Some business owners really love running a business.  They love making customers happy and having a great place to work, but they also enjoy everything that comes with it – financial management, sales, competitive strategy, mentoring employees and putting out fires every day.

Others started their business because they wanted to earn more by doing things right and treating their customers better.  They knew they’d have to deal with all the paperwork and problems that come with owning a business, but they really took the plunge because they just couldn’t keep working for someone who treated employees badly or told them to do things that weren’t fair to customers.

No matter which type of business owner you are, marketing can feel “dirty.”  But if you started a painting contracting business mainly because you wanted to do things the right way, you’re especially likely to dislike advertising.

Sure, you have a website. And you love it as much as anyone when you see a great review of your business online.  But does the thought of putting together a marketing slick about how great you are and sending it all over town make you feel a little nauseous?

People Dislike Marketing for A Reason

If it does make you nauseous, you aren’t alone.  Plenty of people think marketing is full of vanity and hype.  In a study commissioned by the advertising industry’s own trade association in 2015, 4% of people believed that marketers behaved with integrity.  Whoever those 4% are, if they’re still around after this past year’s brutal political ads, they probably changed their minds.

One reason people are so suspicious of marketing is that it has become common for companies to use it to try and convince customers that they’re better than they really are.  Gasoline powers all sorts of economic growth, but when gasoline companies advertise that they’re environmentalists, they aren’t really using marketing to emphasize facts – they’re using it to sell lies.

USA Today compiled a list of the worst product claims of all time.  Did you know that 5 Hour Energy is recommended by doctors?  It isn’t – but they didn’t let that stop them from saying it was.  A TV ad showed a Nissan Frontier pushing a dune buggy up a sand dune, which it can’t even do.  The Cheerios box used to say they lowered cholesterol, which they don’t. Now the box says they “can help” lower cholesterol.  And the list is full of cigarette and weight loss product claims that were all bogus.

It only got worse when things moved online.  Now, advertising doesn’t just lie to you, it tracks your every move to figure out which lies you’ll believe.  Companies can (and do) show you completely different ads based on your age, gender, location and beliefs.

Marketing With Integrity

Consumers have been sick of false claims for some time now. And marketing has already started to change as a result.  Marketing will always exist because small businesses (including painting contractors) need to get the message out about who they are and what they do.

That’s what marketing should be – telling customers who you are and what you do.  Not trying to tell every possible customer what they want to hear.  Not trying to be five things to three people.  Marketing should be about making a few big commitments that you intend to keep.

So if you could handle more painting jobs, don’t let your stomach turn over the thought of marketing.  Great marketing doesn’t require anything that you shouldn’t be proud of.  Tell customers about your business.  Tell them about the areas you serve.  Tell them about what types of problems you can fix.

And then make one to three commitments that you intend to keep.  Most importantly, whatever it is that you wake up and try to do better than everyone else every day, tell people about that.  Maybe that’s being on schedule and not leaving anyone hanging. Maybe it’s being the best cabinet painter in your area. Maybe it’s getting the job done right the first time, or never making a recommendation you wouldn’t follow yourself.  Whatever it is, tell them how you want your service to be judged.

Since your principles aren’t likely to change, you won’t have to come up with a new marketing message every quarter.  Since your customers will see the same message over and over again, they should have a pretty good idea of what to expect when they hire you.  And if you always focus on those few commitments, you’re probably going to do a good job of delivering them.

When you do deliver on your commitments, you’re going to get referrals and great reviews.  And when you read reviews that say “They do exactly what they say they’re going to do,” you’ll know that your marketing worked.

This is marketing that you can be proud of.  Making commitments and following through on them is a key element of integrity.

To learn how ProPainter Websites can help your painting business market with integrity, call us at 919-424-6121 or email us at