Whether you run a dry cleaning service, carpet cleaning or professional home and office cleaning business, you need an effective marketing plan to generate leads, bring in new customers and foster a strong relationship with current clients. How should you best target your advertising dollars to get the most favorable ROI? Here are some best practices to get you started.
1. Identify Your Target Market
Before you can develop a marketing plan, you need to identify your customer. Most local business is generated around a specific geographic location. Is your dry cleaning business located on a busy thoroughfare between residential neighborhoods and office complexes? Offer a quick overnight special where busy people can drop off and pick up their dry cleaning on their way to or from work.
Which neighborhoods in the area are more likely to prefer your method of carpet cleaning? Are they more interested in quality or price? What office buildings may need professional cleaning services? If you can identify the type of services your target customers are looking for, you can more effectively tailor your services — and your marketing plan, to meet their needs and desires.
2. Flyers and Door Hangers
Colorful flyers and door hangers can be easily distributed to apartment complexes, office buildings and local neighborhoods. Send out a stack with every cleaning team (or delivery person) with instructions to spread them around job sites. Chances are where there’s one customer, there are many others who may need your services. Offer an introductory special for new customers and put your contact information in large, bold type.
3. Direct Mail Postcards
Direct mail postcards are an effective way to geo-target entire neighborhoods within a predetermined distance from your establishment. If the postcard doubles as a coupon for a discounted service, the recipients will be more likely to save it, even if they don’t need your services right away.
4. Business 2 Business
If you offer a commercial cleaning business, you can make a lot of valuable contacts by joining your local chamber of commerce and other civic organizations. Network with business owners, real estate agents, building managers and members of homeowners organizations to get large, lucrative contracts.
5. Business Review Sites
Savvy customers know to check customer reviews on sites like Yelp and Angie’s List before signing up for an offer that looks too good to be true. Be sure to claim all of your business listings, including Yelp, Google+, Yahoo Local and Bing, and monitor your customer reviews. You can’t change a bad review but you can mitigate it by making things right with the customer. Encourage satisfied customers to visit your Yelp page or any of your business listings to leave a review.
6. Build Brand Recognition
It’s worth the extra expense to provide your employees with a uniform, and paint your company vehicles with your business name, logo and contact information. It not only generates a much more professional image, but neighboring homeowners and businesses will see your vehicles and uniformed employees while they’re on the job. The resulting effect will be just as if the customer had personally recommended your business to them.
7. Reward Customer Loyalty
When it comes to hiring a cleaning service, many people prefer a sure thing over uncertainty. Even if the service is only so-so, knowing what they’re getting and what they’re paying is often preferable over the unpleasant surprises that sometimes come with trying a new service. Cleaning services who offer a low price but then tack on extra charges don’t usually stay in business long. Ensure your customers they will always get the same good value from you, and offer loyalty rewards for repeat business and/or referrals. Any small gesture, such as an extra room or spot cleaning service will go a long way towards generating customer loyalty.
Ultimately, if you offer good value in your cleaning service, word of mouth referrals will bring you many customers. To avoid going out of business while waiting for that to happen, though, you will need an effective marketing plan to help things along. All of these practices should help you generate plenty of customers for your local cleaning business.