Promotional Idea – Goodie Bags

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by Tom Watson on June 8, 2010

What exactly is a Goodie Bag?

The quick answer is “whatever you want it to be”. In its simplest form it contains promotional material designed to spread either awareness about your company/brand or to trigger a response such as a service inquiry/sale.

The act of  spreading “awareness” is generally left up to the giant corporations who can afford that type of campaign. While the small business should look to “convert” a Goodie Bag into service inquiry or sale (which this post will speak to).

What you should include in your Goodie Bag?

Their is no definitive list as to what promotional material needs to be included in a Goodie Bag. I would even argue that on some level it does not matter provided that the contents provide some usefulness to the end user and that they know it came from your company. If your stumped consider these options:

Note: each needs to be branded with your company name and number at a minimum.

  • Pens. We all need them at one time or another. They tend to get lost quickly but the low cost is appealing and makes for a cost effective give-away.
  • Refrigerator magnets. No one throws away refrigerator magnets for some reason. I’ve been giving these away for nearly ten years and I still see my early ones displayed in my customers kitchens. A great company that makes these is called 3 MAG.
  • Your business card. This is a must and should be included no matter what. If you need one printed, Vistaprints is a quality company that I have dealt with.
  • Small desk or pocket calender. These items tend to get used and hang around a long time (which is a good thing).
  • Key tags. Cheap and very useful for the majority of folks.
  • Your sales letter. An effective sales letter that creates a desire for your service.
  • Sales Flyer. Your flyer should have a specific offer that appeals to the recipient. It must contain a deadline or expiration date to create urgency and a call to action (ie: This Special Ends Shortly! Call Now 555-5555).

I have used promotional items like Goodie Bags for some time with great success.

My process went like this.

  • Purchase the bag itself in bulk. I used a white or multi-colored kraft bag about 8-10 inches high. If you need to purchase them click here.
  • Print a Avery label with my logo on it and place on bag.
  • Add business card.
  • Add refrigerator magnet.
  • Add sales letter.
  • Add Flyer.

Who do you give them to?

Owning a cleaning business (and carpet cleaning company) meant options were plentiful for me. So naturally I used them in in many different ways over the course of my career. Some of the most effective recipients (for me) are listed below:

  • Real estate offices. I was always looking for agents that could be a referral machine for me. Agents are on the front line of the home (and commercial) market. Getting in front of this group paid huge dividends.
  • Office Parks. Most areas have tons of them and they all need to be cleaned.
  • Anywhere near a new client. Once a new account signed up I scoured the nearby area for other businesses to target. Why not clean more than one office in the same area to maximize the revenue for that region/location?
  • Strip Malls. No different than the office parks. Someone needs to clean them.
  • Apartment complexes. This group is not my favorite type of customer anymore (never was either) but in the early stages of my career it served me well when I needed customers (and revenue).
  • Networking meetings. Great chance to get your message out to a group and make a positive impression.

Goodie Bags are a proven promotional item that allows you to differentiate yourself from the pack. Using them will provide a good first impression that opens the door to future business.

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to our Cleaning 4 Profit RSS feed. If you are looking for a step by step blueprint that will show you how to start your own cleaning business, then check out my Cleaning Business Training Manuals. If you need a great website or would like to upgrade what you already have then you may want to take a look at my Cleaning Business Website Packages.

DISCLOSURE: I may be an affiliate for products that I recommend. If you purchase any items through my links odds are I’ll earn a commission of some kind. I only recommend products and services that I have used or think may be useful to those starting or operating a cleaning business.

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Roger Hamilton August 16, 2010 at 10:57 am

Thanks for sharing your thoughts….. Sometime We come up with a great idea that will give us success but drop it before it has been properly executed to go on to the next big thing or something that’s more exciting. Promotional product are used to execute the promotional strategy to increase the sale. These products can be in any form like gifts, banner, books, bags or any other accessories because Gifting is used to motivate the employee. if you used your company logo on the gifts. This will be great idea to promote your business and this type of gifts is called promotional gifts.

2 Tom Watson August 16, 2010 at 2:20 pm

I agree with you 100%. Sticking to one thing and seeing it through to the end is critical to your success. Thanks for your thoughts. BTW…good luck with XL Nation. It looks like a great cause and I wish you the best. Touch base if I can help in any small way.

3 Loretta January 5, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Hi Tom,
I have an issue. I have been using the same cleaners for two and a half years and they are green seal safe. I have a client who blames everything that breaks in his place on the service. His latest is the cleaners turned his shower floor yellow. I believe it is hair die but anyway. I feel at this point this guy is fishing for an insurance scam. How should I handle him?
The cleaner I am referring to is Clean By Proxy. This is one of the cleaners that I use and is is safe.

4 Tom Watson January 6, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Hi Loretta,

Most clients are a joy, but some are tougher to handle. I’ll touch base via email to share my thoughts.

5 Angela Anderson August 22, 2011 at 11:57 am

We are a family owned cleaning service, we have put ads up everwhere
and still have very little business what else could we do.

6 Tom Watson August 24, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Hi Angela!

Sorry to hear of your issue getting business. It is very hard to diagnose what is happening with your ads because I can’t see what you are distributing (not to mention what form they are in. ie: flyers, newspapers etc…).

I did write about what worked (and what didn’t work) for me over the years as I tried to get customers. You can check out this post here –

Advertising copy can be very tricky to write, and if one or more things are missing no one will bother calling your company. With that said, if you wanted to to send me what you are advertising with via email, I would be happy to give you my 2 cents worth of advice. If so, just touch base and I’ll provide you with a email to send it to.

7 Chris December 21, 2012 at 3:15 am

Hi, we just started our residential cleaning business, in less than 2 weeks we landed 5 accounts using direct mail and door to door flyer distribution. I love all your advice and my next step is Contacting realtors in my area. I just wanted to hopefully get some suggestions on the flyers we are using, perhaps some tips would help me tweek the ad for a better response rate. Thank you for your time and for all the useful information that you provide

8 Tom Watson December 21, 2012 at 9:11 am

Hi Chris! Sounds like you are doing a lot of things right, that’s great. Realtors is a GREAT long-term approach, so good luck there. You can reply with the flyers as an attachment of you like, and I’ll take a look. With that said, if they are working, then leave them as is.

9 steve March 27, 2013 at 2:58 am

Hi tom,me and my wife started our business about 6 months ago.I have made money with landlords on cleanups with renters moving out.Your advice has now helped us tremendously!The advertising methods are great & very helpful.Thank you tom!

10 Steve March 27, 2013 at 3:04 am

thanks for all the advice tom it was very helpful

11 Tom Watson March 27, 2013 at 6:11 am

Hi Steve! I’m happy to help. I wish you continued good luck!

12 Tom Watson March 27, 2013 at 6:14 am

That is a GREAT little niche market for the cleaning industry, and most know nothing about that. This means many times you don’t have a lot of competition. Anyway… Thanks again Steve for commenting!

13 Sade June 5, 2013 at 8:13 am

Hi Tom! When sending direct mail to apartment complexes and realtors should the flyer be different from the one you gave us which is the “Thinking of Changing your cleaning company”? Or do the companies typically already have a cleaning service? What is a good way to catch someone who does not have a cleaning services for their business? Also what companies are best to get bonded and insured through?
Thanks Tom for all that you do!

14 Tom Watson June 5, 2013 at 9:11 am

Hi Sade! Most probably have a cleaning service. BTW… don’t worry about which ones “don’t” have a service, as they ARE NOT your ideal customer (if they don’t have one, then they don’t need YOU).

As to what flyer to use, that is up to you. There is no “one flyer” to use, instead you want to have a “collection” of different ones to use (try different flyers and see what works best).

Insurance and bonding… go here and read this post I did… The company I mention offers both types of insurance.

15 Alexandra August 23, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Hi Tom,I desperately need your hellp!I wana start my own business-I wana buy some accounts,but my problem is I just don’t know where I can finde the accounts for sale?!I’ve been looking on cragelist and what I found it’s not working for me,it’s too far away from me!I’m looking forward to hearing from you!Thank you!

16 Tom Watson August 23, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Hi Alexandra! The short answer is you DO NOT want to buy accounts from people. You need to get them yourself (there is no other way). Besides… getting them yourself is cheaper and REPEATABLE (what would happen if you bought an account THEN lost that account because of poor service? You going to buy more? You’ll go broke trying to get rich!). Check out my courses (or tune in to the free podcasts and blog).

17 Kim rollin September 9, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Hi Tom, this is a very useful site, I’ve just set up my own cleaning business, I’m advertising commercial/domestic, carpet cleaning and valeting, just trying to get as much work as possible and get my name out there, thanks for advice on letting agents, I’m going to try them next.

18 Tom Watson September 10, 2013 at 9:04 am

Hi Kim! Thanks for the kind words, we appreciate them. You have the right approach. Keep working at PROMOTION! That is what makes the phone ring. Then just focus on making those first few customers HAPPY. Go beyond the call of duty (this will make them BELIEVERS who will spread the word even more about your company).

19 Matt March 26, 2014 at 8:51 pm

Some great advice I have seen Tom. I started Capital Cleaning Squad a few weeks back and have everything set except for clients. I just got business cards and plan on hitting apartments, realtors, and property mangers hard soon. When I go in, what should I be saying and what should I drop off to them? I was thinking a flyer and a can of air freshener. Too cheesy?

20 Tom Watson March 26, 2014 at 10:28 pm

Hi Matt! A flyer is a good start. I would add a sales letter to the mix, as it allows you to tell more of a story as to WHY they need you (the flyer is more compact and has less info). The air freshener is unique, and if you can get them cheaply enough then it may work, just watch your costs.

I would consider the magnetic business cards too (go to 3mag for the magnets). These are a real nice way to stand out (plus magnetic cards don’t get thrown out nearly as often as regular cards). From there, give out tons!

21 Brandon May 13, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Hi Mr. Watson, I wanted to ask you a quick question. When dealing with commercial clients, do they care about which carpet cleaning method you utilize on their floors?

22 Tom Watson May 13, 2014 at 2:31 pm

Hi Brandon! Generally they don’t know that much or care for that matter HOW it’s done (they are depending on YOU to be the expert). With that said, you may run across some who know a thing or two about carpet cleaning methods (just not too many).

23 Second Chance June 29, 2014 at 7:59 pm

That is some good advise that I will use about the goodie bags. Should I still stuff envelops to?

24 Tom Watson June 30, 2014 at 6:55 am

YES… you need to do a little of everything. There is no one way to get accounts. So just work at the most cost effective methods (flyers, sales letters, goodie bags).

25 Aaron October 11, 2015 at 8:06 am

Hello tom first of all like would like to give you a wrap on going out your way to help others this in its self shows why you deserve to be successful in your business i have wanted to set my cleaning business up for awhile now ive been burnt alot dealing with clients but your advise is expiring me to get back in the game i would like to thank you for your time and your thoughts take care mate

26 Tom Watson October 11, 2015 at 11:37 am

THANKS Aaron… I really appreciate it. And… if you need me, just email me or call me.

27 Sade August 23, 2017 at 9:48 pm

Hey Tom. Did you start off as an sole proprietor? or LLC?

28 Tom Watson August 27, 2017 at 12:24 pm

Sole proprietor at first, then I switched to LLC.

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