Sure, your message will hit something, but probably not the target you intended. But this is exactly what many contractors do. They create websites and ads, replete with a bullet list of services, which carry the emotional charge of a grocery list. And when consumers see ads such as these, they think, “Ok, so you paint walls, just like the other thirty contractors in town.” Where’s their incentive to call you?
Many contractors market themselves as all things to all people, armed with the fallacy that if they don’t cast a wide enough net they’ll lose customers by turning away business. And while this wide-net approach sometimes works for large companies that have a deep pool of employees, it is neither practical nor cost effective for most businesses, especially smaller ones consisting of just a few, if not one, employee. So before you begin crafting your company’s story, you need to identify that ideal customer, that person your business is best equipped to serve.
Targeting a Niche
By targeting a niche, you differentiate your company from all those performing essentially the same task—applying coatings to a substrate. The beauty of differentiating your company is that it gives you a platform on which to sell your services other than price. And since your services are geared towards the specific needs and tastes of a select group, you can charge more because you’ve set yourself apart as the expert. But developing a niche not only makes it simpler to sell your services at a higher profit, it makes marketing much more manageable. It’s much easier to wrap your mind around a select group of people and construct a dialogue that appeals to them than trying to formulate a message that appeals to everyone.
So what kind of market should you target? The answer depends on your strengths and interests. What kind of painting are you experienced in? What kind of painting do you prefer? Is there a segment of the market being ignored in which you can capitalize? Finding the answers to these questions can help you establish your niche. I’ve identified a few categories to help kick start your brainstorming:
- New Construction
- Investor Work
- Drywall repair
- Cabinet refinishing
- Parking lot striping
Once you’ve chosen your niche, or small group of niches, hone your services to meet the needs of the audience you’ve identified. What benefits do you offer to this group that is being overlooked by the competition? Is it better quality? Speed? Convenience? Expert consultation? Fine tune your marketing and advertising to express your difference. Follow these tips and you’ll go from being just another contractor to being the contractor.