This morning I had a phone call with the owner of a cleaning company who recently joined our mastermind group. Something he had struggled with over the last couple of years was trying to grow his business. Based on some advice he had received from a business consultant, he was attempting to use modern internet marketing practices to grow his janitorial business. But he was running into problems, and to be frank, it just wasn’t working. Let’s look at why.
With the rise in power of Google, Facebook, and other forms of social media, marketers have been salivating at the possibility of getting in front of such a vast audience. Two very popular approaches are Google’s AdWords and something known as funnels.
With AdWords, you pay money to get your website to pop up in someone’s search results when they use certain search terms and reside in a certain geographic area. The cost can range from $0.50/click to $3-$4/click. The problem with this approach, specifically in smaller markets, is that you will inevitably be paying to get clicks from people who are not the types of customers you want. Our prospect pool is relatively small in comparison to the total population, and the differentiation in search terms is negligible between non-ideal and ideal prospects. Over the last five years, my company has found almost 0% ROI using AdWords.
The second form of internet marketing is funnels. While most of us aren’t sure what a funnel is, I’ll bet you’ve come across several. A funnel is basically a landing page that entices you to enter your name and contact information in exchange for a free piece of content or trial of some sort. For example, you may give away a booklet on how to select a cleaning company in exchange for some personal information. The hope is to find potential buyers who are looking for information you possess in hopes of turning that lead into a prospect.
The problem with funnels for cleaning companies is finding a way to get your funnels in front of the prospects you want to do business with. In a city with a population of 100,000, you might have 100 potential prospects that are “ideal.” Getting your funnel in front of those 100 people is difficult if you don’t already have their information.
While digital marketing is helpful in many cases, for janitorial companies there is no substitute for identifying your ideal customers, then getting their contact information via phone calls and emails. Since your prospect list will be somewhat small (compared to other industries selling to individuals or companies nationwide), you can more economically find your leads with good ole-fashioned phone calls. As you grow in size, AdWords and funnels may be helpful, but I don’t recommend putting your money and time in those places during the early stages of growth.