Marketing your business is important, regardless of the industry you’re in. (After all, you can’t hope to grow without attracting new customers.)
For janitorial companies, consistent marketing efforts can help maintain a steady stream of leads. Too often, though, business owners find themselves blindly guessing at how to promote their services. They run ads, boost social media posts, and distribute flyers without a cohesive plan in place. These efforts may yield results, but they’re often disappointing.
If this sounds familiar, it might be time to revisit your marketing strategy (or create a new one). We’ve prepared a list of eight telltale signs your marketing strategy could use some attention, and tips for how to address them.
Let’s dive in.
How do you know if it’s time for a marketing makeover?
You can’t explain what makes you unique
Listing the cleaning services you provide or the types of businesses you serve isn’t enough. In order to stand out from the competition, you have to be able to talk about what sets you apart.
What benefits will customers receive from your work? Are you “freaky fast” like Jimmy John’s? Do you frequently receive compliments about how friendly your teams are? Do you have a strong presence in your community or hire people who might otherwise have difficulty finding work? What do you do really, really well?
You don’t need to have a long list of answers, but try to think of a few things (3-5) that make your company special. You’ll use that list to build out messaging later.
You don’t have buyer personas
If you don’t have a sense of who your customers are, you probably aren’t communicating with them in the best way. (Imagine how different pitches to a hotel's general manager versus a daycare owner would need to be in order to be effective.)
The best way to solve this problem is to develop buyer personas—short descriptions of a few characters who represent your ideal clients. If you want to focus on construction cleanup, for instance, one of your personas might be a general contractor. Or, if you provide services for lots of medical facilities, you might have a hospital administrator as one of your "characters."
You want to keep the list short, so focus on 3-5 key targets. Be as detailed as possible in your descriptions, giving them a name, job title, responsibilities, motivations, and pain points.
(HubSpot has a free tool for creating your own buyer personas that can be accessed online here.)
As you think through the rest of your marketing efforts, imagine you’re talking directly to one of your personas. This will help your communication feel more personal and relevant to the customers you’re trying to reach.
Your website is outdated or hard to navigate
Your company website is the single most important tool in your marketing arsenal. If it’s slow, unresponsive, hard to navigate, or, well, just plain ugly, it will turn customers off from using your services.
In 2021, people have a very low tolerance for bad websites. If a site doesn’t load immediately or work well on mobile devices, visitors won’t keep fighting with it—they’ll go somewhere else. In fact, studies have shown users form an opinion about a website within 50 milliseconds.
How do you make sure that opinion is positive?
Here’s a good place to start:
- Make your site responsive (automatically adjusting to a user’s screen size on desktop or mobile devices)
- Put your key value proposition (why customers should contract with you) front and center at the top of your home page
- Use text sparingly, and try to avoid long paragraphs
- Include your phone number or a contact form at the bottom of every page
- Use lots of images and graphics to add visual interest
- Make sure your menu is easy to find and understand (have family and friends access the site to see if they have trouble)
- Work with a designer to ensure the website looks clean, uncluttered, professional, and engaging
Once you’ve got a great website in place, point people to it! Don’t forget to include your web address on business cards, in email signatures, and at the bottom of flyers or brochures.
You aren’t using referrals or reviews
Although we live in a digital age, word of mouth is still the best way to bring in new customers.
When you provide excellent cleaning services for your clients, they’ll be happy to tell others about you. Sometimes they do this on their own, but other times they need a gentle nudge.
To encourage referrals, hand pick customers you have a strong relationship with and proactively ask them to connect you with others in their network. You could even consider offering a discount or special gift for those who send you qualified leads.
In addition to soliciting referrals, it’s important to collect reviews. Reviews require less from your customers than referrals, so if you’re not ready to ask someone for a referral yet, asking them to write a review is a great place to start.
Reviews don’t need to be long or complicated. A few sentences about a client’s experience using your services can go a long way toward making prospects feel more comfortable hiring you. Asking customers to post these reviews to sites like Yelp or Google is also a great way to boost your company’s reputation online.
You don’t have cohesive messaging
Messaging is one of the most important (and frequently overlooked) aspects of marketing. Without an organized approach, your efforts can feel disjointed and out of sync.
Instead of just talking about your janitorial business or trying to sell a service, think about what your customers need—and how you can respond. Use the value propositions you came up with in the first section to develop messages that will resonate with your audience.
If you’re sending an email to a set of potential retail customers, for example, imagine you’re writing directly to one of your personas—say, a representative from a local property management company. If you know maintaining clean restrooms is a pain point for many retail spaces, could you give them some quick tips or advice on the best cleaning products to use? Or send an infographic they could distribute to their retail clients?
Stay true to your company’s identity, and make sure it’s easy for anyone who’s interested in what you offer to learn more. Just be careful not to come across as overly “sales-y,” as consumers (who are constantly bombarded with advertising) are extremely sensitive to those types of tactics.
When in doubt, focus on the customer instead of yourself. Show them you care about solving their problems, not just selling them things.
You’re not active online
Creating a website and never touching it again isn’t a great way to maintain a strong digital presence. If you want to stay relevant in today’s world, you have to engage with potential customers online.
Your bandwidth for posting to social media or writing blog posts will vary based on your company’s resources, and that’s okay. The key is to determine how often you can reasonably create and post new content, and then sticking to that schedule.
Whether you post once a week or 20 times a week, stay consistent. It’s easy to start off strong, then get busy and forget to post for another month or two. That’s what you want to avoid.
Staying active on social media doesn’t just involve posting sales messages. You can share any type of content customers might find interesting, helpful, or entertaining. If you're not sure where to start, look for recent news stories, credible infographics, or educational videos to share. If the content you choose is timely—like a list of 20-second songs to hum while washing your hands at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic—that's even better.
In addition to posting regularly, stay engaged with people who try to communicate with you through social media platforms via comments or direct messages. Reply as quickly as possible, even if just to say you’ll get back to them with an answer later.
Creating blog posts or white papers is another great way to keep your website content fresh and help new visitors to discover you.
You’ve stopped making cold calls
The tried-and-true method of cold calling prospects is notoriously challenging. When done correctly, though, it can help you make valuable connections.
To maximize your cold calling efforts, start by developing a list of contacts based on the type of customer you want to attract. If you’d like to reach more educational institutions, for example, copy a list of schools from the district’s website. Research those schools to find out who the best contact person would be, then try to connect with them. Don’t forget to follow up a few times, but leave space between calls or emails so you don’t come across as pushy.
Staying organized throughout this process is key. A CRM (customer relationship management software) for janitorial businesses can help you keep track of prospective clients, allowing you to quickly access their information, group them by type, and record your efforts to contact them. If you don’t have a CRM yet, you can also set up a spreadsheet to track your progress.
You’re not trying new things
One of the quickest ways to stunt growth is to get stuck doing things a certain way. While we’ve covered the building blocks of a solid janitorial marketing strategy, you should always be on the lookout for new, innovative approaches to helping customers discover your business.
What if you offered a free dog washing station for the day at a local park? Designed license plate frames your employees would love attaching to their vehicles (mobile advertisement!)? Hosted a Facebook live Q&A on cleaning best practices?
Some ideas will make sense for your business, and others won’t. All you have to do is be willing to come up with—and try—different tactics every once in a while.
Approaches to marketing can vary widely based on a company’s goals, resources, and customer base. Larger businesses may need a more complex strategy implemented by a third-party agency or an in-house staff member. For smaller companies, a simple strategy led by the owner or an office administrator might be just fine.
No matter what you’ve got to work with, the concepts here can help you take your business to the next level with a plan you can trust.
To recap, a solid marketing strategy starts with:
- Unique selling propositions
- Buyer personas
- A reliable website
- Referrals and reviews
- Tailored messaging
- An active digital presence
- Cold calls
- A willingness to think outside the box
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