Marketing manager Marian Schembari talks to a seasoned Thumbtack professional about the process of building a successful business.
If your business has an identity crisis – or doesn’t have an identity at all – Tamara Paylor of Mae Lea Designs is the one to call. She helps small companies brand themselves. Her goal is to take a small business from one customer to fifty, from ten likes on Facebook to a thousand, from unknown to nationally recognized.
She does this by giving businesses a professional look with a creative edge by designing web sites, logos, ads, flyers and business cards. Whether it’s a one-person operation or a startup, she helps companies find their professional skin. “Creating an identity is important for the success of any business,” she says. She teases out what will best suit the business with a series of questions. “I find out my client’s likes and dislikes, as well as what appeals to them,” she explains.
A Thumbtack Pro Who’s Doing It Right
Building success on Thumbtack involved developing an organized and professional profile with photos and glowing reviews. “Ninety percent of my work comes from Thumbtack,” says Paylor. “Thumbtack limits the pool. You still have to make yourself shine, but at least I’m not trying to shine against ninety other designers. I feel like I have more of a shot with Thumbtack.”
She’s attentive to following up with potential clients. “If they read the message and don’t respond, I give them two days and then I send another message.” Simply asking if the client has any further questions can often score her the gig.
The majority of her came because she requested them. “Some of the reviews are previous clients,” she says. “Some other sites don’t let you do that, so I’m glad you guys do. If I’m a newbie on a site, you’ve got to give me a fighting chance.” She times her review request to land in the customer’s inbox just after they’ve received the final product. “It’s fresh in their minds and they’re giddy,” she says. And giddy customers leave excellent reviews.
Over years of crunching numbers on how pros get hired, we learned that if you have one review, you’re 130% more likely to get hired. If you have five reviews, you’re 400% more likely. So with just five reviews, you’ll leave your competition in the dust. One of Paylor’s recent clients told her that her reviews were the deciding factor for him choosing her for his business card design project.
If she doesn’t receive enough information from the client to provide an accurate quote, she’ll ask questions. Then she gears her quotes to the individual client. “I use their name and my quote is specific to their design job,” she explains. “I automatically assume that they’re going to work with me, and say, ‘I look forward to working with you.’”
Validation From Thumbtack’s Marketing Manager
“You nailed it,” says Marian Schembari. “If I could give the perfect advice, that would be it.” Thumbtack has conducted extensive studies on which professionals get hired and which don’t. “Without fail, people that don’t use the customer’s name won’t get hired – end of story,” explains Schembari. Sure, pros will occasionally get hired without using the customer’s name, but the percentage is incredibly low.
Another easy way to drastically increase your chances of a response is to end your message with a question. “Ending with a question requires people to think about it and get back to you,” says Schembari. “Answering with a ‘Thank you for your time’ or something similar is polite, but it isn’t the same call to action as ‘Are you available for a twenty-minute phone call consultation tomorrow?’ or ‘What color were you envisioning for your logo?’” It can be almost any question. “People just need to be told what to do,” says Schembari. “People need to be encouraged to respond.”
Thumbtack helped Paylor build a full-time business, one she loves. “I set my own hours,” says Paylor. “And I’ve always loved design work. Customer service just isn’t as fulfilling.” Helping new businesses create a professional identity has proven very rewarding. “They get so excited,” she explains. “I feel like I’m helping other people.”