To find out more about how cleaning businesses can get the most value out of Signpost’s AI-powered marketing, we caught up with the President of My Amazing Maid, Royce Ard, who runs the business with his wife and CEO, Tamara.

What are some of the biggest marketing challenges that you face as a business owner?

Behind labor costs, marketing expenses are one of the largest items on our financial statement. It is a major investment for the company. We can not afford for a campaign to be ineffective, which to us means that we need every campaign to bring in enough money to at least pay for itself. Almost all of our marketing expenses are for acquisition type campaigns to attract new customers that will do business with us month after month. When we heard about Signpost, we were excited as it gave us a cost effective way to market back into our customer base, something we had not been doing on a consistent basis.

How do you use Signpost at your business?

When we first analyzed the features and benefits of Signpost, we figured that it would more reviews, revenue, and loyalty be a cost effective way for our company to get new Google and Yelp reviews from our customer base. We also planned on using it to deliver loyalty offers to our existing customers. So Signpost would provide us with a way to do some re-marketing into our existing base to complement our acquisition marketing. We figured that those two items alone would be enough to justify its cost. Since becoming a customer, we have found that in addition to these we have been able to use Signpost to market to old customers that haven’t used our services in a while. It has been especially effective around the holidays when people are looking to get their homes cleaned for a special occasion.

How has the way you use Signpost changed over the years?

We have only been using Signpost for about a year so we are still discovering ways to use it. One of the biggest changes that Signpost has made was to allow us to segment our customer database by customer type. This has allowed us to be more targeted in our marketing messages and offers. It has also allowed us to set up recurring loyalty campaigns for our most valuable customers – sort of “set it and forget it” type campaigns.

How do you use Mia at your business?

Mia has been very effective in getting customers who have not responded to our marketing e-mails to re-engage and respond to low cost/high value offers that we also use for new customer acquisition. The artificial intelligence in Mia allows us to target these offers to customers who have gone silent – which we interpret as customers who may not be as excited about our services as they were in the past. These offers have more cost than our typical loyalty offer so we can’t extend them to our whole customer base. Mia does the hard work and decides who we need to send these to, and then sends them out automatically. The only contribution we make is to set up the offer in Signpost. Mia does the rest.

What kind of results have you seen since you started using Signpost?

We have been able to get positive reviews added to both Google and Yelp since we started using Signpost. We continue to get new reviews each month – all without lifting a finger except to add the customer into the Signpost database. We also receive testimonials which automatically post to a testimonial webpage that we link to from our website and our Facebook page.

Our most valuable customers love getting special loyalty offers each quarter and the take rate on those have been incredible. The last loyalty offer had a take rate of over 30%. Also, this offer is set up to repeat each quarter so we don’t drop the ball which is so easy to do when you run a small business. As I said before, if only these two types of uses worked, it would justify the cost of Signpost. However, when we started marketing back into our base of customers who had not used us in a while, we really started to see the benefits on using an automated digital marketing platform. The new business that we received between Thanksgiving and Christmas more than paid for our subscription for the next year.

What other marketing technology platforms are you using? 

We have a website and Facebook page. But both of those are fairly static. We use MailChimp for an annual newsletter to our customers who use us for recurring services. We also purchase search engine and Facebook advertising. Our CRM software allows us to send surveys each time we service a customer and we use those to ensure that our service remains topnotch.

How important are other online platforms like Yelp and social media to your business? How do you utilize them?

In our market we find that the most valuable online platform is Google and the reviews that they post. Being a smaller market we find that Yelp is still primarily used for restaurant reviews but I do see that beginning to change.  We find that if you make it easy for your customers to give you reviews on these platforms, they will use them. Signpost is a great way to do that but we also leave cards explaining to customers how to leave reviews. I’m a big believer in Facebook marketing overall, but have not found it to be that effective for us yet. Of course when someone posts about a positive experience with our company that makes the phones ring – or I should say it makes the notifications pop up.

What do you think local merchants, like yourself, are really looking for when they decide which digital marketing platforms to use?

I think it comes down to ROI and ease of use, and not always in that order. If the platform gives you a good return on investment but you are unable to use it consistently because it is complex or cumbersome to use, then you won’t be able to capitalize on that return. And no matter how easy it is to use a platform, if it doesn’t provide an acceptable return on investment, then you won’t be able to afford to use it.

Royce Ard is the President of My Amazing Maid, a home cleaning company that also services small offices and events.