A simple way to think about building a marketing plan is we are asking a sequence of questions and listing all the different information, tools we will need long term. Marketing Plans are meant to be living documents that change over time, we would suggest updating yours every month. This way we have one central place to keep all of our marketing information. Over time you will change your mind and add or delete different areas.
The point is trying to get all of this information rowing in the same direction, an organized pathway of point A to point B to point C. Often commercial cleaning services just kind of throw things against the wall hoping for the best. We are trying to get everything working together as a team.
This plan can be used for janitorial services, commercial cleaning, office cleaning and specialty services like commercial carpet & tile cleaning.
List of Topics To Include In A Cleaning Service Marketing Plan
- Plan Structure
- What is our goal
- Values- what do we believe in
- Key Accounts- business profiles
- Customer Persona- typical personal behavior of the managers at those buildings
- Marketing Strategy
- Content- inventory of content needed
- What tactics and platforms will we use to reach them
- Specific tactics of each platform and frequency
- Referrals and Reviews
- Buyer Journey- typical pathway a buyer will take
- Staying in touch with leads, clients and referral sources long term
- Service Experience
- Analytics and Tracking
SUMMARY– this is where we write an overview
This is a sample commercial cleaning marketing plan, part one summary. Right Step commercial cleaning is a full service janitorial and commercial cleaning business located in Tampa FL. The initial marketing plan is focused on Medical accounts for a 10 mile radius of our home based business. Medical consists of all doctors, dentists, clinics, service businesses.
We provide full service night janitorial, day porter, carpet cleaning, floor waxing, restroom sanitation. The min service requirement is 3 day week service but primarily 5 day week accounts or more. 1x specialty services (carpet, floor, tile) will be provided on a case by case basis but the goal is selling packages of min 2x year service.
Marketing Tactics will be a mix of cold calling using phone, email, direct mail and advertising. Starting date of Sept 1 st 2016 and will run for the next 6 months until March 1 st 2017 when an evaluation will be completed. The goal is $10,000 in monthly service contracts and $2,000 in misc specialty services at the end of 6 months.
Budget is $1,500 per month which equals 1:8 return on marketing dollar spent. Monthly service contract gross profit margins are as follows – Large accounts = 45% gross profit Medium accounts = 50% Small accounts 60% and specialty cleaning= 70%.
Target Marketing For this example we focused on the medical industry and doctors, dentist, clinics and nursing homes. Medical is always a great prospect for commercial cleaning, janitorial, carpet and tile cleaning service businesses.
Geography– the first segment is geography, setting what our service area is and finding out how many medical businesses are located in different radius searches. The first search is 1 mile and equals 53 businesses within 1 mile of the address we are located at. The second search of 5 miles equals 416 and a broader search of 25 miles is 1385.
Employee Size– This next variable a janitorial service can consider, although not perfect employee size gives us a general idea of the size of the business. For example 5 employees are not going to be working in a 50 thousand square foot building and 50 employees is not going to be in a 2000 thousand square foot building. Understand this is just an indicator and not perfect.
We are applying employee size on top of geography and can see as we apply different employee sizes to the geography segment how numbers change. Using 5 mile radius for the example you can see how the number of medical businesses at small (under 10 employees) equals 394. At medium (11-50 employees) 93 and large employers in a 5 mile radius with 50 or more employees equals only 15.
Square Feet Estimate– this variable is a little tricky because a building might have 2500 square feet of total space but 2000 of it in warehouse space and only 500 of cleanable carpet or office space for commercial cleaning contractors. Here we came up with 125 businesses with 2500 square feet within 5 miles. 275 medical with 2500 square feet to 10k sqr ft. and 137 in the 10 thousand square feet to 50k square foot range. This can completely change your marketing plan
This begs the question why do we care? The size of the building completely changes production rates and number of services. This is not something I or anyone else can tell you.
Part of building a marketing plan is deciding I want to focus on 1 time a week janitorial accounts, 3 day week accounts or 5 day week accounts.
For example if you want to target 1 day to 3 day week types then you would want to focus on smaller businesses and skip the high employee counts and sqr ft buildings. On the other hand if you only wanted 5 day week accounts then the opposite.
The point is to focus your marketing dollars on the type of clients you want and not waste time and money calling on businesses you have no interest in.
Step 1 Marketing Plan Structure
The first part of a marketing plan is us coming up with an overall structure, a visual way to group the information. This is an example of a structure, on the left is more of the big picture type of information. What is our long term goals, vision, strengths and weaknesses, opportunities in the marketing place.
Then based on those long term goals we can start to look for the best way to accomplish that big picture. If your long term plan is to stay in business forever some of these decisions will be different from a person who just wants to scale up for 5 years and then sell out.
Another example is a cleaner who wants a niche cleaning service of 5-10 employees will make different decisions then someone that wants a 100 employee beast. This is why we want to answer these questions upfront.
Step 2 What Is The Goal? Define A Vision
This next section is on using vision as a cleaning business strategy In step 2 vision we follow an exercise and show how defining a vision leads to the question what platforms should we use in our cleaning business strategy and long term marketing plan.
Some of the questions we can ask ourselves is How do you see your business over the next 5 years? How much revenue? What profit margins? What is the mix of services? Cleaning service, janitorial, commercial cleaning, carpet cleaning, floor care.
A perfect example are the first two questions, you can see how the amount of revenue and time frame can completely change how to market your services and what platform to choose.
Referral marketing for example is a long term strategy that will play out over 3 and 5 years. If our goal is $1 million in sales in one year referral marketing will not be able to do that. At that volume in that time frame we would have to hire salespeople and use big media in some way.
Step 3 Values- What Do You Believe In?
In step 3 of our marketing plan we explore our core values to share with leads, prospects and customers. This doesn’t have to be something explicit we say but also can be implied with the vibe we give off, the feelings we create, an overall theme to our business.
Now I know the second you mention a word like values among commercial cleaning services, people will start to roll their eyes. The purpose of this exercise is directly related to what content we use.
Part of our content will come from us and what messages we want to promote but part will also come from who we are trying to reach.
Some examples of values can be:
- Family friendly company
- Technical details
- Management process
Step 4 Customer Profile- Who is your key account?
Creating a customer profile we are focusing on three main questions Who, How and What. The purpose of filling out a customer profile is to determine who we want to reach specifically, what platforms do they use and how they prefer to receive information.
If you think about it practically some people love personal contact, print letters and others prefer video and email.
What we are trying to do is figure out the probabilities of success, obviously this will not apply to every single prospect.
Who are they: Age, income levels, we don’t need to get into the details but just create categories younger/middle age/older. If you think about it most 25 year olds absorb information differently than most 55 year olds. Statistically speaking.
How do they think? Education level can play a big part on the words we use and how much text to include in pieces of content.
How they prefer to be contacted: some property managers are perfectly fine with being messaged on linkedin or meeting at networking groups.
But if you were contacting office managers at medical buildings that might not work.
What do they do? Do they currently hire contractors or perform cleaning tasks in house. This can completely change what messages we would use.
When in house for example I would be very careful of making any negative statements about their current cleaners. If outside contractors it would be perfectly fine to have some negative advertising.
Step 5 Customer Personal Behavior or Persona
In step five we are going to talk about customer behavior with three sections: Fears, pain points and motivations. The reason for this exercise is directly related to building content. What we should say in our postcards, emails, digital advertising, etc.
Once you start exploring this I think most of this will end up being common sense and you will have an aha moment.
Fears, what fears does this prospect have? Getting fired, tenant non-renewals, looking bad in front of their boss. These are fears we all have had with any job.
Pain Points- what are some pain points a client might have dealing with commercial cleaning services? We don’t respond to phone calls, late and sloppy looking technicians, unpredictable pricing.
Motivations- What motivations would a prospect have related to their job? A building they can be proud of, end of year bonus of course, happy tenants.
These are all things we can include in our content through text, images and videos.
Marketing Plan Step 6 – Strategy
How to create a marketing strategy for a cleaning service, this can apply to commercial cleaning, carpet cleaning and janitorial.
This is step 6 of building a marketing plan, creating a strategy, in this section we tie everything together. In the first steps we covered our vision, values, structure, customer profiles and now we want follow the the next step of strategy.
Strategy is the section that most cleaning services are interested.
Here we have a diagram starting with the customer profile and choosing a specific commercial property manager and then we will follow a progression filling in the information based on that specific prospect’s needs.
Sample Customer Profile- Property Manager
We start building our marketing strategy with a customer profile, as an example we chose commercial property managers.
The reason to create separate profiles is each of these accounts have different needs. To show the difference, listed is commercial landlord for offices, retail management and apartments and condos.
Commercial Offices- are typically multi-tenant offices that will hire a janitorial service to clean 3-5 days week or a commercial carpet cleaner monthly, quarterly, semi-annual. This is recurring work which is why they can be such great accounts to target.
Retail Management- most retailers will hire their own cleaning service so the play for strip mall type of landlords is move-outs and tenant renewals. When a tenant moves they will often want to clean the carpets, dust, floors, etc to show off the building to prospective clients.
Apartments/Condo’s- can be daily cleaning of common areas for cleaning but the biggest service is carpet cleaning, carpet repair and water damage work.
As you can see each of these managers have different needs and we want to use separate messages for each of them.
Step 7 Content Marketing
Now that we have decided on a specific type of customer the next step is to customize content for their specific pain points, motivations and needs.
Content can come in the form of brochures, sell sheets, postcards, sales letters, email templates, ads and landing pages. By filling out a profile we can determine what images to use, calls to action, headlines and copy writing. If you go through each one you will realize they would all have completely different pain points for example.
Step 8 What Tactics, Platforms
After creating our content the next step is deciding what tactics, platform to use. Here we go back to the customer profile and try to figure out the best ways to reach that specific target, for example property managers are very active on Linkedin and older so direct mail is also a good option.
With customer profiles often you will find that the platforms are the same and you just need to change the content.
Some example’s of platforms are: email, linkedin, sales letters, door to door sales, phone, direct mail etc.
Step 9 Distribution- What specific frequency
The next decision with each platform is how to distribute the information and in what frequency, within each of these platforms are specific tactics we can use.
For example with Linkedin will you message people, make connections, post articles, advertise or attend networking groups. Also in what frequency?
Direct mail example would be sales letters, brochures and post cards. Which ones will you use and what sequence.
I would start with postcards for brand awareness and then transition to sales letters, sell sheets after they know who you are. More likely they will open a letter after they know you.
Step 10 Customer Referrals
After a prospect becomes a client we then want to think about what is the best way to generate referrals. I think in this category of property managers they will be all the same.
Some choices are email, phone call, in person visit, using a landing page form for them to fill out. This will depend more on how you found this customer in the first place and what you are specifically good at.
For example if I found someone through digital marketing like email, linkedin an email or landing page would work great.
But if we meet someone through networking I might want to stop by and talk to them face to face and be more personal. Each relationship is different.
Step 11 Buyer Pathway or Journey
Buyer journey’s are the pathway leads follow to becoming a client. Nowadays with so much digital marketing we need to create at least a couple different ones. Each of these platforms have different features, plus at least we want to separate online/offline journeys.
An example of a journey would be a lead clicks on your advertisement on linkedin, goes to landing page, fills out form, you respond to schedule an estimate, give estimate, follow up closing the sale.
This can be completely different from meeting someone at a networking event or through a sequence of direct mail.
Step 12 Nurturing long term- Stay in touch
Nurturing long term is how will we stay in contact with a lead, customer over the next year. If we go back to the customer profile a commercial landlord might be completely different from a landlord of a strip mall.
Some examples of long term nurturing are follow up phone calls, site visits, email, customer surveys, etc.
With nurturing its best to have a combination of helpful tips and introduce cross-selling. If someone purchased carpet cleaning in the past maybe its time to email them a video of your tile cleaning service.
When we change up the context all the time it becomes “like a box of chocolates” and people don’t know what to expect and are more likely to view whatever we send.
For example a generic monthly newsletter will receive tons of unsubscribes over time. Better to mix it up.
Step 13 Service Experience
During each service, one thing most cleaning services don’t always think about is how we are marketing during the service. What messages are we sending to people based on our grooming, uniforms, wet floor signs, van signage.
This will definitely change depending on customer profile. Some services are performed during the day in front of hundreds or even thousands of people, while others late at night or in a store that is closed.
In front of the general public I would want to be more careful about our appearance than at 3am on a Saturday night.
In conclusion, these are some steps to take in building a marketing strategy for a commercial cleaning service.
You can keep these steps vague or become as detailed as you choose.
Generally what happens is we should start off vague and become more detailed over time as we become more and more mature with our marketing.
Step 14 Analytics and Tracking
Analytics lastly is keeping track of what is working and what is flopping. In modern marketing we don’t want to approach this with a mindset we know everything but more learning what hot buttons work for what prospects. Some of this will be through numbers but some will also be by listening to people and building up instincts. Over time you will begin to see patterns in certain customer segments and just know off the top of your head what is important to that group, segment.