What Advertising Works for Small Business?

Part of our service offering is interviewing hundreds of business owners on what advertising methods work (and which do not) for their company. From time to time we will publish the actually questionnaire and interview with someone who has had great success in marketing.

This month we spoke with Matt Shoup the President of M & E Painting, based on Northern Colorado. Here’s a little about Matt, and his answers to our questions on SEO, and advertising.

Matt Shoup Founded M & E Painting with only $100 to his name in 2005 after being laid off from the corporate world.  This event only reignited Matt’s true passion for entrepreneurship, and he has never looked back. Since then, M & E Painting has grown to a multi-million-dollar, award winning company and Northern Colorado’s largest and most recognized painting contractor.  From 2005 to 2010, the company grew 500%!  Since inception, M & E Painting has served over 3,400 clients and maintains a 98.6% customer satisfaction rating.  In 2009, Matt founded his second company Shoup Consulting.  Matt’s mission is to inspire entrepreneurs around the world.  He does this by speaking, writing, and coaching. You can see one of Matt’s companies at

Here is the Interview on what works for Matt and his company.


What forms of advertising and promotion does your company use now?

PR (awards, press and media hits), direct mail, Send Out Cards, referrals from customers, outdoor branding, sign spinners, internet

What have you found to be the best advertising or promotion programs?

Doing a great job for people and getting them to talk about you.  Retention of clients has been by far Send Out Cards, and branding and awareness has been sign spinning.

What advertising or promotion have you used in the past that you no longer utilize and why?

Some of the cheaper low quality direct mail has not worked well.  We swear by Val Pak and have loved their service and ROI

How do you track the effectiveness of your advertising?

We track where every single lead comes from when they call.

Do you find certain types of advertising have a better closing percentage?


Do you have a certain percentage of gross sales you use for an advertising budget?

6 to 7%

Do you have a formal referral process for customers to utilize?

Yes, we send customers to dinner when they refer us new work.

What’s the easiest lead generation source you utilize?


What’s the best Lead generation source for your company?

Direct mail

What are the best long term return on investment advertising programs you use?

Direct mail and outdoor branding

Any comments on the following type of advertising?

TV- no thanks

Radio- no thanks

Print magazines- some are okay, but do not use too many ourselves

Print Coupons- people love them, generates lots of calls

Direct mail (individual to homes or Businesses)- very awesome as well

Door Hangers/fliers- very low ROI

Pay per click advertising- people are figuring out you pay for this, go organic

Search Engine Optimization- works great for us.

Social Media- too much to get confused on, focus on one like Facebook, Twitter, etc and master it.

Telemarketing- can’t stand to get the calls so would never make them

Trade Shows- not great ROI, lots of looky loos

Referral programs- people love a little incentive

Lead groups- no thanks

BBB  Membership- these guys are the necessary evil.  Don’t really like the way they do things

Sales People  – gotta have them to leverage your self

Business Development programs

Canvassers – no thanks,

Internet lead services like Service Magic, Angie’s List, Dave Logan, Tom Martino.

( A certain co-op lead service branded by a local personality)  is a crook and a huge hypocrite, I was called by one of his scummy sales guys.  Talk about say one thing and do the other.  No thanks.  Angies List seems to be a great truthful source for both company and contractors



It’s always interesting to hear what a company is getting great value from. In M&E’s case they do well in some very none traditional areas. Sign Spinners, Send out Cards, and customer referral programs.  They also give Val Pak a big thumbs up as well as organic search (SEO).

SO far in our most recent round of interviews there are a few surprises.  Trade shows are not doing as well in the thumbs up category as they once were, and we see formal referral programs gaining a lot of traction. If you are a home Improvement company interested in seeing the full report, it’s available for members of the 24-7 Home Show group. You can see info here   (Full disclosure , Mike Bayes is a partner in Bayes Squared llc the operating company for 24-7 home Show).

We will be publishing these results as often as we can. Your company is welcome to add to the discussion here (in the comments) or if you would like an individual interview, please contact us at info@myonecall.com to arrange.

3 thoughts on “What Advertising Works for Small Business?”

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