ICS Magazine

Target the Best Neighborhoods in Town

October 6, 2011

Yes, getting cleaning clients online is terrific, but you never want to put all your advertising dollars in one basket.


With all the hoopla surrounding the Internet, one of the best advertising media for cleaners gets forgotten. Yes, getting cleaning clients online is terrific, but you never want to put all your advertising dollars in one basket. And besides, direct mail is often the best way to laser in on your ideal target client.


Want to clean in a specific neighborhood or zip code? Direct mail is your best way to target those prospects. Want to make sure you’re only targeting homes over a certain value or a certain household income? Direct mail is the winner.

By the way, I’m not referring to bulk mailers like Val-pak and Money Mailer here. Those packets are sent via mail and have their place. What I’m talking about are stand-alone mailers sent first class or business mail. Let’s start with my definition of direct mail.

Direct mail: “Contacting targeted prospects with an irresistible offer contained in a postcard, letter or package on a one-on-one basis via snail mail.”

Let’s break that definition down plain and simple. Direct mail is about building targeted lists of people who most likely want to use your service. No other ad medium lets you target your ideal client as well as direct mail.

  Also notice that direct mail includes an irresistible offer. When you take the time and money to contact your prospect, hit them with an offer they can’t refuse. Free trial cleaning offers and gift certificates work great.

As well, your mail should appear to be sent on a one-on-one basis. Whatever you do, make it appear as personal as possible. Do not allow your mail to look like junk mail. This means you need to avoid using bulk mail in initial mailings. And when you do use bulk mail, use live bulk mail stamps.

When you do those three things, your response rates will soar.

So let’s say you want to target a specific neighborhood in your city. You want to become the neighborhood cleaner. Here’s the plan.

 

Compile a Mailing List

You can purchase a list from a mailing list broker. Or you can physically drive through the neighborhood and write down all the addresses (that’s what I did when I first started my cleaning biz). The benefit to purchasing your list from a list broker is that you’ll have the homeowner’s name along with his address.



Mail a Compelling, Show-Stopping Letter with an Irresistible Offer

Don’t send a boring business letter; send them something they’ll laugh about, notice and remember. One thing we’ve been using in our company is a sales letter sent in a prescription bottle. The bottle is the actual mailer and inside the bottle includes a “prescription” for a healthy, clean home. Of course, the letter includes an incredible limited time offer.



Seven Days Later, Mail Another

The key is repetition. You’d be surprised how many prospects intend to call you, but get too busy and forget. One week later they may (barely) remember who you are if you’re lucky. These follow-up mailers often jog the prospect’s memory with a headline like, “Remember the prescription I sent you last week for a clean home…?”



Seven Days Later, Do It Again

This is called a sequential mailing. It’s about hitting them over and over with an irresistible offer for three to four mailings. And once again, remind them of the past mailers and offer. Consider mailing a forth letter or postcard stating it’s their last chance to respond to your incredible offer.

Take the names of everyone you didn’t hear from…and start the entire sequence all over in four to six months. Perhaps they were very interested, but didn’t need cleaning during your last mailing. Perhaps now they’re ready.

This process takes time. But it’s a great way to invest in your business and your community. No other advertising can allow you to handpick which homes you want to do business with. I’ve seen many cleaning companies turn their business around by using an advertising plan similar to this. But you have to be consistent and you must give your target prospects a compelling offer.

By the way, when I talk about a compelling offer, I don’t mean you have to clean for a ridiculously low price. In fact, I recommend you don’t even mention your cleaning price in your mailings. Instead, offer things like “free trials for 100 square feet of cleaning,” “$50 off their first cleaning,” “free pet odor treatment,” “free car mat cleaning,” etc.

If your offer is simply $9.99 a room or 5 rooms for $99, your company will be positioned in the homeowner’s mind to be just like all the others pitching her. Don’t advertise based on price. You don’t want cheap price to be your irresistible offer. Set yourself apart and do something different!

What are some other intriguing mail ideas to catch your prospect’s attention?  Cleaners have had great success targeting neighborhoods with invitation letters mailed in invitation style envelopes, or sending out a special offer on a golden ticket in metallic golden envelopes to catch their attention. Oversized postcards sent out as a reminder of a previous offer always work great. Letters that are hand addressed get noticed because they initially look like letters from a local friend.

Whatever you do, don’t make it look like business mail. Make your mailing look as personal or extraordinary as possible.

When a prospect receives an intriguing mail piece from a local business, he will be much more likely to remember you and save your company information. Target the neighborhoods you want. Stake them out and claim them as yours. Then advertise to them non-stop until you become the neighborhood cleaner of choice.