Cleaning & Restoration Association News

Marketing is About People, Not Numbers

May 19, 2004
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You need to understand the value of your clients

When launching marketing campaigns, many cleaners often measure their success, or lack thereof, by the immediate response generated from the program.

How often have you heard, "I mailed out 1,000 postcards and received a .05 percent response rate. Is that acceptable?"

Yes, it is, but not necessarily because five people booked jobs with your firm. You'd probably book at least that number of jobs in a month from your phone book listing alone.

Let's take a look at the big picture here. We've all heard the phrase, "the lifetime value of a client." This is important for a number of reasons. If the initial response rate to your postcard was .05 percent, that's five new customers. Many business owners would be extremely disappointed with this number. But if marketed properly, it could actually turn into a huge return over time. By delivering high-quality, professional work and outstanding customer service, accompanied by a strong referral system, those five clients can multiply like a rabbit in heat.

Back in 1984, I launched my very first ad campaign using direct-mail coupons. To this day, my company still services many of these people who initially phoned as a result of the coupon. Many of these folks had small children who have since grown up, married, and had children of their own. Guess who cleans their carpeting and upholstery?

Combine the many regular clients in our database who were originally referred by that first "harvest," and you can see why the initial return percentages can be deceiving. Out of 1,000 mailers, would you rather receive five quality, long-term clients who will use you for life, as well as refer you to family and friends, or 20 "one-time-only" customers? I'll take the former every time.

Always remember, we are not only in the service industry but also in the people business. It is just as important to a first time customer to feel comfortable in either your or your tech's presence as it is for them to be satisfied with the quality of work you deliver. Once a relationship based on friendship and trust is established, your database will truly turn into a family affair. Don't always base success or failure on straight numbers. While getting the phone to ring is indeed a priority and the first step in a successful marketing program, only time can bring a true measure of its success.

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