ICS Magazine

Postcards: Keep On Schedule, On Message and On Target

May 11, 2011

The Internet is all the rage, yet tried and true advertising techniques are still very profitable for cleaning companies.

One of the most effective advertising media for cleaners is a postcard. With postcards you can get your clients to clean more frequently and guard them from your competition. For gaining brand new clients, postcards can also work extremely well if you follow a few basic rules.

Five essentials to get cleaning jobs with postcards:
  1. Your target (who you send the postcard to)
  2. Your key message
  3. Your offer and call to action
  4. Repetition gets you noticed
  5. Get their attention

Your Target

Everything you do should be centered on your target prospect. If you are buying a mailing list, strongly consider which neighborhoods your ideal clients live in. Think about their income level. Think about the value of their home. You can buy a mailing list based around those criteria. You can target exactly the ideal client for your cleaning business. No other media will allow you to do this type of targeted marketing.

Want to keep your clients calling you back? Want to get referrals? Perhaps the best single best way to keep in touch with your existing clients is with a postcard. Sure, email newsletters are great, but they are not a replacement for good old-fashioned snail mail. In fact, I recommend you mail to your current clients monthly or every other month at the very least. Do this even if you only have a few clients on your mailing list.

These are people who have already raised their hand and said, “I have the money to afford your service and have a need for cleaning.” Plus they already know you, so they’re five times more likely to use you again. Don’t rely on a refrigerator magnet to keep your company on their mind; mail to them often. Postcards work great for quick reminders about cleaning and to announce special offers. In fact, you can even incorporate your oversized postcard into a postcard/newsletter that really attracts attention.

Your Key Message

I look at a lot of postcards and ads for cleaning companies. The vast majority have little to no sales message whatsoever. I’ll suggest that mailing a postcard with a cute kid or puppy dog with a headline like “Got Dirt?” won’t get you many sales. Why? That headline has no benefit to the prospect. “Got Dirt?” isn’t something they want.

You need to have a message that pulls the reader in and sets you apart from the competition. What do you do that’s different? Are your guarantees better? Is your cleaning more thorough? Do you clean healthier? Are your employees friendlier?

Give them reasons why they should use you. Can’t think of anything? If nothing else, this can be done by having a simple bullet list of “5 Reasons Why….” This is often overused, but it sells. It helps you give reasons why your prospect should hire your company over the rest.

Make sure your postcard has a unique benefit that is clearly explained in your headline and graphic.

Your Offer and Call to Action

Your offer is perhaps the most important part of your postcard. The offer could literally make or break the postcard. It’s important to tailor your offer around your target. If you are mailing to a neighborhood of million dollar homes, the offer should be different than that aimed at the neighborhood of $200,000 homes.

For current clients, your offers should be specific to your relationship with them. Offers that are truly “for clients only” can do well. Also use postcards to cross promote your services. If you cleaned carpet for a client, send them a tile cleaning postcard the next month. If you did a water damage job for a client, tell them about your carpet and tile cleaning services with a different postcard.

If you were even remotely in the market to buy new carpet and you saw an ad that said, “Buy New Carpet and Get a FREE $500 Lowe’s Gift Card,” this would likely interest you. It’s all in the offer.

And when I talk about an offer, I don’t mean 10% or 20% or even 40% off. These type offers don’t do much because they’re not believable. Most often, your prospect just assumes you’re inflating your prices so you can offer discounts. Instead, arranging package deals or giving away extra premiums work much better.

Once you make the offer, call the prospect to action! Ask for the sale. Simply tell them exactly what to do. Tell them to call “XXX-XXXX” and tell them who they’ll be speaking with. And let them know if you’ll be giving them an estimate on the phone or coming to their home for an exact quote. Take them by the hand and walk them through the process of doing business with you.

Repetition Gets You Noticed

When targeting new clients, mail a series of postcards. Notice I said “series.” Don’t mail one postcard and give up. In fact, realize that postcards take a series of messages to make an impact. The fact of the matter is you can’t tell your entire story in one postcard. It’s difficult to take a prospect from not knowing you at all to picking up the phone and calling you for cleaning. But sending a series of well-designed postcards with a great sales message will win them over.

The huge flaw that crushes a postcard campaign is infrequent mailings. For new prospects, mail one postcard today, the next in 7 days, and the next in another 7 days. Then you can pause for a couple months and start the same sequence again with perhaps a new series of postcards.

For repeat clients, keep mailing to them every month or two for up to three years. How could they forget you? You’ll inspire more frequent cleanings, referrals, and lock in a client for life if you mail even a mediocre postcard campaign.

Get Their Attention

One of the biggest things to remember in advertising is “Do something different.” You don’t want to be viewed as just another company sending out junk mail. Homeowners get lots of junk mail every week. Getting a postcard from you doesn’t excite them-even if the offer is 10 rooms of carpet cleaning for $29.99.

Make your offer personal. If you’re making a special offer to repeat clients, announce that your offer is strictly for repeat clients. If you’re mailing to new prospects in Ashbury Hills, put in the subhead that this offer is strictly for homeowners in Ashbury Hills. Make the reader feel like the message and offer is just for them.

The competition is fierce. You’re competing with everyone else that sends your prospect mail. If you send something show-stopping, they’ll take a glance. They may even set all the other bills and junk mail to the side so they can sit down and read your postcard.

Think out of the box. It will take your company to new levels. Your new prospects will be interested, and your current clients will stay interested.