Tagged with 'Marketing'

Marketing Basics for Power Wash Companies

You have the proper training, state-of-the-art equipment, and a ‘can-do’ attitude. You are ready to get to work, but the phone is silent and your inbox is empty. It’s time to rethink your marketing strategy.

 

Good marketing campaigns are built on three things: research, planning, and implementation. But remember, good marketing campaigns also take time to work, so move steadily and don’t get discouraged if leads don’t come pouring in the first day your Facebook ad goes live or your email campaign begins.

 

First, you need to do some good old fashioned research. To begin, you need to figure out where you are currently positioned in the market and how it compares to your competitors. Next, figure out your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Finally, create your ideal customer persona, this will direct your future marketing efforts. But, if you don’t know how to go about all that, don’t worry, we’ve got some ideas for you.

 

A quick SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) is a simple yet effective way to begin analyzing your place in the market. Be as honest as you can about where your company excels and where it falls short. Place your ego aside for this and (if possible) enlist an employee, a trusted friend, or business partner to help you brainstorm.

 

Get a free template to guide your SWOT Analysis here.

 

To figure out your unique selling proposition look back to your SWOT analysis. What strengths does your business have that no one else does? Keep in mind that if a competitor can truthfully say “me-too” then it’s not your USP.

 

Micheal Hinderliter, the internationally recognized “Dean of Power Wash,” suggests certifications/training, the quality of your staff, and your business’ involvement in the community as possible USP’s.

 

Hinderliter says, “The one thing you've got to keep in mind is that everybody wants to do quality service, everybody says they're going to be the best price, everybody has uniforms. If everybody can do what you do, they're probably going to do it. You're all fighting over the same things.”

 

The final part of the research stage is to create your ideal customer persona. Start with listing basic demographic information about the people you are trying to reach and then expand your research to be as specific as possible. The goal here is to create an imaginary person that embodies all the core characteristics of your ideal customer. The more complete a profile you create, the more effectively you will be able to target your marketing efforts. A good way to start is by looking at who your current customers may be, or if you are new to the business, who do you see that’s hiring other power washers. You can then use the demographics and characteristics of those people to determine who are typical customers, i.e., where do they live, what kind of homes do they live in, how old are they, and any other details you can identify about them.

 

Get a free template to guide your customer persona here.

 

Often you will find that you have several ideal customer types. That’s great! Focus first on your strongest customer base and then move onto secondary and tertiary demographics.

 

We’ve given you a lot to think about. Start doing your research and building your customer personas. You can use the free templates we’ve provided or build your own! Keep in mind these are ‘living documents’ so they will grow and change as your business evolves.

 

You aren’t done quite yet! You know how and what to begin researching, in our second part of this blog, coming next week, we will help you begin planning your strategy and offer best practices for implementing your campaign to reach your goals!

 

In the meantime, we suggest checking out these other blogs on marketing.

Generate More Leads From Your Website - https://www.powerwash.com/blog/tips-to-generate-more-leads-from-your-pressure-washing-business-website/

Crafting a Better Auto-Response Email - https://www.powerwash.com/blog/is-your-auto-response-email-missing-an-opportunity/

How to Hire a Professional Photographer for Your Website - https://www.powerwash.com/blog/how-to-hire-a-professional-photographer-for-your-pressure-washing-website/

Is Your Business Card Sending the Right Messages?

Your smart phone may have replaced your rolodex, but old fashioned business cards are still the most widely accepted way to share your contact information with potential clients. Is your business card sending the right messages? Did you put the right information on your business card? Is your layout easy to follow?  Is your design appealing? Take out your business card, and get ready to make some notes.

Did you put enough information on your business card? Don’t just put your name, and company phone number. Your business card should tell people exactly what your company does; for example, “USA Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning and Inspection.” If it just says USA Cleaning, people might call you about janitorial services. Maybe that’s okay with you, but if you don’t want to spend extra time on the phone explaining your services, make sure you tell people exactly what your company does. Second, you should add a title that lets people know what you do; for example, “Outside Sales Associate,” or “Hood and Duct Cleaning Technician.” This way, people will call you with the right questions. Redirecting a customer’s call is frustrating and time consuming for all parties. The right words can maximize that tiny space, and ultimately save you time and money.

Do you have multiple methods of contact listed on your business card? Your phone number is a good start, but some people might want visit your website and send you an email. Some of the information you might include would be your office phone number, your toll free number, your business cell, your fax number, your e-mail, your website, your physical address or PO Box, and your social media business page(s). Make sure people can contact you quickly using the method that is most convenient for them.

Did you include a professional head shot?  Business cards are designed to facilitate personal connections. Your photo will help customers place a face with your name. You should also make sure to add your logo. This will help your customers associate your face with your brand.

Are your cards the right size? Standard business cards are three and one half inches wide and two inches tall. You can make your cards any size you want them to be, but large cards might not fit in a standard wallet, and slim cards may slip down into the folds. It is best to stick to the standard size. But, if you do want to change the size or shape of your card, you should change it dramatically. One way to do this is to use a die cutting machine. Your business card can be any shape you can imagine, and a little creativity will help you stand out. For example: a local comic book store has business cards in the shape of a Baterang. For those non nerds out there, see the picture.

Business card

This is definitely not a rectangle.

Be warned that most printers will add a charge for a non standard card shapes, but a little creativity may help you stand out.

Did you make a design mistake? Maybe you used blue text on a blue background. Did the colors look good on the screen, but didn’t look the same when they were printed. Is your font legible? Eight point font is a good size for your contact information. You may want to use a slightly larger font for your name and title.  Block fonts are easier to read at small sizes. Find yourself an objective editor and listen to their advice. Bad designs will make your information difficult to interpret.

Does your deign match your image? A cupcake bakery might have a business card with pink font and polka dots, but that design would not work for an investment banker. Remove all of the text from your business card, look at the elements that remain. If you have a white rectangle, you should seriously think about adding some color. Shapes and colors can accent important items, and separate unrelated elements. As mentioned above, the colors and shapes also give people an idea about the type of business that you have. The color shapes and patterns that you chose will help your business card convey its message quickly.

If your business cards match your image, do they match your other advertising materials? Be consistent with your colors, patterns, shapes, and fonts. Imagine if Coca-Cola decided to change the color of their cans to purple, but everything else stayed red. If you make a change, make sure it is motivated. For example Coca-Cola could make pink cans to show support for breast cancer research. Pink would be a motivated change. Purple would just raise questions. Colors, shapes patterns and fonts reach people on a semi subliminal level. We all know what the golden arches represent, and sometimes we get hungry just picturing them. They evoke strong memories of tastes smells, textures and feelings. You can harness this power for your own intentions. Take time to create a design scheme that will compliment your brand, and be consistent.

Have you made it easy for people to save your contact information? Asking someone to save your contact information to their phone memory is one of the most tedious and bothersome tasks that you can possibly impose upon them. QR codes can store all of your important details so that they can be scanned with a smart phone and automatically added to a contact list. One of the easiest ways to generate a QR code is to visit www.qrstuff.com. Follow the step by step numbers to enter you information, generate a code, and save the code to your hard drive. Then you can place the saved QR on your business card. Or, if you are a bit more tech savvy, you can download the Bump app from your app store. This free app lets you share your contact information by simply bumping your smart phone up against another smart phone as if you were making a toast. The only drawback is that the other person must also have the Bump app. If they don’t have it, you can tell them where to find it, and show them how easy it is to share your information. If you build it they will come! If you make it easy they will come even faster.

Did you find some areas where you could improve? One of the fastest and least expensive ways to create a quality business card is to use an online editor such as Uprinting.com. There, you can quickly choose a layout, enter your information, add embellishments, and order prints. When you finish, they will send a PDF proof of your design for approval before they send it to press. Uprinting.com is an excellent resource if you are looking to create or order business cards.

Always keep a stack of business cards with you, and make sure that you store them in a case that won’t bend or flex. Passing out a creased business card is tantamount to showing up in a wrinkled suit. Make sure you put enough information on your business card, and include multiple methods of contact. Take time to create a design scheme that will compliment your brand, and grab attention. And remember, if a tree falls down in the forest and no one is around to hear it, it’s probably because the tree didn’t pass out enough business cards.

Is Social Media Marketing For Business Worthwhile?

The answer is YES. Social media marketing for business is worth every minute you can devote, if you know how to invest your time and energy. As more and more brick and mortar businesses disappear, consumers are seeking new ways to connect with familiar brands. Main Street has moved to the mainframe, and social media has become the new town square. If you have only been using social media as a broadcast platform for free advertising or back linking, you are missing the point entirely. Social media is an interface for conversation. People don't log on to social media sites to look for spam. If you are trying to build a larger following, you should post relevant content that will enrich the conversation and inspire others to respond.

Spend your time and energy engaging the people who are likely to buy your products or services. You know them. You interact with them every day. Take the time to write down a clear detailed description of your target audience, and keep this profile close. Use it to determine where they are most likely going to look for you. If you are a contractor who aims to be a vendor for another business, you may have more success on a site like www.odesk.com instead of www.Facebook.com. But, there is no cookie cutter plan. You cannot just create a Facebook page and expect to find 1,000 people who want to talk to you. Odesk.com might not be the right place either. Take time to explore the internet and look for people or businesses that fit your target. Think like a customer who is looking for your product or service. Start with a search engine and ask questions that your customers ask. Follow the links to find the answers and meet other people who have the same questions. Then join the networks and boards that they have joined.

Once you have joined a site, take time to research that site. Every social media site is different. For example: LinkedIn is designed for professional networking. Therefore, the atmosphere of the site is very different from a site like Google Plus. Learn what is considered socially acceptable behavior before you post anything.

Also, be sure to complete all of the steps to build your profile. Some sites have more steps and ask for more information than others. For example: Facebook requires a cover picture in addition to a profile picture. Many people don't give it much thought, but the cover picture is the first thing that visitors will see when they click on a page. Statistics say that a page has less than five seconds to grab attention. A professional cover picture will help keep visitors interested.

When your profile is complete, take time to learn about the features of the site. Some networks allow you to post pictures, videos, polls, and blogs. Other sites, like twitter, limit your interactions to 140 characters. The site features will become the tools that you use to create your message. You must master these tools in order to give your message the best chance for impact.

When you start posting, you should keep posting. One of the biggest mistakes that people make with social media is to create a profile and let it wither on the vine. It's like going on a bad date where the conversation dies before the appetizer arrives. You just sit there and stare at each other, desperate to find something to say. If you want people to be interested in your products or services, you must keep the conversation going. Sometimes, you will be able to respond to posts from your followers, but you must be prepared for the awkward silence. It's hard to be creative and interesting on spot. Write your posts when you are inspired, and save them for when you need them. If an idea washes over you in the middle of the night, you should get up and ride the wave of inspiration while it lasts.

Create content that will encourage your audience to talk about their needs, and ask questions about your products and services. Look for articles and videos that might start a discussion. You can still post promotions and back links, but don't post them because you have nothing else to say. This makes you look like the guy on the bad date that starts talking about his new neck tie just so that he can fill the painful silence with some noise. Post often, but be sure to post something worthwhile.

It is a good idea share the same message on multiple sites. But you should be aware that if you have profiles on several social networks, it is likely that you have people that follow you on more than one site. It is true that audiences need to experience a message multiple times before they commit it to memory, but you should change the presentation for each post. One site might include a link to a video where you tour a jobsite before after a job is complete, and another could be a set of before and after photos that encourages people to find ten things that are different. Try to present the information to a different learning style every time you post your message. Learning styles are the way that people approach the task of learning new information. Everyone is different, and a detailed explanation of learning styles is far beyond the scope of this article. Just remember that the same message posted over and over again in the exact same way feels like spam. Change the way your audience experiences the message, and the message will seem fresh every time.

When you promote your social media presence, you should give people a reason to find you. Social media badges are appearing everywhere, and many times, people click on them only to find a page full of spam. People are more likely to click a badge if they have something to say to you. For example, an independent coffee shop could put a yelp badge on the side of their cups with a tag that says "What did you think? Tell us about it on Yelp." Let people know that you are different. Let them know that you are ready to have a real conversation.

Many people measure their social media success based on the number of page subscribers they see. There are even services out there that will let you buy followers, but all of the pages that they sell are robot pages. A Facebook page with one thousand followers is less impressive if they only have a 0.001% response rate when they post new content. Measure your success by the number of meaningful interactions you have with people that are genuinely interested in your products or services. When people post something on your social media pages, you should always post a reply, even if they didn't ask a question. Always thank them for posting, answer their question if they asked one, and ask them a question in reply. Keep the conversation going. Check back often to find new replies, and answer them quickly. Post content that will invoke a response and watch your investment grow.

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