Let's start with the marketing tools that HAVE worked for me:
- You need a Facebook page- this is a non-negotiable. It is free. It is far reaching. It is easy to set up. It's a must! If you have a personal Facebook page, you need to go to your business page and recommend it to all of your personal friends. Then post. And post. And post on your business page. Remember a picture is worth a 1000 words (or....as one of my FB followers commented this week....a picture is now worth 576 words due to inflation. Ha!). You can find my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Magic-Brush/169989218746
- You need a logo. Logos help develop a brand/name recognition. The logo is for your Facebook page, your business cards, your brochures, your signs, etc. Have someone design one. I think I paid $35 for my logo to be designed. I found a web page with an awesome logo and contacted them to see who made it. They put me in touch with this talented stay-at-home mom in another state.....and she created it for me. All via email! I LOVE IT!!!!
- You need business cards. I love my cards! I paid the same woman I think $35 to design my business cards. You want your cards to have your email, your phone, your web page. And....if you are on Pinterest or FB....add those icons to your cards. I have 3,764 cards to use up before I reprint them with the Pinterest and FB icons.....but I will.
- I send thank you notes with 2 extra business cards in them to every one of my clients after we are finished working in their home. I like the personal touch of a thank you cards and my hope is that they will share my business cards.
- If you can....get brochures. Again....pictures sell faux/paint work. I bartered the design/printing of my brochures with a friend who wanted his kitchen cabinets painted black. Winner winner chicken dinner! What a great barter!!! Find someone in this field who can help you. Take pictures of your work. Lots of pictures! And fill a brochure with them. I put brochures in all of my model homes. Whenever I meet with a client for the first time, I give them a brochure. I keep them in my car to give to anyone who asks about my work/profession. Often a client will call me for something like say "painting their kitchen walls". Then they browse my brochure and realize we can also paint that ceiling medallion that they just bought for their dining room, and the dresser they just purchased for their son's bedroom and their garage doors while we are there. Pictures trigger seeds of planning....especially in the mind's of women! My brochures are marketing tool #2 behind my FB page for selling our work.
- I have started taking a brochure to the neighbors of the homes we are working in. I try to write a little note on it that says "We are working in your neighbor so-and-so's home and would love to work in yours as well".
- A website is helpful, but with Facebook it is no longer necessary. Websites are hard to update and most of the time.....they take a computer person to manage. I DO have a website at http://www.themagicbrushinc.com . I do send people to look at it. And if you google "faux finishers in Kansas City"....you will find me. Since many people tell me they found us thru my website, I know it is useful, but again....it's more cost and labor intensive. If you are just starting out....start with Facebook and get a web page as soon as you can!
- I have magnetic signs on the side of my truck. Are they pretty? No. Do they get us business? Yes! I have had people run thru our preschool's parking lot to track me down. I've had people write down our number at a stoplight. Signs help you with BRAND RECOGNITION. And if you own a business...you have a brand. The more people hear your company name, the more they will recognize it and eventually look into it.
- Myself and the 3 girls who work for me all have t-shirts with our company name on them. All of us have been asked about our paint covered clothes and what exactly we do. Keep business cards in your purse. Wear your company shirts. Advertise, advertise, advertise. Here is my shirt that I wore for the recent TV segments!
- I have painted several pieces of furniture for silent auctions and other fundraisers. I always do it because I want to....not to get business. But I do always ask if I can send a stack of my brochures with the furniture piece. If I am donating, we may as well have brochures out. It has resulted in business.
- In the beginning of starting my business, I did several small jobs for designers for virtually next to nothing so that they would a) see my work and b) start to refer me.That too worked very well!
Here are a few things that have NOT worked for my business:
- Advertising in the phone book. No one really uses the phone book anymore. Everyone is googling.
- I do not advertise in magazines. It is very expensive. That's the ONLY reason I haven't. If I were going to choose a magazine to advertise in, I would be sure it was a local mag in the line of work you are in. You really need to know your clientele! I know my clients are middle to high income women age 30-60. So I need to look at magazines tailored to that clientele also. So for me....I would look at Kansas City Homes and Gardens if I was going to spend the $. Even tho I don't currently advertise in magazines, I have submitted pictures and article ideas to magazines....and have been featured in several. And that DOES generate business.
- I do not advertise in the local high school yearbooks and other places like that. I would if money were just growing on trees right now. But it's not....so I don't. I've done it a time or 2 and felt like it generated no revenue....so decided to put those $'s towards other advertising methods.
- I have not bought any SEO (Search Engine Optimization) which means paying to move up my placement up on the google search. I'm sure it would be beneficial, but the last time I checked.....it was hundreds of dollars a month....so I passed on that marketing tool. Without SEO, I am still coming up on Google's front page if I type in "faux finishing Kansas City" so for now I will be content. However, this is something I am considering in the future!
Word of mouth always has been and will always continue to be.....your best advertising too. I try to thank the people who recommend us with a thank you and/or a thank you card with a small gift. I appreciate referrals!!!
That's all I got today folks! I hope you can use some of these tips!!!! I had so many people who helped make my business a success. If I can help you in any way.....please holler at me!