To help painting contractors better understand where to find new clients, Sherwin-Williams conducted a survey of more than 1,700 homeowners to determine when they hire a painting contractor, where they look for professionals and what drives the selection process. This is the fourth in a series of five articles that shares the insights, along with best practices on how to use this information to engage with potential customers.
Digital marketing is all around us. Social media is frequently used to stay in touch with family and friends, while ratings and reviews sites are often a source for opinions about restaurants and hotels. So will your customers be searching on Facebook or Yelp to find a professional painter?
Social Media is One Slice of the Pie
Our survey findings show that personal referrals and prior experience far outweigh online and social media methods during the search for a painting professional. More than half of respondents found a contractor through a referral from a family member or friend, while only 1 percent used social media.
Of the minority of homeowners who do turn to contractor review sites, Angie’s List ranked top of the list at 61 percent and the Better Business Bureau was 21 percent of the time. On contractor hiring sites, Home Advisor (formerly Service Magic) is the most popular at 44 percent while sites such as Kudzu and Red Beacon had limited responses.
So should painters do away with engaging on these sites completely? Absolutely not. Rather, what these findings tell us is that digital marketing’s place in the painting contractor business is more strongly related to staying in touch with customers. Being active on social media will help customers keep you front of mind, so that they think of the relationship you’ve built when the time comes to hire a painter.
Social Sites Keep Your Name Out There
Here are a few ways painting contractors should engage with customers on social sites:
· Blogs are great channels for sharing your expertise, insights on painting trends, best practices, new product details and case studies. Proper keyword selection will help prospective clients find relevant posts.
· Houzz is a great platform for sharing images of completed projects or split-screen, before-and-after pictures. Many of today’s prospective customers are searching Houzz for inspiration or professional recommendations.
· On Facebook, engage with current clients by tagging them in a final project photo (with their permission), and connect with prospective clients by or sharing timely painting tips.
· Twitter works well as a platform for fielding customer service inquiries; but note that this channel must be monitored closely because the expectation is for a quick response.
· YouTube is gaining traction as a place to house how-to videos that demonstrate your knowledge and insights.
Social media is another channel that can round out the marketing toolbox for building new business. When satisfied customers see relevant information, tips or images from your company on social sites, the chances are greater that they will remember you when friends, family or neighbors inquire about their preferred painting contractor.
About the Author
Jeff A. Winter is the director of marketing, Residential Repaint at Sherwin-Williams.
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