Proactive Online Reputation Management for Cleaning Companies

Cleaning companies provide a valuable service to the community, and the online reputation of your business should reflect this value. Do you know what clients are saying about you on review sites and social media? Are local news outlets, bloggers or networking buddies talking about your brand?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, it’s time to start paying attention. You don’t want to wait until a reputation disaster strikes to establish a reputation management strategy. People are having conversations about your business right now, and a proactive approach to monitoring your brand image and responding to feedback is essential to preserve a positive image for your cleaning company.

Why You Should Care About Online Reputation Management

Today’s consumers use the Internet to research products and services before making final purchase decisions. Social media, blogs, news stories and review sites buzz with opinions about businesses, including service providers. No matter the size of your cleaning company, chances are someone is talking about you somewhere in the endless chatter.

Managing your online reputation is all about ensuring this chatter is predominantly positive. Good reviews can spur waves of new clients. According to Vendasta:

  • 92 percent of consumers are reading online reviews and consider star ratings the number one factor in making their choices
  • 68 percent consider businesses with positive reviews to be more trustworthy
  • 94 percent say they’ll use a business with a four-star rating
  • 40 percent use one to three reviews to form an opinion

These statistics suggest reviews should be a key part of your cleaning company’s marketing strategy.

Review Sites to Watch

Yelp is one of the most popular sites for consumers to read and post reviews. Over 26,000 reviews are posted on Yelp every minute. However, as a local cleaning company, there are several other sites you should consider getting listed on:

  • Google
  • Yahoo! Local
  • Facebook
  • City Pages
  • Yellow Pages

Online-reviews

Claiming your business listing on these sites allows you to monitor review activity as it happens. If this seems overwhelming, a service like More Reviews Now can help you keep track of it all. The service not only “listens” to review chatter for you but also handles the review gathering and posting process across multiple platforms. From the dashboard, you can track feedback activity on review sites, making it easier to know the image your online reputation projects to potential clients.

Since between 23 and 44 percent of customers read reviews on a variety of sites, including Facebook, Twitter and company websites, it’s important to establish profiles on the most prominent platforms and screen reviews when they come in.

Monitor Online Brand Conversations

In addition to review sites, pay attention to what’s being said about your company on social media and other social outlets such as blogs. Set up Google Alerts for your brand and keywords relevant to the services you offer. Social media management platforms, including HootSuite and TweetDeck, allow you to create custom search streams based on keywords and hashtags.

Comment monitoring on your own blog and third-party sites is another important part of managing your online reputation. If you receive an alert showing your company was mentioned on another site, check out the post and comment on it to get an inside look at the ongoing conversation.

Keep in mind not all bad publicity is bad for your company. Sixty-eight percent of consumers consider businesses with a mixture of positive and negative feedback to be more trustworthy than those with spotless track records.

Build Your Reputation with Customer Feedback

Let your cleaning clients know your company is listed on review sites and has profiles on social media, and encourage them to leave feedback. While you can’t offer incentives in exchange for reviews, it’s not uncommon to send a follow-up message asking for an opinion on the service you provided.

Seventy-two percent of customers act in response to positive reviews, so collecting feedback is an important part of your reputation management plan. If you use MoreReviewsNow, you can request feedback from customers after providing service and set it to automatically post to the testimonials page of your company website. If they happen to leave negative feedback, there is a process for intercepting that review so you can contact the client immediately to remedy the situation.

Plan Your Responses to Possible Setbacks

To ensure clients leave positive reviews, familiarize yourself with every potential point of contention. Sit down with your staff and make a list of what might go wrong on a cleaning job, such as:

  • Forgetting to empty a trash can or not mopping the entryway in a commercial office
  • Using the wrong cleaning product and damaging a surface
  • Neglecting to lock the house or office front door after leaving
  • Letting pets out and forgetting to let them back in

Come up with appropriate responses to these possible complaints so that you can respond quickly if someone brings one of them up in a review. If your reply is timely, favorable and offers a reasonable solution, you have the potential to bring back 95 percent of customers who report negative experiences.

Listen to Your Customers to Improve Service

Even with a reputation management plan in place, you can’t always anticipate clients’ complaints. Read all the reviews you receive, and use this feedback to improve your services. When cleaning companies listen to customers, it shows consideration for their needs and a willingness to make changes as necessary.

If you discover several reviews with similar feedback relating to a particular part of your service, you may want to consider creating a marketing campaign to show how you’re improving that aspect of your business. Make an offer to clients who mentioned the problem in their reviews to re-establish trust and encourage them to become repeat customers. Just make sure you have the problem solved with a workable system for your staff to follow.

Online reputation management is an ongoing process involving time, attention to detail and dedication to excellence. For a cleaning service, this means making every effort to meet client expectations. Our reputation matters to us, and we strive to deliver the best possible quality of service in every job we do.

Contact us today to learn more about More Reviews Now to help you get started managing your online reputation today!

More-reviews-banner-sm


Why You Can No Longer Afford to Ignore Updating to a Mobile Friendly Website for Your Cleaning Business

Your dream is to build a thriving cleaning business that people can trust. Deep down, you know you’ve got what it takes to stand out in the sea of competitors. Word-of-mouth marketing underpins your success, and you do it well. You manage relationships clients, new customers, and referrals like a pro every day, even though you’re swamped with other responsibilities.

Yet you know in the back of your mind you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. The changes in Google's algorithms haven’t escaped your attention. Mobile marketing and getting a mobile friendly website has been on your mind, but you’re too busy keeping first things first. Running a cleaning business isn’t easy, and you’re often exhausted by the end of each day.

It’s rarely convenient or easy to work on your business, and you hope you can expect continuing success using your current website until you have more time. 

Trouble is, you’re missing out on opportunities because mobile friendly websites have seen a 10.8% increase in traffic since Google’s Mobile-Friendly algorithm update (Source: Duda Website Developers). 

You may never have more time because without harnessing the power of the Internet more effectively, you will be working harder than you need to just to maintain what you’ve already got. But consider this: 88% of consumers who search for a local business on a mobile device call or go to that business within 24 hours. (Nectafy, 2014)

What do prospects see when they visit your website on their mobile device?

Can you afford to miss out on 60% of your prospects due to an old website? According to Google, 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing. 40% of those people visit a competitor’s site instead. (MicKinsey & Company, 2014).

Just as your clients have personalized needs and expectations about the cleaning you do, everyone who visits your website has individual needs and expectations about how they want to get information about your business. Don’t underestimate the importance of this.

We all have a much shorter attention spans these days. It’s more trying than ever before to keep up with all that you need to know (and do) to make your presence known. You want answers fast, and so do your prospects.

Just think of the frustration you experience when you’re looking on your computer for a solution to a problem, and you can’t view a website properly. Now imagine how much more annoying it is to have this happen on a smaller device. Especially when you can see the information you want, but you can’t get to it because the link is so small that only an ant could hope to hit it.

Do you stick around in a situation like this? If you’re on a phone or tablet, the odds are you will abandon the site and look elsewhere.

Upgrade to a Responsive, Mobile Friendly Website

New mobile devices are appearing all the time (anyone invest in an Apple watch lately?). As technology improves, they are able to do many more of the same things that desktop computers and laptops do.

Meanwhile, desktop computers and laptops are being designed to allow them to act more like mobile devices. You want your website to be readily available and useful to those who find it. 

If someone is searching on a desktop, your website should be easy to navigate with a mouse or a touch screen. You may want to replace some links with buttons to make your site friendlier to touchscreen users. If a prospect arrives at your site on her smartphone, you want the text to be large enough to read so she does not have to pinch-and-zoom just to read the content.

Also, your business value must be apparent to your prospect within mere seconds. Do you share how you solve your prospect’s problem on your home page and is it clearly visible?

Do you have a mobile-friendly website already? Find out just how mobile-friendly it is by using Google's Mobile Friendly tool

What does a mobile friendly or responsive website look like?

Mobile websites and mobile marketing are not going away because digital marketing is the future. Responsive sites are necessary to take advantage of present and coming opportunities of the digital marketing age. 

Having a responsive website means it's going to re-size itself, or "respond" to whatever size device you're using. Here is an example of our site, Marketing Systems By Design

 

This is what the site looks like on a mobile phone

Phone-2

 

This is what the site looks like on a tablet in the vertical position

Phone

This is what the site looks like on a tablet in the horizontal position

Tablet

Notice how the website changes depending on what device you're using. Also notice how easy it is to read the text and see the graphics -- no pinching and zooming here! Responsive sites are also easy to scroll. Simply glide your finger up the screen to easily browse the site.

Once you have a mobile friendly site, be sure to follow through your marketing strategy by making sure it's optimized for local SEO (search engine optimization). 

Here are a few things you can do to make your website a more powerful marketing tool for your cleaning business:

Match on-page and off-page keyword optimization to help search engines find your site, index your pages, and make your site load faster.

ON-PAGE SEO

Optimizing on-page SEO (a/k/a “on-site”) means doing what you can to make different parts of your website more useful to your prospects and to search engine robots.

  • Put your targeted keyword in the title tag of each page on your website. This helps the search engines find you and index your information more easily. You want to help your prospects by making it clear that you offer what they are searching for. 
  • Use your keywords in H1 and H2 tags (generally the largest size headings available) while keeping in mind your prospect’s intent. The search engines give more attention because these statements are emphasized as important.
  • Work keywords into URLs, if possible.
  • Take advantage of alt text to optimize images. If you put an image of a cleaning technician vacuuming, your alt text might be “vacuuming carpet yourcity”. Alt text is there so search engines can “read” what the photo is about, recognize your keyword and index it.
  • Create useful content. Provide value to readers by using terms your visitors are looking for along with enough information to help them decide if your service offers what they need. Keep it easy to read by being concise and providing links to other pages on your website that provide additional information

OFF-PAGE SEO

The idea behind off-page SEO is to create a presence on social media and to get links from other websites. Doing this increases the authority of your domain.

Domain Authority is a technical term for rising in the search rankings based on having so much good information on your website that it compels others to link to it.

You can also rise in the search rankings by soliciting opportunities to link back to your site using social media. You might reach out to owners of influential websites such as your local Chamber of Commerce and asking them to link back to your website. Or you might write guest blogs and encourage sharing the posts on social media.

Whatever method you choose, keep in mind that the secret sauce to growing Domain Authority lies in the quality of the links. It’s not a good idea to buy links. Check your domain’s authority here: https://moz.com/researchtools/ose/

We've just scratched the surface of marketing your mobile website, but these tips will get you started. If you’d like to discuss the capabilities of your present website or explore your options, fill out our Free Marketing Audit today!


Growing Your Cleaning Business with Current Clients

The desire of every business is simple – growth. This means bringing on new clients, new employees, and expanding your operation. But there's one thing that many businesses overlook in their growth strategy; and that is leveraging their current client base.

In the cleaning industry, you have the potential to form very strong relationships with your clients. As your relationship grows, they will view you as an essential service provider. This becomes an important doorway for growing your cleaning business. 

Some of you may be thinking, "If they're already my clients, how will they grow my business any further?" The answer is tied to their expansion and growth as well as your deepening relationship. 

Move with Your Cleaning Clients

When a client's business grows, it often means not just in profit, but in physical scale as well. When this happens, it offers you the unique opportunity to expand the scope of the services you offer.

It goes without saying -- when there's a larger space to clean, it costs more to clean it. That's why it's imperative to move with your clients as they grow into a new space, so that your operation can grow with them.

Cleaning-client-moving

Of course, a move can impact your growth in more ways than one. You may be asked to do the final cleaning on their old location and perform the construction cleaning on the new space.

Another way a client’s move might benefit you is with the additional, specialized services their new building will require. From additional windows to ceramic tile or granite floors, it’s important to consider the new services your clients will need at their new location, and bill them for it accordingly. In fact, submitting a yearly maintenance schedule will ensure their new assets are being properly cared for on a regular basis.

In many ways this is much easier than adding additional clients. You can maintain an already good relationship, keep staff who are familiar with the particular client they are working with, all while allowing you to profit from the additional services rendered.

Turn Your Cleaning Clients into "Unpaid" Sales Staff

With positive relationships come positive perks. One of the most powerful ways you can leverage your client base is through their references and referrals.

Referral-vs-reference

There's a distinct difference between a referral and a reference. A referral is when one of your satisfied clients is happy enough with your service to pass it along to an acquaintance when they hear they are looking for a cleaning service. While often extremely helpful, referrals are not as impactful as references.

With references, extremely satisfied clients may go the extra mile and actually speak to prospective customers on your behalf. In effect, they act as unpaid sales representatives, helping prospective clients realize the value your cleaning service has already provided for them, and can provide for the potential customer.

Make sure you build strong, meaningful relationships with your current clients to establish satisfaction, which will encourage them to be references for your business.

How to Build Relationships with Your Clients

Before you can use existing clients to build your cleaning business, you need to establish a strong foundation with them first. There needs to be a sense of mutual satisfaction, so that their assistance is comfortable and natural.

To establish this relationship, there's a few steps you can take. First, when talking to your client, make sure the conversations frequently touch on subjects other than cleaning. Don't just talk to them like you're paid to do so -- try and make a real connection.

Ensure that your supervisors and managers are also friendly with your clients, as they will likely be speaking with them more often. You can even implement a monetary incentive for those supervisors who are able to successfully expand their cleaning with an existing client.

Most importantly, you must offer a service your clients are impressed by. Through competitive pricing, excellent service, and comprehensive offerings, your clients will want you to grow your business with theirs.

Growing your business is not always about seeking out new clients. Often, the tools to grow your cleaning business are already there in the clients you currently service. As they grow, they'll want you to grow with them – provided a solid relationship has been established.




 


LinkedIn Company Page: Do You Need One For Your Cleaning Company?

When I talk to cleaning business owners about their social media presence, many of them say something like, "Yeah, I've been meaning to get around to that but I just don't have the time."  And when it comes to LinkedIn, most have a personal page, but very few have created a business page.

Do you really need a LinkedIn Business page?

The short answer is Yes! You really do need a LinkedIn Business page! And here's why.

First, you need it for business credibility. You may not realize it, but your customers are doing research on you and your business. They want to see how professional you are, and one way to do that is to check out your website and your social media presence. If they visit your website and see your LinkedIn social media button, they will likely click over to see the page. 

A second reason you need a LinkedIn business page is that there is SEO value in just having it set up. The search engines tend to rank LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter pages high in business searches. If your prospects go online and search for your company name, what will they find? Here are search results that show 3 of our business pages for The Janitorial Store. 

LinkedIn Company Page

If they don't go directly to the website, we might capture their attention with our social media page links. And think about it; don't you tend to trust companies who have lots of links to their online presence in search results? It means they work hard at their business and are in it for the long haul.

What should I post on my LinkedIn Business Page?

Like any social media page, it's great to have the page set up, but give it a boost by posting engaging content. We typically do three things with our posts.

  1. Ask questions. Think about what kind of questions will get your audience engaged.
  2. Amplify our blog content. We take the time to create content for our audience - kind of like this post! So we want to share as much of that content as we can on social media.
  3. Share other's content. If other related businesses are sharing great content, then share theirs with your audience, with a comment on why they should read it.

Here is an example of a post that ABM posted on their company page, sharing the good things they're doing to help families in need.

LinkedIn Company Page Post Example

What about Showcase Pages?

A Showcase Page is basically a sub-page of your business page. They are optional on LinkedIn, but you might consider doing them because they allow you to showcase your products and/or services, and give more detail than you can on the main business page.

You are limited to 10 Showcase Pages, but that should be plenty for most small businesses. So for a cleaning company, you might have a Showcase Page for the primary industries you serve, something like you see below. When you add Showcase Pages, they show up on the right sidebar of your business page.

Showcase Page Example

Another benefit to Showcase Pages is that the search engines index them separately from your Business Page.  The downside, is that it becomes more to manage. But if you have help with your social media posting, then you don't have to worry about personally doing the work. 

Are you ready to get your LinkedIn Business Page up and running so you increase your online visibility? Post your comments below, we'd love to hear your thoughts and success stories!


Why Print Newsletters? Your Competitors Aren't Doing It

Today’s cleaning business owner is busier than ever. You are on the go and in demand. This active and hectic schedule tends to leave little time to stay connected with clients and to engage new prospects.

Newsletters to the rescue!

Newsletters are a great way to stay in touch with your current clients, build stronger relationships, and peak interest in your company and the services you offer. It’s a monthly reminder that you can employ to keep your business in front of your clients and prospects on an ongoing basis.

Why print newsletters?

The main purpose of sending out newsletters is to build relationships with clients and prospects. Newsletters contain entertaining, fun and informative articles, games, and interesting facts. They can also include specials, contests, and news about your business. But you don’t need “in your face” selling with your newsletters; it's about building relationships and make a connection. 

Newsletters increase client retention and loyalty. They make it easy to connect with clients and prospects without being pushy and without taking up a lot of your time. People love them if you do it right. Prospects remember you and the print newsletters get passed around.

Your goal should be to connect with your clients at least once a month

A good rule of thumb to remember is for every month you DON'T connect with your clients, you lose 10% of the value of your relationship. So if you let it go for 10 months, you've probably lost them. We spend so much time trying to GAIN new customers, but then forget about nurturing the relationship once we have them.

And remember, if YOU aren't keeping in touch with your clients, your competitors WILL!

Note: It will cost you 5 to 10 times more to acquire a new client then it does to retain existing ones, so newsletters are a great investment for your cleaning business and should be included as part of your ongoing marketing strategy.

“I would like to send out newsletters but I just don’t have time to create one every month,” is a common response for cleaning business owners when it comes to newsletters. Here’s how we can help!

Newzbreak (for commercial cleaning companies) and Better Home Living (for residential cleaning companies), are already created for you, the cleaning business owner. They are simple to edit and will keep you and your clients connected. They build trust and engage your clients without making phone calls or knocking on doors. Your clients will soon begin looking forward to your monthly newsletters and keeping your clients coming back is profitable for your business.

Why NewzBreak and Better Home Living?

  1. It takes just a few minutes of your time. We do all the work of creating the content! All you have to do is personalize it for your business by adding your logo and photo, a special offer and company updates. Then take it to your local printer or upload it to an online printer. You can even convert it to PDF and upload it to your website for online reading. 

  2. The newsletters are easy to read, informative, and enlightening. New content is created for you each month that is sure to pique the readers interest. New issues include relevant and interesting articles, useful advice, fun trivia and a crossword puzzle, recipes, and much more.

  3. They appeal to prospects. Getting your name and brand in front of your prospects helps to create a “buzz” about the products and services you have to offer. Newzbreak newsletters add credibility to your cleaning company issue after issue.

  4. Newzbreak and Better Home Living newsletters get read. How many sales calls or advertising emails do you get in a single day? Too many to count, right? You politely decline the cold call offers and delete advertising emails without even opening them. But mailing or delivering monthly print newsletters allows you to present company offers and specials without the strong “sales pitch.” This is accomplished by having a newsletter with a wide range of content, not one that is loaded with sales offers. And since your clients and prospects are expecting to receive your monthly newsletter, you are sure to get read, not discarded or deleted.

  5. Newzbreak newsletters are a low cost way to market your cleaning business. You are constantly looking for inexpensive, yet effective ways to market your business, right? The relative ease of editing the newsletter to personalize it and make it unique to your company and business application makes it a popular choice among small business owners looking to get the most “bang for their buck.” Owners with even the smallest of budgets can utilize this type marketing to its full potential without having to pay for expensive newspaper or radio ads. The monthly newsletter will be a great addition to your marketing plan.

What commercial cleaning business owners are saying about NewzBreak:

"In search of how I could entrench my company with our customers and slam the door on the competition for good, I bought "NewzBreak Newsletter" from The Janitorial Store and offered it to my clients. WOW! the response was phenomenal! They loved it!"

"This is the best business investments I have ever made. It's about ROI and if you're not providing this newsletter to your customers, you're losing money. I highly recommend "NewzBreak" to anyone serious about growing their business."

Here is what the client of a home cleaning business owner posted on his Facebook page about receiving Better Home Living:

"Once a month when the crew visits our home for cleaning, they leave a copy of Better Home Living. The newsletter is chock full of helpful tips, interesting information and several chances to win gift cards from local businesses or other perks from the business itself. All of this is greatly appreciated. Thank you for your attention to detail and these 'little' extras. Go Life Maid Easy!"

Newzbreak and Better Home Living newsletters provide your clients and prospects interesting and informative content on a consistent, month to month basis. The high quality presentation and organization of the newsletter is directed toward your target audience. In addition to the pre-templated content, the MS Word format of the newsletter is easily editable to include your company name, your logo, company news, upcoming events, specials, or links back to your company website or pages.

With competition lurking just around the corner, it’s more important than ever to continually build upon the company-client relationship. These newsletters are a great way to stay in touch with your clients on a monthly basis without consuming much of your valuable time. The newsletters allow you to stay connected on a personal level with client and prospects, while showcasing your company and putting you out front of the competition.

image from www.thejanitorialstore.comView a Sample Issue of NewzBreak Here

image from www.myhousecleaningbiz.comView a Sample Issue of Better Home Living Here

To order the newsletters, visit these pages:

NewzBreak Newsletter (for commercial cleaning companies)
http://www.thejanitorialstore.com/products/item920.cfm

Better Home Living (for residential cleaning companies)
http://www.myhousecleaningbiz.com/products/item291.cfm

 


Why Your Cleaning Customers Are 57% Sold Before They Call

Last week we attended the annual ISSA Trade Show and Cleaning Convention. I did a total of 5 presentations throughout the week for ISSA, BSCAI and ARCSI, and one statistic I shared got the attention of many cleaning business owners and distributors.

"57% of the purchase decision is complete before a customer even calls a supplier." Source: CEB Global

57-percent-cebSource: CEB Global

What exactly does this mean for your cleaning company?

  1. It means your customers are doing research on the companies they're thinking about doing business with before they contact you for a price quote or proposal. 

    In fact, even if your customer received a referral from a friend or business colleague, they're not immediately picking up the phone the way they used to. Now, they think to themselves, "John said that he uses ABC Cleaning, so I think I'll check them out on the Internet to see what I can find out about their company." What are they going to find when they go searching for your company?

  2. It also means that if you want those customers to find your cleaning company when they're actively researching, you must have optimized content that comes up on the search engine results page (SERP). If nothing shows up for your company, then your competitors who do show up in the search results will get the business.

Here is an example of having a great online presence when a prospect goes searching for your company name. Buckets and Bows Maid Service dominates the page with their location on the map, their website, social media links and review site links.

Bucketsandbows

Here is another cleaning company in Dallas, but notice that they are not on the map, and every link on the page directs them back to their own website -- no social media presence and no review sites. In fact, they seem to really focus on being the "low-cost maid service" in the area. Not sure that makes for a very profitable business. 

Corkd

Do a similar search for your own business. What do you find? If you have a strong online presence, as the first company does, then chances are, it's going to help to convert your prospect and prompt them to pick up the phone. Once they call, the ball is in your court. All you have to do is close the sale!

If you are struggling with your online presence and with marketing your cleaning business, we'd like to invite you to Join our Marketing Discussion Group on Facebook!

 


How To Get A Meeting With A Cleaning Prospect That's Gone Silent

One of the most frequently asked questions we get from cleaning business owners goes something like this:

"I met with a prospect who loved my presentation and seemed ready to hire us, but now he's gone silent. How can I get him to make a decision?"

First, you never want to leave a meeting without stating what will happen next (ie: you'll call next Tuesday at 9am). Assuming that didn't happen, here are some tips to re-engage your prospect. But first...

What NOT to do when following up with a cleaning prospect:

  • DON'T send an email follow-up that looks like this: "I'm just following up to see if you're still interested in hiring our cleaning company." It sounds desperate and does nothing to prompt them into action.
  • DON'T send a follow-up email that says how interested you are in working with him or her. That isn't going to make an impression or get him or her to take action.

Follow-up-500x300

Do this instead to nudge your cleaning prospect:

  • Find a better reason to stay in touch, instead of sending desperate emails. Everyone talks about adding value by sending an interesting article you think your prospect might be interested in. Take it a step further and send them an article that YOU have written that demonstrates your expertise. And make sure it's a topic they'd be interested in or that is important to their business. For example, maybe there's a recent flu outbreak and you've written a blog post on how to prevent the spread of germs in an office setting. 

  • Mail them something of value. Our clients loved our monthly newsletter. And yes, we actually printed it out and mailed it to them. They are much more likely to open something that lands on their desk than they are to open an email newsletter, where it's easy to hit the Delete key. We also sent it to prospects that we really wanted to do business with. In our initial meeting we gave them a copy, and then continued to mail it to them. In one case, our prospect was in the early stages of building a 50,000 sq ft, Class A office building. It took several months, but instead of badgering them with phone calls, we stayed in touch with the newsletter. And we were the first ones they called when it came time to submit proposals.

  • Think about what might make the timing of a follow-up meeting important right now. Maybe winter is just ending and you know their floors are in desperate need of professional cleaning. 
  • Give them a reason to be interested. You had them engaged in your first meeting, so find a way to re-engage them. Think back to what their issues are with the current cleaning service. For example, you could say something like, "At our last meeting you mentioned that you are tired of the soap dispensers running out of soap all the time. I have an idea on how to fix that problem." Remember, it's not about you; it's about your prospect's problems and how you can fix them.

  • Find a client or colleague who can give them a nudge. LinkedIn is a great resource for finding common connections with clients and prospects. Maybe a current client who knows Mr. Prospect would be willing to put in a good word.

A tip regarding your cleaning prospect's preferred method of communication

Many of us are so used to text messaging instead of actually calling people, that we simply assume that everyone is ok with it. But before you start bothering your prospect with text messages, find out their preference early on. 

During your first call or meeting, get their cell phone number. Afterwards, send a text message to say you've added him or her as a contact and are looking forward to your next meeting. You'll know by the reply you get (or don't get), whether or not texting is a good way to stay in touch. If they do reply, be sure to use texting responsibly: do not badger them with texts, text them during business hours only, spell out words and use short sentences. In other words, don't text like a teenager if you know what I mean (lol)...

If you've been following up regularly for about 3 months without response, it's time to give it a rest

Sometimes the timing just isn't right. It doesn't necessarily mean they'll never hire you. We've had prospects contact us a year or more after our initial meeting, finally ready to make the switch. Check back in 6 months or so to see if you get a response. If not, let it go and put the ball in their court by letting them contact you when they're ready. 


Go Deep Into One Target Market Before Being A One-Stop-Shop For All Your Cleaning Clients

One of our members at The Janitorial Store recently asked us about being a one-stop-shop for all his cleaning clients. This is nothing new in the cleaning industry and we do recommend that you provide many services to your clients. 

There are a couple reasons for being a one-stop-shop:

  1. First, you become the go-to service provider for just about everything your client might need. Not only is it convenient for them, it's profitable for you.
  2. Second, you keep competitors from getting these extra services and potentially stealing away your clients.

But before you start targeting several different markets and offering many different services, take a step back and come up with a plan to do it successfully. I've seen too many cleaning companies lose control because they're moving in a hundred different directions, quickly burning themselves out with the chaos of the situation. 

Are you a One Stop Shop for Cleaning Clients?

If you want to be a one-stop-shop for your cleaning clients, then consider this:

The first thing you want to do is to go deep into one target market, mastering that sector before diving into other markets. For example, if you want to target office buildings, then really learn that market well, and learn how to offer all those extra services like windows, carpets and hard floor care so that you're the one-stop-shop for that market.

Once you have that experience under your belt, then start thinking about how to approach your next target market and what you need to know. For example, if you want to go into medical office cleaning, what expertise do you need for that particular market? Your next goal might be to add educational facilities. That's fine, just keep in mind that you don't want to be all things to all target markets until you get really good at one or two in the beginning.

The added advantage of going deep with select groups of target markets

The added advantage of going deep with a select group of target markets is that you start to build a reputation for being an expert at that type of facility. We used to clean a lot of banks. We gained the reputation in town of being the trustworthy company that were experts at cleaning banks. In fact, when employees moved from one bank to another, they often recommended our service to the decision maker because they noticed their new bank wasn't as clean as the one they just left. The more bank branches we cleaned, the easier it was to build that part of our business.

Once you have things up and running with with a few clients in place and supervisors running the day to day operations, you'll have more time to research what you need to know in the new market you're going after. You need this time to get the education needed, to train your people and build the connections that will help you achieve your goal of serving this new market.

None of this happens overnight. But if you want to become a stronger, healthier cleaning company, then being strategic about your growth will help you maintain control and avoid the chaos of trying to be all things to all people. 


SEO Tips for Residential, Commercial and Janitorial Cleaning Companies

Today, businesses in every industry have websites on the Internet; in fact, it is almost essential that companies have a website, because so many people search for products and services via mobile devices, laptops, and other digital means.  This includes residential, commercial and janitorial cleaning companies.  For every company, search engine optimization is vital to being found online. 

For those who aren't certain of what SEO strategies to use, here are a few tips focused specifically on cleaning and janitorial services.

Since most cleaning companies provide their services locally, it is important to optimize for local search.  This involves performing keyword research to learn what phrases people use to search for your services.  For instance, if you are located in Kansas City, perhaps your target customer is using "residential cleaning service in Kansas City" or something similar.  Be sure to use these keyword phrases in your content, including website pages, videos, blog posts, etc.

Seo-Optimize-Keywords-Links-Si-32859839

Be Sure Your Website Is Fully Optimized. Many of the tips below relate to ‘off-page’ strategies and techniques. Truth be told, your website needs to be SEO friendly, with optimized text and content AND needs to have a clear call to action in order to convert clicks into inquiries and sales.  While on-page SEO can get technical, there are great online resources such as free one-click SEO website reviews – some of these you may able to implement on your own while other you may need help from your web developer.  If you are considering building a new website, or re-designing your current site, be sure to do research on small business web development before you spend money on a new website.

Include your location in your website pages.  If your cleaning or janitorial service has an office location or location other than your home address, include your physical location (including city and state).  This helps Google deliver relevant results when users search for services in a particular city/state.

Create a Google Plus Company Page and Yahoo Local account.  In addition, it is helpful for Chamber of Commerce members to be listed on their website.  Listings in relevant business directories will also help.

Be Proactive About Your Online Reputation.  Online reviews, particularly Google reviews, can help your business in so many ways.  The best online exposure you can ever achieve is when your Google Plus Company Page appears first in Google Search results with a deep list of authentic positive reviews.  Clicks from high-star organic search results (assuming your website is optimized for conversion) are virtually guaranteed to result in a sale.  Yet, this is a “live by the sword, die by the sword” strategy.  In other words, you need to be proactive about gathering positive reviews and managing negative reviews, or this strategy can backfire on you.

Gather quality inbound links.  Links coming into your website should be of high quality and relevant.  If your janitorial service, or residential /commercial cleaning company is a member of various business associations, try to get a link from their site to your own.  The same goes for other local businesses.  You can also supplement organic SEO campaigns with pay-per click adverting, which is a great way to fill in any SEO gaps and maximize your campaign’s return on investment.

Engage in social media.  Today, social media participation is a huge component of effective SEO for all types of businesses.  Depending on which social media platforms your target audience uses most, you may want to create business profiles or pages on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.  Search engines "listen" to social signals, so the more your content gets shared, liked, re-tweeted, and linked to, the higher your rank will be in search engine results pages.

Make sure local citations are consistent.  Any time your company is mentioned on the web, it is known as a local citation.  In all of these, your information should remain consistent and include name, address, and phone number.  Be sure that addresses are all the same, for instance that all include Road or Rd, or Boulevard/Blvd.  Avoid using the full address on some, and abbreviations on others.

Above all else, make sure your content is of exceptional quality.  Today, content really IS king when it comes to SEO for your cleaning or janitorial company.  Content should be informative, valuable, and engaging.  Answer the readers' questions, and leave them wanting more.  Great content is what gets linked to and shared via social media, so make it awesome!

These are a few of the most important tips for improving your SEO efforts as a residential or commercial cleaning company or janitorial service.  Treat your website as a revenue-generating asset, focus on delivering what potential clients are looking for, and create great content on a consistent basis.

About the Author:
Phil Singleton is the owner of KCSeoPro.com, a full-service online marketing services company that provides organic search engine optimization and other Internet marketing services, and KCWebdesigner.com, a WordPress web development firm specializing in custom SEO-friendly websites and custom web applications.  Phil is also a Duct Tape Marketing™ Certified Consultant and provides small business marketing product and service at KCMarketingAgency.com.


Managing Your Cleaning Company’s Social Networks Using Hootsuite

Social media’s presence is ever-expanding and today’s cleaning business owner will have to keep up with the rapidly changing pace or risk fading away. The good news is there are a broad range of tools and platforms out there that will help the business owner manage their social networks and media presence.

One such management tool that helps us manage our company’s numerous networks is the social media manager called Hootsuite. It allows us to track and post across our social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Linkedin. With the various social media networks that we need to update, post and monitor on a daily basis, Hootsuite provides us with the features we need to keep process simple and to keep attracting new followers.

What is Hootsuite?

Hootsuite is a social media management system. The service is commonly used to manage online brands and to submit messages to a variety of social media services, including Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. Companies and organizations known to use Hootsuite include Facebook, the Obama administration, HBO, Martha Stewart Media, Sony Music, Virgin Group, Panasonic, Zappos, and The Gap, according to Wikipedia.

How would Hootsuite benefit your cleaning business?

  • You will have the ability to create content and post it later (schedule up to 350 messages to post automatically).
  • There is an AutoSchedule function that allows you to pre-schedule release times of your social network posts.
  • Provides analytical data that is easy to understand and you can create reports from that data with simple drag and drop tools and widgets.
  • You can have multiple people (teams) manage your social media so you can delegate tasks and set permissions within your team.

Some of the key features and benefits that we have found to be most useful using Hootsuite as our social media management service are:

1) Management of All Social Media Networks

Hootsuite allows you and/or your social media management personnel to efficiently and effectively manage and post across all your social profiles from one convenient place. If you have multiple pages or channels, you can post to all of them at the same time (see figure 1). For example, if you have several Twitter, Google+ or Facebook pages, Hootsuite is a convenient way for you to post to them all, at once, from one website. This is a big time saver.

But be cautious when doing so because the posts that you want to appear on your business Facebook page may not be the same content you want your Twitter audience to see, and vice versa. We also found that because Twitter only allows 140 characters for posts, we are not able to broadcast the same messages to our Twitter accounts, even if we wanted to.

Hootsuite allows you to connect with more than 35 popular networks. Here is a list of just some of the top networks that Hootsuite currently allows you to manage:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook Profiles, Events, Groups & Pages
  • LinkedIn Profiles, Pages & Groups
  • Google+ Pages (currently not personal profiles)
  • Foursquare
  • Instagram
  • Myspace
  • WordPress blogs
  • Vimeo, via.me, reddit, StumbleUpon, Instagram, edocr, tumblr, evernote, flickr, get Satisfaction, mailchimp, slideshare, storify (via 3rd party apps)
  • Just to name a few!

Figure 1

Figure-1

2) AutoSchedule Function

The autoschedule function allows you to manually select what time you want to schedule or post your social media messages. You have the capability to manually schedule, auto schedule, or send now (see figure 2).

Figure 2

Figure-2

3) Social Analytics

Hootsuite has many analytic options for you to choose from so that you can track and test your efforts (see figure 3). It gives you the information to decide what has worked in the past, which enables you to best determine your next course of action. You will have the data to create reports including weekly emails from Hootsuite with a pdf attachment of your click summaries including number of clicks per day, geographical information, top referrers, and most popular links. Some of the analytics features may cost you extra depending on what package you are in

Figure 3

Figure-3

4) Team Management Facility

This feature allows for more than one person to manage your business’ social media networks. It allows you the option of delegating to different people within your media team. Your media team personnel can log in and see what tasks have been assigned to them and respond accordingly. For example, if you have a customer service employee who is knowledgeable on the products and service you offer and most of your tweets are questions pertaining to those products and services, you can assign the tweets to that person for follow up. Team members can also send private messages to each other. This comes in useful if you have personnel working from other locations, such as home.

5) Other Benefits

You can save drafts (messages) in Hootsuite and comeback to them later when you are ready to share and post them. There is also file sharing. You can upload your files and photos directly to Hootsuite and share them via a simple shortened link. 

Hootsuite has apps for most devices including Apple, Android, and Blackberry.

There are a variety of plans that you can purchase from Hootsuite that will fit your particular prerequisites for social media management. As of this writing, you can start with their 30 day free trial starting at $9.99/month (it supports only one user and five social profiles, for instance).You will not be charged for anything if you cancel your account before your 30 day free trial expires. You can upgrade, downgrade or cancel at any time.

Hootsuite offers help support via the online help desk as well as educational resources such as 200+ instructional videos, 50+ webinars, and the Hootsuite certification (there is a small fee to enroll in Hootsuite University).

Conclusion

Hootsuite allows us the convenience of only having to visit one website to complete almost all of our social media tasks. We use it to send and check messages as well as keep our followers informed of any new products and services we are launching. It helps us to manage marketing campaigns and keeps us noticed and relevant. After all, that is where our customers are.