Can you grow your cleaning business on referrals alone?
That’s like “wishing for the rain” to wash your dirty car. Only it’s sunny outside. Also, you live in the desert.
I’ve got a better way to market your business… In fact, I’ve got 13 of them.
By the end of this article, you will know all the secrets to rapidly grow your client base… whenever you want.
These strategies come from the most successful Marketers and Cleaning Entrepreneurs:
- Marketing masters who work with Fortune 500 Companies
- Renowned digital marketing agencies and massive marketing conferences
- Cleaning Business Gurus who understand how to build a truly profitable cleaning business
Note: I highly recommend you bookmark this page, so you can come back to it and try each strategy to find out what works best for your cleaning business.
3 Basics Will Increase Your Cleaning Sales
Before you spend a single second on any marketing strategy, there are three very powerful fundamentals you need to know.These are the secrets that most “career marketers” will not tell you about (at least, not for free).
These 3 techniques will help you if…
- You are completely clueless about marketing.
- You struggle to write an ad or come up with good ideas.
- You have spent a lot of money on a marketing piece… only to watch it flop.
These three strategies will fix all of those problems.
Digital Marketing Strategies for Your Cleaning Company
According to this 2015 study, more than 80% of consumers search online before making a purchase.
These digital marketing strategies will make sure those people find your cleaning business first. Use them to generate more clients for your cleaning business on demand. They go hand-in-hand with great SEO on your website.
13. Keep Doing a Fantastic Job =)
Above all other strategies, keep doing an awesome job!
When you commit 100% to quality, your clients…
- Feel like they’re getting full value
- Are more inclined to refer you to others
- Will keep asking you to come back, again and again!
To get a new client is an expense, but to keep one you already have is FREE. So consider your cleaning services themselves to be your #1 marketing tactic.
You’re already doing an awesome job, so we don’t need to hammer on this one too much! =)
Need to Raise Your Prices? Here are 7 Low-Risk Ways to Raise Your Prices.
12. How to Ask for Referrals (the Right Way)
Word of mouth is one of the best ways to get great, long-term clients. Referrals work, because they can shortcut you past new clients’ “trust barrier.”
But it can be hard – and even a little scary – to ask for referrals.
Here are some quick tricks to make you requests more successful:
1. Target the right clients
- Of your best clients, who is the most ideal?
- Who is the most loyal to you?
- Who has been your client for the longest time, and is interested in buying more of your services?
2. Choose the right time to ask
- The best time to ask for referrals (similar to asking for online reviews) is when your client is most excited about you.
- That means, right after you do the best job you’ve ever done for them. Give it 110% next time you service a client, and try asking for a referral.
3. Offer an Incentive
- We have a gift card strategy that works wonders for us.
- We’ll detail it fully in a future blog post, but the general idea is that you give a referral “gift card” to clients. They can give the gift card to one of their friends or family members, so that person gets $25 off your first service.
When someone loves your work, don’t be afraid to ask. Remember: “if you don’t ask, you will never get.”
11. Why You Should Turn Your Car into a Rolling Billboard!
On average, 40,000 to 70,000 people will see your car… every day.
That’s a lot of potential clients.
There are several options available to wrap your company vehicle, which we cover fully in this article on “Choosing the Best Car for Your Cleaning Company.”
Bottom line is this:
If you want high quality, long lasting ads on your car, go with a car wrap.
If you just want something that will get the job done now for as little money as possible, get some custom-made magnet clings.
Be sure to include your:
- Phone number
And something that speaks to the benefits of your services.
You do not want to put a big list of your services on your car. They are confusing, ugly, and nobody really reads them.
10. 5 Arounds and Other Flyer-ing Tactics
What if you don’t want to stuff your marketing pieces into the mailbox … along with all that spam mail from banks and credit card companies?
I have good news: door-to-door flyers still work!
There are a few distribution methods to choose from:
- Pay an employee to walk around neighborhoods (can be very expensive)
- Pay a third party to walk around neighborhoods (works great if you trust your third party)
- 9 Arounds
What are 5 Arounds?
Also called 9 arounds, 25 arounds, etc. The idea is the same, even if the number changes.
Let’s say you have two employees: Sally and Dave.
Both of them are cleaning Ms. Smith’s house together. Sally finishes the upstairs, while Dave is still working.
Now, Sally can market your business for you. She takes a stack of your flyers, and places them at the five nearest houses.
5 arounds increase your visibility in a small area that you already work in. The best marketing shows up again, and again, and again.
Your leads will see your flyer on their door, and then see your car parked across the street… So your name sticks in their heads. This also gives them the opportunity to go talk to their neighbors, and ask about how great your services are.
We have seen a much higher conversion rate with 5 arounds than we do with other Direct Mail strategies, simply because these allow us to keep showing up.
Print Marketing and In-Person Strategies for Your Cleaning Company
Print is the “Old Guard” of marketing.
I want to give a word of warning here: most business owners see print marketing as the most difficult marketing strategy out there. Some people even say “print is dead.”
I disagree, because I’ve seen it work in just the last year. Print marketing is still very profitable… WHEN YOU DO IT RIGHT.
9. Direct Mail, Door Hangers, and Flyers: Create More Cleaning Sales “the Old Fashioned Way”
The truth is you can lump all of these into the same category.
There are only three real steps to executing any Direct Mail or Door Hanger/Flyer campaign.
- Test and improve
For beginners, you only need to worry about steps 1 and 2.
Step 1: Create
Like any Marketing piece, there are a number of elements you NEED to include in your marketing piece.
- Your Company Name
- Something that identifies you as the solution to your target’s problems
- A Call-to-Action (for example: Call us now to book your services!)
But the most important part of your marketing piece is the OFFER, which should be so juicy nobody can ignore it.
- Perhaps you offer a free one-time laundry service with every deep clean?
- Or maybe, you give “half off” on every third room?
Step 2: Distribute
Print Marketing is expensive. You have to avoid some pretty big mistakes when crafting your direct mail.
Here’s what most cleaning business owners don’t know: the most expensive part of Print Marketing is not printing out the flyers and postcards… The true cost comes from distribution.
At Service Autopilot, we are not big fans of Direct Mail. Here’s why:
- It’s expensive to send out Direct Mailers
- Response rates are typically low, because most people see it as junk (and it’s usually not relevant to 95% of the people you send it to)
- There are better ways to build your route density than Direct Mail
What’s route density? Route density = less time on the road = more money. We’ll get to this in the next strategy.
However, there are a couple ways to make your direct mail efforts much more effective…
How to Do “Targeted Direct Mail”
Essentially, the idea is that you use software to select a few houses in a specific area, get their addresses, and send them your postcards directly.
This works better for two reasons:
- You can target a neighborhood where a large number of your ideal clients live
- You can build route density in a small area, to keep your routes tight and save several hours on drive time
Among the hundreds of other things Service Autopilot can do to make your business run better (i.e. more profitable), Service Autopilot has a tool called Smart Maps that allows you to click on houses from the map and get their addresses so you can send Direct Mail only to the houses you care about the most.
This cuts down massively on wasted marketing dollars, and it ensures your routes are as dense as possible. For a standalone option, you can also look at SendJim’s RadiusBomb.
8. Build an (Invisible) Email Selling Machine
So far, most of these strategies have been about bringing new leads to your business.
But what happens when someone doesn’t buy on first sight?
Email is critical to your growth. It’s all about the follow up.
95% of people don’t buy on their first visit… so you need a way to keep them coming back.
Email marketing is so successful because it reminds your clients that you exist, and that you can solve their problems.
- The first step is to actually start writing emails. This guide will show you how to write great marketing emails that will generate revenue for your cleaning business
- The next step is to build an Email Marketing “Machine.” You need to set up a series of emails (or an email campaign) to send to your clients over a set period of time.
It works even better if you can segment them into specific interests. Do they care more about clean windows? Laundry? Sparkling tile? You can keep track of this automatically with the right software, through an easy-to-use tag system.
There are a dozen different tools out there to send emails out in a series. But if you really want to segment your leads and upsell your clients for maximum effect, look at Service Autopilot.
This software allows you to tag leads and clients, segment them, and automatically send them emails based on what services they have (or have not) bought from you.
7. Get Your Website to the Front Page (SEO)
There’s an “old” joke amongst digital marketers:
Q: Where is the best place to hide a dead body?
A: On the second page of Google.
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is all about getting your website to the top of search results (on search engines like Bing, or Google)… because the higher your page ranks, the more visitors you will get.
Here’s a quick video to give you a better idea of why SEO matters:
- Telling Search Engines what your pages are about
- Giving your users the best experience possible
It’s a vast and complicated topic, but a critical to cleaning business owners because of your local competition.
Check out this Quick Guide to SEO for Cleaning Businesses!
6. How to Get GREAT Online Reviews (and Deal with the Bad Ones)
The more reviews you get, the better.
Online reviews are the new way people “preview” your company before they hire you. The more quality reviews you have, the more likely people will be to hire your services.
To get 5-star reviews is actually surprisingly simple. It boils down to three simple steps:
- Ask for reviews from your loyal clients.
- Send them an email or leave them a note. Make sure you only ask when they are most happy with you (i.e. after you’ve done a really great job).
- Thank anyone who leaves you a great review.
- You want to respond to all of your reviews.
- Respond to your negative reviews in the best possible way.
- Move the discussion out of the public eye ASAP.
- Leave them a message. Ask them to call you.
- Promise to come fix any problem they have with your service.
- Do whatever it takes to get them to change their review from a 1 star to a 4 or 5 star.
The Most Important Places to Get Online Reviews for Your Cleaning Business:
- Google (This will make the biggest difference on your SEO.)
- Angie’s List
- Thumbtack (There are also other similar sites.)
Do NOT fake any accounts. You can get real friends and family to leave reviews, but fake accounts will kill your business.
Want an easier way to manage and grow your cleaning company? Check out Service Autopilot’s Software made just for your cleaning business!
- Automate your tasks,
- easily set up and change your calendar,
- and create a marketing system that will sell more work instantly.
Google Adwords is a great tool for selling local services, like Maid or Housekeeping services. Unfortunately, it is everything that Facebook is not:
- Difficult to master
- High barrier of entry
The one advantage AdWords has over everyone else is… intention.
When people go to google, they go with the intention to find out something in particular. That means your cleaning ad should only pop up for people who go to google with the intent to buy cleaning services.
Half the work is done for you – you don’t need to convince them that they need to hire a cleaning company. You just have to convince them to hire yours.
AdWords is a monster of an advertising platform.
We’ll cover it soon in another blog post, but for now I’ll leave you with a few words of advice and some other resources:
1. Your most important keywords will all revolve around some variation of the following:
- [Your City] Home Cleaning
- Best Cleaners in [Your City]
- Maid Service in [Your City]
2. Negative keywords (keywords you do NOT want your ad to show up on) are almost as important as regular keywords
- For example, you don’t want to show up when people are searching “Computer cleaning tricks” or “how do I clean my home’s air filters”
Want to get really good at AdWords?
- Start with Google’s AdWords training course.
- Check out this guide to AdWords for small businesses.
- Or this guide for Carpet Cleaners on AdWords
- If you have a lot of time, and really want to find success with AdWords, check out this AdWords course.
What if I don’t want to do AdWords myself?
Google AdWords might be the most challenging marketing tactic out there.
If you know you don’t want to deal with it yourself, I highly recommend you seek out a marketing company that can do your AdWords for you. I’ve seen plenty of cleaning businesses go this route, and they’ve had solid results.
You want to look for a reputable, highly-reviewed marketing company that specializes in “PPC” or Pay Per Click advertising.
4. Facebook Ads for Your Cleaning Business
I can’t say this loud enough: get your cleaning business on Facebook TODAY.
Most small to medium cleaning business can use Facebook to get 90% of their new clients. Yes, it’s that powerful.
Want the FREE Full Video Guide to Making Facebook Ads for Your Cleaning Business? Click here to get your guide now!
What’s so great about Facebook?
Two simple answers:
- Everyone and their dog is on Facebook right now.
- Facebook knows a lot about its users and their buying habits.
Facebook can target your most ideal clients, or focus your search to hit everyone in your an area. This is the perfect tool for local businesses.
What’s better – Facebook Advertising is still new. Advertising there is incredibly cheap, compared to every other form of mass marketing.
I’ve seen some cleaning businesses get new clients for as little as $5 per client.
I highly recommend you go check grab our Guide to Cleaning Business Ads on Facebook. It’s going to make a huge difference for your business. This guide will make it super easy for you to start start selling your cleaning services on Facebook.
3. How Can You Be the “Pink Elephant?”
There are two reasons clients will purchase something: Cost and value.
Let’s say there are three brands of Ice Cream at the store.
- Cost: $4.99
- Cost: $4.50
- Looks a lot like Yummy and it’s 49 cents cheaper!
Pink Elephant Brand
- Cost: $7.00
The store puts Yummy Brand and the Store Brand right next to each other on purpose.
Why? Because they know you’ll buy the Store Brand.
It’s cheaper and you know it’s probably the same. Logic dictates that, if two products are almost indistinguishable, you’ll always go for lower cost.
So what about the Pink Elephant Brand?
This is the one you buy on special occasions. Everyone loves this ice cream.
There’s just something about it…
- Extra creamy
- More interesting flavors
- And even the carton is fancy!
The Pink Elephant is designed to stick in your mind. I’ll bet you even have an image in your head of this brand’s ice cream carton (for me, it’s Ben and Jerry’s). That’s effective marketing.
Becoming the Pink Elephant is all about focusing on your “differentiators.”
What makes you unique? What is something you provide that no other cleaning company can do?
- A special service?
- Eco-friendly products?
- Are you the “Quality Elite” of Cleaning?
There’s a scene from the 2007 TV Show, Mad Men, that perfectly illustrates this point:
When you want to differentiate yourself, look at your competitors. Find out what nobody else is saying, then say it.
These are the “soft” marketing strategies that will make your ads easier to write, and more effective.
2. Sell The Benefits, Not the Service
Whatever you are selling, sell the benefits, not the features. This is a marketing rule. Sell the benefits of your cleaning services.
For example, these are features:
- Low prices
- Window Washing
- Weekly or Bi Weekly cleans
You do NOT want these to be the “stars” of your ads. Instead, think about your clients.
What does Ms. Smith actually want from your cleaning services? Does she want to pay “only 49.99 per hour!” or … does she actually want “a nice clean home, without lifting a finger?”
Most clients want the same thing from housekeeping or maid services:
- A clean home
- At a great value
- With minimal effort on their part
Notice I didn’t say “low cost?” Pricing is a complicated topic, but the truth is most clients don’t buy based on cost alone… We’ll talk about this more in the next strategy.
Here are some other Benefits you can stress in your ads (this works both for Digital and Print Marketing!):
- “Get a Squeaky Clean House … without lifting a finger.”
- “FREE Estimates. We will work around your schedule!”
- “We can get the stains out of anything in your home.”
- “Let us make your windows sparkle again”
1. Talk Directly to Your Ideal Client
This strategy will help you generate new, IDEAL clients for your business with better-converting ads… And, you will be able to write them FAST.
Less stress. Less time. More clients. What’s not to love?
So, what is the secret? Write your ad to one (and ONLY one) person. Never write an ad to everyone.
Who are your best clients?
- College kids in their 20s?
- Wealthy, older professionals?
- Stay-at-home Moms with several children?
Print out a representative picture of them, and put it up anytime you are writing an ad (in marketing, we call this a Persona, or Avatar). In fact, sometimes I start my ads with, “Dear Mr. Smith.”
You can even add in specific information about your client, such as…
- What age are they?
- What is their estimated salary?
- How many kids do they have?
Find the right clients for YOUR cleaning business
BONUS Strategy: How to Impress Your Newest Clients
That last strategy was too obvious, right?
Well, here’s a tip to make sure that your new clients know how amazing you are.
It’s very simple, but there are a lot of cleaning business owners who don’t do this.
Let’s say Ms. Smith is thinking about hiring you.
While you’re still on the phone with her, you need to ask her these two very simple questions:
- What is the number one problem you want us to solve for you?
- What is one area we can focus on that will seriously impress you?
These two questions are absolutely invaluable to your business.
New clients will get the chance to explain their major problems. They will let you into their own thoughts, and set their expectations right away.
And, best of all, it will show how much you truly care.
You can also ask these kinds of questions to better sell your cleaning services in person.
Better Marketing = More Cleaning Clients
This is your winning formula:
But it also means you get to choose what kinds of clients you take on. When you market your business better, you will…
- Grow faster
- Grow a healthier business
- And feel proud of your professional achievements
Armed with these 13 (+ 1) strategies, your profits will soar and you will finally get the cleaning business you always dreamed of.
Of course, once the new clients start pouring in, you’re going to need a way to manage them. I want to recommend that you get software that will help you run (and grow) your business.
Service Autopilot is software built for the cleaning industry. It will give you the power to do so many things you already do… faster:
- Automatic Invoicing
- Send Email Reminders
- Keep track of all your clients and employees
No more missed appointments. No more forgotten tasks. Eliminate the stress of running your business, and get back to growing.
Watch the Free Webinar here, or call us at (972) 728-4040 to schedule a free demo. The people are very friendly and will answer any question you have, so call now!
Patrick Hoffman is Marketing Director at Service Autopilot. He specializes in managing marketing campaigns and giving marketing strategies to the Lawn Care, Landscaping, and Cleaning Industries. When he's not writing, he's reading books on marketing, self-improvement, or science fiction.