Marketing On A Tight Budget
So you’ve just finished purchasing the necessary tools for your window cleaning business, and you’re ready and excited to start making money!! You walk out your door to conquer the world when suddenly you realize, you have absolutely no work lined up. Well no problem, “I’ll just advertise,” you think to yourself. But very quickly you realize, that so many forms of advertisement can rack up in price VERY quickly.
I’m sure everyone has been in this scenario at one time or another. You need to market in order to get customers, which in turn means getting money, but you need money in order to market. And advertising can be SOOO expensive. It’s very easy to rack up thousands of dollars a month simply on advertising. And what makes things even more frustrating, is that sometimes, the various methods of advertising that you thought would bring in a ton of money, end up giving you very little ROI (Return On Investment). So what do you do?
Well, the purpose of this article is to help save you some heartache, and fill up your pocket book without having to break the bank. In this article we are going to go over some marketing tactics that are both cheap and successful. I highly recommend you read this entire article if you are just starting off as a Window Cleaner so that you can avoid some very expensive headaches, and enjoy some very lucrative endeavors. We will go over some of the pros and cons of various marketing tools out there, and try to show you how you can get so much more, for much, much less. So let’s go ahead and get started!
Get a Website Now ($100-$150)
Why get one now?
Because of SEO – http://searchengineland.com/
What is SEO?
“SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines.”
Basically, SEO is the process of getting your website to appear on the first page of Google. When you first put your website on Google, you will be somewhere past page 10. So no one will be clicking your website. SEO is the process to get your webpage from basically invisible to visible. So it’s very, very important. To learn how to do your own SEO visit the Ranking Ladder App website. (app.rankingladder.com) It will give you a step by step guide to SEO.
There are other reasons why it’s good to have a website. It’s more professional. It’s a way of showcasing work that you’ve done, etc. But the main reason why you want to do this first, is because SEO takes time. When you first create your website, no one is going to find it on Google until you start taking care of SEO. Getting your website from page 20 of Google to page 1, is a long process. But you really want to be on Page 1. The earlier you can begin the better. If you decide to get a website 6 months after you start, it can take another 3, or 6, or 12 months to get to the first page. So start this as quickly as possible and you’ll be ahead in the game.
Now you may be thinking. How can I get a good website for $100. You would be surprised what you’re capable of doing with $100. With less than $100 you can get a GREAT WordPress template which already contains SEO features and looks amazing. There are a ton of different websites where you can find WordPress templates, but here are the places that I personally go.
- Theme Forest – Very nice templates around $50
- Studio Press – Super nice templates around $100
My website definedcleaning.com was built using Studio Press, and people think that it looks awesome. Now as far as setting it up, you can do a Google search for “Install WordPress Template”, and follow a tutorial to set it up. Once you have it set up, you can do a search for “Beginning WordPress” and look at some tutorials that explain very easily how to set up your website.
Once you have the actual template, you can use GoDaddy with WordPress for hosting, and it’s relatively cheap.
Get Set Up on Yelp, Thumbtack, and Google Business
These services are very important because they are cheap ways for you to start getting business. We’re going to go through information regarding each one of these services one by one. We will discuss the pros and cons of each service and why each is important at this particular step. Also, we’ll discuss the best ways to get more customers using these services.
Yelp – (Price – Free)
The greatest thing about Yelp is that it’s free. The only issue though, is that it’s hard to get work on Yelp with no reviews. So here’s a step by step guide to how to get up and going with Yelp.
- Add your business, and make sure that you fill out all the details that it ask for.
- For the description, it’s very important that you fill this with proper keywords. Mainly “window cleaning” and “window washing”.
- For the category make sure you select “window washing”. For more details on setting up your Yelp account visit this website (https://www.yelp-support.com/
- Now once you’ve set up your business, it’s time to get some reviews. This is very important.
The best way to do this is to clean some windows for your friends and family, and get them to write you a review for you on Yelp. All you need is two or three, and you should be good to go. Now getting work through Yelp will be a bit slow, but at least you won’t have to do anything with your account at this point. Customers will start to find you eventually without you having to do more work, if you’ve set up everything properly.
Pricing for Yelp – Free
Thumbtack – ($5 – Whatever you want)
Now this is very important! Why? Because Thumbtack is a way of getting directly in front of people who are actually looking for window cleaning services. Now you will find that many people have different views of Thumbtack. Some feel that you can’t get much work on it, whereas there are others who get most of their work from it. So the question is, how do you utilize it in order to get the work that you need?
How to get the work you need on Thumbtack
You must realize, there is almost always someone who will do something cheaper than you will. There are plenty of Bucket Bobs out there who will price something extremely low. You have to separate yourself from them.
So first, get some reviews from previous clients, or some friends or family. Than put up some pictures of your best work. Fill out everything on the profile page. Then, to really separate yourself, what I’ve found is that the most important thing is to make sure that you meet up with the potential client in person. Make sure you’re dressed the part when you meet them, and show up on time. Once they see you and get to speak with you, they will be much more apt to work with you. One thing that I’ve found useful, is to put in the quote that the best way to do a quote is to do their quote on-site for free. With Thumbtack you will get a notification when they view your quote. As soon as they view your quote, send them a message asking when they can meet? I typically am then able to meet them. And after I’ve met them and quote the job, I usually get the job.
As far as the message goes, you’ll have to find what works for you personally. There will be some trial and error. Write a couple of templates in the app, and once you find a couple that work, keep using these for other customers.
So here’s a breakdown of Thumbtack.
- Get’s pretty good traffic
- Not time consuming
- Sometimes people are looking for the cheapest quote
- Sometimes people are just trying to get prices, and not seriously looking to get their windows cleaned
A package of 20 credits that you use for sending quotes cost you $40. It cost two credits to send a quote. So on average it cost you $4 for each quote you send. So the best bet is to start with 20 credits and go from there.
Be careful of Home Advisor. Now Home Advisor can definitely get you some work, but there’s a very big issue with Home Advisor, and that is its price. It cost about $350 to get started, and than you have to pay that yearly. You also have to pay for every single lead that you get, and for Window Cleaning, those leads cost around $15. Those leads are sent to other window cleaners also, so it doesn’t guarantee an actual paying customer. If it’s a direct lead where they don’t send that lead to anyone else, than the price is around $23. So you can see that it can add up quite quickly.
Now that doesn’t mean that I’m saying NOT to do Home Advisor. But just make sure that you have the capital for it. And realize how expensive it can be. Be careful. There are other services available out there that can get you started.
Google Business – (Price – Free)
Now Google Business can be a great tool for two purposes.
- For actually getting work.
- For SEO purposes
The more reviews you have on Google Business, the higher you will rank on Google Business and on Google. So once again, if you can do some work for family and friends and get them to write you reviews that would be awesome. So here’s the steps:
- Add business to Google Business – https://www.google.com/
- Fill out ALL information, and make sure that everything is accurate. Make sure that the company name, the address, the phone number, etc. all match the information on your website EXACTLY. Every comma, period, EVERYTHING, must match exactly.
- Add some good, high quality images
- Verify your listing
- Start getting reviews
Another way to get reviews
ASK! Honestly, if you do a good job, and you make the customer happy and are nice to them, and just an all around good person, people will WANT to leave you a review. People LOVE to help people. Believe it or not, it’s not easy to come across good, honest people anymore. So ask for reviews. Write out a little document that explains how to leave a review on Google or Yelp, and give it to each one of your customers.
So here’s a little recap of Google Business
- Builds ranking on Google
- Easy to set-up
- Can be difficult to start getting work directly from
- Not as easy to get people to review using this tool because the person has to have a Google Account
Pricing – Free
Referrals – (Free – to whatever you want)
Referrals are an AMAZING way of getting work. Why? People would much rather work with someone who a friend has had experience working with than to get someone cold. Even if the person has good reviews, nothing is more impactful than a good word from a friend or colleague. So referrals are a GREAT way of getting more window cleaning clients. But what’s the best way to do this?
What I’ve noticed is very effective is offer people something for referrals. What I personally do, is I give 10% of the first cleaning of the referral to the person who made the referral. So if a person gets their friend to do a window cleaning that cost $200, I give the person who gave the referral $20. The reason why I do this is because it gives both the original customer and the person referred a reason to get the window cleaning. The original customer gets $20, and the person referred gets to help their friends out. So tell every single customer that you work with about this, and leave them a flyer that contains the information about the referral program. This HELPS TREMENDOUSLY.
Also, make sure that you have a lot of really good business cards. You can even put the information about the referral program on your business cards. Every time you do a home, give the customer 5-10 cards.
Pricing – $25 – $130
So the pricing for campaigns would basically be the pricing of Business Cards and Flyers. Here are a couple of services that you can use.
- moo.com – I love this website because the quality of all their products is amazing. The only drawback, is it’s more expensive than it’s competitors. But I think it’s worth the money. 100 Business Cards starts at $69.98, 50 flyers starts at $34.99 (plus shipping)
- vistaprint.com – I’m not a fan of VistaPrint but a lot of people tend to use them, so they must not be too bad. I don’t like the quality, but honestly, it should suffice. 100 Business Cards starts at $7.99, 50 flyers starts $5.99 (plus shipping)
So like I said above, personally I prefer Moo, but VistaPrint is not too bad. The thing about Moo though is that when you hand them a business card, it will be the nicest one they’ve ever been handed by a Window Cleaner. So just keep that in mind when deciding what to choose.
Lastly Google Adwords – ($20 – Whatever you want)
Google Adwords is a way of advertising your website. This is an awesome tool when you first are starting, because your web page will not be anywhere near the first page of Google. But with Google Adwords, you can pay to have it up on the front page. What’s great about Google Adwords though, is that you only have to pay when someone clicks your website. And you can set the maximum you’re willing to pay for a click, and the maximum you’re willing to spend over a month’s time. So the best advice that I can give, is to make sure that you have a website that will really draw the visitor. Make sure that your number is on the first page, and that with just a click they can call you. Also, with Google Adwords, there is a Call Extension that you MUST use.
Google Adwords Breakdown
- Puts you on the first page of Google
- A great way to get in front of many people
- You only have to pay per click
- Results are much quicker
- You can control exactly how much you want to spend
- Depending on the keyword that you you’re trying to advertise for, it can get expensive, up to $5 a click.
Price – As little or as much as you want
So there’s a breakdown of some great tools you can use on a budget to get more clients. There are of course other tools you can use, but these are the ones that I personally prefer to use, and that have led me to some pretty good success. In only two months, I have been able to completely quit my last job and rely on window cleaning entirely for income. So these methods are quite affective. But you have to use what works best for you in your area. Check out the forums on windowcleaningresource.com and see what some others are doing with flyers, and door hangers.
Social Media – (Pricing – Free)
Social Media is great because it’s a free way of getting in front of potentially thousands of people. One thing though. DON’T BE BORING! Don’t just put up pictures of random windows that you’ve cleaned. Quite frankly, the only people that will think that’s cool are window cleaners. Which is nice, but you want normal people to want to follow you. So think of a fun and exciting way to do social media. Have a mascot or something. Have something that people will look at and enjoy. There’s nothing wrong with putting up pictures of your work, but make sure that they’re really good ones. Make sure they’re ones that will make people go WOW, otherwise, as I said, no one will want to follow you.
- Can get in front of an infinite amount of people
- Great way to interact with your customers
- Great way to list specials, and deals
- Can be slow to get started
Pricing – Free
So with all of this, you’re looking at spending less than $300, and about $50/month. Isn’t that great!! As a recap you want to
- Build a website
- Join Thumbtack, Yelp and Google My Business
- Start a Google Adwords Campaign
- Get some business cards and flyers and try to get some referrals
- Use Social Media
One thing I want to remind you is that just because a form of advertising is expensive, it doesn’t mean that it’s more affective. These advertising companies are in the business of making money. You can literally spend thousands if you’re not careful and get very little ROI. Instead of blindly spending a lot of money on marketing and advertising, find some cheaper forms and get creative. Remember also, caring for your clients is the best form of marketing that you could ever have. Really, caring for people in general. Think of what you would want from a window cleaner. Think of how you would want them to treat you, and you’ll probably get more work than you realize.
I can’t emphasize this enough though. Don’t fork out a ton of money in the hopes of getting more clients quickly. In the beginning, if someone wants more than $200, I would be skeptical. I would definitely do research on it, and make sure that other people have had a great ROI. There are plenty of ways to advertise out there that are very affordable. And remember, nothing can replace hard work. If you work hard at whatever it you’re doing, even when it comes to marketing, than you’ll have more success than lazily trying to pay someone else. Get skilled. Go above and beyond. Showcase yourself as professional and skilled. And you’ll get work.
Hope this helps as much as it helped me. If you have any questions email me at [email protected].