Selling your services and continually expanding your client list are important parts of establishing and growing a profitable business.
One of the ways to plan part of your marketing program is to structure it around seasons and events that trigger the urge to buy cleaning services in the mind of the customer.
This technique can be applied to both commercial and residential markets with a little tweaking, thought and customization.
Here are a few examples for the residential market that could easily be adapted for commercial clients:
- Spring cleaning to spruce up
- Mother''s Day or Father''s Day cleaning as a gift
- Back to school cleaning to get your house in order
- Thanksgiving cleaning to impress your guests
- Christmas cleaning because that''s what Jesus would want.
The idea is to plant in the mind of the customer an answer to a problem they have, such as what to give someone as a gift or how to solve or prevent a problem.
Play Into Their Emotions
Another marketing strategy is to subtly remind the customer or prospect that soiled carpet and upholstery is embarrassing, unhealthy and does not convey a positive business image on staff, guests and the public.
It is not uncommon for a friend to ask this question after visiting the home of a common acquaintance, "What kind of housekeeper are they?"
The answer often hinges on the appearance of floors and how well the carpet and furniture is maintained.
Using a postcard with a side-by-side photo is a great way to capture the emotion of clean versus dirty.
On an especially dirty job, clean one half of the room first and then take a photo of the room.
A vacant home or apartment is better, so the owner will not know that you are showcasing their dirty unit.
Then, develop a powerful marketing message that hits the prospect hard.
Your wording should impact them emotionally in order to feel the embarrassment of ignoring soiled carpet, flooring or furnishings.
At the same time, the photo shows the pleasure or benefit of fresh, clean carpet and upholstery.
Watch the national news and read the local newspaper to see what topics are being covered in the media that you may be able to ride along by focusing your advertising or promotion to a specific topic or subject.
Examples would include such things as bedbugs, fleas, mold and mildew, fire, flood and other natural disasters that create a need for the services you offer.
In these cases, you might want to offer a free inspection, audit, report and estimate or discount.
Whether they know it or not, people need the services you offer.
But, they can''t call for a price quote or to schedule services if they don''t know how to reach you.
One of the biggest and most costly challenges a small business owner faces is branding.
Your goal is to get potential customers to remember what you do and how to reach you when they have a need for the services you offer.
The reality is that, regardless of how many customers you presently have, many will drop off over time or go away for one reason or another.
In an effort to retain and grow your business, you must continually replenish your customer base to avoid a loss of income.
The more desirable goal is to increase sales and profit instead of having it shrink over time, which is what it will do if you don''t take specific and ongoing action to generate new business.
Check back next month for the conclusion of this column and learn some effective marketing strategies that will increase repeat business and land you new clients.
Bill Griffin is president of the International Custodial Advisors Network (ICAN) and owner of Cleaning Consultant Services Inc. Comments and questions about bidding and estimating are encouraged: (206) 849-0179; WGriffin@CleaningConsultants.com.