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Winter ABA’s (Anything But Ads)


Are you planning for winter yet?

I know right now is August, it’s probably 80 degrees outside and humid, we have work we can’t even get to and we are scheduling until who knows when.

But we have to start thinking about colder weather, as it slows down because it’s going to happen.

I am Ron Ramsden and I am a DYB coach, also a painting contractor here in Massachusetts.

I just want to go over things that we are putting into play now that are practically free.

In fact, I think 95% of the things I have on my list are actually free to do.

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And these are our WINTER A.B.A’s; Anything But Advertising.

So, we are not going out there putting big ads and saying pay 20% off and 10% off, do this and you will get a free that.

We are not doing that, what we want to do in our ABAs is what we state in front of the people, with our brand and who we are.

So, these are some of the touchpoints;


  1. Weekly emails


First, every other week, starting September 1st, we are sending out an email, with a blog attached.

Now, hopefully, you have been blogging all these months and years and you have a treasured trophy of information to forward to your customers, and that’s okay even if they don’t read it.

I know you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Why would I send something, an email if they are not even going to read it?

Well, how many emails do you get and you never even open them? But you know they are there, if you didn’t want to get them, you would unsubscribe.

You know sometimes you are going to need it and that’s the same thing with the customer –they are going to see your painting company.

They might even open the first one and the second one, then they might say, “I am not opening,” but they won’t delete them, because they are going to, in the back of their head, need you someday and they need your information.

So, send the blogs out with a catchy title, maybe something that you are leading into, for interior work or something on how to prep kitchen cabinet.

If it can be a video blog or vlog, that would even be better, and the cost of that is absolutely free with email.

Okay, this is where money comes into play, this is the only one here that really costs any money.

So, September, October and November, we are not going to send them in December because they are going to get a flow of holiday and Christmas cards.

We are going to start with all our A and B clients, and I hope you have been grading your clients?

Just like your clients grade their contractors, they are not going to deal with a contractor that they don’t like, because they are a de-contractor.

Your A clients and your B clients are the ones you really like to work with.

You want to start touching base with them, with Send Out Cards (SOC), that’s a service that we use.

I will show you a couple that we use, some of them are kind of hooky, but they catch their attention, nobody else is sending me these.

And then this one right here is “Do zombies eat popcorn with their fingers?”, and then there is a little saying on the inside, and then this one is the national donut day.

Things like these get the customers to open them up, they are about a buck and a quarter with some mailing.

What you do is upload or download your list to send out cards, select what you want to do, hit send, it’s done –we allotted $125 a month, that’s our budget.

For September, October and November, we allotted $375. As more customers come on board that are A and B’s, hopefully, they all are, maybe we add another $25 to that.

That’s how we are going to stay in touch. Pick something that is different –you can make your own card or if it’s a fun thing with a dinosaur or something that is more likely to be put on the kitchen refrigerator door or something like that.


  1. Freebie Fridays


Freebie Fridays are something that started about 3 years ago with a huge hit and like everything else, kind of works through with time –you get busy, you start forgetting, you play catch up.

We are kicking off Freebie Fridays in September, every Friday we are going to be giving something away, it’s free if you have something.

It all started out as an extra paint for me, I’d hold a contest on my Facebook business page and tell them I have Freebie Friday and offer something for free.

Most of the time, it was paint, every now and then it would be something really cool, I would get for free.

Or if I had a Starbucks gift card, Walmart gift card or Amazon gift card and we will do something like that.

So, basically free unless you want to add something.

You can get very creative, I have actually given away paraphernalia and things like that, and those are popular.


  1. Monthly newsletters


For the monthly newsletters, we use MailChimp, which is free again. We don’t try to advertise, we usually like to highlight some of the charity work that we do in town here or in the area.

One of the ones coming out now would be probably, my wife just came back from a mission trip, so we would like to add a little ad on to it.

People like to read good things, so that’s also a freebie. They don’t open it; they can unsubscribe or it would bounce back.


  1. Email videos weekly


We’re also going to start emailing videos by walking through videos of some of our jobs, possibly do what happens on an estimate, do a video, or something like that.

You want to make sure you are emailing someone a video; write in the subject line “Check out the video of…” Add video into the subject line.

Stats are that the emails with video in the subject line let people know it’s coming and it’s going to be open 6 times more often than if it wasn’t a video.

Also, notecards, this is our bread and butter here –we have new notecards with pictures on it. These notecards go out to every single person we meet, we send them a “Nice to meet you” anybody we see at a networking event, “Very nice to meet you, we look forward to serving you”

And then remember the notes, if you didn’t make notes of a conversation, don’t try to sell yourself or anything, try to ask how you can help them.

If you met some of them at a networking event, you can always say, “Hey, I will keep my eye out for that pink elephant that you were looking for and I will be in touch shortly” or “I would love to grab a coffee and talk about that pink elephant that we talked about earlier”

Something like that, so you want them to know that you are actually thinking and listening to them when they were talking.

If you can continuously do this, even if you didn’t do a Send Out Cards, they are practically free. The notecards cost about 60 cents a piece with a stamp, we would handwrite them out in blue ink, I hand address the outside envelope so it does get opened up.

This is just basic, there would be more coming and probably if your contact is in there… keep the name flowing, keep people on the top of your list.

They will be thinking of you and then when you get ready for going to the estimates, it is practically a done deal.

Remember it is never too early to start planning for the colder weather.

You hopefully have some money in the bank account.

If you actually wanted to invest a little more in some of these things or actually make a plan.

A plan is a lot easier to put into action than trying to shoot from the head or something off the top of your head. So, I hope this helped.

Once again, I am Ron Ramsden and I am a DYB coach, also a painting contractor in Massachusetts, helping painters stay profitable. Have a great day, bye…


About the Author

Ron Ramsden is the owner of the successful Ramsden 1-800-PAINTING, who implemented the DYB SYSTEM, and crushed it in 2015, and now coaches other painting contractors around the nation to do the same.