One of the most challenging aspects of growing a cleaning business is finding marketing opportunities that actually work, without wasting money on things that don’t work. The fact is that most of the marketing companies you’ll talk to are better at sales than at actually marketing your business.
So how do you know what marketing works and what doesn’t?
Thankfully, one of the benefits of our Cleaning Business Fundamentals program is that you have endless opportunities to engage with other cleaning business owners. Ask your peers about their successful marketing efforts. Also, see what your competition is doing. If you see your competition advertising, so does your target customer.
Do not commit to a long term contract until you know that the campaign will work. Sure, print/tv/radio advertising works best when you saturate a market. Consumers simply do not respond to a single mailer, but if the mailer marks the third time they’ve seen your business you’ll see far better results. Perhaps wait on marketing avenues that require such large investments. Regardless of the marketing platform, always test it before making a large investment.
8 Free or Low Cost Marketing Methods For Any Size Cleaning Business
Whether you are a startup or a million dollar maid service, there are several marketing methods that are universally critical to your cleaning business.
Claim Your Google My Business Listing
Google My Business (GMB), formerly known by several names including Google Maps and Google Places, is a FREE service from Google. The GMB listings show near the top of most Google searches for local services including house cleaning. Your listing should include your contact details, service area, business hours, pictures, etc.
Having a GMB listing is no guarantee that your business will show on the first page, but even if you’re not on the first page initially the listing will drive customers to you. It also helps legitimize your business. Finally, your GMB listing is the single most important place to have customer reviews so you can begin to manage your reputation online.
Claim Your Yelp Business Listing
While Google is by far the #1 resource for local marketing, Yelp is a distant, yet still important #2. Yelp offers a variety of advertising opportunities, but what is critical to your cleaning business is claiming your free Yelp business listing. And be sure to login into your account on a regular basis to monitor your reviews, etc.
What makes Yelp so important? First, anyone can add you to Yelp – even one of your customers or employees. Take control of the information by claiming your listing. Second, Yelp is a huge part of any reputation management efforts. Finally, Apple’s Siri and the Yahoo! search engine both rely on Yelp listings for many local searches.
Start Building Your Email List
Does every one of your leads say “YES” right away? No, of course not. Do you have one-time customers that you wish would become two-time customers? Start collecting email addresses and you’ll soon have a list of prospects primed for your marketing efforts.
There are a plethora of email marketing systems available to cleaning businesses, but if you’re just starting out we recommend the FREE service from MailChimp. Once your email marketing needs grow, you can explore more robust systems with intricate automations, etc.
Start Building Your Brand on Social Media
One of the biggest misconceptions in marketing is that Social Media is about lead generation. While you can certainly gain business by having an effective Social Media presence, it is primarily about branding. Social Media is a great tool for getting word out about your business and building your brand throughout your community.
If you’re just starting out, create profiles on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Try to post at least once or twice a week. Mix up your posts to include promotions, general interest items and company news. Make sure your Social Media profiles are included on your website so visitors know where to connect with you.
If you need quick and easy graphics for your Social Media, try the free version of Canva, an online tool for creating all sorts of graphics even if you don’t know a thing about graphic design. To simplify posting to multiple Social Media accounts, try using a free service like Later, which allows you to post to your various profiles from a single place.
As your business grows, you may find it beneficial to hire a third-party Social Media Marketing expert to help you take your marketing efforts to the next level and start advertising as well.
Start a Referral Program
Referrals are by far the best quality leads you can get. Referrals have a low cost of acquisition and the prospect is already warmed up to the idea of doing business with you. The best source of referrals is your existing clients, but to maximize the opportunity, you have to ask for referrals. Run a contest on your Facebook page. Create a referral program where you provide a small reward for each referral. Send out at least quarterly emails to every current and past customer detailing your referral program. Make sure your referral program is clearly detailed on your website. Leave “Thank You” cards behind after every cleaning and include your referral program on the card.
Small Scale, Inexpensive Real World Marketing
When first starting out, one of the most effective marketing techniques is simply finding anywhere throughout your community with a bulletin board or similar place for leaving behind business cards. Get a box of push pins and a box of business cards and leave them in your car as you go about your regular day. If you see a bank, donut shop or other local business with a place to leave behind a business card or two, do so. It won’t lead to non-stop phone calls, but you’ll be surprised how many leads you will get.
Get Low Cost Great Leads with Google Local Services Ads
Google Local Services Ads are the newest local advertising system available from Google and it works quite differently than just about any other marketing opportunity. You can see the ads when you search for your services and there are three boxes at the top of the search results.
Unlike traditional Google Ads, you ONLY pay when a prospect calls you. The cost per call is fixed in your market and varies from market to market, but usually falls within the range of $15-$25 per call.
With Google Local Services Ads, you set a weekly budget (usually start with about $100). The system records every call to make it easier for you to track leads and conversions. You can even dispute a lead and get a refund if you receive a call that is not actually a qualified lead.
The only real downside to Google Local Service Ads is that so many businesses are using it and only three businesses show at a time. In many markets, this limits how many calls you will get regardless of what your weekly budget is. However, even if you only get 2 to 3 calls a week it is a great value and the leads tend to be great especially since they are calling you!
Walking the “T”
An old school, classic method of marketing has several names, including Walking the “T”, but essentially it involves printing a postcard or door hanger and having your cleaning technicians leave marketing materials to the left, right and across the street from an existing client (hence the T shape). Consider having your marketing material include verbiage referencing something similar to “We just cleaned your neighbors house! Call today to see what we can do for you!”
Marketing Your Cleaning Business on a Shoestring Budget
Ultimately as your cleaning business grows, you’ll want to invest in all sorts of marketing and advertising including Search Engine Optimization, Google Ads, Facebook advertising, weekly mailers and more. Thankfully, there are many effective methods of generating leads without having a huge marketing budget.
There is no single, magical marketing method that works for every cleaning business in every market, but with these free and low cost marketing methods you can get a jump start on growing your business today.