By Steve Marsh
Consumers depend on your marketing to clearly state why they should use your company.
If good reasons are not easily apparent, the consumer can only assume that none exist. You could be the absolute best possible option for that customer, but if you don’t make that perfectly clear, they will swiftly move on to your next competitor.
Few elements in a good marketing strategy will convey your superiority better than clearly stating your cleaning credentials. Credentials are the aspects of your company that make your service more valuable such as years of experience, formal education, certification, association memberships, and warranties and guarantees.
It’s not the price
Contrary to common thinking, lowest price, by itself, rarely drives consumers to choose a particular service company. If you needed eye surgery, would you make your selection of a doctor based solely on who charged the least amount?
There are three situations in which lowest price is a reasonable determining factor:
If the item or service you are choosing is a commodity, and the only differentiating factor is price.
If the service or product is not important and will not cause inconvenience.
If there are serious limitations on how much can be spent.
Otherwise, consumers shop for the best value. They want the most service they can receive for the amount they are willing to pay. Therefore, no matter what price you are charging, you must give good reasons why they should choose your company over a competitor who has similar pricing.
The company with the best credentials usually wins.
What are your cleaning credentials?
Do you know what your credentials are? Why should a consumer choose your company instead of the other? These are crucial questions, especially if you are a young or startup company and, therefore, highly dependent on advertising and marketing.
- Being an owner/operator,
- Being IICRC certified,
- Being an IICRC certified firm,
- Being a member of a trade
- Being a Better Business Bureau member,
- Guaranteeing on-time arrival,
- Offering a 30-day, spot-and-spill warranty.
A mature company will have additional valuable credentials available such as:
- Years in business,
- Angie’s List Super Service Award,
- IICRC Journeyman/Master Cleaner certification,
- Inspector certification,
- Other association memberships.
Specialty training certifications in the areas that you provide service, such as upholstery cleaning, tile and grout cleaning, water damage, and carpet repair, should be clearly stated also.
I am always impressed when I see technicians with a column of specialty certifications on the arm of their uniform shirt. I’ve heard owners complain that consumers don’t know who or what the IICRC is and see this as unimportant. But for marketing purposes, that doesn’t make any difference. It just looks impressive. Again, the company with the best credentials will usually win.
People often ask me what they should write for the copy of their website. After clearly stating the services the company provides and targeting wording at those consumers who will receive the best value (as I have written of in previous articles), the bulk of the remaining copy should cover all the relevant credentials of the company. These credentials should be prioritized according to their greatest value to the customer.
I have found that using logos and badges effectively and easily highlights a company’s strongest credentials. Trade associations, certification boards, and other organizational associations generally provide logos members can use. Guarantees, warranties, and years of experience are easily represented in a graphic form. You can do a Google search for images to represent these certifications.
Once you have compiled the collection of certification images and logos, display them along the bottom of invoices, newsletters, and other printed materials. These can also be listed on the bottom of webpages, but they will stand out even more if placed in the side column of the page.
Winning more customers
Think of marketing and advertising as an intense competition, like an Olympic sprinting event. Because consumers quickly scan advertising before narrowing their searches, your time to gain their attention is limited and your effort must be highly concentrated and noticeable.
Clearly listing and highlighting your company cleaning credentials will give you a definite advantage over your competitors. Companies that make the decision-making process easier for consumers will go home with the gold.
Steve Marsh is a 40-year veteran of the carpet cleaning industry, an instructor, and a Senior Carpet Inspector. He helps home-service companies quickly establish profitable clienteles and then progress to serving higher-quality customers. To help companies achieve these goals, Marsh created the step-by-step programs Single Truck Success and Be Competition Free. For more information, visit www.professional-carpet-cleaning-service.com.