A big part of scaling a cleaning business is having the right systems and automation in place. One key aspect of that is your marketing automation. Certainly offline prospecting, networking, and selling your cleaning services works. However, it may not be feasible to put the time commitment into offline sales and marketing as your business grows. This is why most cleaning companies turn to marketing automation. Unfortunately for many, they make mistakes setting automation up or automate the wrong processes. In this post, you’ll learn how to use marketing automation for a cleaning business to maximize results.
What is marketing automation?
For starters, you might be wondering what is marketing automation and how can you use it for your cleaning business. Well, marketing automation can be defined as using any kind of tool or system to automate a marketing process you are currently doing manually.
At the same time, there are varying automation strategies that can be used to best suit your particular cleaning business. Another thing to consider for marketing automation is the stage of growth your cleaning company is in. For example, if you have a brand new cleaning company, the processes you automate are going to look a lot different than a cleaning company that is more seasoned.
Some key areas of marketing automation can include content publishing, email marketing, sales follow-up, quote delivery, paid advertising, and much more. In the rest of this post, we’ll provide an explanation of how to use marketing automation in various parts of your cleaning company marketing.
You’ll also learn when it is best to use marketing automation and when not to depending on the other processes you have in place for your cleaning business.
One of the first places you’ll likely implement marketing automation for your cleaning business is with automated quote forms. Now usually people will enter their name, email, and phone number and then answer a few basic questions so they can receive a quote or schedule a walkthrough.
Often this lead will be forwarded to someone on your staff who will calculate an estimate and will reach out to schedule a walkthrough. This strategy can work well as it can eliminate some of the manual processes of gathering a potential customer’s information.
At the same time, some cleaning businesses make the mistake of asking far too many questions on their quote forms. As a general rule, the more questions you ask on a form, the less likely someone is going to fill out the form.
Ideally, you want to ask just enough questions to provide a reasonably accurate quote and then sell the leads on doing business with you. Then when you do an in-home estimate or walkthrough for commercial cleaning, you can provide a much more accurate quote.
Certainly, if a lead answers more questions they are probably higher quality, but you don’t want to sacrifice the majority of your leads for the chance you might get a really good one. You can always quickly sort through the leads as you generate them with a few qualifying questions.
Another level of marketing automation you may choose to use is in the form of pricing calculators. These could be one of the additional marketing automation tools you use along with your quote forms. With a calculator, a prospect could fill in their own info, get a quote, and even pay for the services on the spot.
This form of marketing automation can greatly streamline the free estimate request process, and even generate sales passively. However, you need to be careful with this type of marketing automation.
A fully automated estimate calculator and cleaning service sign-up process sound great, but if this is the only way people can book cleanings it might deter most people. Certainly, some people will be willing to fill out multiple questions and book online without talking to anyone, but most people likely won’t.
This means that if you try and use marketing automation with pricing calculators you could be sending potential customers to your competition if that is their only option to get a quote.
Marketing automation is great, but use it in conjunction with other proven methods to generate customers even if it requires some manual work.
Facebook Messenger ads
Using Facebook to advertise your cleaning business is another great way to use marketing automation to scale your cleaning company. In most cases, people like to work with companies that have a human touch. The danger with too much marketing automation is that people can feel like their business doesn’t matter and they are just a number.
The great thing about using Facebook Messenger ads is that you can add some human elements into your marketing automation. By doing this you can build trust and rapport faster with potential clients, and this can help improve conversions.
A strategy we recommend with Facebook Messenger ads is to set up an ad for potential customers to get a free quote. From there you can set up a few basic automated messages in a conversational tone, asking for the information you need to provide an accurate quote.
The potential issue with this marketing strategy is if your company doesn’t have a solid follow-up strategy in place. Sometimes we see the ads generating a lot of leads for clients, but if they don’t follow up in a timely manner or effectively, the leads don’t convert.
For example, often we see people send a single reply to these leads or give them a quote without leading them into the next step of the sales process. Most people are not going to hire you unless you ask them to or lead them through the process.
This means that you want to use language that takes people along the journey of the sales process. Something like, “Thanks for getting us your information. Based on that your estimate would be about $x. We have a couple of openings to schedule your initial cleaning, what day works best for you this week?”
Email marketing is another area you should implement marketing automation to grow your cleaning business. Most people who visit your website for the first time are not going to be ready to hire your cleaning business. Even some that request an estimate are still shopping around and are in research mode and are not ready to commit.
This means that you need a method to both capture a potential customer’s information and a strategy to warm up those leads so they become ready to hire you. Email marketing is a great marketing automation strategy to do just that.
The beauty of email marketing is that you can build an email series to help educate potential customers, build trust, and convert them into paying customers. This email series should not be all about selling and special offers.
Certainly, you can include a call to action in emails to take the next step in your sales process, but the majority of the email content should be value-based. Again, your job with this email series is to warm up the leads into people that are ready to hire you.
Most people do business with those that they know, like, and trust, and your email series should focus on developing those. Then when the timing is right, the cold lead will become a paying customer. You should definitely use email marketing as one of your marketing automation strategies to grow your cleaning business.
Content marketing is a form of marketing automation that can help you generate targeted traffic to your website on a passive basis. On top of that, it can help to automate the process of educating potential customers, and building trust and credibility for your cleaning business.
As a business owner, there is really only so much time in the day that you can network and prospect and promote your business to attract new customers. Content marketing is a great marketing automation strategy because it can help promote your cleaning business 24/7. On top of that, it can attract new customers while you are focused on building other aspects of your cleaning business.
When it comes to the type of content you should create, usually, things like service pages, location pages, industry pages, and blog posts work best. You can also create content like YouTube videos or Instagram posts and other social media content, but outside of YouTube and blogging, the content marketing on social media typically isn’t passive.
You can get software programs that will post your content to social media automatically. However, typically we recommend focusing on content that is evergreen like blog posts and pages on your site, before expanding into social media automation.
The only real downside to using content marketing in your marketing automation strategy is that it takes time to see results. Most content you create is not going to passively generate traffic right away. It may take several months to a year to see significant results from content marketing. However, the great part is, that once the content is built it can continue to work to grow your business virtually forever.
Simply creating a piece of content isn’t enough. In conjunction with using content marketing as a strategy you also need to combine that with SEO for your marketing automation to be effective. A lot of people make the mistake of making blog posts and content without doing proper keyword research first.
SEO or search engine optimization is when your content is optimized for specific keywords that generate search traffic. An example is creating a service page for commercial floor care. A page like this can attract potential customers searching for floor care related search terms.
A key to using SEO in your marketing automation strategy is to optimize for the buying-related keywords. These keywords must be combined with content that is educational, value-based. If the content isn’t optimized for the right keywords people won’t find it. Your content needs to be relevant but also optimized for terms people actually use.
Certain search terms have a high search volume each month and also show a high buyer intent. These keywords are the best to focus on first. When you have fully optimized content it can automatically drive targeted traffic to your website. This can lead to a high volume of targeted leads coming from your website each month.
Sales Follow Up
One pitfall with using marketing automation is thinking that you no longer need to follow up in the sales process. In fact, when used optimally, you can actually use marketing automation to assist with and improve your follow-up process.
There are various CRM or customer relationship management systems out there. Many can be used to automatically assist you with the follow-up process. Some may include built-in email follow-up automation, and others can have notification settings for key events. This can alert your sales team when they need to follow up with potential clients.
These systems also allow you to document the sales process of potential clients. With this documentation, you can better systematize a sales and follow-up process that works. Most salespeople either don’t follow up at all or not enough to convert most people. Having marketing automation systems in place can help improve your sales process and improve your conversion rates.
The key to using a CRM in your sales process is to actually use the data it can provide. Often we see companies set up expansive CRM systems with lots of capabilities, but no one actually uses the data to improve follow-up and conversions. Having great data is beneficial but if you don’t use it to make data-based decisions to improve your results, it doesn’t matter.
Another form of marketing automation that can help you scale your cleaning business is using paid advertising. This can be done with various platforms like Facebook ads and Google Ads. This can help automate your lead generation and prospecting activities.
The benefit of using paid advertising in addition to your organic marketing is that paid ads can generate results quickly. Now with this, you need to understand that running paid advertising has an optimization process to it as well.
Certainly paid advertising can generate leads and traffic quicker than most organic strategies. However, if the ads aren’t optimized it can become a waste of money. Also, if your cleaning company’s online presence is poor, it can result in lost conversions from your ads.
Often we hear people say that they need more traffic to their website. Of course, that can be one potential issue with marketing a cleaning business, but often more traffic is not the whole solution to a lack of quality leads.
Paid advertising works well to scale a cleaning company when it has a marketing plan that is working. If your plan isn’t solid, driving traffic with paid ads to a poor online presence does more harm than good. It’s often best to hire a marketing agency or team that knows what they are doing with paid ads. That way you don’t waste money trying to do it yourself while you are going through your learning curve.
When to avoid marketing automation
Marketing automation can be a great strategy to help scale your cleaning company. At the same time, you need to be careful as to what you automate and when you use marketing automation.
The first issue that can happen with marketing automation is when you try to automate something that isn’t working organically. For example, if your lead generation isn’t working with organic traffic, driving extra traffic with ads probably won’t help.
Yet another potential issue is thinking that marketing automation can replace everything you used to do organically. For example, you set up a follow-up email series, and now you stop following up outside of that. You still should follow up outside of the email series and don’t think it will do everything for you.
Another mistake with marketing automation is to set up paid advertising and a website and then immediately stopping in-person marketing. If your business has too many leads, then maybe you could cut back on in-person prospecting and networking. However, thinking your marketing automation strategies will replace in-person and organic marketing overnight, could get you into trouble.
There is a time and a place to use marketing automation and knowing when and where to use it can make a big difference in your results.
Overall, marketing automation can be a great strategy to help streamline parts of your marketing. It can also help your cleaning business scale more efficiently. There are several common areas to introduce marketing automation in your cleaning company. This can be with quote forms, pricing calculators, content marketing, email marketing, CRMs, and paid advertising.
Typically you want to have a process in place that is working organically first before setting up automation. Automating a broken process is never a good idea and can lead to wasted time and money.
When you implement marketing automation in the right places, it can greatly increase results. You want to use marketing automation to complement your existing sales process and follow-up system. It can help remind your sales team of when to follow up. Plus, it can add additional touches throughout the buyer’s journey to help increase conversions.
Use marketing automation the right way and it can help you scale your cleaning business much faster than organic marketing alone.