Cleaning business owners in today’s competitive environment must have a well-rounded and comprehensive marketing plan that consists of a variety of components all working in tandem. No one magic bullet will bring you all the prospective clients you need and some methods work for short term gains, while others are more of a long term strategy.
But here’s the truth: To build and sustain a successful cleaning business for yourself and your family, you’ll need to develop and implement consistently -even when you’re doing well and have all the customers you need. To create a marketing plan for your cleaning business you don’t need to hire a highly priced marketing or advertising company and you certainly don’t want to depend solely on subcontracting as the way to get your clients and prospects.
Here are 2 simple things you can add as parts of a complete marketing plan for your (residential or commercial) cleaning company:
1. Public Relations
- Radio: Offer to appear on a local business radio show or even host your own. Most communities (with 1M in population or more) offer both of these options and it’s a great way to get exposure and practice in the media field for your cleaning company’s growth.
- TV: In small and medium sized cities, you simply need to contact your local news station. Try to come up with an idea that is timely or relevant to your local market. For example, I know a book and gift store that sold “God Boxes” (6″ by 5″ wooden containers in which people prayers or things they are “giving over to a Higher Power”). They were featured on Easter Sunday when the local news anchor was looking or a special interest story about this religious holiday. The story featured the local artist creator and the store that carried them so, it gave a nice lift to the business and was of local interest to the community as well.
- Press Releases: Compile a list of the organizations and media outlets where your ideal customers and prospects “hang out” ( ask your existing clients if you’re not sure). Then issue press releases when your company has an anniversary, hits a milestone (snags a big name account, wins or is nominated for an award, signs your 1000th customer) etc. Also good if you expand into a new area, announce a new service or product line, or host an event.
- Charity and Philanthropy: Find an organization or cause that’s important to you (whether its supporting veterans, hunger in your community, or fighting cancer) and then see how you can get involved. Even if it’s something as simple as donating vacuum cleaners you have which are no longer working to the local women’s shelter, there’s plenty of room in every community for local cleaning businesses to serve on boards, donate resources or help with fundraising events. It’s a great way to meet the movers and shakers in your community and feed your soul and your business at the same time. Not surprisingly, companies with a charity component actually make more money than their counter parts without one, because customers prefer to spend their money where they can feel good about doing so. This works for cleaning companies too!
2. Business Networking
- Trade Groups: This is not only where the people in your industry hang out (like ISSA BSCAI or ARCSI in the cleaning industry) but also think about attending, joining or getting involved in the associations where your “ideal clients” hang out. Are they Realtors, bankers, or educators? How about Facility Managers (IFMA) hospital administrators or retail business owners? Almost all of these plus any of the local industries and specialties unique to your geographic area would be a great place for you to meet and connect with these potential prospects. The key to having this type of investment pay off is to get involved in the committees, be consistent in your attendance and look for opportunities to be of service first.
- Chambers: Most communities – no matter how small – have some sort of Chamber of Commerce, many areas have several within a small geographic area. For example in Las Vegas, we have Las Vegas, Henderson and North Las Vegas plus a Women’s Chamber too! For some reason I’ve noticed many cleaning business owners are not participating in this great resource so in most areas you may be to only or one a very small number within your industry to be a member. Use this to your advantage by attending regularly and asking those whom seem to know everyone to introduce you around.
- Public Speaking: Most communities have groups that assist organizations and speakers find each other. There are also quite a few in internet search engines (just type in “speaker’s bureau”) and they are a great way to have help in locating speaking opportunities for you. If you don’t feel comfortable about public speaking, I highly recommend you look into getting some experience in a speaking club.Toastmasters is the one with the most name recognition and honing this ability into a skill can open lots of doors for you!
- BNI: This group is one of my favorites, so much so that I gave them their own category! The good thing about this group is that they meet weekly, so you get a chance to really get to know the other members. The bad thing about this group is that they meet weekly, so it can be time consuming. However, if you have (or can develop) 2 or 3 substitutes that you can count on to fill in for you when needed this group will give you one of the best ROIs or any networking group if you utilize their tools consistently and correctly.
- Affinity Groups: This can be anything from the Masons, Jaycees, or the Rotary Club to your high school or college alma mater and or any fraternal organizations to which you belong. A couple I particularly recommend for Women are: Links, Jack and Jill (if you have children living at home) or the Junior League. There are also organizations for women and minority owned businesses where you can meet potential suppliers, clients, and joint venture partners.
These 2 ideas should be things that you can add to whatever marketing plan you currently have for your cleaning business. If you don’t yet have a comprehensive plan, start with these two things and build from there. I would suggest you spend one month working on each idea and then go on to the next one.
Once you have implemented all the part and are consistently implementing each component you have a steady stream of prospective clients reaching out to you on a regular basis, no more “feast or famine” cycles, just steady income and growth for your cleaning company!