Keep Track of the "Little Things"
In an age of high-tech, high-concept approaches to marketing in this industry, I'm starting to think the simplest approaches are, at least some of the time, the most effective.
There was a cleaning firm in New Jersey several years back that used to run several radio spots daily, along with a "catchy jingle." For the king's ransom they paid, their results were disappointing at best. Some companies shell out small fortunes on daily newspaper ads and full-page listings in the Yellow Pages. Both have put more then a few new startups out of business.
While spending cash marketing to new clients is a necessary step when building any business, many companies are missing the big picture. Sure, the quality of the finished product will always rank No. 1, but your existing database and how you market your professionalism can make all the difference when measuring success or failure.
Your existing customers should be doing a great deal of your marketing for you. Yes, the onus is on you to ask for referrals, but what can you be doing between cleanings? Newsletters, postcards, etc. are all items you can create yourself or which are readily available for purchase, and at a fraction of the cost of some of the aforementioned marketing strategies others spend big bucks on. Stay in touch with the folks who can do the most for you, those clients who can refer you to their own "database" of family, friends, co-workers and neighbors.
Project a Personal Touch
Leave various after job items such as FAQ sheets, aftercare instruction slips, referral cards, pre-stamped testimonial cards for your album (another great and inexpensive-marketing tool), and a bottle of spotter with your company name printed on it. Offer free refills with every appointment. Do the little things that are not expected of you, such as bringing in the client's newspaper from the driveway rather then running over it with the van. If you see a spot in an adjacent room not scheduled for cleaning, rub it out and make mention of it to the client. It only takes a minute, but the impression it makes will last much, much longer. Wipe down hard surfaces, cove and wood moldings, etc., after cleaning is complete.
These tasks take little time, they separate you from the competition and, despite what you may have been told, they make a difference. The little things also come with a no-cost-to-you price tag.
Yes, you need to advertise for new clients, and there are several mediums you will need to test before finding the right formula. But in the meantime, you can keep your marketing cost down by thinking harder, working smarter and maximizing your use of the little things.