By John Braun
Some cleaners feel that digital marketing has replaced the old fashioned, mailed newsletter. Consumers love digital media. But has digital marketing replaced mail? We’ll explore the ins and outs of client marketing and see ways to mix it with digital marketing.
Why contact your past clients?
Do your clients ask, “Who should I make this check out to?” If so, they’re telling you they do not remember your company name. When they need you again next year, they’ll look you up online. But if they don’t remember your name, they’ll call your competition. Sure, magnets, spot bottles, brochures, and cards are great, but they get lost or thrown away.
Keeping your name in front of clients is key to getting them to call you back, use you for different services, and refer you. Plus, repeat-client education boosts job tickets. Newsletters are perfect for this. Industry leaders like Lee Pemberton and Howard Partridge have always recommended client newsletters sent in the mail. Regular, frequent communication to your clients has been one of the most common ways to build a reliable cleaning business.
- It’s the cheapest marketing you can do. Email newsletters can be sent to your entire client list for less than $30 per month; text messages can be sent for pennies; and voicemail blasts can be sent for pennies each.
- Some clients can be reached easier with digital marketing. For some clients, email is the best way to reach them. Additionally, text messages get read 90 percent of the time.
- Your company is seen as modern if you do digital marketing. This will surely impress some clients.
Here are some of the negative points of digital client marketing:
- Many clients don’t want emails from their cleaning company. Out of all the clients who are willing to give you their email address, only 10 to 15 percent will regularly open your emails. What’s worse is half of them will unsubscribe or give you an email address they never check. If you only use email marketing for client communication, 85 to 90 percent of your clients will never hear from you again.
- Voicemail blast marketing could get irritating. If you want to keep a good relationship with your clients, you can’t overuse this media. A few voicemails a year are the maximum I’d recommend.
- Text messages can get irritating, too. Yes, every text message you send will get read. But your clients won’t be happy receiving text messages unless they are sent on a limited basis and they have agreed to get them.
- Digital media is saturated. There’s a lot of spam since messages are cheap. You’ll be viewed as a spammer if you don’t use it tastefully.
Here are some positive points of regular mail:
- Your competition is not doing it. I’d estimate that 90 percent of your competitors never send their clients reminders, thank you notes, or anything in the mail. If you do it, you’ll be seen as a professional.
- Mail gets read. Sending mail is the only sure way to regularly reach your client. Someone at the house will see your mail and at least glance at your message.
- Clients aren’t annoyed with mail as much as digital marketing. There are exceptions, but generally mail isn’t as interruptive because people can check their mail on their time.
- You can casually remind customers about your services when each season, event, or holiday comes up.
Here are some negative points of regular mail:
- It costs money. This is the biggest reason most cleaners don’t use it. It may cost you 37 cents or more per client.
- Designing the mailer can be difficult. Many cleaners don’t have the experience in graphic design to put together a mailer.
- Mail gets thrown away. The message gets glanced at and then tossed in the garbage on most occasions.
Hit targets with every possible media
Most marketing experts will tell you to hit your prospect with more than one media. Some clients will only be receptive to online marketing, while others are only receptive to offline marketing, yet other clients may get reached by both media.
My own cleaning company enjoyed an 80 percent repeat client rate due to sending client mailers and emails nearly every month. I also talked with a few cleaners recently who doubled their repeat client ratio by sending a regular newsletter.
Ideas for client mailers and digital media
Send messages based on holidays and seasons.
For example, during the month of November, send fall or Thanksgiving messages. During the winter cold snap, send a message with education on what to do if pipes freeze. When kids go back to school after the summer, send messages about summer ending and kids going to school.
Client mailers should ideally be sent to everyone who has done business with you in the past two or three years. After that time, send your clients a reminder that they haven’t had cleaning done in the past two years and remove them from your mailing list if they don’t call.
With what frequency should you contact your clients? Mailers should ideally be sent every one or two months. Emails should be sent every week. Text messages should be limited to once every quarter. Voicemail blasts should be limited to a couple of times per year.
Include information that educates your clients about your services. Give spot-removal tips, maintenance tips, tips on how to select the best new flooring, and any information you can give to help them. Add a short segment about your referral program and include some type of special offer just for your past clients.
In summary, you should do both! Digital marketing is cheap, so do it. But if you’re only doing digital marketing, you’re leaving behind most of your client base. Direct mail is the only guaranteed way to reach your clientele. The most successful cleaning companies I know mail to their clients regularly.
Sample Client Newsletters
John Braun is the author of the #1 best-selling Amazon book Killer Advertising for Cleaning Businesses. Through his company, Hitman Advertising, he regularly speaks at industry events and coaches cleaners to create better marketing strategies. Reach him and get a free marketing plan at