In 2015, the cleaning industry market in the US will hit about 52 billion dollars of annual revenue, with a growth rate of about 2.7% per year (IBISWorld). Getting a generous slice of that revenue requires some serious marketing strategy for your commercial cleaning business.
Why? Because, growth can produce challenges, as you know. Although not unique to the commercial cleaning industry, the top five commercial cleaning marketing challenges will hinder you if you want to grow:
- A low barrier of entry into the field makes for serious competition.
- The importance of creating a unique voice.
- Pricing often is the critical factor in choosing a commercial cleaning service.
- Showing value in green products and new technologies is vital.
- Demonstrating professionalism.
Your branding is the way you portray your identity - what you do for your customers that gives value. Remember marketing rule #101: Potential customers shop for value, not price. You can gun down the wannabe cleaning outfit who bought a mop and bucket from the neighborhood hardware store, but you must do it on value, not on price. You'll always get out-gunned on price, but value is a different game. Your marketing plan will be based on perceived value: what you offer that the next guy can't touch.
So let's put together a simple marking plan that will address the five pain points as a whole.
The following four steps will help overcome the top five commercial cleaning marketing challenges:
Step 1: Identify Your #1 Customer
In trying to develop commercial cleaning leads, don't go with the "we can do everything best" approach. You indeed may do all things well, but we're not going to focus first on what you can do . Focus first, on your "ideal" customer. Who is he or she? What is the size of their company? What position does he or she hold: CEO, operations manager, or something else? What are their likes and dislikes? How much do they use the Internet to shop for services?
You're trying to put together a "persona" - that ideal lead who is out there waiting to find you. If you try to focus on the top of the customer funnel, your cost per lead (CPL) will be higher because you'll be expending more effort. Effort equals dollars.
Step 2: Analyze Your Lead Gen and Conversion Channels
Here's where the rubber meets the road. What are you doing now that's working or not working? If you've exclusively been doing conventional marketing you may not know because metrics are limited. You can develop plenty of commercial or office cleaning leads by using print advertising, radio, and other conventional means but, again, your cost per lead (CPL) will be higher.
Online marketing tactics for a commercial cleaning company will result in a lower CPL because you can target that ideal customer. Online or inbound marketing differs from conventional marketing because instead of annoying customers with junk mail or blanket advertising impressions, inbound will filter leads and convert a higher percentage into customers. Are you doing anything with inbound?
Are you using social media to get commercial cleaning accounts? With 74% of those connected to the Internet using social media, not using it to promote your business is the same as turning customers away.
Of the hundreds (yes, there are that many) social media channels, Facebook continues to dominate. Hint, hint, FB is free. Here's another hint: Go get a cheap DSLR camera with panoramic capability, get some great shots of your quality work (like the full-width photo above), create an album on Facebook, post them there and on your website. Post new photos frequently, making a big deal about how great a job your commercial cleaning business has done. Oh, and by the way, you're now focusing on what you can do.
Step 3: Review Your Closing Methods
Any changes you may need to make here may be process related rather than technique related. For example, if you're spending a lot of effort doing cold-calling, you will reap more profitable results channeling those resources toward inbound. The Internet is your 24/7, tireless and never sleeping sales person.
Closing a sale is a simple process if you've created that initial interest in your brand. Good inbound marketing strategy will do that for you. Want to generate office cleaning leads? Consider creating a web page or free e-book entitled, "The Top 10 Areas in your Office That Commercial Cleaning Companies Usually Miss." The inbound strategy here is simple: Visitors come to your website, get some free expert advice, that advice positions you as an authority in the commercial office cleaning business, making closing a sale much easier.
Step 4: Turn Your Customers into Promoters
In the end, you're not simply looking for new cleaning jobs, but new customers you can delight. Once you've done that, you actually can get new commercial cleaning accounts - with no effort on your own - by adding social sharing buttons to everything you publish on the web. This idea is so simple: Your happy customer clicks on a button, in a blog, your website, or a landing page, and posts something about your business on their social media page. Simple? You bet. You have to wonder why so many companies are not doing just this.
Key take-a-ways on How to Overcome the Top Five Commercial Cleaning Marketing Challenges:
- You're going after that ideal customer
- You're looking at what's working now, what's not working, and taking action
- You're goal is not only to get leads, but to get lower cost per lead (CPL)
- You're going to invest more effort in your website and social media
- Though inbound strategies, you're going to attract that ideal lead by positioning yourself correctly
- The great customers you delight will spread the word to their friends.
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