Precision Window Tinting Co. of Clovis, Calif., spent a combined $20,277 on Google Ads in May, June and July 2021. Today, an estimated 75% of the company’s leads are generated from the online advertising platform during summer months. Owner Jeff Spraetz says the ads shift with local happenings.
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“They have an event called ‘BIG Hat Days’ where everyone wears a big hat,” Spraetz says. “People are already searching for that. We make an ad and [adjust] the meta titles, so we’re grabbing that audience as well.”
A meta title is text displayed on search engine result pages and browser tabs to signify the topic of a webpage. Spraetz, who entered the industry in 1984, says his company reached more than 200,000 people in October 2020 thanks to Google ads. The veteran plans to open a second location in Fresno, Calif., thanks to his advertising push, which began in 2017.
“I had the old-style mentality—get a shop in front of everybody on the main road,” Spraetz explains. “The traffic will stop, they’re going to come in and you’ll sell window tint. That might work a little, but customers could still find me on the internet if I moved off the main road. You have to direct them there.”
Sun Stoppers Greeley in Greeley, Colo., generates more than 30% of its leads through local social media initiatives. Tint specialist Charles Culp lists window tint as an item on Facebook Marketplace, posting to 20 buy-sell-trade groups. Culp posts the product at $79, the price of two-front windows on a truck or an SUV. It’s a non-ceramic option that isn’t covered by warranty, but it reels in customers.
“The big thing is getting their contact info and getting in touch with them,” Culp adds. “They come in and see the heat box. They’re able to see the benefits of ceramic and the upsell becomes quite easy.”
Vision Window Tint is located in Ottawa, Ontario, and most of its business falls in the flat glass category. Owner Keith Shand worked in auto glass repair and replacement in 1986, transitioning to the glass and glazing industry in 2000 and the window film industry in 2006. 75% of the company’s leads are generated from glass and glazing industry connections.
“I was lucky because I’m also a licensed glazier,” Shand says. “I had lots of connections that way. When I left that glass company, they ended up subbing out all the film [work] to me. For 10 years, I had all their film business. It was a little luck and learning.”
Letha Miller Lasiter, owner and operator at The Tint Diva in Gadsden, Ala., Auburn, Ala., and Palestine, Texas, employs a unique method to generate leads. She drops off potential proposals at interior decorating companies. If those companies come across a client that needs tinting, Lasiter is their referral. Lasiter pays companies $1 per square foot if the job comes to fruition. The strategy led to her tinting the home and guest home of JJ Watt, defensive end for the Arizona Cardinals of the NFL, in 2018. The project involved 700 square feet of solar film.
“I got that from a blinds company,” Lasiter says. “They were at the house to install window blinds. There was a couple of rooms where he said, ‘I don’t want to cover the window, but I want the privacy.’ She replied, ‘I’ve got a tinter.’”
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Film dealers don’t fit into a single box, and many aim to fortify their lead generation techniques. Culp says it starts with emphasizing value.
“Don’t make price your main priority,” Culp says. “Get in contact with a customer on a personal basis first. The biggest thing for lead generation is finding out what the customer needs and meeting that, as opposed to making it about any specific [price] up-front.”
Shand entered the film business with a pool of commercial connections, but his initial techniques involved a hands-on, personal approach. “January and February tend to be slower,” Shand says. “I would get online, find other shops or small contractors in town and start driving and touch base with them.”
For those without established glazing contacts, Billy Aiton of Pro-Tech Window Tinting in Scottsdale, Ariz., recommends hitting the pavement and making the first move.
“Don’t get stuck in the shop—get out there and start cold calling,” Aiton advises. “Go to your glass companies. Drop a card off and be regular; visit at least three times before accepting a no.”
Tintbid Inc. in Sisters, Ore., focuses on residential and commercial work and had $350,000 in sales in 2021. Owner Jon Rumgay recommends Google Advertising, which he invests $2,000 into each month. His digital advertising efforts began in 2011.
“I think guys think they don’t need to advertise,” Rumgay says. “You need to use Google as a platform, pay money and advertise. It costs money to make money—period.”