How Important Really is a Website?
You already know having a website is important. But did you know the content of your website could make or break your cleaning business? I’m going to give you some secrets that will make you take another look at your website and help you increase sales. Let me start by asking you one of the most important marketing questions you can answer: Where do prospects go when they feel the need for cleaning?
- Coupons: Some consumers specifically look for coupons. Many of these consumers look in newspapers, magazines, coupon mailers and search the Internet. Your website plan could be designed to attract prospects that are searching for coupons. You start by dedicating a page of your website to coupons and specials. Then follow this plan up with a good social media or pay-per-click campaign to draw prospects to your site.
- Referrals: Referrals should be the life-blood of your cleaning businesses. It’s the most cost-effective way to get new business. Your website can help stimulate more referrals. Often, this goes in hand with a good social media program like Facebook. When a thrilled client wants to refer you, she needs to be able to easily give out a link to a page on your site that reflects the values of your company. Also consider adding a page that outlines the details of your referral program to encourage more referrals.
- Yellow Pages: Not much more than a decade ago, the Yellow Pages reigned as king. The Local Search Association (formerly the Yellow Pages Association) published an intense report in June 2011 where they polled consumers about local business searches within the past month. The report stated that 67% used search engines for local business searches in the past month, while only 49% used print Yellow Pages in the past month. The findings of this study weren’t surprising. However, you should take note of the importance in an online search and if you choose to advertise in the Yellow Pages, leverage your ad with your website. Consider adding a call to action in your Yellow Pages ad that directs prospects to your website for more information.
- Internet Search: Being that more local searches are done online, your website is crucial. In the city of Atlanta, there are nearly 10,000 Google searches each month just for “carpet cleaning.” In the city of Houston, there are over 15,000 searches each month for carpet cleaners. Most medium-sized cities with 100,000 to 400,000 in population have a thousand or more searches each month for carpet cleaners. Even small cities often have hundreds of consumers searching every month for carpet cleaning services. Additionally, they are searching for other cleaning-related services. In Atlanta, over 2,400 searches each month on Google are queried for “water damage” and over 700 for “upholstery cleaning.” If you’re interested in seeing more of these search statistics, use Google’s Keyword External Tool at (www.adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal).
As you can see, getting more new clients revolves around the quality of your website. The great thing about a website is the relatively low cost investment when you compare it to other forms of advertising. I know of cleaning companies who spend nearly nothing each month to maintain their website and get thousands of dollars in business in return. For many companies, when used correctly, the Internet is now the biggest return for advertising dollars.
Still, some cleaners ignore the Internet because they get clients by “referral only.” They think they don’t need a fancy website. Like I already mentioned, referrals can be stimulated by your website. But also consider this very important marketing question: Where do your current clients go to call you back?
- Mailers and postcards: I highly recommend sending good old fashioned snail mail to your current clients. It helps you keep a market position in their mind and some clients will remember to call you. But the fact is, postcards get thrown away.
- Leave behind items: Reminder items you leave like bottles of spot remover, brochures, magnets, etc. are great. They stay in the home as a reminder with your contact information. But yet again, many of these items get thrown in the garbage, slip under the fridge, or just get lost.
- The Yellow Pages: One place many of your clients still know to find you is in the Yellow Pages. Perhaps this is where they found you the first time they used your service. However, fewer consumers are using the yellow pages, so this media shouldn’t be your primary hope for getting current clients to call you back.
- The Internet: Most of your clients assume they can find you online. Many don’t even keep a Yellow Pages book readily available. Consumers with higher income levels that hire a professional cleaning company are quite likely to whip out their trusty smartphone or laptop. The Internet search is the only media that is always there and ready for them to use.
Can Your Clients Find You?
So the question is whether or not your current clients find you when they want to use your service again. You may be surprised. Go to Google and search for your company name. Did your company website come up? Did the correct information come up?
If you ignore this, I promise you are losing business. One cleaner called me in horror after his client mistakenly called the wrong company due to his poor placement in the Google search. He thought his profile had been hijacked. But what really happened was a pay-per-click ad for a local competitor showed up directly underneath his company name in an online directory called Manta. Since his website wasn’t showing up in the search for his own company name, the Manta profile was the top site that appeared in the search results. His client called the wrong number.
These stories happen all the time to honest, hard-working cleaners. Another cleaner didn’t have a website and later found out many of his past clients where accidentally calling a company with a similar name. These mistakes can easily be avoided with a solid website marketing plan.
You really can’t ignore your website. Taking it a step further from the basics will help you get found on Internet searches, help current clients come back and help generate referrals. Use the secrets I’ve outlined to continually refine your website and help it get you more business.