Competing for clients in the residential cleaning business can be frustrating. Your business is competing against large national chains, as well as individuals who clean houses as a side business.
You need a marketing strategy to find clients and keep them coming back. Use these tips on how to market a cleaning business.
Determine your ideal customer
To properly market your business, you need to determine your ideal customer. This represents the characteristics of the client who frequently uses your cleaning service.
So, how would you determine who that customer is? You have several resources:
· Talk to existing clients: Think about your current base of clients. What features do they have in common? Consider their age, gender, income level, occupation and any other factors that seem to come up frequently.
· Referrals: When someone is referred to you, think about who referred them. If someone thinks enough of your firm to refer people, that may be an ideal customer.
· Survey: One reason to collect client emails is to have the ability to send a survey electronically. SurveyMonkey is a great tool for sending surveys. Keep your survey to just 5 open-ended questions. These questions allow your client to write their own comments, rather than click on answer choices. This survey design will get you more valuable customer data.
Assume that, after doing some research; you come up with these ideal customer traits:
· Age: You determine that people between the ages of 35 and 65 years old use your services most often. This group is old enough to generate the income to pay for your services. They are young enough, however, to still be in the work force. Retired people over 65 tend to do their own cleaning, according to your research.
· Income level: Your clients are most often upper-income earners. They make enough income to afford your services. You find that wealthy individuals tend to have staff people who clean and provide other services as a full-time job.
· Time issues: Maybe most important, your ideal customer works and also has children. They have busy lives and do not have much free time. They’re willing to pay for cleaning, rather than spend their limited free time on that task.
Now that you know who the ideal customer is, you can think about how to reach them – and how to motivate them to use your services.
Finding the value you offer customers
If someone needs a cleaning company, why should they do business with you, rather than use a competitor? When they choose your firm, they must believe you offer a better value. Your next task is to find identify your firm’s “value proposition”.
Tara Gentile has helped many people with this issue of company value. She says, that, on a basic level, your business is about you. If you have a personalized approach to running your business, you’ll do a great job of communicating your firm’s value.
Here’s a good example: A female executive in St. Louis had a tough time finding a company to clean her home they way that she wanted. When she came home after the cleaning, she noticed many details that didn’t meet her standards.
She decided to start her own cleaning business. She markets the fact that she started her business to solve a problem she was personally facing. Her marketing approach is: “I know you’re frustrated with your cleaning company. I can meet the cleaning standards you demand”.
Think about what makes your firm different. Here are some ideas:
· You hire only the best people: Maybe you have a rigorous hiring process, so you hire the best people.
· You’ll show up- even on short notice: You decide to focus on being highly responsive. You’re willing to show up on very short notice.
· Occasional cleanings: Your firm works with customers who don’t get their house cleaned on a regular schedule. If someone only wants the home cleaned by an outside business once a month, you’re willing to do that.
· Experience: Your selling point is your experience in the field. You’ve learned from your mistakes, and you’ve worked with hundreds of customers over the years. You apply all that you’ve learned to build a great business.
Use these examples to figure out your firm’s value proposition.
Your website: The customer’s first impression
At this point, you’ve figured out the marketing message you want to deliver to your clients. Now you need to think about how a client finds you, and how your marketing message is presented to them.
Just about everyone who is a potential client will want to visit your website. A company website is almost mandatory. That’s where your prospects will go to find out about your company and the services you offer.
Fortunately, there are some great tech tools that make the process of creating a website less challenging.
Finding a website theme
To create a professional website quickly, consider using WordPress. WordPress is an online publishing platform that is used by more than 20% of all websites. This platform allows you to choose from hundreds of themes.
A theme is a template for your website. You can choose the fonts, colors and a page design that fit your business.
You can also improve the look and functionality of your site with plugins. A plugin includes coding to perform a specific task on your website. For example, you can use a plugin that adds a popup window to your site. The popup window allows the visitor to sign up for a newsletter by entering their email address.
You can build your website without having any programming expertise.
How prospects find your website
Consider how a prospect finds your website. They may ask a friend for a referral, and the friend gives them your web address. Other prospects may simply Google “residential cleaning companies” for their city. They check their Google search results and find your business.
Since a large percentage of your prospects may Google “residential cleaning companies” to find a company, you need to improve your search ranking. One way to do this is to provide useful content to your audience.
Using content to drive traffic
Google has changed their search ranking process in recent years. They have put more emphasis on good content that readers will use to solve problems. If you consistently post relevant content to your site, your website traffic will increase.
When a prospect visits your site, offer something of value- in exchange for adding their name to your email database. Maybe you offer an electronic newsletter, or a coupon for a discount on their first cleaning.
Once you have their email address, send them useful articles that help the reader solve a problem. The next time they need cleaning, they may think of your company first.
Searches on mobile devices
A majority of Google searches are now performed on mobile devices. Make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. This means that a viewer can clearly see your website on a mobile device. Mobile-friendly also means that the user can easily navigate your site on a mobile phone.
Fortunately, WordPress offers many website themes that look great on mobile devices.
Marketing with traditional ads
When you perform the research to determine your ideal customer, you’ll gather information on how they find and hire cleaning companies. You may find out that they respond to certain types of advertising.
Many cleaning companies have success advertising in their community paper. This publication is focused on a small geographic area. Potential customers want a company that really knows their neighborhood.
If customers are telling you that they scan their community paper for service providers, find an advertising firm that can help you create an ad. Your goal is to drive prospects to your website- or to pick up the phone and call you.
If you determine that your ideal customers respond to other forms of advertising (TV, radio ads), find an expert who can help with those types of ads.
Ultimately, your advertising and marketing goal is to differentiate yourself from the competition. Use the content on your website to drive site traffic and build an audience. Use traditional forms of advertising to direct people to an attractive website.
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