How we “sabotage” our marketing efforts…

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by Tom Watson on January 6, 2013

Getting the phone to ring regularly is what we all seek. Making that happen can be tough because we tend to make simple mistakes that sabotage our efforts.

This is because it’s really easy to get so wrapped up in the day-to-day grind that we lose sight of the big picture. It’s almost unavoidable, so we just have to accept that fact and do our best to stay on track within our master plan.

So today I would like to get back to basics and tackle the 5 most common marketing related problems that keep us from having the success we all seek in our business. By keeping the following in mind, it should help minimize the issue and maximize our efforts.

1 – Not having a plan in the first place. The granddaddy of all problems is just winging it and seeing what happens. The problem with this approach is that it’s virtually impossible to measure what’s working and what’s not. After all, if you are just aimlessly making half-hearted efforts, there is no way to track your progress in any meaningful way.

Having a marketing plan doesn’t mean spending weeks locked in a room writing a manifesto. It could be as simple as a one page written outline of what you want to accomplish in your business. For instance my Cleaning 4 Profit marketing outline is scribbled on a notepad on my desk. It’s nothing fancy, but I see it EVERYDAY AS I SIT AT MY COMPUTER. This keeps me “on-track”.

2 – Trying to do everything all at once. I have fallen prey to this in the past, and the results are always the same. I feel OVERWHELMED and PARALYZED. The solution to this problem is to SIMPLIFY. For instance my marketing outline has only 5 items on it! By keeping it simple, I can focus on each one much easier, and you can do the same.

3 – Not being consistent. You are busy, I am busy, pretty much everybody is busy. This however doesn’t make for a very good excuse when it comes to marketing your business. Getting the word out you own a business IS YOUR NUMBER ONE JOB! This means it needs to stay on “top of your list” daily.

This is one of the biggest issues newcomers face when getting started. I learned this by talking to folks all the time here at Cleaning 4 Profit. They work their tails off in brief stretches but not over the long haul. You need to view marketing your business in a NEVER ENDING sort of way. There is no finish line! You just work.

4 – Not thinking through the costs of marketing your business. You don’t need a ton of money to promote your cleaning business, but you do need some. This lack of cash leads folks to spend it all at once, and hope the phone rings and they get an account BEFORE they run out of money. This approach DOES NOT WORK.

At the end of the day you need to spread out the cost as much as possible so that you can continue to get the word out you own a business and are actively looking for customers. For instance running an ad in the paper for two weeks is as good as tossing it down the sewer. Effective ads are run for WEEKS and sometimes MONTHS at a time. This is the only way they work over the long haul.

So unless you have the budget to stay in the game that long you are probably better off going the lower cost routes of creating either a house cleaning flyer or commercial flyer then handing them out. You can also visit real estate offices, create some goodie bags or other low-cost methods of promoting your cleaning business.

5 – We don’t speak our customers “language”. Every piece of marketing material you create needs to whisper the right set of words and phrases into the customer ears. This means you can’t puff out your chest and speak about YOU, and why you are so great. You instead need to speak about HOW YOU CAN HELP THEM.

This may seem subtle, but it’s HUGE. This is because the customer doesn’t care about you! That may come as a shock to many of you but it’s true. They only care about what you can DO FOR THEM. All your marketing material needs to promote what you can do for them and then create an urgency for them to call you. Pretty simple, but most mess it up.

Well, there you have it. Some practical advice for keeping your ship pointed in the right direction. Don’t beat yourself up if you get off track from time to time, just make sure you correct course every now and then. If you do, you’ll be just fine!

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to our RSS feed. If you are looking for a blueprint that will show you how to start a cleaning business, then check out my Cleaning Business Start Up Guides. If you are badly in need of a first class website then take a look at my Cleaning Business Websites.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 La Tunya Sifford January 6, 2013 at 9:55 pm

Well written article. I seem to be just running in circles when it comes to Marketing. I’m re-vamping my marketing approach this year to gain more clients, I lost mostly all of them due to quality from my employees, so I have to start all over. With flyers how many do you suggest handing out weekly? and do they really work? I’ve tried it but I kind of feel no business like putting them on peoples doors. I’m in Southern CA and I do both Residential and Commercial.

2 Tom Watson January 6, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Hi La Tunya Sifford!

Staying on top of your staff is huge. I learned the same lesson as you did, and it stinks to have to go out and get a whole other set of clients. It’s double the work, but that’s how we all learn.

I did anywhere from a 100 to 400 per week. It depended on my work schedule and if I could get anyone to help. The real issue is just staying consistent. I’m not sure you really need to hit a certain number, but it should be at least 100. Anything less just makes everything take longer.

I went the goodie bag route (sales letter, flyer, business card) AND direct mail. That was my main methods in the beginning. YES, it does work, AS LONG AS you have a good flyer with a strong offer (big discount to encourage a sign-up).

3 Heather Stone January 7, 2013 at 2:35 am

Hi Tom,
Yep, these are the big ones. That’s not to say your marketing will work perfectly even if you manage to avoid these things. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re just starting out and have little experience marketing yourself or your business. You’ll learn by trial and error, but definitely try to avoid these obvious problems to save yourself some grief. Thanks so much for sharing this great advice with the BizSugar community.

4 Tom Watson January 7, 2013 at 7:23 am

Thanks Heather! I appreciate you stopping by and commenting.

5 Ti Roberts January 7, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Great tips, Tom. I know I’ve made each of these mistakes at one time or another within my business. Thankfully, I’m much more conscious of the actions I’m planning and I have a specific purpose now for every move I make. So much better than flying by the seat of your pants. Thanks for sharing your insights with us.

Ti

6 Tom Watson January 7, 2013 at 3:38 pm

Thank you so much Ti for stopping by!

7 Chris Underwood January 17, 2013 at 9:26 am

Well written,

You I never had a plan until literally last weekend. I was lucky enough though to understand SEO and got a lot of interest though my website and landed great clients that support my business with great referrals. I never really understood the concept until I tried to be little more diverse with my marketing plan.

I wanted to hand out goodie bags, pass out flyers, do direct mail, post kijiji ads and google ads.

Having a plan has now allowed me to see where my money is going instead of blindingly spending on various avenues. It lets me see what works and where I can spend more money if I want.

Thanks Tom

8 Tom Watson January 17, 2013 at 11:17 am

Hey Chris! SEO is a great skill to know, very happy to hear you did well with that. Also, like you said, a plan keeps you from just blindly throwing money around. Thanks Chris.

9 temitayo gabriel January 23, 2013 at 6:28 am

hi tom! you are doing just a good job. pleaze permit me to publish some of your article in my newly established business magazine to encourage buz. pals. i promise to qoute you and include the source. thank you.

10 Tom Watson January 23, 2013 at 6:53 am

Hi Temitayo! I’m sorry but we do not allow any content on http://www.cleaning-4-profit.com to be reproduced in any way, shape or form under any circumstances.

With that said, I may be interested in writing unique content solely for your publication (I would need you to send more information though).

11 Emuze Emmanuel February 1, 2013 at 4:50 am

Thanks Tom!

I just registered my cleaning outfit and lunching my advert now, you have being of great help and a mentor. thanks and God bless you for your good work

12 Tom Watson February 1, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Good luck! You can do it!

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