Staying in business for many years is not an easy task, especially for a small business. One has to constantly adjust, change, compromise and be ready for the unexpected, while doing clever advertising and marketing. A small business has to be extremely careful with its financial resources, as one wrong decision might jeopardize your entire existence.
Glenn Pattison, owner of Clean-State Painting has managed to stay in business for almost three decades. He went through a number of metamorphosis during those years. The company started off with carpet cleaning, moved then to house painting and is now specializing in kitchen cabinet painting. For the last three years he has had a workshop in Waterloo, Ontario, while before he was just working out of his garage. “There was no need for a workshop, we mostly drove to people’s homes and worked there. I just needed a storage place for my equipment.”, he says. But since the business switched to kitchen cabinet painting, he needed actual work space. He still drives to people homes, but the kitchen doors and drawers get spruced up in the shop.
In the early years his marketing strategy was to place plain old newspaper and yellow page ads, now Glenn uses social media. “I have spent so much money for advertising, trying out different possibilities from postcards, to flyers and ads in special magazines for constructors and real estate agents. I have rented booths at reno shows and trade fairs. It did bring in some business, but it was nothing compared to what social media is doing for me now with much less effort and money.”
When social media was new, Clean-State Painting took to it with gusto and opened accounts on all traditional platforms, such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and had placed ads with Google and Bing. Glenn even went so far as to take a Google Analytics course to measure his social media efforts. Over time it has shown that for this kind of business only one outlet was useful and brought new prospects and customers – Facebook. “Advertising on Facebook is awesome”, Glenn says. “People see the ad, go to my Facebook site or web page, see photos and reviews of my previous jobs and the next thing I know is that they want an estimate.” He would ask the interested party to send a few pictures of the kitchen they want to have done and within the hour the potential future customer knows how long the job will take and how much it will cost.
Having to focus just on one social media outlet takes away a lot of stress, after all it is a small business and apart from the occasional help, Clean-State is a one man show. “Before, I used to spend all my evenings in front of my computer, writing posts for different social media platforms, analysing how many views, likes and shares I got, but now I only need to monitor my webpage and Facebook.” says Glenn.
Facebook allows Clean-State to target users by location, demographics, age, gender, interests, behavior, and connections – something a flyer isn’t able to do. And with the Facebook remarketing feature, a technology that shows ads of your business to people after they have visited your website, it is the perfect advertising tool.
And that’s not all: Clean-State is also using Facebook to improve its customer service. The company posts useful tips and tricks about painting techniques to attract followers and each request or comment gets a reply within a couple of hours. Customers are also invited to write a review on Clean-State’s work. “Isn’t that dangerous?” – I asked Glenn. “Not if you do a good job”, he says with a big smile. True enough, the best website and photos are not helping if the work doesn’t meet the expectations of the customer. One sloppy job and your beloved social media outlet can turn into your worst business nightmare and all your years of hard work can go down the drain in a jiffy. But that is nothing Glenn needs to be afraid of. Having spent years perfecting the priming and painting method, the company has never received anything other than rave reviews. The end product looks like it just rolled off the manufacturing line and the company has established a trustworthy reputation. With perfect craftsmanship and a new upcoming spring social media campaign, Clean-State will surely keep painting for a few more decades.
Lessons for Others
Advertising on social media doesn’t only give business owners the option to target specific users, it also lets them control how much they want to spend. Facebook charges currently an average of $0.27 per click. A cap can be set for a daily budget to spend, which keeps your marketing budget in a healthy condition.
The remarketing feature that Facebook offers is a great tool to stay in potential customer’s mind, once they have visited a company’s website or Facebook page, they will see the company’s ads when they visit or shop on other websites, use social media, watch videos, use other mobile apps, or search on Google.
Useful posting on social media, like Clean-State does with tips on how to paint right, helps to keep followers interested and can create new ones.
Industry: Painting Services
Name of Organization Contact: Glenn Pattison, President
Authored by: Gita Pattison
If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.