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Cleaning Marketing: The Complete Guide

Published on March 7, 2019

By now, you’ve probably realized that you can't grow your business on referrals alone. This is why you need cleaning marketing.

Trying to grow your cleaning business on referrals alone is 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 start marketing your cleaning business… In fact, I’ve got 13 of them.

We’ll go over things like:

  • Cleaning marketing basics
  • Digital and print marketing strategies
  • How to sell your cleaning services better
  • How to consistently win more cleaning clients

By the end of this article, you will know some of the best-kept secrets to rapidly grow your client base… whenever you want.

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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 to be one of your best cleaning marketing tactics.

12. How to Ask for Cleaning 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 cleaning 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.
  • 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

  • Give a referral offer to your clients. It can be a $15 gift card or $15 off their next service for every successful referral.
  • When you’re ready to give your clients a referral offer, you can hand them your magnetic cleaning business card and watch the referrals flow in.

When someone loves your work, don’t be afraid to ask. Remember: “if you don’t ask, you will never get.”

Get more clients for your cleaning business!

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11. Why You Should Turn Your Car into a Rolling Billboard

Did you know that one vehicle wrap can generate 30,000 to 80,000 impressions daily?

That’s a lot of potential clients.

If you want high quality, long-lasting ads on your car, go with a vehicle 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.

No matter which option you choose, be sure to include your:

  • Logo
  • Website
  • Phone number
  • Company name
  • Benefits (i.e. bonded and insured)

A quick word of caution: You do not want to put a big list of your services on your car. They are confusing, cluttery, and nobody really reads them.

10. 5-Arounds and Other Cleaning Marketing Tactics

What if you don’t want to stuff your cleaning 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!

One of the best, most cost-efficient ways to distribute your cleaning flyers and door hangers is through 5-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.

I have seen a much higher conversion rate with 5-arounds than I do with other cleaning marketing strategies, simply because these allow you to keep showing up.

Plus, when your 5-arounds are successful, it can increase your route density and allow you to take over entire neighborhoods.

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.

  1. Create
  2. Distribute
  3. Test and improve

For beginners, you only need to worry about steps 1 and 2.

Step 1: Create

Like any cleaning marketing piece, and there are a number of elements you NEED to include:

  1. Your business name and contact info
  2. Something that identifies you as the solution to your target’s problems
  3. A clear 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?

Either way, you want to make sure this offer is BIG and BOLD on your marketing pieces.

Step 2: Distribute

Print marketing is expensive, so 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.

Here’s why:

  1. It’s expensive to send out Direct Mailers
  2. Response rates are typically low because most people see it as junk (and it’s usually not relevant to most people you send it to)
  3. 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 of 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, which 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.

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 at first sight?

Email is critical to your growth. It’s all about the follow-up.

Most people don’t buy on their first visit. In fact, it takes an average of 6 to 8 touches to convert a lead into a client. In other words, you need a way to keep coming back to your cleaning clients.

Email marketing is so successful because it reminds your clients that you exist, and that you can solve their problems.

  1. 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
  2. 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.

Service Autopilot 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.

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7. Move Your Cleaning Website to the Top of the Page With 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’ll get.

SEO is about two things:

  1. Telling Search Engines what your pages are about
  2. Giving your website users the best experience possible

It’s a vast and complicated topic, but a critical to cleaning business owners because of your local competition.

Click here to read our full guide on SEO for cleaning businesses.

6. How to Get GREAT Online Reviews (and Deal With the Bad Ones)

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:

  1. 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).
  2. Thank anyone who leaves you a great review.
    • You want to respond to all of your reviews.
  3. 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 to fix any problem they have with your service.
  • Do what it takes to get them to change their review from a 1 star to a 5 star.

5. Quick Guide to Google Adwords for Cleaning Businesses

Google Adwords is a great tool for selling local services, like maid or housekeeping services.

The one advantage AdWords has over social media advertising 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.

Some words of advice… 

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?”

Here’s how to get really good at AdWords:

What if I don’t want to do AdWords myself?

Google AdWords might be the most challenging cleaning marketing tactic out there.

If you know you don’t want to do it yourself, I highly recommend you hire a freelance marketer or marketing company to 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 (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 businesses can use Facebook Ads to get most of their new clients. And yes, it’s that powerful.

What’s so great about Facebook?

Two simple answers:

  1. Everyone and their dog is on Facebook right now.
  2. 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.  

Since you can choose to control your budget with Facebook Ads, it’s more cost-effective than most other forms of cleaning marketing.

I’ve seen some cleaning businesses get new clients for as little as $5 per client.

8 Steps to Effectively Advertise on Facebook (with video instruction)

Get Your FREE Advertising Facebook Guide Today

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.

Yummy Brand

  • Cost: $4.99

Store Brand

  • 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 the 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). 

Now, 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.

Apply these three strategies to every cleaning ad you put out there, and you will see your clients jump to buy your cleaning services.

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 Cleaning 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?

BONUS Strategy: How to Impress Your Newest Cleaning 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:

  1. What is the number one problem you want us to solve for you?
  2. 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.

Grow Your Cleaning Business... Faster (and with Less Stress)

Instant invoicing

Better scheduling

Manage your clients and employees all in one system

Start Software Tour

Using Cleaning Marketing to Consistently Win More Clients

This is your winning formula:

Quality Service + Better Marketing = More Cleaning Clients

But it also means you get to choose what kinds of clients you take on.

When you use these cleaning marketing strategies, you can:

  • Grow faster
  • Grow a healthier business
  • And feel proud of your professional achievements

Armed with these 13 (+ 1) strategies, your profits can soar and you can finally get the cleaning business you’ve always dreamed of.

Fix Your Pricing in Under 10 Minutes

This audit will help you find your pricing averages. 
Identify which jobs are profitable – and which ones aren’t. 
Determine how high your prices should be to guarantee you make the profit you deserve.

Related: 17 Delightful “Leave Behind” Ideas for Your Cleaning Business

Originally published March 7, 2019 7:00 AM, updated Sept 1, 2020 4:43 PM

Lisa Marino

Lisa Marino is the Sr. Marketing Director for Service Autopilot. She uses her 17+ years in direct marketing, sales, and product development to push entrepreneurs beyond their limits. She's passionate about helping others grow their businesses through time-tested marketing techniques. When not writing, you can find her belting out a mean Stevie Nicks at a local karaoke night.

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