Brian Jensen – The Blogging Painters http://bloggingpainters.com The Online Resource for the Painting Industry Sun, 11 Jun 2017 18:14:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 24038750 Getting to Know You: Nigel Costolloe http://bloggingpainters.com/getting-to-know-nigel-costolloe/ http://bloggingpainters.com/getting-to-know-nigel-costolloe/#comments Sat, 11 Mar 2017 19:06:18 +0000 http://bloggingpainters.com/?p=12638   Nigel Costolloe is both the owner of Catchlight Painting and one of their estimators. Nigel trained as an apprentice painter in California and continues to study the evolving science of coating adhesion and failure. He is active regionally and nationally in the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America (PDCA) as a leader, speaker and […]

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Brian Jensen

Brian Jensen is the CEO of Congruent Digital, a full-service online marketing agency that provides cross-channel marketing solutions for businesses of all sizes. Congruent Digital proudly partners with A David Creation to provide painting contractors with results-driven digital marketing services.

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Nigel Costolloe

Nigel Costolloe is both the owner of Catchlight Painting and one of their estimators. Nigel trained as an apprentice painter in California and continues to study the evolving science of coating adhesion and failure. He is active regionally and nationally in the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America (PDCA) as a leader, speaker and mentor. He has roots in Australia and England, adores being a parent, and ends most days with a CrossFit workout.

Nigel, where did you grow up? What were your favorite pastimes?

I was born in Australia, grew up in the South Pacific islands – Fiji, New Guinea, Samoa, etc., then went to English boarding school before finishing high school and college in California.

I exercise to balance the mental effort work requires; marathons, triathlons, adventure races, Crossfit. If I’m not at work, I’m moving something heavy or myself. I enjoy reading, just about anything well written. Sleep, or its pursuit, has also become a pastime as middle age makes it ever more elusive.

Oh, and I’m delightfully, happily, wonderfully married to a woman of vast patience, forbearance, and understanding. We have two sons, terribly spoiled but somehow they have turned out well nonetheless.

How is the painting industry evolving, and how is Catchlight responding?

The industry is bifurcating – on one side the traditional business model of owner and employee building a reputable and steadfast company on merits, good work, and integrity. On the other, the business broker model – the Paintzens and others that simply subcontract work to others and skim the profit off the top. This disruptive model lacks integrity in my opinion and will be short-lived as the traditional company owner becomes more social media savvy and thus competitive in the electronic marketplace.  We recently made the decision to offer commercial services because of the need for high-tough, professional, and courteous service in this space. 

You’re a member of your local BNI chapter. Is joining BNI something you’d recommend to other painting contractors?

Absolutely, but shop around and find a successful chapter with members who will help elevate your profession. BNI corporate culture can feel cult-like but most chapters have their own character that supersedes the boilerplate cheerleading that can be a turnoff for many business owners.

Out of all of Catchlight’s awards and accomplishments, what are you most proud of?

Our reputation, of course. Our relationships with employees, customers and the community, is based on mutual trust, respect and integrity. As a contractor friend puts it, you never want to bump into a past customer and feel uncomfortable – feeling anything but pleasure when you see them means you have failed to do the right thing.

Let’s talk about the Catchlight Painting team – the people that work with you on a daily basis and help transform your vision for the company into a reality. Any tips you’d be willing to share on how to create an environment that keeps employees happy and motivated?

Hire slowly, fire quickly, invest in your people – training, conferences, bonuses, acknowledge good work and set clear expectations and a high bar. Beyond this, we make sure to remember everyone has lives of significance outside work – we are fortunate enough to make more every year and so we offer excellent benefits like maternity and paternity leave, bereavement leave; we’ll even help someone fly home for significant family events if they need the assistance.

Catchlight Painting is heavily invested in the training and education of their employees.  Talk to us about the return you’ve seen from this investment?

One word – retention. Maslow talks about the hierarchy of needs – everyone covers the basics but helping people become better at what they do is key; it leads to more income, promotions, responsibility and recognition. Never underestimate the impact giving a newly promoted foreman keys to a company van has on their self-esteem.

Describe your hiring process. How do you find painters that are a great fit?

At this point, recruiting and hiring has become more important and challenging than finding new customers! We look for good people year round, offer $500 finder’s fees to employees and vendors who bring us a new painter. We love finding someone with skills but always choose aptitude and attitude first – our attrition rate is close to 95%  during the trial week; the process, practice and art of hiring is consuming more and more of our time. Since the recession ended, our growth has been limited by our inability to meet demand – a nice problem to have.

Talk to us about a time you failed, what did you learn?

I fail every day, multiple times. If I don’t fail it means I haven’t stretched myself.  Every failure is an opportunity to learn and evolve –  at work, in the gym, on the trail, at home, in relationships.  Sometimes failure simply means I’ve overcommitted and run out of time or energy to do something well. Looking back, just about every failure is related to a miscommunication. Since my day seems to be filled with email and phone calls, there is ample opportunity for failure; it’s good exercise to recognize as quickly as possible when something goes sideways and then it is a pleasure to intervene and correct the problem. In some ways, fixing a problem is more gratifying than having another boring, perfect and mistake-free day.

What tools would you consider vital to your company’s success?

Humility and pride in equal measure, a passion for learning, and a deep drive to improve constantly.

Catchlight has completed numerous charity projects over the years. What impact, if any, do you feel this work has had on the business?

It’s part of our DNA at this point – we give back because we can and because there is so much need. We are fortunate to live in a time of prosperity and peace; we have a moral obligation to make the world a better place for others less fortunate. This character runs through the culture of our company – and our customers notice and comment on it.

What’s one thing you would like to see Catchlight do better? What’s your plan for improving?

We can do everything better – we seek improvement every time we meet as a team. My favorite business aphorism – your company is running exactly as you designed it – if you don’t like the results, change the design. Hearing this freed me from an emotional response to criticism and failure, and helped me embrace the philosophy of seeking constant improvement in every aspect of the business as well as in my life.

Author information

Brian Jensen
Brian Jensen is the CEO of Congruent Digital, a full-service online marketing agency that provides cross-channel marketing solutions for businesses of all sizes. Congruent Digital proudly partners with A David Creation to provide painting contractors with results-driven digital marketing services.

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The 5 Pillars to a Successful Local Digital Marketing Campaign – Part II http://bloggingpainters.com/the-5-pillars-to-a-successful-local-digital-marketing-campaign-part-ii/ http://bloggingpainters.com/the-5-pillars-to-a-successful-local-digital-marketing-campaign-part-ii/#comments Mon, 16 Jan 2017 22:53:46 +0000 http://bloggingpainters.com/?p=11843 Every painting company is unique, and every digital marketing campaign requires a unique strategy tailored to the needs of your business. With that said, there are consistent “pillars,” that together can work to help your painting business increase online traffic, leads, and sales. In part one of this two-part post, we discussed two of the […]

Author information

Brian Jensen

Brian Jensen is the CEO of Congruent Digital, a full-service online marketing agency that provides cross-channel marketing solutions for businesses of all sizes. Congruent Digital proudly partners with A David Creation to provide painting contractors with results-driven digital marketing services.

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Every painting company is unique, and every digital marketing campaign requires a unique strategy tailored to the needs of your business. With that said, there are consistent “pillars,” that together can work to help your painting business increase online traffic, leads, and sales.

In part one of this two-part post, we discussed two of the five local digital marketing pillars. In this post, we’re going to discuss the importance of earning online reviews, community involvement, and tracking.

Pillar #3: Reviews

Earning reviews from satisfied clients is important for a couple reasons. One, they provide social proof that can influence a potential customer’s decision to contact you. In fact, one survey found that 90% of customers are influenced by online reviews and that 85% of customers reported reading online reviews.

Two, reviews are a major visibility factor on platforms like Yelp, Houzz, Porch, and Google My Business to name a few.

I reached out Lauren Poblete, one of the account managers we work with at Houzz, to get her thoughts on how painting professionals can increase their business’s visibility on the social platform. Here’s what she had to say:

Build out your profile and get reviews – reviews are the #1 reason why clients decide to choose a professional! You can check out our guide on reviews here

Review strategy

Now that we’ve established the importance of receiving online feedback, here are a few tips that can assist painting contractors with consistently earning new reviews:

Do

  • Make it easy for customers to find your social networks and even easier to leave a review. This can include adding social badges to your website, and/or creating a reviews page that links directly to where customers can provide feedback
  • Ask a customer if they’d be willing to leave an online review before a project. Get their permission to follow up once the project is complete
  • Once the project is complete, follow up with a phone call, SMS, or email. In addition to making sure the client is 100% satisfied with the entire project, let them know that you’d value any online feedback they’d be willing to provide
  • Provide customers with a small gift after a project is complete that includes a thank you note and a message stating how you’d appreciate an online review
  • Give your team an incentive. There’s nothing wrong with running a contest internally that rewards the team member that’s able to get the most online reviews from your satisfied customers

Don’t

  • Focus on a specific social network. Yelp and Google have algorithms in place to detect unnatural activity. It’s best to let customers know you’d love online feedback and provide them with options

Never

  • Entice your customers to leave a review in exchange for payment, gift cards, discounts, etc. It’s against most providers’ terms of service, and jeopardizes the reviews you’ve worked so hard to earn

Reviews Page on Your Website

In the “Do” section, I mentioned creating a reviews page on your website. Here’s an example of one we created for a client that lists the four most important social platforms for their business:

 

Pillar #4: Tracking

A wise person once said, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” This is a mantra we live by at Congruent Digital. Without proper tracking in place, it can be challenging to understand what online channels are driving new leads. While a new customer may say they found you in Google, was it from the paid search campaign, your local pack result, an organic result? The reality is that many customers don’t know the difference.

Here are a few tools available to help you track and evaluate success:

Google Analytics

Use Google Analytics to assess what channels are driving qualified traffic e.g. visitors that are completing forms, signing up for a newsletter, or calling your directly from a mobile or desktop device.

While Google Analytics is a powerful tool out of the box, in order for it to be as insightful and actionable as possible, three things need to happen:

  • Have a professional that’s certified audit your implementation and setup
  • Create and apply filters for clean data. Unfortunately, GA is still plagued by referral and bot spam that can really offset key metrics
  • Goal tracking. Understanding what visitors are completing desired interactions can help you assess the value of an online channel or marketing campaign

Dynamic Call Tracking
Dynamic call tracking works by adding a script on your website that dynamically changes the number so it can assign the source of the call. The number(s) that are dynamically displayed direct the calls to your primary phone number.

Pros – many of the top call tracking tools have dashboards that can include the name of caller, phone number, time of call, source of call, and call duration. Also some like CallRail, have integration options for popular CRMs and Google Analytics

Cons – it’s not your actual number. If you decide to discontinue the service, there is the chance someone has saved a dynamically generated number and will use it to try and reach you

It’s important to note that Yelp, Houzz, Google My Business, and others all have their own reporting dashboards to help you understand how potential customers are interacting with your business’s profile.

CRMs
Chances are, many of you use a CRM to track leads and sales. I’ve always considered CRMS to be the final piece of the puzzle that can assign a lead from your other channels to an actual sale. If you aren’t using a CRM, David Chism, a marketing coach who works exclusively with painting and home remodeling contractors, had this to say:

There are dozens if not hundreds of CRMs available on the market. Many of the painting clients I work with use PipelineDeals, Salesforce or Base CRM. PipelineDeals is a bit more of your basic CRM but can do a lot. It is a rock solid CRM with great support. Base is a few steps ahead of Pipeline and offers a lot more mobile capabilities. Salesforce is the name brand for CRM. It was one of the first on the market for being online based. It can do a lot or a little depending on how much you pay and how you customize the platform. I also know many a painter who thought it was a little too complex for their needs and settled for less features.

Perhaps the most affordable and easy to use CRM I know and have enjoyed is Highrise. The cost is only $24 a month for up to 6 users. This will do the trick for many painters out there. Then as your company grows, or you want more features, move to some of the others I mentioned above.

Tracking typically involves combining data from multiple tools to help you paint a complete picture of how your marketing efforts are working to bring in new leads and sales.

Pillar #5: Community

Getting involved with your local community is a great way to give back, but can also be an effective way to get the word out about your local business. Many painting contractors have started charity paint programs where labor and services are donated to a family or nonprofit organization in need. Some of the benefits of starting your own charity program can include:

  • Content – sharing photos and videos from the event on your website, social channels, etc.
  • Partnerships – many large paint providers will partner with painting contractors for these events and donate the paint. You may also want to explore other local partnerships with businesses that are looking to get involved and give back
  • New business – as you know, referrals and word of mouth marketing are huge! Giveaways, events, and charitable donations help raise awareness and strengthen your value proposition as a local business
  • Media/Press – donating your time and services to someone in need in your community is newsworthy! Get the word out about your event

If you’re thinking about starting your own charity program, here are a few examples to help you get a feel for what other painting contractors are doing:

Wrapping It Up

Combined, these 5 pillars can effectively work to help you increase awareness for your painting business and increase traffic, leads, and sales. Questions? Feel free to email me here or leave them in the comments below.

Author information

Brian Jensen
Brian Jensen is the CEO of Congruent Digital, a full-service online marketing agency that provides cross-channel marketing solutions for businesses of all sizes. Congruent Digital proudly partners with A David Creation to provide painting contractors with results-driven digital marketing services.

The post The 5 Pillars to a Successful Local Digital Marketing Campaign – Part II appeared first on The Blogging Painters.

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Getting to Know You: Noah Winkles http://bloggingpainters.com/getting-to-know-you-noah-winkles/ http://bloggingpainters.com/getting-to-know-you-noah-winkles/#respond Thu, 13 Oct 2016 02:06:42 +0000 http://bloggingpainters.com/?p=11561 Noah, Nate and Chuck Winkles Noah Winkles was born and raised in Santa Maria, California and has lived his entire life in Santa Barbara County. Growing up, Noah had a passion for sports and played football, baseball, and basketball. When Noah wasn’t playing on a team or a pickup game with his brother, he was […]

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Brian Jensen

Brian Jensen is the CEO of Congruent Digital, a full-service online marketing agency that provides cross-channel marketing solutions for businesses of all sizes. Congruent Digital proudly partners with A David Creation to provide painting contractors with results-driven digital marketing services.

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Noah, Nate and Chuck Winkles

Noah, Nate and Chuck Winkles

Noah Winkles was born and raised in Santa Maria, California and has lived his entire life in Santa Barbara County.

Growing up, Noah had a passion for sports and played football, baseball, and basketball. When Noah wasn’t playing on a team or a pickup game with his brother, he was watching one on T.V. Noah even played on the Westmont College rugby team.

When it comes to food, he recommends a few pieces of tri-tip, pinquito beans with salsa, salad, and buttered up french bread – a meal he enjoys every weekend.

For the past seven years, Noah Winkles has been the vice president of New Life Painting, a commercial and residential painting company serving California’s Central Coast.

In this interview, Noah talks about his painting company’s greatest successes, failures, the importance of company culture, and a few other pieces of advice he feels other business owners could benefit from.

Noah, how did you get get your start in the painting industry?

Well, I was pretty much born into it. My dad started New Life Painting six years before I was born. My mom has pictures of me as an infant in New Life Painting whites. Growing up during the summer, my dad had me scraping paint off the ground when I was really young, moving tarps and paint as I got older, and by the time I hit high school, I wanted to be as far from the painting industry as I could!

I worked at Costco and an ice cream parlor during my high school summers. However, during college, I did end up doing some painting for a few of my professors for some extra cash.

When I did graduate in 2008, the economy was really bad and my dad came down to Santa Barbara and met me for lunch to recruit me. He had three painters on his team at the time and told me I could take over the painting business as he was focusing on his kitchen and bathroom remodeling company.

What do you feel has been New Life Painting’s greatest success? What was directly or indirectly responsible for it?

I feel like the biggest success has been the shift from doing mostly residential work to about 40% commercial/HOA.  Three to four years ago, I made a goal that I wanted to shift this business towards doing closer to 50% HOA work. To meet this goal, I consistently marketed, networked, and at least twice a month, was dropping off Starbucks cards, popcorn, and letters trying to get New Life Painting on the bid list.

After about a year of doing that we landed a few jobs, and it’s been really great ever since. We treat our HOAs like high-end residential homes, which our customers love.

If You’re Not Setting the Atmosphere, Someone Else Is

new_life_painting_team

How does New Life Painting’s culture influence how your run your business?

We live by our company values which can be broken down into six parts:

  • Communication: Means of connection with the team and our customers
  • Collaboration: Leverages the collective knowledge of the team
  • Respect: Treating others the way you wish to be treated
  • Trust: It’s all about actions
  • Love: Committed with heart and mind
  • Fun: Work hard, have fun, stay humble

Everyone in our company understands that our culture is the single most important part of our business. If we had employees that didn’t live by this, everyone would feel it and the focus/culture would shift. If you’re not setting the atmosphere, someone else is.

Learning to Listen

Talk to us about a time you failed at work, what was the experience and what did you learn?

Listening to your team is so important. That goes back to collaboration and trust. We painted an HOA a few years back, and we had a particular product spec’d out for the job. The paint rep talked me into a more expensive product that he said would have better color retention and last longer. My project manager told me not to use it; he said it wasn’t the right product, and not to go with anything we didn’t know. Sure enough, one year later we had to redo the whole project due to peeling and fading. I stood up in front of the guys and apologized for not listening and that I wouldn’t do it again. It was an expensive lesson!

New Life Painting Team

What is your hiring process? How do you find new team members that are a good fit culturally?

We hire strictly on attitude; skill is a bonus. It’s really that simple. We generally have two meetings initially with our office manager, then with me and my estimator. At the interviews we share our company values and make sure they align with theirs. We do background checks and we do drug testing, no exceptions. We don’t let new hires work on in the interior of a home for at least three months, and there is trust built with that employee.

When hiring, we let it be known that our culture is everything and that we hire on attitude. We invite people to leave when that attitude does not line up with our values.

Networking & Sales Education

If you had the chance to rewind the clock five years, what would you do differently?

Five years ago, I think I would have done more sales education and done more networking with other painting contractors. Four years ago, we started working with Nolan Summitt Services, which has 80+ of the finest painting contractors in America (plus a couple in Canada), and we have truly grown as a company since joining. I wish I would have joined earlier!

Excluding New Life Painting, what other companies or businesses do you admire?

When it comes to other painting contractors, there are definitely certain aspects of other companies that I really admire. The first that comes to mind is Chism Brothers Painting. Mike Chism is such a great guy. He’s humble, has integrity, cares about his employees, and his company is one of the most financially sound I’ve seen in this industry. While they’re not the biggest company, the way Mike runs his company is very smart.

I also admire the sales culture of Nolan Painting in Pennsylvania. They are so focused on sales and they train so much, it’s no wonder why they are one of the biggest residential painters in the country. When it comes to marketing and branding, I really like Two Dudes Painting. Their marketing is fun and catchy.

Who has been your greatest inspiration?

noah_winkles_with_familyMy wife, Vanessa, without a doubt. She’s strong, funny, beautiful, and an amazing mom and wife. She has faith that I haven’t ever seen in anyone ever before.

Tools of the trade – what tools are essential to the success of your business and why?

I think there have been three tools that have really helped our business the last couple of years. Number one would be the use of Smartsheet. We use Smartsheet for hours tracking on jobs, helping with staging future jobs, notes and colors for customers, communication between our project managers and office staff, pre-job walks, auditing and more. Smartsheet has been such an integral part of our business.

The second would be One Step Estimating which has really helped us set up a system for estimating correctly with job hours – plus it’s easy to convert. It’s also great because it makes it easy for future estimators to learn our system.

Last, but not least is our CRM PipelineDeals. We love PipelineDeals – we use it for recording our sales, sales statistics, and it also helps with our follow-up to potential customers.

What advice do you have for other painting contractors?

I think number one piece of advice I’d like to share is to create a culture for your employees. Like I said earlier, if you’re not creating the culture, someone else in your business is. As a company, we came up with our values as a team and we did it through a values assessment worksheet. It’s important to include everyone, and it’s your job implement and protect them.

If you’re a painting contractor looking to increase online leads and sales, contact David Chism with A David Creation today.

Author information

Brian Jensen
Brian Jensen is the CEO of Congruent Digital, a full-service online marketing agency that provides cross-channel marketing solutions for businesses of all sizes. Congruent Digital proudly partners with A David Creation to provide painting contractors with results-driven digital marketing services.

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The 5 Pillars to a Successful Local Digital Marketing Campaign http://bloggingpainters.com/pillars-successful-digital-marketing-campaign/ http://bloggingpainters.com/pillars-successful-digital-marketing-campaign/#comments Sun, 02 Oct 2016 23:13:20 +0000 http://bloggingpainters.com/?p=11430 Every local digital marketing campaign requires a unique strategy. However, there are consistent “pillars” that together can work to help your local painting business increase online visibility, traffic, and sales. In this two-part post, I’m going to discuss what they are and why they matter. Pillar #1: Research Using the right tools and research methods […]

Author information

Brian Jensen

Brian Jensen is the CEO of Congruent Digital, a full-service online marketing agency that provides cross-channel marketing solutions for businesses of all sizes. Congruent Digital proudly partners with A David Creation to provide painting contractors with results-driven digital marketing services.

The post The 5 Pillars to a Successful Local Digital Marketing Campaign appeared first on The Blogging Painters.

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Every local digital marketing campaign requires a unique strategy. However, there are consistent “pillars” that together can work to help your local painting business increase online visibility, traffic, and sales. In this two-part post, I’m going to discuss what they are and why they matter.

Pillar #1: Research

Using the right tools and research methods can help you uncover gaps and insights that can guide your digital strategy. Every campaign needs to start with competitor and customer research.

Competitor Research

Understanding what is working well for your local competitors can save you time and money. For competitive research you’ll want to look closely at the following:

  • What online channels are they active on?
  • What keywords are driving traffic? If they are running a Google AdWords campaign, how much are they spending and what keyword are they bidding on?
  • Where are they getting their links? Are they active on social media? If so, what channels? How frequently are they publishing and what type of engagement are they getting?
  • How frequently are they publishing new blog content?

Whew, that’s a lot of questions! However, finding the answers can help you better know where to spend your valuable time and marketing budget.

blogging_painters_1

Customer Research

Now that we have competitor data, it’s time to flesh out the pain points, motivations, and FAQs of your own target audience. You already have a good sense of who your potential customers are, so now apply that information online. Start by answering these questions:

What are people searching for?
Keyword and question research will help set the foundation for a successful campaign as they provide insight into the queries customers are using to find the products or services your business offers.

keyword_research

What Are the Most Frequently Asked Questions?
Meet with your sales team and brainstorm a list of frequently asked questions and then evaluate if you’re resolving them in your website’s page copy, landing pages, meta descriptions, and blog posts.

This is also a good time to discuss your customer’s pain points and motivations. For example, is cost, resale value, appearance, guarantees, or even the professionalism of your team questions that frequently surface during estimates or sales calls?

What Feedback Are People Leaving in Reviews?
Looking at your competitor’s online reviews can provide you with insight into what their customers liked or disliked about their experience.

yelp_review

Use this feedback to guide your own internal processes and to refine your messaging.

 

Pillar # 2: Optimization

For local businesses, it’s very important to send clear, concise signals to search engines that help inform who you are, what you do, and the areas you serve.

While there are over 200+ factors that Google incorporates into its ranking algorithm, here are a few optimization elements that are essential to succeeding in local search.

Structured Data
LocalBusiness markup helps send additional clues to search engines about your industry, company name, website, social profiles etc.

Below is a screenshot of a client’s homepage using Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool:

schema-org

Using this tool, what schema types are your painting company utilizing?

Social Profile Optimization

Make sure all of your social profiles accurately represent your business. This includes adding your name, address and phone number (NAP), the services you offer, the areas you serve and your website’s URL.

This includes Facebook, Yelp, Google My Business, Houzz, LinkedIn, YouTube, Chamber of Commerce, and any other profile you’ve established or are active on.

Citations
Citations can be defined as mentions of your NAP on 3rd party websites. Citations are a heavily weighted component of local ranking algorithms, so having your business’ information accurately listed across the web is vital.

blogging_painters

Service Area Specific Landing Pages
Because distance is a primary Google local ranking factor (how far away your office is from the person that’s searching), it may be necessary to create a few robust service area specific landing pages.

By robust, I would suggest adding city specific project photos, reviews from customers in the city you’re targeting, and page copy that’s unique for this audience. Let your keyword research guide the optimization of these pages.

For more information, I’d recommend checking out this resource on building effective city pages for local SEO.

On-page Optimization
As mentioned earlier, it’s important to send strong clues to search engines about what you do and the areas you serve. A few tips include:

  • Titles tags – use primary keyword, city and your business name
  • Heading tags – make sure you’re including a variation of your target keyword
  • Alt attributes – send additional signals by adding alt attributes to your images that are descriptive and specific
  • List a few of your top service areas on every page e.g. “We proudly serve city1, city2, city3, etc.”
  • Internal linking – provide additional crawler access points, strengthen relevancy through anchor text, distribute link equity, and help search engines understand what you consider to be the most important pages on your website by linking to them from other pages and posts on your website

While I consider these to be some of the most heavily weighted on-page optimization factors for local businesses, I’m only scratching the surface. For a comprehensive guide on optimization for local seo, read this comprehensive guide on Whitespark.

Up Next …

Stay tuned for part two of this post where I’m going to cover reviews, tracking and more.

If you have questions, feel free to shoot me an email or drop them in the comments below!

Author information

Brian Jensen
Brian Jensen is the CEO of Congruent Digital, a full-service online marketing agency that provides cross-channel marketing solutions for businesses of all sizes. Congruent Digital proudly partners with A David Creation to provide painting contractors with results-driven digital marketing services.

The post The 5 Pillars to a Successful Local Digital Marketing Campaign appeared first on The Blogging Painters.

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Josh Abramson: Key Takeaways Learned Over 29 Years http://bloggingpainters.com/josh-abramson-key-takeaways/ http://bloggingpainters.com/josh-abramson-key-takeaways/#comments Sun, 07 Aug 2016 14:48:39 +0000 http://bloggingpainters.com/?p=11369 Over the past 29 years, Josh has grown to become an industry leader through his nationwide speaking engagements, humanitarian efforts, and the innovative products he has developed for the painting industry as a whole.

Author information

Brian Jensen

Brian Jensen is the CEO of Congruent Digital, a full-service online marketing agency that provides cross-channel marketing solutions for businesses of all sizes. Congruent Digital proudly partners with A David Creation to provide painting contractors with results-driven digital marketing services.

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Josh Abramson

Most people don’t know that Josh Abramson was a high school dropout, or that he grew up in a single parent home with a mother who struggled to provide basic necessities. The family relied on government assistance to put food on the table and frequently moved, forcing Josh and his younger sister to attend multiple schools.

Despite these challenges, Josh used his family’s struggles as motivation to build a better life for himself and future family. When he was 21 years old, he started A.Allbright Wallpaper Hanging & Painting in 1987 while living in a small apartment with his mother and sister in Granada Hills, California.

Over the past 29 years, Josh has grown to become an industry leader through his nationwide speaking engagements, humanitarian efforts, and the innovative products he has developed for the painting industry as a whole.

In this interview, Josh talks about the importance of company culture, failures, where he’d like to see his company in 10 years, and a few other pieces of advice he feels other business owners could find beneficial.

The Importance of Company Culture

Paint It Forward ALLBRiGHT 1-800-PAINTING

Josh, let’s start with your team – the people that work with you on a daily basis and help transform your vision for the company into a reality. Any tips you’d be willing to share on how to create an environment that keeps employees happy and motivated?

I guess if I had to point to one thing, I’d say it’s the “Painting Happiness” culture we’ve created at ALLBRiGHT 1-800-PAINTING. It’s something I’ve been working on since starting the company (without knowing it), and, especially over the past 5 years, have realized how important it is for us.

A big part of our culture is investing in employees which is something I’ve always been interested in. I put together a business plan that summarized what I wanted ALLBRiGHT to be known for. The first is that the company would be nationally known for its professionalism, our contributions to the trade, and our local community efforts. The second was to treat our employees like we would treat our best customers.

We invest in our employees through leadership and trade training, employee events, contests, and retreats. We’re always excited to recognize the personal and company achievements of our team.

I’d also think it’s worth mentioning our internal communication tool, Yammer, which has become so much more than just a communication platform for us. It’s now an area to encourage other team members about the projects they’re working on, including sales, safety practices, and also personally through sharing pictures of dogs, kids, etc. I encourage our employees to post on Yammer to build relationships with other employees.

Attracting the Right People

Allbright_Painters

It sounds like you’ve really put a lot of time and planning into creating an awesome environment for your team. How do you find and hire people that are a good fit culturally?

We have been using our core values and culture to attract some of the very best employees. Our goal is to make ALLBRiGHT 1-800-PAINTING the “best” place anyone has ever worked. We strive for this every day and we work hard at making that happen.

Just yesterday when my Office Manager and Sr. Admin Assistant were asked what they like about working here by a person they were interviewing, they both had the same answer. They said they love working here because they get to be themselves, everyone is happy to be here, and there isn’t any added stress from co-worker conflicts because we all work toward the same goals.

[The below video was created by ALLBRiGHT 1-800-PAINTING and discusses the company’s “Painting Happiness” culture]

It Needs to Be a Good Fit Both Ways

One part of our hiring process is a group interview. It’s a time for us to share our culture and our values and what we’re doing for our trade. It’s also a time for the applicants to get to know the company to see if it’s a good fit for them.

We also offer our Paint-It-Smart internship program as a way to bring on new team members who may not be experts in the trade, but are a great fit culturally.

Hindsight Is Always 20/20

Josh, what would you say is one of your biggest failures as a business owner – what happened and what did you learn?

One of my biggest failures was not identifying our core company values and culture sooner, and allowing others within the team (especially out in the field painting) to develop their own values that were in direct conflict with ours. Once I identified these top core values and became passionate about them, it was a game changer. As an example, we no longer held on to a fast, money-making, productive painter/employee who didn’t share in our vision. We invited them to go be successful somewhere else, and we developed our “culture” that encouraged our employees to be happier, faster, smarter, more trustworthy team players.

Improving Upon Systems That Aren’t Working

Talk to us about areas where you’ve innovated in the industry – what was your inspiration?

My goal is to always make life better and improve on a system that isn’t working. Many years ago, I saw that our current estimating process wasn’t something we could grow our company with. Our trade association was coming out with one that was very complicated and I wanted something that was very simple and faster than what was currently available. I came up with a way to integrate a system with Word and Excel to develop a scope of work on the spot. If a customer was interested in moving forward they could sign before we ever left the driveway.

The One Step Estimating App was also based on allowing us to help someone who didn’t have years of estimating experience to come up with a consistent, fair price that was repeatable. I set out to fix a problem in my company and, after I showed it to a couple of people, they said, “When can I write a check?” Back then, before a lot of contractors had fax machines or even emails, it was way ahead of its time.

Giving Back

Josh Abramson accepting the PDCA’s Humanitarian of the Year Award

What are the company or personal awards you’ve received that you’re most proud of?

I’d have to say the PDCA’s Humanitarian of the Year Award that we won twice for giving back to the trade and our local community. It’s an award they only give out when someone has done something exemplary. We received the awards for helping our painting trade by developing the One Step Estimating App and for teaching other painting contractors how to start and grown their own Paint-It-Forward programs. It was a shock both times; I didn’t even know I was in the running! I was also honored to win the Leadership Award from Summit Services at their Grand Summit. It was a surprise, as I felt there were much better leaders out there.

Moving Forward

Where would you like to see ALLBRiGHT 1-800-PAINTING in 10 years?

We are growing in size and in a lot of different ways that others want to be a part of. I’m constantly being asked by other very smart individuals if they can be a part of this “Painting Happiness’ culture in other areas that we don’t service.

I see ALLBRiGHT growing in different areas of California and perhaps around the country soon. In fact, I’m currently developing some new technology that I’m hoping will help with this vision and our industry. I’m excited to share this soon.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to leave us with?

It’s okay to strive for building a business that develops leaders that are better than you are. Oftentimes we have a lot of pride and don’t want to inspire people to be better than we are. I like to look for ways to bring people to my level and above. If I can make someone wildly more successfully than I am, then I’ve succeeded. There’s enough business out there for all of us.

If you’re a painting contractor looking to increase online leads and sales, contact David Chism with A David Creation today.

Author information

Brian Jensen
Brian Jensen is the CEO of Congruent Digital, a full-service online marketing agency that provides cross-channel marketing solutions for businesses of all sizes. Congruent Digital proudly partners with A David Creation to provide painting contractors with results-driven digital marketing services.

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Letting Data Drive the Decisions http://bloggingpainters.com/letting-data-drive-decisions/ http://bloggingpainters.com/letting-data-drive-decisions/#comments Mon, 13 Jun 2016 04:13:21 +0000 http://bloggingpainters.com/?p=11086 As a digital marketing consultant, I rely heavily on clickstream analysis tools, like Google Analytics, to gain actionable insight for my clients. Data from these reports allows me to review which channels, devices, and campaigns are driving new leads, and where to best allocate time and marketing budget. While Google Analytics isn’t the only tool […]

Author information

Brian Jensen

Brian Jensen is the CEO of Congruent Digital, a full-service online marketing agency that provides cross-channel marketing solutions for businesses of all sizes. Congruent Digital proudly partners with A David Creation to provide painting contractors with results-driven digital marketing services.

The post Letting Data Drive the Decisions appeared first on The Blogging Painters.

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As a digital marketing consultant, I rely heavily on clickstream analysis tools, like Google Analytics, to gain actionable insight for my clients.

Data from these reports allows me to review which channels, devices, and campaigns are driving new leads, and where to best allocate time and marketing budget. While Google Analytics isn’t the only tool available for tracking your marketing campaigns, I’m partial to it as it’s free and easy to install and configure.

Here are five reports and tool features you can use to assist you in making data driven decisions.

1. Channels

The Channels report provides you with a high-level overview of which online marketing channels are leading to new visitors and leads.

Channels

Here’s an overview of a few different channels that can be used to evaluate the performance of your marketing campaigns in Google Analytics:

Direct

These visits are logged anytime a visitor types the exact URL of a page on your website into their browser, or uses a bookmark to access your site. Direct visits can assist you in measuring the overall popularity and awareness of your brand. These visitors are already familiar with your business.

How it’s actionable:

This report is great for evaluating how various marketing campaigns are leading to brand awareness (e.g. did you pay for a radio spot that mentions your homepage URL? Do you have a billboard? Did you send out a flyer?) Measure both online and offline campaign performance by adding an annotation in Google Analytics. Learn more about direct traffic here.

Organic Search

These are visitors that have found your business via a search engine including Google, Yahoo, Bing, AOL or Ask.

How it’s actionable:

Use this report to analyze what pages are receiving organic search traffic and leading to new estimate requests or calls. This report can help you understand how your search engine optimization efforts are improving your business’ visibility and bottom line in organic search. Don’t forget to associate your Google Search Console account so you can view the queries (keywords) that are leading to new organic sessions.

Social
These visitors have come to your site via a social channel including Facebook, Houzz, Yelp, Google+ and more.

How it’s actionable:

While there are many metrics you can use to help evaluate how well your social media marketing strategy is working, one that I find valuable is how many people are clicking through back to your website. Using this metric as a KPI, helps me understand if we’re reaching the right audience and if our sharing and engagement is leading to visits back to our website.  Using this report can help you understand where you should be spending your time on social media.

Referral

These visitors have accessed your site via a link on a 3rd party website or blog.

How it’s actionable:

Who is sending you qualified traffic? Have you run an ad, published a guest post, actively contribute to a forum, or have a partner or affiliate that’s linking back to your website? The referral report will help you understand which advertising efforts and relationships are bringing in new leads and sales.

Paid Search

This report shows you how your paid ads on Google AdWords, Bing Ads or other paid search providers are leading to new visitors and goal completions. If you’re running a Google AdWords campaign, make sure your Google Analytics and Google AdWords accounts are linked.

How it’s actionable:

What type of experience are your landing pages providing? Is the traffic converting? If so, from what keywords? Is your PPC campaign acting as a touch point in your customer’s online journey to purchase? Use this report to find out.

2. Goal Completions

Increasing traffic is only half the battle. Increasing traffic that converts is how you win the war. Tracking all desired visitor actions like estimate requests via form completions, downloads, phone calls, etc. is vital for understanding how well your digital marketing campaigns are working.

To track these interactions I set up a goal, which allows me see who’s converting and from what channels. To track phone calls, Congruent Digital uses CallRail, a dynamic call tracking solution that easily integrates with Google Analytics.

Phone_Calls

3. Mobile

With mobile searches surpassing desktop searches in Google last year, having a website that’s optimized for mobile visitors is essential. In a recent Google Performance Summit, AdWords execs shared some surprising statistics including:

  • There are now trillions of searches on Google.com and over half of those searches happen on smartphones
  • Nearly one third of all mobile searches on Google are related to location

In Google Analytics, view your mobile visits by either using the left navigation option and selecting Audience > Mobile > Overview or use the advanced segment option to filter for mobile visitors only. When viewing these reports, questions to ask are:

  • How does the time on site, bounce rate, and goal completions compare with desktop visitors?
  • Is contacting us easy on mobile devices (do you have a click-to-call feature?)
  • Are your forms mobile friendly?

Google just updated their existing mobile ranking algorithm which is supposed to provide an additional rankings boost to websites that are mobile friendly.

Not sure if your website is mobile friendly? Try Google’s free Mobile Friendly Test tool here. You can also use the free tool Screenfly to see how your website appears across multiple devices.

4. Location

City

Understanding how to segment and filter your data by location can make it more insightful. While not a hard and fast rule, typically traffic from outside of your service area won’t convert and can skew important metrics in your Google Analytics reports.

Also, getting tons of traffic from a blog post is great, but if it’s not coming from your local service area, in my experience chances are slim it will lead to new business.

Tip: set up an advanced segment or filter to help you understand which channels are leading to new visitors from the cities and towns from your service area. Make sure you are localizing your landing pages so that you’re sending clear signals to search engines about the cities and towns that you serve.

Advanced_Segment

5. Landing Pages

Channels aside, regardless of how a potential customer finds you online, the experience your landing pages provide is crucial to acquiring new leads. A landing page is defined by Google Analytics as the first page a visitor views during a session – also known as the entrance page. If your website’s landing pages are providing a poor visitor experience, you’ll be wasting money paying for advertising and marketing services.

You can find the Landing Pages report by navigating to Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages. Important metrics to look at when evaluating the experience you’re providing visitors are:

  • Bounce Rate: Bounce rate is defined as a session that only visits one page. A high bounce rate, a low session duration, and no goal completions can all be red flags
  • Avg. Session Duration: this metric is defined as the total duration of all sessions (in seconds) / number of sessions. If you’re avg. session duration is low, it could indicate visitors aren’t quickly finding the information they are looking for
  • Goal Completions: a goal is any desired visitor interaction. While the online path to purchase can often span multiple sessions as your customers do research, if you’re doing a good job of explaining who you are, what you do, and why you’re a better solution than your competitors, eventually potential customers will want to talk.

Wrapping it Up

Whew, that’s a lot and I’ve only scratched the surface of the reports and features available in this powerful tool. Having data that’s actionable is worth its weight in gold.

If you have questions about implementing anything I’ve mentioned, or would like to learn more about Congruent Digital’s online marketing services, you can email me here. I look forward to learning more about your business!

Author information

Brian Jensen
Brian Jensen is the CEO of Congruent Digital, a full-service online marketing agency that provides cross-channel marketing solutions for businesses of all sizes. Congruent Digital proudly partners with A David Creation to provide painting contractors with results-driven digital marketing services.

The post Letting Data Drive the Decisions appeared first on The Blogging Painters.

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