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It’s a busy time for painters right now! The COVID-19 pandemic certainly created an appealing marketplace for the trades. Record numbers of new homes are being built and painters are needed for every one of them. That’s not even counting all the homeowners who have finally taken the opportunity to give their home a much-needed makeover.

The only thing that’s been a challenge, besides keeping up with all the work, has been keeping a strong enough workforce to take it all on. I can’t tell you how many painters I’ve spoken with who have had 20% or even up to 75% of their new hires not work out.

There’s nothing more frustrating than meeting a great candidate, going through the onboarding process, and having the admin team take care of all the paperwork—only for the new guy to call in sick on the first day, or even no-call/no-show.

That’s exactly the issue that I’m going to be showing you how to address today.

But that’s not all you’ll learn: the tips in this article will also help you to maintain a steady stream of new paint contracts, even when the market inevitably starts to slow down. Let’s go:

Why People Hire You… AND Why People Want To Work With You

In both of these cases—winning contracts and making great hires—it comes down to fundamental human psychology.

People want to work with those they trust.

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Every one of your clients who’s hired you for a paint job has believed that you were going to do good work and trusted you to do so. They trusted you with access to their home, they trusted you with their money and they trusted you with their very lives on some level. There’s a lot of risk that goes into inviting a stranger into your home.

Likewise, every one of your employees has made an act of trust as well. They’ve taken the chance of working for you versus a competitor because they believe that you will take good care of them, pay them fairly and on time, and keep them busy. They like you and they trust you.

Basically, it comes down to a math problem. Obviously there are a lot more variables that come into play, but they all boil down to this simple formula:

If their faith in a positive outcome is greater than their fear of a negative outcome, they will be likely to work with you.

Use Your Brand to Boost Faith and Reduce Fear

Your brand is what speaks to your prospective customers and employees first. They’ll hear the unconscious words spoken by your brand WAY before they ever hear your voice or shake your hand. This can either be an asset or a liability depending on the work you’ve put in.

Your brand is everything about the way your business “feels” to an outside viewer. Every aspect of your day-to-day operations is a reflection on your business’s brand, not just your quality of work.

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A key example of this is the army of Alexander the Great. They weren’t the largest army in the world. They didn’t have the most advanced technology. They didn’t have the strongest warriors. What they did have was the best trained warriors and a fearsome reputation for victory.

Once, Alexander’s army drilled silently in the morning before invading an enemy city. Upon seeing the magnificent display of unit cohesion and military prowess, the enemy promptly surrendered. Alexander the Great’s brand had won him victory without a drop of blood spilled.

The enemy believed that the risk of surrendering was far less than the risk of fighting.

This is what your brand can do for you. It can give an instant impression in your potential hires and customers that it’s more risky to ignore your company than to engage with it.

Five Ways to Bolster Your Brand

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Design a Killer Website

Your website is usually going to be the first time a new user will interact with your brand. When someone sees one of your ads, clicks your business in a Google search, or taps into a job posting, they’ll immediately look at your website to get a feel for what you’re all about.

What they see there will be their first impression that will set the tone for your interactions in the future. It’s imperative that your first impression be a good one.

Make sure your website is clean, easy to navigate, and filled with well-written, pertinent copy that gives the user a reason to read more. Ensure that answers to your users questions (both conscious and unconscious) are easy to find, easy to read and crystal clear. Any ambiguity on your website will kill your conversion rate (the percentage of visitors to the website that ultimately become customers or employees).

Photo by Me

Make Sure Your Logo Is Recognizable

The best way to ensure that people recognize your business when they see it is to have a great logo and use it often. Make sure your logo and business name is on everything.

Everything that represents your business and has the possibility of facing a current, former or future customer should have your brand on it.

Produce Brand Materials Professionally

A Zagros work van with a full wrap

The way your logo is presented is every bit as important as the logo itself.

If you paid for a gourmet burger and they delivered it to you in a grease-stained paper bag, would you be likely to buy it again?

If a company had a beautifully designed website, but it was hosted on a slow server and took 30+ seconds to load, would you be at all impressed by the design after waiting so long?

Which plumber would you be more inclined to allow into your home with your kids: one with a rusted out ’95 Chevy Astro with their business name written on the side with mailbox letters from Home Depot? Or one with a clean, white sprinter van with a professionally designed full-vehicle vinyl wrap?

Going the extra mile to make sure that your brand materials are printed and displayed well will go a long way towards inspiring confidence in your people and your customers.

Make Sure Your Website Has a Job Board

I promise you, this works. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Fortune 500 company with 300+ different roles available or a small town painter just looking for your fifth guy. Having a professionally built, well-written job board on your website will ALWAYS attract higher quality labor (while repelling the time wasters who are just looking for a small business that will let them get away with their bad habits).

Your job board should be structured like a funnel. The first page should explain what your company is about and what you’re looking for. This will help to attract the right labor while repelling the wrong labor. Explain what your pay structure is like, what benefits you offer and what your company culture is like.

A job board for Stahly Engineering & Associates

Once at the beginning and again at the end, have a button that will allow your users to view open roles.

The Open Roles page (called the Archive) should be a list of every job position you’re hiring for. It should ideally be a list of them with a button allowing the user to click into each job to read details and apply.

The individual job page (called the Single) should feature details on the job, requirements, and a link to apply.

The application itself can be on the job Single, on a popup, or on its own page. Your application should mirror a paper application you’d give to an in-person applicant. Note: Get the details you need, but do NOT ask for sensitive information such as social security numbers, driver license numbers or anything like that unless your website is SSL secured and fully encrypted, and you’ve consulted an attorney to ensure you’re not running afoul of the law.

While it’s typically not a great idea to have customers jump through too many hoops, the same is not as true for job applicants. Applicants expect some legwork at the beginning, and having a comprehensive application for them to fill out will generally give the impression that they’re working with a high-level business that will provide them with a secure job.

Note: see an example of one of my job boards at https://seaeng.com/careers/

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Make Sure Your Brand is Visible While On a Job Site

This is something the most successful painters I’ve worked with do really well. They ensure that their work trucks are parked on the street with the logo, phone number and website facing the world.

A few of them even put little wire yard signs in the customer’s yard with their information so they can promote themselves even after heading home for the day.

Having your logo on the back of company shirts is also a great way to go, since your workers will usually have their back to the world whilst working.

Putting on a great show while on an exterior repaint is a spectacular way to generate referrals. I know of one Montana painter who managed to paint six different houses on a single street just by looking good and branding themselves well on the job site.

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Wrapping It Up

Having a well-designed, well-produced and carefully thought-out brand will go miles towards putting out the right image and generating great first impressions. These critical first impressions will help you set yourself apart from the competition and attract not only the best paint contracts in your service area, but also help you attract the best labor.

If you want me to give you some personal feedback on your website and show you a few ways to improve it, click the link below to book a FREE 30 minute call with me.

I’ll show you exactly how you can modify your existing website to boost your results, and I’ll teach you exactly how you or your team can get it all done in just a few days. I take these free calls three days a week, so click below to pick a time. Good luck!

A website is made of many different components, each with its own purpose. These components come together to create a tool that fulfills several different objectives independently of one another. Each piece does its job and only interacts with another component when it is designed to do so. Understanding these different purposes is the key to understanding how the website’s various components fit together into a cohesive whole.

An example of a site that is not cohesive is one that is receiving traffic but is not generating leads. Alternatively, it might be generating leads wanting to spend $500 on a product or service, while the product or service itself costs $5,000. Ensuring that a website produces desirable results is accomplished by understanding what visitors want and giving it to them as quickly and efficiently as possible.

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Understanding Search Intent

Traffic is indeed the lifeblood of your website. Without traffic, your website will have no chance of creating meaningful results for you or your customers. However, not all traffic is the same. Traffic can be categorized by the intention of the person searching for the site, often dictated by the experiences that led them to your site.

What many business owners know intuitively (but do not logically understand) is that a web page has a very specific purpose. That purpose is to provide information to a reader.

Readers will generally be in search of something, and will arrive on a specific page because they believe (or have been led to believe) that it will contain information that will satisfy their intent.

When you’re working on your company’s website, you are acting as a web designer. And as a web designer, it is your job to fulfill these three objectives:

  1. Anticipate your users’ intentions
  2. Create content that will serve those intentions
  3. Organize that content logically and understandably so that users can find it with ease.

Four Types of Website Visitors

Traffic

Search traffic all falls into this category. This is the umbrella term for all the people who visit your website. People will arrive at your site from many different avenues. Search engine queries, paid advertisements, and other forms of digital marketing are the largest source for many businesses. However, offline marketing also plays a significant role, particularly for local businesses. These sources could include print and radio ads, billboard impressions, or even searches from users who saw your website printed on the back of a company vehicle.

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Leads

Some users who arrive on the website will go on to become leads. A lead is created whenever a site visitor provides you with information rather than only receiving it. A lead is anybody who fills out a form, makes a phone call, sends an email, signs up for a newsletter, or trades their email for a PDF or another lead magnet. The goal of the primary website is generally to convert traffic to leads—we’ll discuss this shortly.

Prospects

Prospects are leads who have communicated with a person from your company at least once. A lead becomes a prospect the minute they exchange an email, phone call, text message, or other interaction with a real human being from your company. Additionally, a prospect can be considered anybody who submits purchase-oriented information in an automated sales funnel before purchasing. Ideally, this user would convert to a customer in a matter of minutes, but that’s not always the case.

Customers

A customer, obviously, is anybody who has done business with you involving a transfer of money. A customer can be someone who pays $1 for a PDF or somebody who pays $30MM for a jet airliner.

Designing for Traffic vs. Leads

Pages only seen by prospects and customers include the Thank You page, the order confirmation, an order tracking page, and the like. These pages are generally straightforward and need very little critical thought.

Traffic and leads are the most critical types of visitors you’ll ever have on your website, and designing intentionally for each is something that cannot be overlooked.

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Designing for Traffic

A well-designed general website typically has two purposes: to present information neatly and clearly for visitors to review while encouraging visitors to remain on the website for as long as possible. An engaging and informative website will keep visitors around for longer and keep them coming back for more. This is always a good thing.

Here are a few design tools you can use to keep users on the website longer:

Keep content readable.

Avoid using large blocks of text, split it up with images, and utilize headings to your advantage to keep things scannable.

Display related posts at the end of every piece of dynamic content (like a blog post, case study or similar).

This will give the user an opportunity to read something relevant to what they just finished reading and encourage them to stick around longer.

Make sure your brand is visible throughout the site.

You can do this by utilizing a sticky header, using brand colors for headlines or decorations, and mentioning your company periodically. Brand recognition is important for increasing the likelihood of traffic turning into customers.

Designing for Leads

This is arguably the most important part of your website: the pages designed to capture leads. Leads will sometimes come to the general website as traffic, and it’s very important to have a call to action to allow these visitors to become leads.

However, most businesses will find that their leads arrive on the site from alternate sources, such as PPC ads, social media campaigns or other such marketing avenues. It is wise to create a specialized page (referred to as ‘landing pages’) for each such source designed specifically to capture its leads.

Leads arriving on landing pages from advertisements will often have specific needs and expectations that your landing page must answer. Here are a few design tips to help you do this:

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Keep distractions to a minimum

While the objective on the general site is to keep users around for longer, the goal of a landing page is more specific. Rather than encourage users to click around, a landing page should be focused on ensuring that its users read as much of the landing page content as possible.

A landing page has a very specific purpose, such as to encourage a user to fill out a form, send an email, call a phone number, make a purchase or something similar. The landing page’s purpose should be evident immediately when the user arrives on the site, as as the content continues, the landing page’s purpose should be reiterated until the user is ready to click on it.

Use links sparingly

A landing page, as stated previously, has a very specific purpose. Links that lead away from the page to external sources should be used only when absolutely necessary, and may even be configured to open in a new tab so that the landing page remains open.

Links that return to the main website should only be used in the header or footer, both of which will often be hidden from view on the landing page, or at least refactored considerably. In practice, a landing page is usually seen as independent from the main site.

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Monitor Your Performance

Using Google Analytics or a similar tool is a great way to monitor the performance of your website as a whole as well as the performance of each individual page. Keep an eye on what sort of traffic each page is receiving and how well that page is converting that traffic to the next stage in the sales funnel. Don’t hesitate to test different designs and different copy as time goes by. This part of a website’s lifecycle is all about small adjustments and incremental improvements.

In order to get the best results possible, it’s important that you intentionally write and design each page of your website to cater to the type of traffic you expect it will primarily receive. If you want to talk with me about the best way to make this happen for your specific business, click the link below to schedule a free 30 minute Zoom conversation.

Newton’s first law of motion states that “An object at rest will stay at rest unless acted on by an outside force.” Most of your users will arrive at your website in a state of rest. Effective website designs use the call to action to push users into a state of action.

There are two big components of a call to action that you can leverage to your advantage. Arguably, writing a powerful call to action is the most important. This is the technique that will help you accomplish more results through SEO.

However, designing a call to action can be tricky. It’s important to ensure that your calls to action are eye-catching, recognizable and readable. Here are four ways you can use to design a CTA strategy on your website that will ensure they’re read as often as possible.

A sample Call to Action for an MD mentoring program
A sample Call to Action for an MD mentoring program

Bookend the website

Calls to action should be clearly visible immediately when the user arrives on the website. It’s true that we primarily want to provide real and useful value to our users through our content, but we also want them to understand that we want to enter into a transactional business relationship with them right off the bat.

Additionally, a call to action should be presented to the reader once they reach the end of the website. Once a user reaches the end of the website, there will a brief moment where they will wonder what to do next. Generally, a typical user will either scroll back to the top of the website to look for something else to read, or they will click away from the website.

In that moment, you have an opportunity to capture the user’s attention once more and direct them into your sales process with an eye-catching call to action. I recommend having a simple call to action at the bottom of every page on your site.

A simple CTA block placed at the end of a web page
A simple CTA block placed at the end of a web page

Keep a call to action visible at all times

It’s important for your users to be able to find a call to action that will allow them to enter your sales process at any moment. You never know where in the site a visitor might decide that they’ve got the information they need and want to talk to a real person about their needs.

Make it easy for them to do this by keeping a call to action visible from every point of the website. You can do this either by repeating your call to action throughout the length of a long page, or by utilizing a sticky element (such as a sticky header or floating contact button).

An example of a sticky header with a Button CTA in the top right corner
An example of a sticky header with a Button CTA in the top right corner

Transitional vs direct calls to action

Like a direct CTA, a transitional CTA is also direct, clear and easy to understand. However, instead of asking your customer to buy now or take immediate action, you’re inviting them deeper into your website or sales cycle. Customers who may be ready to buy eventually but currently need more information are those who tend to use these buttons.

A homepage hero with a direct (primary) and transitional (secondary) CTA
A homepage hero with a direct (left) and transitional (right) CTA

Transitional CTAs sound like Download the Guide, View Our Work, See Options, Take our Quiz. A transitional CTA will help keep users on your site longer, which will improve your search engine rankings and improve the likelihood of making a sale from each user.

Consistency is key

You should generally have one CTA for each different action you want your user to take. Each of these CTAs should have the same text and overall appearance throughout the website. For example, for a painting contractor’s website, there were two calls to action.

One button said “Book an Estimate,” and the other button said “Contact Us.” Both buttons led to the Estimate page. Both of these buttons were changed to say “Book an Estimate,” and results improved over the following week.

Additionally, there is almost never a reason to have multiple direct CTAs for different desired actions on a single page. Every page should have a single task and purpose.

Your CTAs can make or break a website

Check out your website as it sits right now. Approach it from the frame of mind of a potential customer that has never heard of your business before. Would you decide to work with you based on your website? Do you see a call to action that motivates you to take action and get in touch with your business? If not, work on it right now! A powerful CTA can make the difference between capturing a great client or letting them click away to a competitor, so use these techniques today to improve your website and boost your conversion rate.

If you want to talk about your website’s CTA strategy, click here to schedule a 30 minute Zoom consult with me. I’d be happy to give you some case-specific tips that can help you boost your results.

©2022 John Kakuk
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