As a cleaning business owner you always need to be on the look-out for ways to promote your company.
At the end of the day you need a solid base of customers to sustain growth. The more the better! This search for customers has many new business owners scratching their heads, as it can be hard to stand out from the crowd.
Today we’ll discuss one of the ways you can beat your competition to the punch. It’s via the services of a company called LivingSocial. They currently have over 30 million subscribers in the United States and they are the go to place for people who are looking for at home services.
I had the unique opportunity to speak with Curt Odar, who just happens to be one of the folks that makes LivingSocial so popular. He was kind enough to answer a few questions about who he is, and most importantly, how LivingSocial can help you promote your home cleaning company. Let’s get started!
Tell us a little about yourself and your role at LivingSocial.
I grew up working in my family’s business cleaning houses, windows, and floors… Maybe not fun for a teenager, but you can imagine the enormous amount of respect I have for home services business owners and what goes into running their businesses every day.
Here at LivingSocial, I head up At Home as the General Manager, which means I manage all of the services related to home cleaning, organization, moving, painting, and other home services.
Our aim is to partner with talented merchants and provide our customers with valuable offers and services to improve their homes, beautify their surroundings, and ease the stress of upkeep. It’s pretty great being able to work with such quality businesses and help them grow, promote their services, and find new customers.
Can you explain how a merchant, in this case a cleaning business owner, can leverage the power of LivingSocial to generate income opportunities?
Like any small or mid-sized business, home cleaning businesses often face a challenge when it comes to marketing. It’s hard to have a full-time marketing staff, and that’s where LivingSocial comes in.
We act as a virtual “CMO,” giving merchants direct access to millions of potential customers and helping turn the potential ones into life-long regulars, all with no upfront costs. Plus, unlike traditional advertising, we can provide real, measurable results.
What type of offer tends to get the best responses?
Customer response is very good on the majority of our offers, but the highest success rate we’ve had is with offers that are structured for two, three, or four hours of home cleaning.
Adding the time stamp sets up an expectation for the customer, but also leaves it open for a more in-depth conversation about size of the house, specific needs, etc., between the customer and the merchant, which, in turn, allows the merchant to really engage with the customer by suggesting additional cleaning services and offering entry to loyalty or referral programs.
Some of our more successful merchants have created online platforms where new customers can enter their contact information, preferred times and days of cleaning, and other useful info.
After someone decides to promote their company on LivingSocial, what can they do to be prepared during the initial stages of the offering?
Great question! Fortunately we have tons of experience in helping prep our merchants for what to expect before we even run their deal. We always offer the following advice:
Be prepared – Expect an increase of phone calls and emails the first few days of the deal. You’ll want to consider additional help with answering customer questions and scheduling, or creating a dedicated email address for handling new appointments.
Training – Make sure all of your employees are able to answer any questions related to your deal. You can probably expect questions about the specific services that are covered in the deal, as well as clarification of fine print.
Be Clear – Once they purchase the deal, some customers may want services immediately. If you can’t accommodate these requests, try to set clear expectations as to when they can be serviced.
Proximity – Scheduling customers based on their geographic proximity can help maximize the number of customers you can service, while also saving you on transportation costs. Also, if you normally have a very large service range, consider reducing it for the deal to avoid getting overwhelmed.
Pre-service Instructions – Make sure to tell customers what they should do to prepare for your visit, such as moving furniture away from walls, clearing floors of clutter, and securing pets.
Customer Service – Treat voucher-bearing customers like full-paying customers. A good impression helps drive repeat business.
Promote – Be sure to inform customers about repeat service programs or discounts for scheduling additional service in the future.
Can you share a “success story” of a merchant that has used your services?
One of our favorite At Home merchants is Better Life Maids out of St. Louis, MO. Going in, the owner saw the partnership as a marketing investment for acquiring customers in general and to help fill up the calendar during slow times. Their goal is to earn 30 recurring customers with each promotion, which equates to upwards of $85,000 in annual revenue.
In order to reach this goal, they do two things really well: stellar service that creates a long-term impression, and a referral system that offers great incentives — both of which go a long way to creating and keeping their now large recurring customer base.
Another merchant, M&J House Cleaning out of San Francisco, sees real value in the quality of our customers. We recently had a follow-up meeting where they told us that among the customers from the handful of deal companies they’ve worked with over the years, LivingSocial customers have a distinct difference… They tend to look for good service rather than just a single cleaning and they’re more inclined to share their experiences online.
How does the signup process work?
Any merchants interested in more information about running a deal with LivingSocial can contact us here. Our team of marketing consultants will reach out and work with them to craft an offer specific to the merchant so that it reaches both the merchants goals, and provides real value to our shared customers.
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