In this post, we’re going to explore how to get free painting leads and advertise your business for free by using Facebook Groups, Instagram, and Nextdoor.
1. Facebook Groups
You can get thousands of views on your company’s Facebook posts without having to use paid ads. The key is sharing your post to multiple local groups on Facebook.
In this method, you will use pictures to share to your Facebook business profile. We have an article on how to manage your business photos. But for now, let’s get right to learning the Facebook Local Groups method.
Before you can use this strategy you must be a member of various local Facebook groups with your personal Facebook profile. Start by searching Facebook for groups by entering the following keywords into the Facebook search bar (replacing the terms in parentheses with your words). Join as many groups as you can as long as they have over 1000 members.
- (your city) community
- (your city) marketplace
- (your city) market
- (your city) connection
- (your city) yard sale
- (your city) garage sale
- (your city) buy & sell
- (your city) for sale
- (your city) what’s for sale
Now repeat using the names of nearby cities or towns that your company serves. And then repeat using the names of neighborhoods inside the city. You will find that many groups will make you answer some questions so that the admins can determine if you will be allowed to enter. It’s common for them to ask if you live in that area. Simply answer that you work in that town or neighborhood, which is true of course if your company serves that area.
Check the rules for some groups as some of them prohibit any type of marketing at all. Some only allow marketing on specific days of the week. And others have no restrictions.
Now we can begin sharing your company’s posts with thousands of people. Always use this method with brand new posts. If you have old pictures you already posted, simply re-post them so that you have a brand new post to share. This is because Facebook’s algorithms will increase the likelihood of your posts being seen if they are new.
Now go ahead and post a picture to your Facebook business profile to use for this method. Write something about the picture but do not write anything that sounds too salesy. Just make a comment about the benefits of cabinet painting. Never use terms such as “get a quote”, “call today”, or anything that sounds like you’re trying to sell instead of simply sharing a cool picture and job or moment that your company is proud of. People nowadays rapidly and subconsciously filter out anything that looks or reads like an ad.
Now that you have just posted your non-salesy picture & test, click on the share button below the post. Two options should pop up:
- Share to a Page
You will click “Share to a Page”. On the new popup, on the very top, you should see a title that says “Share on a Page You Manage’. Click on that so that you can change it to “Share in a Group”. Below that, make sure you are sharing from your personal profile, not your business profile. Your business profile uploaded the post but you will use your personal profile to share the post to the local groups. Now search for one group to share your post to. Where it says “Say something about this…” enter some text about the post, remembering to not say anything to elicit sales, simply sharing what’s in the picture. Now hit “Post”. Now repeat the process until you have shared to either all of the local groups you are in or most of them.
And that’s it. Get ready to get lots of views for free.
Each post will not generate leads. Instead, it’s putting your brand out there to stay in people’s minds on a regular basis. This will generate leads over time, not with each post.
Now all of this is pointless if you forget the next critical step: every time somebody likes or comments on your post, invite them to like your business profile. And if they commented, always reply, even if it’s just with a simple “thanks”.
You should post to Facebook regularly. When you’re low on new photos, just re-post old photos. The most important thing is to share photos regularly. Aim for twice per week. Feel free to experiment with sharing more times than that, but you might risk annoying some people if you post daily. Also, feel free to post funny memes or inspirational posts to your business profile. It does not always have to be pictures of cabinet painting.
Instagram marketing involves 3 activities: generating pictures and posting them, hashtag research, and communications. Instagram is typically a low-volume lead generator but because it is free, it is still worthwhile to incorporate into your weekly marketing routine.
Additionally, you can use your company’s Instagram account as it’s gallery/portfolio, which I recommend because of how easy it is to use. You can ask your website developer to code your business Instagram feed into your website’s gallery script so this way you can update your gallery automatically simply by posting to Instagram. Contact us if you would like us to do this for you.
There is no rule to help you decide what type of pictures to post. Different types of pictures perform well at different times. Trying new and creative types of posts could yield good results. When trying to come up with picture ideas, think of these 3 categories:
- The standard/expected posts: This will include pictures of finished projects, before & after shots, close-ups of doors, and you or your team at work.
- The unexpected/creative posts: This is where you get creative and take close-up pictures of your equipment, your team having fun, your work vehicles, close-ups of specific parts of the project. For example, if you painted a kitchen, try posting photos of the knobs, a wine rack, or a range hood.
- The unrelated shared posts: This when you share funny memes, inspirational posts, or tips for customers/homeowners. You can get these from other people’s accounts as long as you give them credit in your description such as by saying “reposted from @scalebloom.” Another idea is to post pictures of local businesses such as restaurants or vendors you use such as embroidery or print shops. It is helpful to post things unrelated to your core product to make your brand more personable and engaging. Just be thoughtful and consider whether a meme could be seen as offensive to your audience.
Finally, remember to include a text description with every post. If possible, tell a short story, joke, or a funny anecdote about the post and use words that evoke emotions. Adding personality to your brand by using emojis will help people remember your brand. Also, consider asking a question in order to invite comments which will help your posts get ranked higher up by Instagram’s algorithms.
The next step is deciding which hashtags to use on your posts. Hashtags will allow your posts to be displayed on the search tab of Instagram to users who have previously engaged with posts with the same hashtags. To automate the process, keep a list of valuable hashtags in your notes app on your phone so that you can easily copy and paste them onto your Instagram post. A popular trick is to only include 1 to 3 hashtags in your post’s description and enter the rest into the comments section. Hashtags in the comments section still allow your photo to be discoverable but pushing them out of view allows the focus to be on the photo and description text.
The following is a list of good hashtags to use for cabinet painting but you need to stay aware of new hashtags trends and pay attention to what other types of posts get good engagement to continually improve your hashtag usage.
#whitekitchen #kitchen #dreamkitchen #kitchendesign #customkitchens #beautifulkitchens #kitchenremodel #kitchentransformation #kitcheninspo #paintedkitchen #charmingkitchen #kitchensofinstagram #kitchenrenovation #cabinets #homeinterior #homestyle #homeinspiration #homerenovation #decor #paint #inspiration #happy #inspiring #instamood #love #instalike #picoftheday
Also, use hashtags for your city or local area so that people nearby can find them. And add a location to each post, you can simply use the general location of your city or neighborhood.
As mentioned at the start, the third and final activity for Instagram marketing is communication. The first place to communicate is on your company’s profile page. I suggest including a list of cities or metro areas you serve. Many potential customers might otherwise have no idea you serve their area. Also, include a call to action, I personally use: “DM for a quick quote”.
And finally, include a link to your website. Even if someone visiting your profile does not click on your website link, just seeing it there makes your business look more professional and thus, trustworthy. And finally, communicate by engaging with many accounts. Search for local businesses and follow them, and regularly like and comment on their pictures. This will help you be seen by local customers that also follow that business. An easy way to get engagement is to follow and engage with other painting businesses. They may not buy from you, but if they engage with your posts, it will help your posts get more views due to Instagram’s algorithms. And finally, focus on making connections with local businesses that are related to your industry because they can recommend you on a regular basis. These will include realtors, interior designers and decorators, and other contractors such as floor installers, window installers, as well as general contractors which may even hire you on their projects.
You should create a business profile for your cabinet painting business on Nextdoor to make it easier to get recommended by local members. You can also run paid ads on your Nextdoor profile but for now, we’ll talk about using it to get free leads. Use your personal profile to post a message to your neighborhood’s feed talking about your company’s services. Always include a picture in your post to get people’s attention.
On nextdoor, unlike Facebook and Instagram, it is expected to learn about local businesses, so you can be more salesy in your copy than on regular social media. If you are being salesy, restrict your posts to only 2 to 3 times per month. But feel free to share stories or cool posts more regularly. People on Nextdoor love finding deals so when you are making a post with a salesy copy, you may benefit by offering a discount code such as NEXTDOOR.
Whenever you log in to your Nextdoor account, run a quick scan of recent posts to see if anyone is looking for painting work and comment on their post with a recommendation for your company. Or just use the search bar and look for “painting” to see any recent posts that specifically mention those words.
4. Google My Business
You’ve probably heard of Google Maps. If you’ve gone to Google to search for a local service, you probably noticed that a map listing pops up highlighting three businesses in your area—these listings are called the “GMB local 3 pack.” For instance, when searching “painting company near me,” the search engine results page (SERP) looks like this:
This grouping of businesses is showing up in the local pack! Apart from the first company listed (noted by the word “Ad”), all of these companies have organically achieved their position through local SEO efforts. Ensuring your painting company shows up in the local pack is an ideal way to get directly in front of prospective customers looking for your services in their area.
Why the Local Pack Is Important for Painting Companies
The local pack takes up a large portion of SERP real estate and is one of the first place users look when selecting a painting company to contact. Because of its prominence, your painting company must secure a spot in the local pack.
The easiest way to demonstrate the importance of the local pack is to let the numbers do the talking:
The local pack receives 44% of the total clicks on the SERP. (Source: Neil Patel) 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information. (Source: GoGulf) 58% of people search for a local business on their smartphone daily. (Source: HubSpot) Online reviews influence 67% of consumers. (Source: Moz)
It’s simple—getting a spot in the local pack gets your painting company in front of more prospects, and in turn, results in more leads and sales.
How to Secure a Spot in the GMB Local 3 Pack
Let’s talk about how to get your painting company into the local pack now that you understand why it’s so important. While there isn’t a magic solution, there are definite steps you can take to increase your chances.
1. Claim Your Google My Business Page
Have you already claimed your painting company’s Google My Business (GMB) page? (If not, lie to me, go claim it right now, and we can pretend this never happened.)
Without a claimed and optimized GMB, Google isn’t going to feature your painting company in the local pack. Let’s fix that. Along with claiming your Google My Business, make sure you’re also taking these additional factors into account to improve your chances:
- Website structure – When Google decides which contractor websites to show to searchers, they want to make sure they’re only featuring the best of the best. They don’t like to send searchers to a site that isn’t going to provide them with the information they’re looking for. Ensure your website is in the best shape possible by having an XML sitemap, meta descriptions, title tags, and ALT tags.
- Site speed – Again, Google only wants to promote the best websites. If a user clicks through to your website, how long will it take for them to find what they need? And I’m not referring to how many clicks it takes for them to find the answer. How long does it take for your website to load? 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Don’t be one of those sites. (Source: Neil Patel)
- Mobile-friendliness – With more and more people making searches from the convenience of their phone, it’s incredibly important that your website is mobile-friendly. There’s nothing more frustrating than opening a website, trying to click the menu, only to realize that the menu is designed for desktop. User experience is a critical factor that Google takes into consideration.
- Consistent NAP – Is your painting company’s name, address, and phone number consistent across the entire web? You’d be surprised to know that this is a significant struggle for many businesses! Perform a sweep of online directories, social media channels, and anywhere your company is listed online and make sure all of the information is the same.
- Proximity – This might not come as a shock because of the name, but the local pack connects searchers with painting companies that are just that—local. When determining who to feature in the local pack, Google takes a searcher’s proximity into account and will show them the best painting companies near them in that exact moment.
2. Optimize Your Google My Business Profile
Congratulations! You’re the brand new owner of a Google My Business listing. But now what? You can’t simply claim your GMB listing and assume you’ll automatically snag a spot in the local pack. You need to get your profile into tiptop shape. Here’s how:
- Company Name – Yes, this one is as simple as adding in your company name. Don’t get fancy and try to change things up. Google rewards companies that have a consistent NAP across the Internet. Use your company’s real name on your Google My Business listing, and make sure this is the same way you are referring to your company across your website, online directories, social media channels, and more.
- Address – If your business has a physical location, add in your address (this doesn’t have to be visible to the searcher if you don’t want customers showing up at the office!). You can also specify the service area in which you operate. To confirm that the address you provided is real, you will need to verify it using whatever method Google requires. Keep in mind that you can’t use a P.O. box or share an office space with other companies.
- Website – Add your website’s homepage URL to your Google My Business listing—and make sure there are no typos! When your painting company shows up in the local pack, tons of prospects are going to try to click through to your site. Don’t give them a reason to go with a competitor because of a 404 error.
- Phone Number – Similar to your company name, make sure the phone number you include on your GMB listing is your company’s hard-line phone number. Even if you use tracked phone numbers for various marketing campaigns, the phone number on your Google My Business listing should be consistent with the NAP across the web.
- Business Hours – You want to make sure you include anything and everything that will make it easy for customers to know how to contact your painting company—and that includes your business hours. If you offer 24-hour services, indicate that. Open on weekends? Mark that down. Closed around the holidays? You can adjust as needed to reflect the temporary hour changes.
- Categories – Google is smart and will likely be able to dictate what your business is and the services you provide. But there’s no harm in helping them out! When setting up your Google My Business profile, make sure you select a primary category. Categories help prospects find results related to the specific services they’re looking for. If you have multiple service offerings, you can choose additional categories as well.
3. Generate Google Reviews from Satisfied Customers
Now that we’ve claimed your Google My Business listing and optimized it to the best of our ability, it’s time to get your painting company to stand out from the competitors also featured in the local pack!
Once you’ve secured your spot, you’re essentially in a faceoff with the other painting companies that Google has decided to feature as well. You need to take them down and snag all the prospective customers. One of the easiest ways to do that? Have more and better reviews.
Your company’s star rating is featured loud and proud, which means you need to do everything in your power to have the best rating of the bunch. In fact, 64% of consumers check online Google reviews before choosing a business. (Source: ReviewTrackers) Your company might have a 5-star rating, which at first glance looks better than a competitor’s 4.6-star rating—but you also have to factor in the number of reviews. If a competitor has 1,341 reviews with a 4.6 rating and you have a 5-star rating with four reviews, that tells a very different story.
Find ways to generate Google reviews from your satisfied customers, such as:
- Provide unparalleled customer service
- Directly ask for a review following a successful paint job
- Send a follow-up email asking for a review
- Add a “Leave a Review” element to your website
- Respond to all reviews—both positive and negative
Use your satisfied customers as your painting company’s biggest advocates. Increasing both the quantity and quality of reviews on your Google My Business listing will help you stand out within the local pack.