Positioning Your Brand, Company, and Customers for Success!

We’ve talked a lot about customer success beginning with customer trust and a great onboarding process. Let’s take a step back and discuss the importance of brand positioning.   What is Brand Positioning? Positioning your company helps establish your product or service in the eyes of the customer. Brand positioning also provides your company with direction and differentiation. You need to first identify what makes you different from your competitors and then continually push those unique qualities to your customers.   When determining your company’s unique position, think about these questions:   What makes your product or service unique? What do you specialize in? Is it providing great customer service? Do you pay close attention to small details? Are you great at communicating and building positive relationships with customers? These are the things that will set you apart.   Who is your target audience or market? Let’s look at 2 possible markets that a paint contractor might target: High-end Homeowners vs. Rental Property Owners These groups want different things. In order to communicate in a compelling way, you need to understand what motivates each group and what they value. High-end homeowners may value quality workmanship, while rental property owners may care more about how quickly the job can be completed. Identify your target audience. Survey existing clients in your target market to find out what motivates them to buy.   How will you reach your target customers? This relates to both advertising AND project-related communication. For example, if the majority of your target audience found your business on the internet, email communications make sense.   What are your customers really buying from...

Great Customer Onboarding: WHY and HOW

How do you ensure customer success? Begin with great customer onboarding!     Long-term customer success builds customer trust, which we talked about last time as being a major factor to growing your business. It should start early and be consistent. Today we’re going to talk about the early factor of customer success: the onboarding process.   Great Customer Onboarding includes two things: 1.  Customer interest (i.e. They request a bid for a project.) 2. Seeing value (i.e. The customer sees value in your brand after they have interacted with you in some way.) Much like building customer trust, great customer onboarding is a process and the results should keep your business thriving.   1. Define expectations and set goals Great customer onboarding begins by asking questions. What is the ultimate goal? What does your customer want as the end result? What is their timeframe? Then make a plan to achieve these goals. This will require setting milestones, or goal deadlines. Reaching each milestone will show a succession of success. Consider sending new clients an email as soon as they schedule an appointment for a meeting or estimate. In this email, lay out what the client should expect from the meeting and what information they should be prepared to provide. Positioning emails like this immediately establish an open line of communication, set expectations, and build customer trust. Plus it shows your detailed and organized!   2. Customize the experience Individualize each of your customers and make them feel valued and at home. This should be basic practice for all of your customers and will mostly be based on the...

The 3 C’s of Customer Trust

When your air conditioner stops working in the middle of summer, you REALLY want an HVAC tech on speed dial. We have one (shout out to Leonard!). We got his name from my brother-in-law. The first time Leonard came to our house was on a Sunday (yes, Sunday!) in July. He fixed the problem and earned our trust.     Customer trust is so vital to a successful business that we can sometimes take it for granted. The same way we don’t think about breathing. Earning customer trust creates the opportunity for repeat business. It also opens the door for new business through referrals and reviews. Of course being good at what you do doesn’t hurt, but the number one key in building any relationship – business or otherwise – is trust. Am I right? There’s no secret to earning customer trust. The components of customer trust are simple: Customer Service, Consistency, and Clarity. The 3 C’s of Customer Trust   Customer Service When building customer trust, a great place to start is offering exceptional service. Think about how you would like to be treated if you were the customer. That doesn’t mean you have to work on Sundays. It means you should establish expectations and stick to them. If you tell clients you’ll return calls on the same day, then you need to do that. Good customer service should come naturally and not be strategically planned, although having guidelines in place for your employees to follow is helpful.   Consistency If you have systems in place to provide customers with consistent interactions, that will help to establish you...

Why Make Multiple eBid Templates?

You may be thinking to yourself, “Why would I ever need more than one basic eBid template to send to my clients? I already customized it with my company’s info and photos. I’m all set!” The answer is – There are many reasons!   Maybe your company works on multiple types of projects (interior, exterior, commercial, etc.); you can create multiple eBid templates for various job types with specific photos, references, and essential information for each. Or maybe you want to limit the information included in your eBids for specific types of clients. You can make different templates to include certain pages of the eBid that are most important.   Whatever the reason, creating multiple eBid templates is easy! Log into your PEP Cloud account Navigate under Settings → Misc → eBid Templates Highlight the eBid you’ve already customized → click COPY (or highlight “basic eBid” → click CUSTOMIZE) → click OK to confirm making the copy Select the new “Copy” of your eBid → click EDIT Change the name of the eBid template → click DONE All you need to do now is edit the eBid as needed: make adjustments to which pages can be viewed, what photos you include, the types of references, etc. You’ll find that having multiple eBid templates will help you get your bids out to clients quickly and efficiently, streamlining your workflow. And NOW is the perfect time for you to set up multiple eBid templates, while jobs are slow and in preparation for your busier months, come spring!   For more details on HOW to customize the eBids, check out these videos: Customize the eBid (5:11) Automate the “Thank You” Email...

Drip Email Campaigns:

The Best Gift for You and Your Clients It’s great when you find 1 tool can do a multiple tasks. Take the Swiss Army knife. It’s a pocket knife, scissors, file, bottle-opener, screw driver, pliers, the list goes on. Well, today we’re talking about the Swiss Army knife of business tools: the drip email campaign. For YOU: The gift of freedom and work guilt-free. Don’t get bogged down with the chore of constantly following up (or tracking down) your customers. Drip email campaigns will take care of the task while you go about your day.   For CLIENTS: Attentive customer service. Staying in touch with your customers requires very little effort. Use a drip email campaign to send an automated set of emails based on specific timelines or user actions (that you setup). Drip emails are sent out from a queue of already-written emails so you don’t have to manually write each one. They can be personalized with your contact’s name, company info, etc. using merge fields. It’s a way to develop a relationship with your customers by nurturing them with information a little bit at a time.   How? Great question. PEP Users just have to engage a “Follow Up” sequence after creating an eBid. Even if you don’t use PEP, there are oodles of services available. Do a quick internet search for “drip email tool” to see what I mean.   But HOW? Oh, that kind of how. A while back we outlined how to create your own drip email campaign (click here to read that post). In a nutshell: Decide who you’re writing to – your audience. New/potential clients, power-wash customers, customers who are more than a...

User Friendly Interface

PEP has rolled out a new user friendly interface to make your experience even better! That means you can now control what the program looks like and how you interact with it.   Redesigned Toolbar The most noticeable change is the toolbar. It’s been redesigned to take up less space on the screen and now gives you a sense of progression through the estimating process. Just follow the yellow dot as you add a job, build the estimate, and create the eBid or proposal. You can click on the dots for shortcuts.   Job Shortcut Buttons We’ve also created job shortcuts on the Client page that quickly take you to different parts of the estimate and a cost summary to easily review the grand totals. Use these buttons to jump directly to the job task you need. The back arrow will take you to the previous page. We’ve added a color code that also makes it easier to see what you’re working on: purple for the job, orange for the area.   User Friendly Interface Settings If you don’t already see the new toolbar and job shortcut buttons when you log in to your PEP account, don’t worry. You can turn them on! We’ve added a new user interface menu under Misc. Settings that allows you to customize the display and interaction experience with PEP.   Auto-Calculating Items Are Easy There is also a new option to select an “item type” when adding items from the rate library. This makes building auto-calculating forms quick and easy! But Wait…There’s More! Other new features you may find useful: YouTube links added to...

Use of Color in Marketing

The use of color in marketing might seem like a no-brainer but it’s more than just picking pretty hues. Color is an important tool because it impacts how we think and behave. Using different colors directs your eye where to look and helps decide what is important information. It puts content into context for your audience.   When deciding the best use of color, you want to choose shades that will make an impact on your audience. Bright, contrasting colors will stand out and draw attention to important information. They typically promote activity or a call to action. Softer colors promote mental or visual tasks. They may look more beautiful from a design perspective but may be harder for your audience to read. The key is to strike a balance between the two.   The use of color and its impact on your psyche has been studied for years: Red: very powerful and energizing; often the go-to color to get someone’s attention Yellow: fun; evokes cheerfulness and optimism Orange: a great combination of red’s power with yellow’s friendliness; offers a sense of motivation Green: one of the most-seen colors in nature; gives sense of balance and harmony Blue: one of the most-liked colors around the world for its calm and soothing qualities Purple: most commonly associated with spirituality, imagination, and luxury Pink: a softer version of red; often a sign of hope Brown: a very natural color; portrays structure, security and protection Gold: commonly represents confidence and luxury Black: a sophisticated color; great for high contrast and easy legibility White: often used for its simplicity and cleanliness   When...

Pipeline Organization

Do you have a bazillion projects on your to-do list that you can never seem to keep straight? You should be using pipeline organization! A pipeline provides a visual representation of your work in progress. It’s a place to organize your tasks and follow the progression until complete. It’s the easiest way to keep track of many different jobs and the status of each. The beauty of pipeline organization is that it also makes collaborating and working with other people possible by providing all the information in one place. There are several online pipeline organization programs available for you to use as a way to manage your tasks and projects. I use Trello to help me manage the PEP blog. Take a look:     Across the top of the “board” are the stages of producing a new blog post. I keep a list of ideas in the first column. As I move through the process, I drag the blog idea card through the pipeline. By the time you read this, the “Pipeline Organization” card will be in the “Published” column. I also share this board with other people in the office – anyone can add new blog ideas or choose one and write it! PEP users can (and should) make use of PEP’s pipeline feature that allows you to track your job from start to finish (from the estimating process through scheduling jobs and invoicing). Whatever your field of work, you’ll find pipeline organization a useful tool for managing of all the many projects on your to-do...

Should I Be Writing a Blog?

YES!   The answer is YES. You should be writing a blog for your business.   A few weeks ago we talked about WHAT  a business blog is. Now let’s explore WHY you should be writing a blog for your business. The reasons are almost endless! Why should I be writing a blog?   Because consumers are online. Think about the last time you needed to buy something. The internet is now the #1 place that consumers go for information about products and services. Much of the research about what to buy happens online – whether you’re looking for a car, a dishwasher, an electrician, or a painter.   Because you want customers to find you online. The most important way to get people to your website is to offer as many opportunities as possible for them to find you on the massive World Wide Web. To do this, you want to continuously add fresh content to your website. Writing a blog post regularly will do this. Blog posts more “searchable” content, and the more the better! You should also share your blog posts on social media, which creates additional links directly to your website and, again, the more the better, am I right?   Because you want to be an authority in your industry. People like to work with experts in their field. So establishing yourself as an expert is good. Writing a blog will help do that! Writing about your business, related work, and the industry will build trust and trust will generate customers. Plus you may stumble on some helpful new information along the way. It’s a win-win!...

What is a Business Blog?

A business blog is one of the most cost-effective and easiest ways to promote your work. It can drive people, or “traffic” to your website, increase your sales, establish you as an authority in your field, and help you reach new markets. Here are the 5-Ws of blogging:   WHAT is a business blog? A blog is a regularly updated web page featuring short informal articles and commentary, in this case, about your business and related industry. Here at PEP, we typically write about topics related to small businesses and the painting industry.   WHO am I writing for? Customers and potential customers will read your blog. (Anyone who isn’t a customer is a potential customer, right?) Different blog topics will attract different people so write about a variety of things to cover the work you do.   WHEN should I blog? An active blog shows your business is alive, loved and maintained. The more often you post to your business blog the better your results. But consistency is more important than frequency, so just set a schedule for yourself. If writing a new blog article multiple times per week is too much, aim for once or twice per month.   WHERE does the blog go? Post your blog on your website and share the link on social media. This creates more “searchable” content on your website and additional links taking people to it.   WHY blog? A blog will drive traffic to your website, attract new visitors, and potentially increase your sales. It helps to establish your presence in the industry. The benefits of blogging are almost endless....