Nineteen Costly Marketing Mistakes, Part II by Joe Polish
Here, in the second of a two-part article, are ten more marketing mistakes carpet cleaners should avoid. Here is Part 1.
Mistake 10: Advertising in the yellow pages when you don’t offer emergency service. I’ve learned that the only time yellow page directory ads work are when you cater tourists, transients and emergency services. Now, I’m not saying a yellow page ad won’t bring in new business: it will if it is part of a well researched marketing program. But the cost is so high that you’ll get a better return on your investment by using the money for other types of marketing and advertising.
Mistake 11: Failing to have a system to generate referrals. Referrals don’t just happen. If you want referrals, you need to encourage them by rewarding the customers who send them. To encourage referrals, you might offer current customers a cash reward, discount, free cleaning or other incentive.
Mistake 12: Changing methods when your current marketing method still works well. When carpet cleaners grow tired of their ads, they usually change them. This is a terrible mistake. The only time you should change an ad or a marketing method is when it quits working. When you see your response dropping, then you test a new ad, not before. Remember, your customers don’t see your ad as often as you do. And, when they’re looking for a carpet cleaner, you want them to be sure your most powerful ad is there waiting for them. It makes good sense to test a new ad to see how it compares with your current ad. If it works well, you can ad it to your advertising program. But don’t replace any ad or marketing method because you’re tired of looking at it. Replace your ad or change
methods only if it stops working, or if a new ad brings better results.
Mistake 13: Failing to test new marketing methods. Never stop trying to out-so your current methods of promotion for two reasons: 1) your competitors are probably testing similar methods and you want to stay ahead of your competitors; and 2) once you find a more prod=fitable method you make your promotions even more cost effective.
Mistake 14: Expecting your ads to convey your entire marketing message. Because your ads are no longer a cost effective way to deliver a complete marketing message. I suggest you use ads to generate inquiries form interested prospects. Then you can provide complete information over the telephone or by mail.
Mistake 15: Assuming your prospect beleives what you say. Prospects are skeptical, particularly of carpet cleaners. They won’t do business with someone they don’t trust. To establish your credibility, present facts that are positive and specific. Use language your prospect understands. Explain what you can do, how you will do it, and how the customer will benefit from your services. In addition, show letters of recommendation from current and past customers.
Mistake 16: Relying on only one method of promotion. Advertising, yellow pages, door hangers, publicity, direct mail, seminars – they all work to some degree. But they are more effective when they’re used together. When one method supports and reinforces another, the results are greater than any one method working alone.
Mistake 17: Delaying your marketing program until you need it. Marketing isn’t something you turn on and off like a faucet. Often, the time you need marketing most is when you can least afford it. Most carpet cleaners are busy in the spring and before holidays. But they often forget the summer and the first of the year when times are lean. Carpet cleaning is either feast or famine. So make sure you keep your marketing program in place and working year round. This will keep your business in a 12 month feast, and famine will be a thing of the past.
Mistake 18: Using selling-based marketing. This puts you in the role of a sealesperson. Customers are tired of selling and sales pressure. And if you do anything that causes you to look like a sales person, you immediately shoot yourself in the foot. You don’t want your customer to think you’re trying to sell something. Yet, when you use a selling-based marketing, everything you do is designed to sell. In today’s market, selling-based marketing works against you. Don’t use selling based marketing.
Mistake 19: Assuming your prospective customers understand carpet cleaning. You live, eat, sleep, and breathe carpet cleaning, so it’s easy for you to assume that your customers understand carpet cleaning as well as you do. They don’t. In fact, if your customer gets his carpets cleaned once a year, he has very little exposure to information other than what your technician tells him when he arrives at the customer’s home. And what about your prospective customer? He may have never had his carpets cleaned. So he may know absolutely nothing at all. Make sure your marketing message is simple and direct. Don’t use big words. If you do, you risk your prospect not understanding what you’re saying. And people don’t buy what they don’t understand. Use your marketing message to educate your prospective customer. And remember, keep everything simple.