You might have an excellent idea to open a cleaning business, or more specifically, a carpet cleaning business since you know that carpet cleaning pays a decent wage and is a professional field that is relatively simple to delve into. However, without a solid marketing plan, your idea might as well not exist. The reason is simple: rarely can a business start, let alone survive, without a well-researched and thought-out marketing plan.
There are several steps to creating a carpet cleaning marketing plan, but fear not because most of them are not overly complicated, once you know what to do, you can create a great marketing plan that will put your business out there and help you grow your customer base.
1. Research Your Market and Discover a Niche
Before having a marketing plan of your own, you have to find out what you provide that your competitors don’t—your niche—and focus on customers who need what you can offer.
You also need to know whether your niche is profitable and whether anyone else has made successful inroads there. Most marketing strategies in the world only work if you can identify a problem in your target market that your competitors don’t address very well.
How do you identify your niche and its profitability, though? There are several things you should do:
Identify the Problems You Can Solve
Talk to your target market. You can use things like informal polls on Facebook and Twitter to see what they want in a carpet cleaning service and find out where your competitors fall short. You can have conversations with them in the comments on your polls.
If you have a specialty, you can get an idea of whether it’s worth your time and money to advertise that depending on the problems you identify in your market.
Perform Keyword Research
Did you know that you can use search engines to find out what people are looking for? You can do keyword research to see what businesses that need carpet cleaning services search for most often.
There are tools that help you do this, so you don’t have to figure out how to do it alone. Regardless of how you go about this, though, you can then use that to tailor your business to their needs.
Conduct Research about Your Competitors and Differentiate Yourself
You must know what your competitors are up to. Once you’ve identified your niche, you should know what your competitors are doing there. This, too, helps you determine profitability and whether you have something to offer that they don’t.
For instance: Perhaps your target market is office complexes, and they are heartily sick of carpet cleaning companies that claim to eliminate high-traffic dirt and discoloration completely, but just can’t seem to manage it. You, on the other hand, have a technique that works very well on that particular challenge.
Now you’ve discovered where you have an advantage over your competitors. You’ve also learned that your competitors aren’t meeting a particular need in your target market. From here, you can tailor your marketing to set yourself apart from your competitors.
2. Develop Your Strategy
You can use many different strategies to market your business, and they’re all great so long as you know how to leverage them. A mix of traditional and digital marketing strategies will probably work best for you in today’s world.
Create a Conversion-Based Website
You can’t get very far these days without a website. However, just any old website won’t do. Ask visitors for their email addresses and put out a newsletter that includes promotions. You might be surprised at just how effective email marketing still is, and this is one way to build a loyal customer base.
You can easily create your own website using WordPress, Wix, Weebly, or another platform, or you can hire a web developer.
Leverage Social Media
Social media has a power that few other marketing avenues do these days. Set up business pages and profiles on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. You can pay for advertising on all three, but you can also interact with people and businesses and post before-and-after photos and videos from satisfied customers.
Even better, if you have something your competitors don’t, like a unique process or formula for removing high-traffic dirt and stains, you can focus on the customers you solved that problem for. You can display a video to illustrate the process and integrate photos into the video to show the carpet before and after cleaning (just be sure to get your customers’ permission first!).
On Facebook and LinkedIn, you can also put your business’s information right on the page, including address, phone number, and hours of operation. Customers can also leave reviews there that may draw other potential customers to your company.
Twitter allows you to create ads that bring people to your profile, where you can provide a brief summary of what you’re all about and list your website’s URL.
Google and Microsoft both provide paid advertising plans that help prioritize your business over your competition, putting you on more people’s screens. You can get banner ads, sidebars, in-text ads, and more on websites participating in their ad-revenue programs.
Knowing how to reach your online audience is all well and good, but in-person networking is a crucial part of any commercial carpet cleaning marketing plan. Getting to know people in your target market personally helps you establish connections, which then draws in more business.
You can join your local chamber of commerce to network and find potential clients whose offices could use your services. You might also get the most powerful advertising of all: Personal referrals. Get their carpets clean, and they’ll refer other businesses to you.
You can talk to local businesses about leaving a stack of your business cards with them. Gas stations convenience stores, and even some restaurants, might allow you to do this.
Leaving flyers or hangers on doors or in mailboxes is a great way to get the word out to local businesses in your area. Mailers, too, may work well, and you don’t have to worry about violating everyone’s “No Soliciting” signs.
3. Develop Your Marketing Budget
It would be quite nice if marketing costs nothing. Indeed, many avenues for marketing don’t cost much, but they aren’t free, and you won’t always reach as many people as you’d like.
You need to have a budget in place before you begin, and you need to stick to that budget so you don’t overspend and put your finances in the red. Without a written budget to stick with, you can easily overspend without realizing it.
There’s another reason to have a budget in place and written down, too: It makes bookkeeping much easier because you’ll be tracking how much you spend. When it comes time to do your books, you have a lot less information to gather, or worse, reconstruct.
Let’s say you have $2,000 per month available for marketing expenses. A monthly budgeting plan might look like this:
- Facebook ads: $500
- Twitter ads: $250
- Google ad campaign: $750
- Email list manager: $50
- Website maintenance: $150
- Flyers: $50
- Mailers: $200
- Local Chamber of Commerce dues: $50
You might also identify opportunities to save money here and there or find that you’ve got some extra left over. You can choose to roll it over into next month’s marketing budget or save it for a campaign later in the year.
4. Put Together a Timeline
When it comes to marketing your carpet cleaning company, you need a clear timeline for setting your goals so they align with your business’s fiscal year. A six-month timeline might look something like this:
- January 5: Join the local chamber of commerce to begin networking
- January 15: Website goes live
- February 15: Presence on Facebook and Twitter established
- February 20: Launch the first paid campaign advertising your company on social media
- March 1: Launch Google and Microsoft ad campaigns
- March 15: Begin running targeted ad campaigns for specific carpet cleaning services
- March 31: Business cards in at least ten local establishments and flyers left at every door in at least three office complexes
- April 1: Launch spring promotional ad campaign focusing on cleaning away winter dirt on social media and via email
- May 1-3: Work booth at a local business fair; send invites to an entire email list
- June 1: Moving billboard for your car complete and installed
- June 20-25: Work booth at the county fair; send invites to an entire email list
- July 1: Launch Independence Day ad and promotional campaign
- July 15: Second round of flyers in office complexes
However you choose to do it, having a schedule that’s as specific and detailed as possible ensures you have deadlines to meet. That, in turn, makes you far more likely to complete each step of your marketing strategy and more likely to keep things going.
Developing concrete marketing plans isn’t easy for any business. Unless you own a chain, your carpet cleaning business is local, so you need to know how to tailor your entire plan to both your industry and your area. Remember, marketing and sales are two different things. You’re putting yourself out there, building relationships developing communication, and building your brand.
Your sales won’t go anywhere without a good marketing plan. Leverage everything you can, maintain your schedule, and stick to your budget, and you’ll have a great marketing plan going forward.