As a painting business owner you depend on your reputation to find new customers and generate new referrals, and it’s no secret that online reviews are the new word of mouth.
Here we will discuss 8 strategies to generate more online reviews for your painting business to answer a simple question…
How can I promote my painting business?
Today, in hand with your marketing efforts, you also need to generate online reviews to help build trust and outrank your competition. That’s right, your online reviews are a direct ranking factor in Google.
Why are online reviews so important?
Reviews are the digital currency for trust
While this might seem like another task you need to manage on top managing your painting jobs, rest assured, we have some simple strategies you can implement today to capture more positive reviews. Let’s jump in!
1. Provide a good service/customer experience
Ok this sounds fundamental, but it’s worth stating. Your ability to generate positive reviews is much easier when your customer is happy.
In today’s society it’s no longer acceptable to just deliver on your promises, you need to exceed your customer’s expectations. This is especially true when putting your customer to work by requesting they take time to leave a review for your painting business online.
Mitigate negative reviews
At the very least this strategy should be used as a way to deter negative reviews. For every negative review your business receives it takes at least 5 positive reviews to offset. Since your dissatisfied customers tend to have the loudest voice it’s important to focus on exceeding expectations for every painting project.
This doesn’t need to be a lot of work. Especially for the younger generation, it’s the little things that go a long way — being prompt, clearly communicating expectations, wearing shoe covers in the house, etc.
2. Claim your Online Citations
Online business directories, otherwise known as “citations,” can greatly increase your digital footprint.
What is a digital footprint?
Your digital footprint is how much space you occupy on SERPs (search engine results pages). For instance, if you have a website, Facebook page, and are listed on several online directories it increases the likelihood that your customers will find your business, and not the competition.
Where to start?
Almost every online directory has some sort of review capability. The more diversified the source of your reviews, the better. For professional painters we recommend starting with the following online citations:
Keep your NAP consistent
If you follow the SEO (search engine optimization) space at all you may be familiar with the “NAP” acronym: Name, Address, and Phone number.
It’s critical that these three data points are exactly the same everywhere your business is listed online. For instance, if your business address contains the word “Road” but you’re using the abbreviation “Rd” on your Google Business Profile it’s important that the “Rd” variation is used on every other directory/profile.
Why is NAP consistency important? Google gets confused by conflicting data points, so it assumes there’s an issue with the data on one or all of your listings. This confusion can lead to penalties that negatively impact your website and local rankings on Google.
The bottom line: The easier you make it for Google to index your business, the better you’ll rank.
3. Ask for a review in person
This is the #1 way to acquire new online reviews for your painting business.
While this may seem like a basic strategy, it’s important to remember that you’re asking your customer to put in effort to leave a review. This takes both time and energy on their end.
When is the customer most likely to invest energy into your business?
Always ask for a review immediately after your job is complete while the paint is still wet. Your customer’s motivation peaks while you are still onsite and will drop significantly as soon as you walk out the door.
4. Use emails to capture new reviews
When you acquire a new customer always as for their email address and phone number. Why? Because you can leverage this information to request reviews once a job is complete.
Some customers may not be around to leave a review while you’re still onsite, or you may not have access to the stakeholder.
Here are a few strategies to get you started:
Always focus on sending reviews to your Google Business Profile first. This will provide the biggest impact for your organic/local search engine rankings.
Only request reviews from customers you are sure had a good experience and are likely to leave a positive review.
Always personalize the request. Use their first name and mention a component of their project if possible. For example, you could say “By the way I loved the shade of blue you picked!”.
Use a subject line like “BIG Favor” to demonstrate your gratitude and understanding of the effort you’re requesting of them.
Include links to your online profile to make it as easy as possible for the customer to leave a review.
Follow up with a text message a few days later should they not respond to your email request.
5. Ask past customers to leave a review
It’s never too late to ask for a review. Every review counts, so even if it’s been a few years it can’t hurt to ask a happy customer to participate. Since the nature of a painting project is typically pretty substantial, there is little risk a customer won’t remember you even if it was a few years ago.
The best way to tackle this is to carve out an hour or two, create a spreadsheet of your past customers, then start calling, texting, and emailing. Remember to always personalize your request!
6. Reply to every online review
Monitor, monitor, monitor. We cannot stress this enough. Monitor your online reviews!
Whether you receive a positive or negative review, always respond with a comment.
Why is responding to reviews important?
Because engagement is a ranking factor, and it allows you to promptly address to negative reviews should they arise.
Replying to every single online review with a quick word of thanks for positive comments, and an immediate response that helps resolve issues shows commitment to your customers. While bad reviews can be hard to deal with, your ability to publicly offer solutions to make your customers happy is the best way to build trust.
7. Include reviews on your website
Leverage reviews by sharing them on your website and social media. Testimonials help build trust and let prospects know you are a legitimate painting business that cares for its customers.
This helps improve onsite SEO
Although you might not think of testimonials as “content,” search engines do. Google loves reviews, in fact, it’s a key local search engine ranking factor.
Include schema tags
Schema tags are snippets of code that communicate the content of a review (rating, comment, reviewer, etc.) to Google.
Why are schema tags important? You have probably stumbled across rating stars in organic search results before. These are only included via the use of schema tags. They provide instant visual feedback and increase your CTR (click-through rate), a critical organic ranking factor.
While there are plenty of free resources detailing how to manually generate and implement these tags, we have found success with the Schema WordPress plugin, which requires no coding experience.
Also don’t forget to include a call-to-action button on your website to leave a review! The more places you ask the more likely you are to capture new reviews for your painting business.
8. Automate review capture
Work smarter, not harder — Automation is your friend.
Maybe you have a significant backlog of customers, or maybe you simply work too many jobs to keep track of it all. Fortunately, we have two solutions to automate this entire strategy.
We’ve already mentioned the importance of email campaigns to help solicit reviews. Whether you already have a mailing list or are currently working on building one, you can leverage a free email marketing platform like MailChimp to automate review requests.
MailChimp even integrates with Quickbooks so you can automatically trigger a new review requests once you close the books on a customer.
Text message review requests
While using emails are effective method to reach out to past customers, using text messages has a much higher review capture rate for new customers.
We have found success with text message automation using Arrivala, they even offer a free plan!
As a painting business owner you know just how lucrative word-of-mouth referrals can be. The same concept applies online. Leverage the instant visual feedback of online reviews and start generating more online painting leads today!