You probably started your cleaning business because you are great at cleaning and provide wonderful customer service, not because you are a marketing wiz. Effectively marketing your services can be a daunting task for any cleaning business. Luckily, once you break it down and develop your vision, it becomes much more manageable.
To effectively market your cleaning business, follow these 6 easy steps:
- Identify your ideal customer
- Create your brand
- Develop your marketing message
- Distribute your message
- Ask for referrals
- Provide exceptional customer service
Identify your ideal customer
The first step to creating a focused marketing plan is identifying your ideal customer. The reason you do this is to help you tailor your marketing message to reach the customers that need, want, and are excited about your service.
“When you market to everyone, you market to no one” – Diana Khoury
As a new cleaning business, it can seem counterintuitive to not try and reach everyone. You are typically trying to gain customers as fast as you can, why not cast a wide net? Not everyone needs your service, so when you spend time trying to contact these people, you are wasting time and resources. To develop your ideal customer, the basic information you need is:
- Family size
But it is highly recommended you go deeper and ask questions like:
- What are their pain points?
- What are they looking for in a cleaning service?
- What would they pay a premium price for?
It is best to write out all this information on 1 sheet of paper and keep it handy. You can also print out a sample picture of your ideal customer. This may seem strange, but the more precise your ideal customer, the easier the rest of your marketing tasks will be.
Create Your Brand
Once you have developed your ideal customer, it is time to create your brand. When most people think of a brand they imagine a logo, slogan, or brand name. Take Apple for example. They have a recognizable name, logo, and slogan, “Think Different”. These are all components of a brand, but the deeper purpose of a brand is how it makes the customer feel. To create your brand for your cleaning business, ask yourself questions like:
- What is my vision for my company?
- What are my company values?
- What do I want my customer’s experience to be like?
- What makes me different than my competition?
Answering these questions gives your cleaning business a human touch. A cleaning business needs a human component to it. It is very personal for someone to let a stranger come into their home and clean their personal belongings. Customers are much more receptive to a company they can relate to and trust, rather than a faceless company that doesn’t care about who their customer is. When you have this in the back of your mind, it will be much easier to create things like your logo, business name, and marketing content.
Create Your Marketing Message
Your marketing message should reflect your brand and talk directly to your ideal customer. A common mistake businesses make when creating their marketing message is they talk about how great they are. Your customer doesn’t care about how great your business is, they care about what you can do to solve their problems. Another common mistake is talking about the features of your service instead of the benefits. Similar to the previous issue, your customer wants to know how you can benefit them, not how many different kinds of cleaners you have.
Some examples of bad and good marketing messages:
Bad: We provide speedy service and care about our customers.
Good: Sparkling clean house in under 1 hour, or your money back!
Bad: We use top of the line cleaning solutions and machines.
Good: Your toughest stains will be a thing of the past.
If you keep your ideal customer in mind and what they need, you will have no problem creating impactful marketing messages.
Distribute Your Message
- Ideal customer – ✓
- Brand – ✓
- Marketing message – ✓
You’ve spent the time and effort to create a refined and targeted marketing message for your cleaning business, but it doesn’t mean anything until you get it in front of prospects’ eyes. There are nearly endless ways to distribute your message, so it is important to not get caught up in every channel and spread yourself too thin, especially if you are just starting out. We recommend choosing 3-5 channels when starting out, tracking your results, and making adjustments accordingly.
A good starting point for your digital marketing is to create a website or a Facebook business account so people can find your business online. There are plenty of affordable website builder services such as Wix and SquareSpace that allow you to build a quality website without much technical savvy.
If you don’t want to spend the money on a website yet, Facebook is a free alternative that will allow customers to find basic information such as your phone number and services.
Make sure that your website or Facebook page is registered with Google so it will show up in search results.
Once you have your website, it is time to optimize it with search engine optimization (SEO) so your business shows up in search results. If you want to tackle this by yourself, a good starting point is Google’s free online course. You can also find relatively affordable professionals on sites like UpWork and Fiverr.
Online reviews are a critical part of your cleaning business’ online presence. Potential customers trust their fellow consumers and will choose a 4-star business over a 3-star nearly every time.
Exceptional service is the first step in obtaining positive reviews, but it doesn’t hurt to incentivize your customers to leave a positive review, especially as a young business. This can be a discount off their next cleaning, an extra service at no extra cost, or a gift card. You can ask for these reviews after you did an exceptional job, or you can follow up with an email asking for the review.
It is inevitable that you will run into a bad review at some point. When this happens it is best to:
- Apologize where the review was posted
- Ask the customer to message or call you so you can make it right
- Do whatever it takes to get them to remove or change their review
There are people out there that leave bad reviews to try and get a freebie or a refund, fortunately, these people are few and far between. Eating a little bit of cost on one customer will save you much more money than keeping a bad review online.
If you have the means to do so, advertising can be a good way to give your business the boost in customers that it needs. Similar to SEO, you can choose to do this yourself or hire it out to a professional. Some of the best ways to advertise your cleaning business online:
Print marketing is the less sexy of the two marketing channels, but it still provides a solid return on investment when done properly.
Thousands of people drive past your car every day, you need to have some form of marketing material on your vehicle.
If you are on a budget, you can get affordable stickers or magnets. Make sure you include your name, logo, and phone number. Size is the most important factor for your car advertising. If people can’t see your name and number, they can’t call. Go for size over content.
If you have the means and want a more professional look, you can get car wraps that offer a unique and visually appealing advertisement.
Using sales flyers and brochures can be a good way to implement a guerilla marketing type campaign. You can distribute these yourself, pay employees, pay 3rd parties, or use direct mail. The most effective way that we recommend is, once you have finished cleaning at a customer’s home, distribute 5-10 brochures to surrounding neighbors. They will see your brochure and hopefully your car, which will keep your brand name and logo in the back of their minds for the next time they need a cleaning service.
Networking is a wonderful way to establish your business in the local community. Attending local networking events will put you in touch with customers, provide referrals, and connect you with other businesses who could use your services, such as:
- Real estate agents
- Property managers
Provide Excellent Service
You can spend endless amounts of money on advertising, create a beautiful website, and be ranked #1 on Google’s search engine; but if you don’t provide top of the line customer service, all these efforts go to waste. The great thing is, you can spend zero dollars, have an OK website, and still sometimes come up on search results. But if you have EXCELLENT customer service, your business will still thrive. With every customer interaction, make sure you are genuine and treat them with respect and kindness. If you do this, you will create a solid foundation for you to build your business on.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I best the retain customers that I already have?
The best way to sustain your current clientele is to provide exceptional service and communicate with them about their experience with your company. If you want to take it a step further, you can offer a loyalty program or send them periodic discounts and coupons to keep them happy.
How do I choose my brand design (colors, fonts, etc.)?
Your brand design should reflect you and your business. There’s no perfect answer to this question because every business is different. Some rules of thumb:
- Use eye-catching — but not obnoxious — colors
- Use large font for your advertisements
- Aim for a friendly and inviting feel
You can take a look at your competition and businesses from other areas to get an idea of what looks good and what doesn’t. Make sure you don’t have the exact same color scheme as a local competitor.
Please note that the contents of this blog are for informational and entertainment purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Any action taken based on the information provided in this blog is solely at your own risk. Additionally, all images used in this blog are generated under the CC0 license of Creative Commons, which means they are free to use for any purpose without attribution.
About the author. Entrepreneur and Cleaning Business Fan.
Hi! I am Shawn and I am a happy individual who happens to be an entrepreneur. I have owned several types of businesses in my life from a coffee shop to an import and export business to an online review business plus a few more and now I create online cleaning business resources for those interested in starting new ventures. It’s demanding work but I love it. I do it for those passionate about their business and their goals. That’s why when I meet a cleaning business owner, I see myself. I know how hard the struggle is to retain clients, find good employees and keep the business growing all while trying to stay competitive.
That’s why I created Cleaning Business Boss: I want to help cleaning business owners like you build a thriving business that brings you endless joy and supports your ideal lifestyle.