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Clean For Their Health, Darn It!

Clean For Their Health

It’s that time of year again. Seems like everyone is getting sick. All kinds of bugs being passed around. And, since my life revolves around Chem-Dry, I got to thinking about what our franchises could do to capitalize on the plight of their ailing consumers. Here we go!

Look for Sick-O’s

No, not in the traditional meaning of the term. Target specific words that would indicate a customer’s need to avoid illness. Often, those searches are made out of an immediate need. So, when Mrs. Jones types “cleaning vomit from carpet”, “cleaning after the flu” or “keeping my family healthy during the winter” (or something along those lines), you show up waving a banner telling them that you can remove 89% of airborne bacteria from their home, offering a healthier cold & flu season!

Go Tell It On the Mountain

Okay, maybe I’ve been listening to too much Christmas music already, but every single one of your past customers should know what you’re offering this winter. Mail them. E-mail them. Text them. Call them. Do whatever, but they need to hear from you. Not only that, think about this: would you throw in half-priced (or even free!) sanitizer for a long-time customer in order to fill your schedule in January? I would!
Your messaging to your customers should be so prolific that it’s as if you’re shouting from the rooftops!

Your Best Advertisers

Along the same lines, why not turn your customers into the best advertising you can do? Ask them to share with their neighbors! Their neighbors can get the same great prices and you get the benefit of a new customer. Again, would you sacrifice some margin in order to fill your schedule while there’s snow on the ground?
Maybe consider a postcard with a tear-away section that Mrs. Jones can pass to Mrs. Smith to get her to call when her little Jimmy gets sick (because we know how those bugs go from house to house).
Big Takeaway:
You’re part of a brand that totes “Drier. Cleaner. Healthier.” as its tagline. You should stand out against the competition during the cold & flu season as the healthier option.
  1. In search advertising, focus on the healthy message. Find people who are searching for very specific help.
  2. Shout your message from the rooftops to anyone who will listen – especially your past customers.
  3. Get your best customers to share your specialty when their friends and family get sick. Everyone wins!
If you’d like help putting together a campaign for this cold/flu season, or just want to show me what you’ve done, click here to schedule a 30-minute coaching call with me. Otherwise, you can simply reply to this e-mail or call me directly at 435-890-1055.
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Hunting for Customers

Adobe Spark (20)It’s that time of year again. Here at headquarters, we see people all around preparing for whatever hunting season it is right now (I’m not one of them). I also see social media posts about getting ready for their annual deer/hog/duck/jackalope hunts. Even if you don’t hunt, let me explain why this is on my mind.

Like Picking Apples

Envision with me, if you will, that you’re wanting to hunt ducks. You happen to live on a large plot that’s right next to a marshland FULL of mallards, teals, and wood ducks. You could literally walk out 100 yards with your dogs and your shotgun and bring in your limit within an hour or two. It would be as easy as picking apples from a low-hanging tree.

Would you rather do that or drive into the city and try your luck at the local park pond?

Now, ignoring the obvious infringement of city limit hunting ordinances, which one makes more sense? Of course, the first one! It’s obvious!

Your past customers are like these ducks sitting in the marsh behind your house. You know they’re there. They’re “expecting” to hear from you at some point. They’ve worked with you before and know you. Why would you ignore them?

Rule #1 for owning a Chem-Dry during the pre-holiday season: MARKET TO YOUR DATABASE. Use what you have available:

– Postcards from Postcard Guru or Franchise Print Shop.

– E-mail with ConstantContact.

– Voice/Text Messages w/ Specials with CallFire.

Whatever you choose (hopefully a combination of ALL of them), just DO IT!

Going for New Game

Think for a moment about hunting for new customers. Say you’d never hunted deer before and you asked a seasoned expert where you should go. He told you to get up into the mountains where they’ll be looking for available food. Would you go to the foothills and then wait for one to walk down out of their way and right past you? NO!

If you want to land new customers, you go where the new customers are. Yes, I’m speaking again of Pay-Per-Click. PPC has proven to be far and away the most reliable source for new customers for virtually every Chem-Dry franchise I talk to. Very rarely do I come across anyone that it hasn’t worked for.

New customers are searching daily for your services. Why wouldn’t you want to be one of the results they see?!

One of the great things is that we’ve done some of the hard work for you. We’ve found vendors that are not only reputable, but that are reasonably priced as well. Check out vendors like Net Search DigitalLocal Search MastersWeb Marketing Services, or Centermark. They know their stuff. If you EVER have any questions about whether or not their services will work for you, call me!

Big Takeaway:

Fall is an INCREDIBLE time of year to be a Chem-Dry franchise owner. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be working full days every day. But make sure you have your bases covered.

  1. Market to your database. Use postcards, e-mail, and phone or text messages.
  2. Find new customers through Pay-Per-Click marketing.
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3 Cardinal Rules of E-Mail Marketing

With summer winding down soon, it’s time to start thinking about inexpensive ways to market to your database. While you should definitely not dial back your marketing for new customers, it’s important to show your database some love.
Allow me to share my 3 Cardinal Rules of E-mail Marketing:
  1. Keep it SHORT – The less text, the better.
  2. SHOW, Don’t Tell – Use engaging images to catch and keep their attention. Show them what you’re going to do.
  3. Drive ACTION – Use buttons, links, and phone numbers to get them to act.
Here’s an example that I put together.
Scott's Labor Day Sale Example

Keep it SHORT

Subject Lines: Subject lines are your customer’s first look into the content of your e-mail. Give them a clear reason to open your e-mail. Keep it short and concise (ideally, 6 words or less) and enticing.
Content: I’ll talk more about this in the next section, but remember that the majority of people are far more stimulated by images than by text. Keep your content short and don’t combine too much into one e-mail. You’re probably only e-mailing your customers at most every 4-6 weeks, so you’ll feel tempted to cram as much information in there as you can. DON’T! Give them a maximum of 3 key pieces of information.

SHOW, Don’t Tell

With so many of your customers reading e-mails on mobile devices (probably in excess of 85%!), you’re probably best served to use pictures to deliver your message. There are TONS of resources available to you, like:
  • Pictures on the Gateway
  • Printing Vendors
  • Before/After pictures from the Facebook Group
With so many resources, it should be able to throw something together without a lot of effort.

Drive ACTION

Much like your website, I don’t really care about how many people read your e-mail. I want to know what action people took from your e-mail.
Here are a few things to do:
  1. Inject a tracking number in your e-mail. Since so many of your customers will read from a mobile device. They won’t go looking for your phone number. They’ll just touch the number in your e-mail to call.
  2. Link a picture to a specials page on your website.
  3. Create a “Book Now” button that links directly to a form-fill page on your website.
  4. At very least, offer a (shareable!) coupon code in your e-mail so you know exactly how many jobs or customers you got from it.

Big Takeaway:

E-mail marketing is incredibly cost effective and can make a HUGE difference in your profitability this fall, but you have to do it right.
  1. Be short. Get people the information they need quickly.
  2. Show them why they should call. Use images to tell the story.
  3. Get customers to take action by providing actionable things in your e-mail.
If you’d like help putting together an e-mail campaign for this fall, or just want to show me what you’ve done, click here to schedule a 30-minute coaching call with me. Otherwise, you can simply reply to this e-mail or call me directly at 435-890-1055.
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Connecting With “The One” Customer – Part I

We have a pretty good idea of what our core customer is. You know them, you can probably picture them in your mind. But sometimes you have to do more than target the group as a whole. People feel important when you address them directly. They also will surprise you with the unique ways the find you. Here’s one thing you can do this week to make your customers feel more special.

Make E-mail About THEM

Consumers are automatically more interested in a message you have to share with them when they feel like it’s personalized. Luckily, that’s an easy fix.
Without getting too complicated, you can address your customers individually using a technology called “dynamic content” in e-mail.
What it does is create a salutation at the beginning of the e-mail that either defaults to something like “Hello, Valued Customer” and inserts a name into it if you provide the “input” resulting in something like “Hello, Chris.”
If you want to get really fancy, you can try putting their name in the subject line to say something like “A Deal Just for Dan”.
I wrote about this last year and showed you how to do it in Constant Contact. Take a look here.
Big Takeaway:
Make your marketing about your customer. They’ll respond. I promise.
  1. Try having an e-mail speak directly to your customer.
  2. If you can, get their name in the subject line!
The service industry is a very personal one. It’s a loyalty business. Encourage a personal relationship with your customer by using their name and what they’re looking for.
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Do You Know Where Your Customers Are?

Remember 20-30 years ago when they used to broadcast on TV and say “It’s 10:00 pm. Do you know where your kids are?”
My parents were talking about that a few days ago and it got me thinking – in the most important time of the year, do my franchisees know where their customers are? Are they able to confidently market to them?

Your Database

I’ve said many times that a business’s most valuable asset is their customer database. For some owners, it’s THOUSANDS of names, addresses, and phone numbers for past customers. How much is that information worth to you as a business?
Let’s put it this way – if you have 1,500 customers in your database, and you an get 80% of them to do business with you annually, that’s 1,200 customers in a year. At 100 customers a month. 4 -5 customers per day (if you’re cleaning the usual 22 days a month).
At a job average of $250 per job, that’s $1,000 per day. $22,000 – 25,000 per month. $264,000 – 300,000 per year!
BUT… Your database needs some love. If you think that you’ll get 80% of them to book a job with you annually without any effort on your part, you’re nuts.
Have It All Together
I love hearing that people are marketing to their past customer databases regularly. It makes my heart sing, actually. But one of the differences between those that do and those that don’t is having their customer list collected together. It’s all in one place.
Your life as a business owner becomes infinitely easier when you have your customers all collected in one place. Personally, I would love for you to be using onTrack because it’s custom-built for Chem-Dry. However, if you decide on another software, I’m just happy you’re moving in that direction.
Most of these software programs will offer marketing integration options to mail, e-mail, or otherwise contact your customers to make additional offers to them. USE THEM!

Don’t Have Time?

I totally understand. You’re busy. You’ve got a lot going on. You probably feel like that rabbit from Alice in Wonderland at times.
Here’s what you should do:
Mail it to HRI and we’ll digitize the customer list for you and e-mail you the file.
We see enough value in it that we’ll take the invoices you mail us and put them all into a nice, neat file so you can upload it to a Database Management System like onTrack. This can make a HUGE difference in your business and make it far easier to market to past customers that need to hear from you.

Big Takeaway:

Your database is full of great customers. But if you can’t easily access their information, it’s unlikely that they’ll ever hear from you.
  1. Market to your database. Whether it’s postcards, e-mail, whatever. I don’t really care. Just do it.
  2. Collect your customer invoices for the past few years.
  3. Get the list digitized to upload to a management system.
Repeat customers should be the lifeblood of your business. Get yourself ready to communicate with them by collecting them together in a database.
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Don’t Try So Hard (But Try a Little)!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from being a business coach, it’s that trying to get people to make changes is hard and that I usually try TOO hard. Whether you realize it or not, you’re probably treating your customers the same way.
Here’s what I mean.

They Have to WANT to Change

I can write e-mails, blogs, and make phone calls until the day I die that plead with people to change the way they’re doing things and only influence so many changes.

BUT if I change my tactic to help them want to change first, then they come to me ready to act because they know how I can help them.

Your customers are the same way. Often, when we’re trying to get a customer to buy an additional service or product, we try too hard to get coerce them into buying when just the opposite is needed. We end up selling out of our own pocket just to get them to buy when we could more easily communicate the need for the service if we would just shut up and let them come to us. We plant the seed of desire and let them nurture it.

What I DON’T Mean:

I’m not saying that you should do nothing and wait for your customers to come to you.You have to be communicating regularly. But too often, we’re communicating the wrong things – en mass. This goes for both in-home sales and marketing.
Don’t talk or write about the “what” they should buy from you or how it works. They don’t care. They know you’re the expert. That’s why they called you in the first place. Who does your customer care about? Themselves. Their family. Their home. Tell them “why” it helps them.
For example:

Mailing Your Database

I talked last week about the importance of mailing your database. You’ve probably spent a considerable amount of money purchasing postcards and mailing them out. Have you thought about sending that postcard as an e-mail?
Your postcard should be short, simple, and to the point. It talks about why someone should call you. Do the same thing in an e-mail. In fact, have your printer save the postcard as a simple picture and just put it in your e-mail.
If all your e-mail had was a good, short subject line (I talk about how here and here) that tells them why they should open it. Something like “Cleaner Carpet for a Healthier Family” or “We’re the Pet Odor Elimination Experts”.
Then include your name, phone number, and the picture of the postcard in the body of the e-mail, that would be sufficient to get people to call you.
Seriously. Try it. Don’t stress out about writing a ton for an e-mail. Just send them the card. Keep it simple, silly!

Big Takeaway:

Improved sales drive high revenues. You won’t sell what your customers don’t value. You create value when you keep things simple and let them sell themselves.
  1. Talk about them and why the sale helps them.
  2. Respect their time. Remind them that you’re there to help, but don’t waste you communications.
  3. Try a simple e-postcard for your next mailing. You might be amazed at how well it works and how easy it was for you!
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Use Your Database!

When auditors assess the value of a business, they know that a company’s most valuable (and often most overlooked) asset is their customer database. These are people that (for the most part) have done business with you in the past and would be happy to do it again.
So why aren’t they hearing from you?

Digital or Analog – I Don’t Care

Yes, this is a digital marketing blog, but I’m going to make an exception here because I think it’s THAT important. Whether you choose to communicate with your past customers via e-mail or postcards, it matters very little to me. They key is that they need to hear from you. Often.
Whenever I hear a business owner say that they can’t remember the last time they’d communicated with their customer list, I die a little inside.
I mean, it costs 8 times more money to get a new customer than it does to do business with a past customer. Why, then, do we place so much emphasis on getting new buyers and dismiss our past as if we’re a “got your money and run” scheme? That’s not how you operate.
Think of it like this watch – the analog hands and the digital display are doing exactly the same thing – telling me what time it is. Just like this watch, you need to have a presence there – to remind your customer that it’s time to call you.

Still Writing Addresses?

One of the biggest reasons this may not be getting done is that you may not be working from a digitized customer list. That’s okay – for now.
HRI see’s enough value in getting this done that if you have wanted to get your customer list digitized so you can move to an electronic customer management system (like onTrack, Camelot, etc.), we’ll help you get it digitized – for free.
If you’re interested in doing that, contact me and we can work out some of the details.

Big Takeaway:

Your business has customers that are paid for and waiting to hear from you. Ask yourself why they haven’t heard from you and what you can do about it NOW.
  1. Review your list of past customers.
  2. Take a look at postcard and e-mail communication options available.
  3. Invest in print or digital advertising to the customers who love you most and watch your schedule fill up!