Pick Any Neighborhood—and Dominate It
By John Braun
What if you could hand pick the neighborhoods you cleaned? Think how that would increase your average job ticket, cut down your drive time, and make business easier. When you get into the right neighborhood, a chain effect happens and everyone in your target neighborhood wants to do business with you.
So, pick the best neighborhood. That’s the first step. Then you have some work to do before you dominate it. But there are online and offline marketing strategies to position your cleaning or restoration company as the go-to company for any neighborhood you pick.
Your neighborhood message
To own an area, first create your marketing message. One message I used with great success involved branding my company as the “Neighborhood Cleaner.” The overall theme is that you are either located close by or you are regularly in the neighborhood.
Since you are pretty much neighbors, you make a “neighborly” special offer. The offers vary, but they generally involve giving away a couple of small gifts when they use your service. Don’t get hung up on the offer. You can make whatever offer you want, but good offers usually get a better response.
Include pictures of the target neighborhood or your van parked somewhere in the neighborhood. When you can, include pictures of clients you’ve cleaned for in the neighborhood. Put a picture of you or the company spokesperson in the ads too. Whenever possible, include testimonials, before and after pictures, awards you’ve won, and other elements that prove your credibility.
Some phrases my own company used with good success:
- “We just cleaned your neighbor’s home.”
- “We’re always in your neighborhood.”
- “You’re our special neighbor.”
- “Support local businesses in your neighborhood.”
- “Gas prices are high, so help save gas.”
All of these have been great topics and they all lead into a valid reason why we are giving them a special, exclusive offer. Some ideas for offers we’ve used:
- Free trial of one of service
- Free trial of more than one service (opens up selling more services)
- Free bottle of spot remover
- $25 or $50 off the first service
- Free restaurant gift card (Do a trade out with a restaurant.)
- Free car wash, massage, maid service, etc. gift card (Again, do a trade out.)
Normally, you’ll want to require a certain minimum job to give them this offer. For example, you may have an offer for 100 square feet of carpet cleaning, 50 square feet or tile cleaning, and a bottle of spot remover for free with any $125 minimum cleaning.
Will this cost you time or money? Yes. But remember, this is a special offer only to your target neighborhoods. I recommend you do this only in the best neighborhoods to build up your client base. If you really want to quickly be the neighborhood cleaner, you’re going to have to give a little to get a lot. Believe me, it’s worth giving a great offer to be known as the neighborhood cleaner.
Every door direct mail
This is a service by the United States Postal Service that allows you to send large postcards for 18.7 cents to each home. If you have a bulk mail permit, it’s only 16.2 cents per home. Another benefit is the ability to canvas an entire mail route without purchasing a mailing list. You can mail to as little as 200 homes at a time and you can do it without any kind of mailing permit or yearly fee.
Every door direct mail (EDDM) is typically mailed as a postcard. The size needs to be at least 6.25 inches tall or more than 11.5 inches long. Some popular sizes for our industry are 9×12, 8×10, 6.5×9, and 8.5×11. It’s a big postcard, so you have room to sell your service and tell the story of how you’re different from other companies. EDDM will require the post office’s postal indicia to be placed on the postcard as the stamp, and the words “Local Postal Customer” are written near the indicia to signify to the postal carrier that it’s mailed as EDDM.
The one drawback with EDDM is that you’ll have to mail to the entire mail route. The only homes skipped are empty homes. If an apartment complex or duplexes are on the mail route, you’ll mail to them as well. You have an option to skip mailing to commercial addresses if desired. Keep all of this in mind when designing your offer and campaign.
The biggest difference between EDDM and saturation mailing is that you’ll need to purchase a mailing list. Lists can be bought pretty cheap and are often included if you have a mailing house do the mailing for you.
You can mail much more than postcards with saturation mailing. You can mail letters, brochures, or large self-mailers. This is especially useful because a good sales letter outsells a postcard almost all the time.
You can pick and choose the homes you mail. If you want to mail to 50 or 100 homes around the home you cleaned last week, you can do that. This can help you niche down to the specific street or neighborhood you want to target. If you want to avoid mailing to apartments, saturation mail is a great choice.
You will need a bulk mail permit to do this type of mailing. Or, you could use a mail house. The cost for postage is comparable to EDDM at around 18 cents per home. However, large postcards or large envelopes may cost slightly more for postage.
I highly recommend you use saturation mail to send a letter, with a good offer, to a small target neighborhood. Keep it interesting. Print the letter up in a handwritten or typewriter font. This has been one of the highest-producing marketing campaigns I have done.
Neighborhood Google ads
Run a Google search-and-display ad campaign specifically to these same neighborhoods. You can pick areas as small as a one-mile radius for your campaign. These ads should have the same message, pictures, and offer as your offline campaign. The purpose is for someone to see your online ad and be reminded that you’ve been mailing them with the same message.
When you run a Google display ad, people in your target neighborhood will often see your ad on popular sites such as weather.com, cnn.com, local news sites, and lots of other popular local and national websites. It’s pretty impressive to see a local company show up on these sites as it’s not common for a local business to be on a national website.
Neighborhood Facebook ads
You can run ads on Facebook that show up only to people in your chosen one-mile radius. The same message and pictures should be used as in your other campaigns. Your prospects in your target neighborhood will see your ads while browsing Facebook. If they click your ad, you can lead them to your Facebook page, website, or to Facebook messenger.
With Facebook ads, always start your ad with your city name or the name of the area of town you are marketing. This catches attention and helps to establish you as the neighborhood cleaner.
Do all of these, and your company is seemingly everywhere in the mind of your target prospects living in that neighborhood. You can do a solid campaign like this with a budget of only a few hundred dollars per month. This is highly targeted marketing at its finest. Pick your prospect, pick your message, and get that message to her over and over again.
As you gain popularity in these neighborhoods, get testimonials and online reviews. Put those reviews in your neighborhood postcards and letters. Re-post those reviews on your website and Facebook page. Run Facebook and Google display ads with the reviews and testimonials. This will give you the social proof you need to solidify your status as the neighborhood cleaner.
John Braun is the author of the #1 bestselling 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 hitmanadvertising.com.