Although you may not be a marketing guru, advertising can get your cleaning company noticed by potential customers. But before you spend any of your advertising dollars, decide on your target market. Finding your particular niche and directing your ad dollars to that area will be the most effective way to get clients calling and asking about your services and hopefully signing on as new customers.
Start by setting an advertising budget. A general rule of thumb is to dedicate two to five percent of your expected gross sales to advertising. If you are expecting $150,000 in gross sales, set aside $3000 to $7500 for advertising. If you are just starting your cleaning business this may not be enough. You may need to spend more money running ads announcing your business so your potential clients know a new cleaning service is in town.
Once you set your budget, decide where to advertise. For a cleaning business it makes no sense and would be a waste of your money to advertise in a large magazine or buy a TV commercial that airs on a Saturday night. Besides being expensive, these ads will most likely not reach your target audience.
The common print ad, run in your local newspaper or shopper, is the most basic unit of advertising. Print ads have launched major companies and many successful products. Running ads in a local paper can also be a great way to promote your cleaning business if you follow a few basic rules.
- Your ad should attract attention! Although this sounds obvious, unless your ad attracts attention you are throwing your money down the drain. The most compelling way to have a “noticeable" ad is to have an interesting and visually appealing headline. If you are designing a large ad, think of using a subhead. This will provide added information and can be longer than the headline.
- Your ad should address the reader's needs or announce news. Tell how your cleaning service will benefit your readers and if possible announce a new product or service such as announcing a new carpet cleaning system that makes your carpets cleaner and your office building healthier.
- Your ad should communicate your company's unique selling proposition. Or why should the potential customer pick your business to supply cleaning services rather than ABC Cleaning?
- Your ad should tell why your cleaning company is the best in the area. The most convincing way to do this is through testimonials, statistics and awards.
- Your ad should motivate your readers to take action. One way to achieve this is to include a special offer. Offers that work well are discounts and bonuses (get your carpets cleaned and get a free bottle of spotting fluid).
One of the main reasons people don't read ads is that they do not have a great headline or a visual element that attracts readers. Headlines that work best are those that promise readers a benefit. Flip through a newspaper or magazine and notice the headlines that attract your attention - Save on Closing Costs, Your Dreams Can Become Reality, Get More Miles to the Gallon. Advertising experts suggest using the following words to arouse interest: New, Now, At Last, Warning, Introducing, Easy, Health, Save, Safety, Free, Money or Advice.
Although you may want to use your business’ name in your headline that is not recommended and is one of the common mistakes that small businesses make. Your business’ name does not have anything compelling to offer a potential customer. Remember, your headline should address the needs of your customers and not your ego.
Making your ad stand out can be challenge. Scan your local papers and take notice of what ads stand out - are they ads with reverse (white on dark background) print, color ads, ads that look like they were hand drawn? People notice ads that have illustrations or photographs that show products or ads that have people in them.
Before advertising in any medium call and ask for a media kit. This kit will contain rate information as well as demographic information about the publication (or radio station). The demographic information should include reader's (or listener's) age, income, and other statistics that will indicate if this is a good medium to run your ads in to reach your target audience.
If you are a member of your local chamber there will be opportunities in chamber newsletters, member guides and perhaps even on their website. Local newspapers are good venues as most businesses either subscribe or read regularly so they can keep informed of what's going on in the local community.
Print advertising is one way to get your cleaning business’ name out in front of potential clients as well as reminding your current clients of the services you provide. Advertising is salesmanship and the more information you can give about your services, the more interest you will create. Always remember to include a call to action in your ad - tell them how to buy your product or service! Also include as many ways as possible for the reader to contact you: phone, e-mail, website, and physical address. Running the right ads will get your phone ringing and your checkbook balance growing!
Copyright 2006 The Janitorial Store
Steve Hanson is co-founder of TheJanitorialStore.com, an online community for owners of cleaning companies. Sign up for Trash Talk:Tip of the Week at http://www.TheJanitorialStore.com . Read success stories at http://www.cleaning-success.com .