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Nineteen Costly Marketing Mistakes (Part 2 of 2)

Nineteen Costly Marketing Mistakes, Part II by Joe Polish

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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.

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Nineteen Costly Marketing Mistakes (Part 1 of 2)

by Joe Polish, founder
Piranha Marketing Part 1 of 2…Here is Part 2

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Carpet cleaners could dramatically increase their number of new customers and referrals if they would avoid these costly marketing mistakes. Here, in the first of a two part article are nine mistakes to avoid.

Mistake 1: Advertising to the wrong market. If you advertise low price, you’ll attract people who want low price. And the problem with price shoppers is that they’re never loyal to you. They’re loyal only to the dollar. As soon as your competitor offers a lower price than you ask, these price shoppers go to your competitor and you’ve lost a customer. If you want to attract low price shoppers, then, by all means advertise low price. But if you want to attract people who are willing to pay for the service they receive, don’t advertise price. Advertise value.

Mistake 2: Advertising percentage off rather than dollars off. Carpet cleaners often advertise a special 20% discount for new customers. Yet many prospects don’t know the carpet cleaners’ regular prices so they can’t tell you how much money they’ll save. Instead, I suggest you advertise in dollars, such as Carpet cleaning just $59. You save $30 off our regular price!

Mistake 3: Failing to advertise your unique selling proposition (USP). The purpose of marketing is to tell your prospective customers how you’re unique. Your USP is the one thing that sets you apart form your competitors. Start by identifying what you do that’s different from everyone else. For example, your USP might be exceptional customer service, the lowest price for the most effective cleaning equipment. Then feature your unique selling proposition in the headline of your ads.

Mistake 4: Failing to point out how you’re different. People hire you because they think you’re different from the other carpet cleaners. So it’s your job to point out to prospective clients how you’re different. In your ads if you say. Two rooms for $29. Licensed, bonded, insured, you’re saying the same thing as every other carpet cleaner. Instead, tell your prospects why customers choose you instead of your competitors. Identify unusual services you perform, such as removing pet odour. Reassure your prospects that you have trained, certified technicians.

Mistake 5: Failing to overcome phone call fear. Consumers are tired of selling sales pressure. In fact, many consumers hate pressure so much that they don’t call because they’re afraid you might try to pressure them into making a decision. The hesitation that keeps them form calling is call phone call fear. It’s the fear of how they think you might treat them over the telephone. To overcome phone call fear, reassure callers that you don’t use sales pressure. Offer free information that you’ll send to anyone who calls. Offer a free consumer awareness message on voice mail to help educate consumers about carpet cleaning. This allows prospects to get information in a non-threatening way, and it allows you to establish a high level of credibility.

Mistake 6: Using dishonest or misleading advertising. This seems obvious but many carpet cleaners continue to use misleading advertising to attract calls from prospects. When you mislead customers, you lower yourself to the same level as bait-and-switch con artists. Over the long term, you won’t benefit because once customers discover they’ve been misled, they’ll never do business with you again. You gain nothing by misleading customers. In marketing, a straightforward, honest approach is the only method that works.

Mistake 7: Failing to explain how your prospect benefits. Your prospective customers want your service for only one reason: What it will do for me? Don’t concentrate on the features of your service; instead, identify each feature and then explain how that feature benefits your prospect in terms of what he needs, wants and feels.

Mistake 8: Failing to promote benefits other than appearance. No question about it, most homeowners want a clean carpet. But they want other things, too. A healthy carpet free from toxic chemicals; a home free from embarrassing pet odours; and a clean carpet that will wear longer than a dirty carpet. Appearance is only one reason homeowners want their carpets cleaned. Make sure you promote other benefits as well.

Mistake 9: Failing to stay in touch with your customer base. Customers are a source of income of your current business and future referrals. The moment they feel you don’t care about their business, they’ll go somewhere else. I urge you to stay in touch with customers by publishing a regular newsletter that provides them with practical, helpful information.

*Joe Polish specializes in teaching carpet cleaners in the United States how to get tons of new customers. For a FREE report call Joe’s free 24 hour recorded message at 1-602-235-2454.

Here is Part 2

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Advertising on your wand

All carpet cleaners should advertise on the front of their wands.

It is the most looked-at apparatus that your customer(s) see. It’s a moving billboard and it’s free advertising!

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