious assets:

  1. Past Customer List
  2. Unconverted Leads List
  3. Commercial Repaint Target List
  4. Painting Referral Partner List

So, how do you keep these resources from being wasted? The answer is very simple – newsletter marketing. On a monthly basis, you should be contacting all past customers and high-value prospects with your monthly newsletter. This process costs less than $12.00/year per contact, yet past customers alone are worth an average of $1,000.00 in sales. Mathematically, it’s a can’t lose proposition.

Final Words

The bottom line of doing marketing as a painting agency is to find ways to communicate with your customers. To be more precise, it is all about marketing message. As a result, you will get more responses and your project will not make your customers feel put upon and that is entertaining and whimsical or whatever you’re going for with them.

This article is also credited to the Academy for Professional Painting Contractors

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