Marketing and advertising your business can be one of the most challenging and daunting tasks you’ll face.
Business can boom or bust as a result of marketing efforts, or lack thereof, and business owners are often left with some questions to ponder, such as:
- What is a new and innovative way to capture business?
- What can I do differently from the competition?
- What will make my company stand out?
- How can I get the most out of my advertising budget?
- What do I need to change about my marketing to be competitive in 2007 and beyond?
The answers are simpler than you think.
Winning business is as easy as appealing to customers on a personal level, understanding their challenges and telling them how you can help.
Create and innovate
If you are tired of the old hum-drum Yellow Pages ad that seems to bring in a minimal amount of business each year, add a new twist to the way you market your business — even if it involves some old-fashioned techniques.
Review the effectiveness of your current advertising pieces. If they don’t create a need for the customer to call, or direct a “call to action,” then it’s time to make a change.
Before you do this, it’s a good idea to think like the customer. Ask yourself: Why should they choose your business over your competitor? What can make them feel compelled to call you and set up an appointment?
You know your business best. Accentuate the positive and inform customers of the reasons they should hire your company, such as:
- An honorable cleaning service that customers can trust in their building every night.
- Sparkling floors and a spotless building, sure to impress senior management.
- Complaints from disgruntled office workers will start to dwindle.
Seeing is believing: Provide before and after photos of buildings you service, as well as testimonials from other satisfied customers. And be prepared to offer a list of client references.
It’s all about ‘me’
Research shows that when it comes to marketing and advertising, appealing to the “me” factor can produce better results.
When soliciting for new business to facility managers, look no further than marketing to the “me” factor.
People are motivated by their individual needs. Decision makers want to know, “If I hire your company, what’s in it for me?”
There is no greater joy for a facility manager than to have a clean and sparkling building representing his or her job performance to the public, coworkers and management on a daily basis.
So, you should personally hit them head-on with the issues that matter most to them in their facility.
But how can you do this without hiring an advertising firm that will cost thousands of dollars?
Follow some of the basic, old-fashioned marketing ideas, with a new technique that works.
Oldies, but goodies
Telemarketing — Telemarketing is one of the best, most proven methods for attracting new customers.
Buying lists that pre-qualify client buildings is the most popular way to telemarket, or it can be as simple as opening up your phone book and letting your fingers do the walking.
A new twist to telemarketing is offering incentives, such as free services, e.g., carpet cleaning, free air fresheners, free window cleaning or free buffing, for the first month of the contract.
Or try something that no one else is doing, such as offering free lunch for up to 20 staff members — a simple gesture of thanks for doing business with your company.
Mailers — Mailers only work if they get into the hands of decision makers, or an initial contact person who would be authorized to solicit bids from janitorial companies.
Don’t send out random mailers without a contact name. To ensure the mailer gets in the right hands, the facility manager’s name is critical.
Keep in mind that generic mail usually ends up in the trash. Try this new twist: Include “action” photos of your uniformed employees cleaning buildings. This is bound to grab attention.
Your marketing materials should create a need for your service and address the hot-button issues the client could be facing.
Leading questions that do this include:
- “Is your cleaning service giving you a headache?”
- “Are your floors shiny and sparkling clean?”
- “Do you feel comfortable using the bathrooms in your office?”
DVD — Many times, we try to sell ourselves verbally to the customer, but what about selling to the customer visually?
Create a DVD of your company in action with a two-minute commercial, complete with client testimonials and on-location shots of some current facilities you service.
Create a need for the customer to call
Innovative marketing involves thinking outside of the box, especially when it comes to mailing information about your company.
Creative ideas can get you a phone call, as well as a building estimate, but you’re in business to win contracts.
When weighing marketing options, the most important question to ask yourself is this: How can you attract a potential client to not only read your mailer, but also pick up the phone to call you?
Make an effort to stand out, and you will be rewarded.
Laura Dellutri, known as “The Healthy Housekeeper,” is a successful building service contractor, public speaker, author and cleaning consultant who has appeared numerous times on HGTV, The Discovery Channel and other major television networks. She welcomes feedback, so e-mail her at DELLUTRIL@aol.com or email@example.com. Visit her website, www.cleaningtrainingcenter.com.