Are you making as much money as you want to be making? Do you sometimes lose good workers because you can’t keep them busy enough to have them commit to working with you? Are you stuck doing too much work yourself because you don’t have enough clients to justify hiring help? Do you need more interested prospects to talk to? Is your phone not ringing as much as you’d like, and are you not quite getting the reviews and referrals you desire?
Or are you one of the lucky few whose business is exactly where you want it? Are you cruising along with the perfect number of clients and workers and would love to keep things just as they are? Are you in that “sweet spot” where you don’t want to get any bigger or smaller and are fine with the balance you currently have?
Whether you’re satisfied with your company’s current revenues and profit margins or you’d like to be bigger, better, and more profitable, the steps you want to take are exactly the same. That’s because appropriate, cohesive, and consistent marketing is the key to having all the income, staff support, and free time you desire in your cleaning service business. We’re going to take a closer look at those elements and explore a delegated, date-driven system that can be easily implemented into any business—whether that business is growing or stable, large or small.
No matter how successful your company is now, you’ll lose a certain percentage of your client base each year simply through natural attrition. This happens for a variety of reasons:
- Your cleaners did a poor job
- The contract administrator changed
- The industry experienced consolidations or slowdowns
- Your clients moved
- You became caught in negative company politics
- You were underbid.
The list of reasons that could cause you to lose a solid customer is long and almost impossible to predict. No matter how secure circumstances may seem, after 26 years of commercial cleaning success, one thing I know for sure is that the only constant in our industry is change.
Whether your attrition rate is 2% or 10%, don’t make the mistake of assuming you will retain all the clients you currently have. You need to consistently add clients just to stay where you are. Adding new clients isn’t an on-demand activity: You need to do it all the time to maintain a steady flow of business. And if your goal is to grow your company, the targets you set for quarterly or monthly increases need to be even higher to allow for the times when you take three steps forward and one step back. It’s simply the nature of the beast.
Here’s the good news: I’ve identified a simple three-step process that will help focus your marketing efforts to be appropriate, cohesive, and consistent to continually bring in new clients.
The Three-Step System
Step 1. Create appropriate monthly themes that reflect your customers’ needs
This means that in January, for instance, you’ll want to talk about annual planning, getting off to a fresh start, and focusing on the new year. February is the perfect time to talk about flu season, tips for disinfecting and hand washing, and how to identify high-touch points around the office. In March, taking inspiration from St. Patrick’s Day, you may make references to luck, the color green, four-leaf clovers, and shamrocks. Be sure to tie these themes into your company’s unique selling proposition—something related to your locale or specific to the interests of your target demographic.
May, of course, is the perfect time to talk about spring, along with allergies, indoor air quality, and green cleaning. You could even relate those elements to the importance of improving the satisfaction of office staff, conveying how this could save your clients both time and money.
Now that I’ve given you some ideas to get started, your job is to brainstorm and create 12 months’ worth of themes for your target market based on seasonal activities and interests. Connect with your clients and channel their mind-sets: If they are thinking about the holidays in November, you’re not likely to successfully encourage them to rethink annual contracts, scope of work, or specifications during that time. You may instead be better off talking about office safety as it relates to holiday decorations, snacks, increased trash, and celebrations.
By thinking about and laying out your areas of focus in advance, you will be prepared when it’s time to address hay fever, disinfecting protocols, and periodic tasks like cold-weather floor care.
Step 2. Use a spreadsheet to create a cohesive message across all marketing platforms
This next step is fairly easy, as you’ll have done most of the heavy brainwork in the first step. Now it’s simply a matter of connecting your themes to the platforms you are currently using or planning to introduce throughout the year. This improves your visibility to both current and future clients, ensures you have a diversified strategy, and gives you a way to easily reinforce your promotions, concepts, and calls to action for maximum effectiveness.
Create a spreadsheet with your platforms listed across the top and the months of the year along the side. For example, your entries across the top may include Google Ads, email campaigns, snail mail, networking, directories, SEO/blogging, YouTube, and Instagram.
This is also a great time to think about annual advertising for events, sponsorships, trade shows, affinity marketing, and print campaigns.
Use any program you prefer to organize all your data in one place—if you already have an editorial or social media calendar, you can enter your themes there. The point is to have everything consolidated so it’s accessible, easy to modify, and ready to share with your team, vendors, and outsourcers.
Step 3. Plan ahead and make sure your marketing messages are delivered consistently
Although this is the last element, it may be the most important: It is essential that your prospects see your marketing messages on a repeat basis. Because the buying cycle for commercial accounts is so long and it’s not a service offices and corporations often think about purchasing, it’s vital that your company achieves top-of-mind awareness and that your message lands at the right time.
Plan your workload, delegate it as needed, and deliver your marketing messages consistently by attaching to-be-delivered dates to content, graphics, and links.
It’s tempting to slow down on marketing when money is tight and you’re looking for ways to reduce expenses, or conversely, when business is good and you feel confident about the way things are going. But neither of these are times to cut back on marketing.
This brings us right back to what I mentioned earlier: You should continue marketing all the time.
While it’s important to have systems for all your basic business functions, including marketing, hiring, sales, and operations, consistency in the area of marketing will pay huge dividends for you by allowing you to predict and control your growth.
At the end of the day, remember that a system will:
Try out this easy three-step system in your cleaning services business and see what a difference it makes in controlling your revenue, predicting your growth, improving your profits, and saving you time. My goal is for you to have all the income, staff support, and free time you deserve, and I believe this system will get you on the road to accomplishing just that.