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It’s important to consider how you’re going to market your new house cleaning business. You can have excellent employees who are well-trained and have excellent administrative back-office systems in place, but if no one knows about you you’re not going to get any business.
I’ve found in working with a variety of residential cleaning businesses that frequently marketing doesn’t get enough attention and business suffers as a result. Therefore, make sure you have allocated enough money in your initial budget (which is part of your business plan) to launch your marketing initiatives.
You’ll probably want to consider all or some of the following advertising media:
Yellow Pages Listings
Although the Yellow Pages is not as important a source as it once was, it still remains a basic source of advertising – letting people know that you’re there and open for business.
Web Site
Nowadays more and more people search for services and products on the internet. In my experience, people under 30 rarely, if ever, use the Yellow Pages and this also just happens to be the latest generation of young professionals, just the type of people that need a cleaning service! They grew up with the internet and are familiar and comfortable with it. So make sure you have a web site where people can find you.
There are many web designers out there who can design a web site for you. Getting your personalized web page for your house cleaning business launched involves several steps, from conception to implementation.
If you want to save money initially, you can consider buying a “web page in a box”. There are various companies that will provide you with a generic web page. They’ll offer to change the name and a address shown on the main page, and perhaps a few other details, to customize the site for your residential cleaning business. This may be sufficient for a start, but if you can, you’ll probably want to get your own web site specially designed for you.
I have met many people over the years who tell me they don’t need a web page designer to create their web site – their brother, or son, or brother-in-law knows how to create web ages easily, and it’s going to save money. So why bother with a professional designer? Well, I don’t know your brother, son, daughter, or brother-in-law, so I may be wrong. But … in my experience, I have never seen a web site designed for free by a relative who’s an amateur that looks well-done and professional. Your web site is going to present you and your business to thousands of prospective customers. Make sure it looks good, and don’t try to cut corners.
Some web pages for house cleaning businesses have a section where visitors to the site can enter their details and request a quote. Some even have software included in the web site which generates a quote for the prospective customer. I personally don’t recommend this unless your prime approach to getting customers is based on having the lowest price.
Once you have selected a web designer whose previous work you like, you’re almost done. Once the web page is completed, you’re going to register a URL for the web site, and arrange for the site to be hosted at a server somewhere. Many web designers can help you in arranging to get your URL registered, and your hosting account set up. Inquire from them before you sign your contract. Are these services included? If not, what is the cost for each service?
Search Engine Optimization
It's not enough just to have a web site. After all, what's the point of having a site if no one can find it online? The first thing you’ll need to do is submit your site to all the major search engines – Google, Yahoo, MSN, ASK, etc. This can be time-consuming to do yourself. You might want to arrange to have your web designer do this for you.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a new field of endeavor related to the web that is becoming a specialized industry in itself. Once your web page has been created and is now sitting on the web, along with a billion others, you may want to consider finding ways to have your listing do better in the search engines. An SEO specialist can help you do this.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Campaigns
Most people searching the web with a search engine, Google for example, which will read through only the first ten or twenty listings that appear in response to the search term they entered. Fortunately, you can pay Google a certain amount to arrange to have your listing/s appear in the “Paid listings” section of their site. How do you think Google makes those enormous annual sales figures and why do their stocks keep soaring upwards? PPC is a huge multi-million dollar business!
Costs for this will vary. First you need to sign up with Google and then you’ll need to decide how much you want to bid for individual search terms. You can also set a daily limit, defining how much you’re prepared to spend a day for clicks.
It can be much easier and more economical in the long run to pay an SEO expert to assist you with raising your natural (free) listings in the search engines. There are various techniques with regards to improving the content of your site to improve its natural listings. This is a largely an untapped resource when it comes to cleaning businesses. Cleaning businesses have not, traditionally, been the most up-to-date with the latest technologies and have been slow to adapt to new marketing techniques. This means that you can take advantage of this yourself.
Flyers, Mailers and Door Hangers
Leaflets are an old standard for marketing any service business. Many maid services around the country use leaflets from time to time to advertise their services. One of our clients spent between $30,000 and $50,000 on leaflets and door hangers in the first few months after opening his doors, to attract new customers. He was successful in giving his maid service business a good, quick kick start. However, this was before the days of the internet, when internet advertising wasn’t available. This doesn’t mean, however, that leaflets and door hangers won’t continue to be effective in this day and age!
Car Advertising
It is a great idea to have your company name and contact information placed on your car and your employees' cars. This is a great way to advertize as you take your car out and about throughout the day people will see you and come to recognize you as the house cleaning company.
It's also a great way to get interest from neighbors, which is great as it means you're in the area anyway.
Referrals and Word-of-Mouth
You should do what you can to encourage referrals and word-of-mouth. A great way to do this is to award discounts and coupons to your clients who refer a friend. You can send a mailing or an e-mailing to your present customers telling them about your incentive programs.
Thoughtful Systems' Scheduling Manager can assist you bulk emailings to your customers. They provide you with several attractive templates to choose from, or you can create your own. Click here to read more about the Scheduling Manager.
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