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    49 Replies Latest reply on Mar 30, 2009 1:53 AM by azren35

    MARKETING/ADVERTISING

    Carpetman Newbie

      How can I get good PR for my carpet cleaning business? Tried ads and mailers with no success. Best results came from hitting the pavement and referrals. In business 14 years which has continued to grow but nee more exposure for faster growth. What do you recommend? Carpetman
        • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
          DomainDiva Ranger
          Have you tried carpet and flooring stores? They may be willing to refer your services to customers that have had new carpet installed.
          1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
              Carpetman Newbie
              DomainDiva,
              Thanks for the suggestion. Yes I have and continue to do so. Just about everybody has someone they work closely with in my area. I still continue to try though. My experience is that most of the time persistance pays off eventually most of the time. I use a dry foam system (not Chem-Dri) and most are unaware of it and the advantages it has over traditional steam cleaning which many of those places seem to still recommend. It has been an uphill battle but I have managed to keep climbing. I just need more exposure. Thank you again. Carpetman
            • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
              LUCKIEST Guide
              Carpetman, How about a Marketing Plan. I am a SCORE Counselor and SCORE helps business
              people FREE with marketing and other services to help you succeed.
              Two additional thoughts. You have been in business 14 years. How about some give away
              with the word FREE in it. The other thought. Have the local newspaper do a story about your success.
              Good luck, LUCKIEST
                • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                  Carpetman Newbie
                  LUCKIEST,
                  Thank you for the suggestion. I will give it a shot. I have worked hard to get my business where it is. I just need to have it pick up the pace even though it has grown every year except 1. It continues to grow about $5,000 to $8,000 more than the previous year, the last few years. But since I have had to hire help I need it grow more than that. I try to spend as much time on marketing my business as I am able. So thank you for you suggestion. Carpetman
                  • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                    Carpetman Newbie
                    I meant to ask, what is a SCORE consultant?
                    Carpetman
                      • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                        LUCKIEST Guide
                        Thanks for asking. SCORE is "Counselors to America's Small Business" It is America's premier
                        source of FREE
                        and CONFIDENTIAL small business advice for
                        entrepreneurs.
                        Most of the SCORE Counselors are retired business men and women who volunteer their time to help
                        other business people succeed.
                        Be happy to tell you more if you ask. LUCKIEST
                    • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                      Lighthouse24 Ranger

                      When I first went out on my own as a consultant, I had big peaks (very busy) and big valleys (no work at all) -- but I was good with my hands and not afraid of manual labor. So when things were slow and no money was coming in, I'd load my pick-up with the appropriate tools, put on some clean work clothes, and park on the side of the road leading to the elementary school where all the "rich" kids went. I'd stand next to my truck early in the morning with a big marker board that said, "I can have your lawn mowed by noon!" (or your fence repaired or your carpet cleaned or whatever I was doing that day). I'd stand there in the afternoon with, "I could be mowing your lawn right now!" (or shoveling snow or cleaning your carpet or whatever). I had some homemade business cards with my phone number in case someone stopped and asked for one. It took a few days, but I finally got a job (hauling away junk from the yard of a rental house and mowing the lawn). Then some kind of "Mom Network" must have kicked-in, because I started getting more handyman jobs than I could handle.

                      I think if exposure is what you need, this technique could work for you -- and it's essentially free. Have your truck and equipment ready to go. Look clean and professional. Park on the way to (not in front of) a nice elementary school in the morning, near the entrance to a busy mall after that, in an area where professional people eat lunch at midday, then back to the elementary school. Stand beside your truck with a sign that basically says, "I'm available to work!" It may take a week or so, but if you do a good job at a fair price for the first one or two customers you get that way, I'll bet you'll be very busy soon.

                      Hope this helps. Best wishes.
                        • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                          Carpetman Newbie
                          Lighthouse 24,
                          I appreciate your suggestion. The way I have built so far is going door to door when I'm able. Usually it takes about a couple of months before I get any calls. But I do find that those who call do so for 2 reasons: 1-They say they call me because they have already met me if only very briefly or 2-They say they call me instead of someone else because they figure if I am willing to work that hard to go out and get the business I will work hard to take care of their carpet. The problem is I do not always have as much time as I would like to do this. The only problem I would have with doing what you suggest is that it seems that people in my area re suspicious of a grown man hanging around an elementary school. Perhaps another location would be better in my location. Thanks.
                          Carpetman
                            • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                              LUCKIEST Guide
                              Carpetman, NOT Lighthouse, But am I missing something in your next to last sentence??
                              " it seems that people in my area are suspicious of a grown man hanging around an elementary school "
                              You have been in business many years (14) so you do know how to succeed.
                              Do you know about SCORE?? SCORE helps people in business (FREE, that word again) succeed.
                              Again, LUCKIEST
                              • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                                Lighthouse24 Ranger
                                Yes, that's why I specifically said "not in front of" an elementary school, but in a visible high traffic spot on the way to one. (Besides being suspicious, you'd just be in the way of traffic flow if you park too close.) The goal is to BE SEEN (exposure). In my neighborhood (because there's a middle school on the same main road), you'd be seen by about 400 very real potential customers in 15 minutes. MUCH faster than door to door. (If you don't have time for that, but you don't have enough work to do either, I can't help but wonder -- how do you spend your time exactly?)
                                  • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                                    Carpetman Newbie
                                    My mistake. I should read a little slower next tme. I do have enough work to keep me busy but now since I needed to have help, due to salaries I need to have more work just to keep enough of a profit margin to also pay my self. I try to save where I can but my cost continue go up. So I need more exposure than I am currently getting so as meet those ends.
                                    Carpetman
                                    • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                                      Carpetman Newbie

                                      One more question. Would the signs on my van be sufficient? Also have you used signs in front of the homes you were working on to advertise who was performing the work and did that work? I have seen some do that and have been considering that. Carpetman
                                        • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                                          LUCKIEST Guide
                                          I have always believed that a SIGN ON A VAN is FREE advertising.
                                          You are going " door to door" or working at a house and your truck is parked in the driveway or
                                          on the street. FREE advertising 24/ 7. If the advertising gets you one additional job, it is worth it.
                                          Make it a News Years Resolution, LUCKIEST
                                          • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                                            DomainDiva Ranger
                                            Put a sign on your van, on your wifes car and how about some of those little signs you can post at street corners?
                                            • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                                              Lighthouse24 Ranger
                                              Anything that makes you visible to potential customers and says, "I available to clean your carpets" is good.

                                              We have some strongly enforced rules governing signs and billboards here. To get around them, a lot of business owners have purchased small utility trailers and put a banner on the side (Kinko's or similar places can make them up) to advertise their businesses. Then they park the trailers in the parking lots of strip centers near busy corners (it's usually the farthest parking spot from any door, so no one usually cares, but lots of vehicles on the street pass by and see). Parking a "mobile billboard" like that in a center that has a carpet or furniture store might pay off if your community permits it -- just another idea.
                                      • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                                        powerbrandz Newbie
                                        Carpetman,

                                        I recommend a marketing plan.

                                        The foundation of a great marketing plan is understanding these three areas:

                                        1. Know your target market (what do they want, need and desire?)
                                        2. Know your competition (what are your strengths in comparison to them: emphasize these strengths in marketing)
                                        3. Know your own company (what are your strengths, what are your core values, what is the "personality" of your brand?)

                                        Once you know these three areas well, you should make a "brand promise" to your target market. The marketing plan is all about communicating the "brand promise."

                                        In the end, if you go through the effort to understand what your market wants, then communicate (advertise) that you can satisfy their wants, then you are on the road to breakthrough growth.

                                        all the best!
                                          • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                                            Carpetman Newbie
                                            Thanks. That is what I have been figuring out how to do. I have found thatg not to many outfits promote the system I use though it has been around for decades. It is like with some doctors, just because they have been used to a certain form of treatment used for years some are reluctant to try something new that comes along that is proven. I know because I used to work with them. Same with carpet cleaning. Steam cleaning has been the accepted way for years. Then came Chem Dry. The system I use is Dri-foam and has been around for years. So the problem I deal with is convincing people and companies that there is another good and acceptable method out there. It has taken alot of effort and hard work but it is paying off. I just need to more and better exposure faster. But do agree I need a better marketing plan. Thanks for the advise.
                                            Carpetman
                                              • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                                                Iwrite Pioneer
                                                Carpetman,

                                                In many communities, churches or religious or social organizations are the gateway to more customers. It can be as simple as offering the local congreagations and their members a discount that will be donated back to the youth group or special project. Partner with them in fund raising efforts. Don't forget the schools! Participate in the local PTA silent auctions. Visibility is the key. The more your name is out there the more people when think of you when the need arises.

                                                Have you thought about partnering with home builders to provide regular serivces as part of the new home purchase, much like the appliance stores have done? Or working with local apartment complexes to to offer their reisdents regular cleaning - touting the advantages of your system over the older technology.

                                                Once again, visibilty is the key. You have a lot of great suggestions already but I thought I would put my two cents woth in. Remember flyers and radio are great inexpensive ways to get your meeage out. I think you need more advertisng than PR, there's a difference.

                                                I really hope this helps.

                                                Iwrite
                                                  • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                                                    Carpetman Newbie
                                                    Iwrite,
                                                    Thank you for the suggestions. I have found that leaving business cards to be more effective than flyers. People hang on to them longer.
                                                    Thanks, Carpetman
                                                      • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                                                        birdcity Newbie
                                                        Lighthouse has some great suggestions and I commend your efforts. Many of the examples given follow the principles of "viral marketing". Viral Marketing is a low cost method of gaining publicity by developing creative word of mouth campaigns.

                                                        Carpetman, you should considering consulting a marketing or PR professional to see what options are available to you. It's possible to sit down with someone who can map out an effective campaign that you can execute on your own. This is definitely a minimal cost alternative. If you decide to employ a firm, look for one that will guarantee their work. Also, look for someone who shares the same passion for their business as you have for yours. This will reflect in their customer service and outline a plan and cost structure associated with it.

                                                        Please check out my "before you hire a firm" page for more tips. My site is http://www.birdcity.net/beforeyoubuy.html.

                                                        Kijafa Dickinson
                                                        Bird City Communications
                                                • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                                                  CorpCons08 Ranger
                                                  There is another member on the front page here who is in advertising.
                                                  Maybe you should see what options they have available.

                                                  Advertising for my Advertising Business

                                                  CC08
                                                  • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                                                    puzzleman Tracker
                                                    Carpetman, You have been doing this for 14 years. You should have a great database of customers.

                                                    You must have a good reputation to be in business that long so leverage your good name with the people who already know you. Send postcards or flyers to your customers that haven't been back in a certain time frame (a year?) and offer them a 5% discount if do within the next month. Make sure to put a timeframe in the offer so they react now and not later. What about a finders fee? Send your customers a flyer or card telling them for every referral job you get you will give them 5% off for each job? Or tell a friend and the friend gets 5% off.

                                                    Another thought is to go with commercial jobs as well. Everyone has talked about residential but what about a big building with lots of carpet? Or how about hooking with a building maintainence company and sub their carpet jobs?
                                                      • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                                                        Carpetman Newbie
                                                        I do commercial as well as residential. My commercial clients are steady like a regular paycheck. But I love the residential because it is like my overtime. One a per job basis I make more doing the residential because most of my commercial client's place of business are much smaller than homes. Plus I find that industrial carpet is easier to clean and maintain while the carpet in some homes seems to take more of a beating and I do charge according not only to size but also condition due to some of the chemicals I may have to use. I do have a good customer base and they do refer people and I have given incentives to do so. The problem I face is that my business is growing just enough that I have had to hire help but not enough to meet the added expenses of doing so and still pay my self enough. I need to find away make it grow faster. I have tried paid ads and mailers with no success. When I talk to people many have told me that when it comes to carpet cleaning they just do not believe or trust those ads and mailers. I am currently trying to spend more time marketing and have my employees do more of the work which increases my payroll which is ok if I can add enough accounts. I just want to know some different ideas I can try and if hiring someone for PR is worth the effort and affordable. I do appreciate all the advise I have been getting so far. Thanks. Carpetman
                                                      • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                                                        CLT0672 Newbie
                                                        Something I would recommend to you is gaining exposure from the online side. Do you currently have a website? If not, get one! I have seen a big boost in my business when I launched my website. Plus, you can do pay per click and SEO work so targeted traffic will be drawn to your site when people are looking for carpet cleaning. I use a local firm in Charlotte to do all this for me www.accupros.com. They do good work and they are pretty reasonable.
                                                        • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                                                          cellotogo Newbie
                                                          Test out a geo-targeted SEM program on Google (paid sponsored listing on selected keywords - to be listed to those searchers who are within your service territory). You will see immediate results.
                                                          • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                                                            davexblanc Newbie
                                                            Have you tried partnering with real estate agents? Most houses need carpet cleaning either before, during or after the sale. Maybe a small referral fee would get you some business. If you cna help them make or close a deal, your are golden. Another great tool is Google AdWords. More and more people look first on the internet for services.
                                                            • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                                                              MADMAN Wayfarer
                                                              Check out my Vehicle Wrap from Madman Signs & Reproductions, Inc. Post you may find it helpful
                                                                • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                                                                  Bemore Adventurer

                                                                   

                                                                  Here is some information about advertising that you may find interesting. This was the first draft for an article I wrote recentlly for a couple of local business publications. I own a sign company in the Indianapolis area. We specialize in "find a solution for effective marketing". Vehicle wraps and vehicle lettering/graphics will get you the most impressions for least money.

                                                                   


                                                                  Is your business vehicle paying for itself?

                                                                   


                                                                  Certainly with the price of gasoline today, it becomes a larger and larger expense to travel the roadways today. Why not use that vehicle to advertise your business? Today small businesses often undervalue and certainly underutilize the advertising power of their company vehicles as a rolling billboard.

                                                                   


                                                                  The Outdoor Advertising Association of America and the Transportation Advertising Council state that vehicular advertising generates between 30,000 and 70,000 daily impressions. The Indianapolis area is around 35,000 daily impressions.

                                                                   


                                                                  Arbitron, Inc., an international media and marketing research firm shows that mobile advertising reaches virtually all demographics as 96% of Americans travel in a vehicle each week, while 35% of heavy commuters come from households earning $75,000+.

                                                                   


                                                                  Now if you are the person who likes numbers, here are some facts and figures compiled by Driving Revenues, a Washington D.C. based advertising firm. They found that $20,000 spent on advertising produced the following ad impressions by type of advertising placement.

                                                                   

                                                                  • Mobile advertising garners 8,400,000 impressions in a 12 month period
                                                                  • Radio attracts 900,000 listeners in 6 weeks with 10 to 12 30-second spots
                                                                  • Val-Pak offers reach 600,000 households
                                                                  • Direct mail campaigns reach 20,000 names with one post card mailer
                                                                  • 7 city buses get 600,000 impressions in 2 months

                                                                   

                                                                  The average price of a full vehicle wrap is around $3,500. The average life expectancy of a vehicle wrap is 5 years, but let us assume the business vehicle is leased for only 4 years. That is $72.91 per month. But perhaps a full wrap is too much. Vehicle lettering can be done on a van for around $500. Over four years that is just over $10 per month to effectively advertise your business getting over 8,000,000 impressions per year.
                                                                    • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                                                                      MADMAN Wayfarer
                                                                      Great article Bemore, and yes my buisness vehicle pays for itself time and time again. It is my daily driver I drive it everywhere the response is far better than any yellow page or direct mail ad I could ever do.
                                                                      I even have my web adress on there now not that my site is running yet still working on it so that should bring some visitors to the site also. I think they are by far a great way to advertise, but it does cost but it still is very comparable to direct mail but with no limit on who it's going to reach every month or day. I can accredit a 20% increase of calls and buiusness from my first wrap the first 6 months people saw it.
                                                                  • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                                                                    TheMediaHog Newbie

                                                                    psst... PR! Don't forget your PR. PR is great for all involved because it gets everyone involved. You, the community and the media. We've all heard that advertising is what you pay for and PR is what you pray for. Well, I believe the fact that you pray for it makes the difference.

                                                                    Not sure how to get involved? Just ask me, I've got tons of ideas...

                                                                     

                                                                     

                                                                    Get the Attention You Deserve....with www.TheMediaHog.com
                                                                    • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                                                                      MadmanSigns Wayfarer
                                                                      Join a leads group through your localarea chamber of commerece works good for me
                                                                      • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                                                                        lincolnb Newbie
                                                                        If you could give away gas and groceries would that increase
                                                                        the number of subscribers, customers or sales you'd get?
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                                                                        If you Give away gas and groceries that would INCREASE
                                                                        the number of customers or sales you'd get?
                                                                          • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                                                                            massagefever Adventurer
                                                                            I am sorry if this was mentioned in earlier posts, I couldn't read them all, but my website has been my most effective marketing tool. I actually made it myself a long time ago, updating as I need to. But I have key words set in the meta file so that when someone searches "massage spartanburg" (that's me btw" I am one of the first few to pop up on google. And if not the first, my site has the most information and looks the best so I get the most attention.

                                                                            I actually had a guy from TX tell me last week as he ordered a gift certificate for his girlfriend that I got his business because of my webpage and information it contained and it was the best in our city.
                                                                          • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                                                                            americangirl1 Newbie
                                                                            Carpetman,

                                                                            So many of these ideas are GREAT! DEFINITLEY get signs for the lawn, signs for your truck or van, etc. Another thing you can do is have an ad on the internet, but in specific zip codes since you don't need to be known nationally.(Not yet, anyway!) If you can take a look at this web site, it will show you what I'm talking about. Go to www.localadlink.com You will be able to upload photos, coupons, and even videos (which could be demonstrations or testimonials of satisfied customers!) for as little as $50/month and up to $200/month. Let me know if I can be of help. I know how it can be frustrating and mysterious all at the same time as to how to promote your business. With this service that I just mentioned, you won't need a web site (which can be costly). Hope this helps, and best of luck to you!

                                                                            americangirl1
                                                                            • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                                                                              CARWASHKING Newbie
                                                                              Carpetman,
                                                                              I have worked in advertising for over 12 years. I have experience with small business and currently run one Most of the gorilla markeing feet on the street methods obviously make sense. But, don't you think you need to try and target buying need? I can look at a Claritas study (shows buying trends in a market place) and hit about 50% of the buying population from one source. Dex Media is the phone companies phone book in this maket and there I can purchase yellow page print and internet and get a managable SEO campaign to target search engines with measurable results. Go out and optimize the internet in other areas of no cost and for a reasonable amount of money I can keep one or two guys busy no problem and grow at a safe rate. Everyone that complains about the phone book or other advertising for that matter of fact bought the wrong program and did not have reasonable expectations. I can easily go get a 3 to 1 return and most of the time average over 8 dollars of return on my programs. Why wouldn't you advertise? That is the thing most of the guys that complain, run crappy businesses! When you get right down to it the only people they can sell are their own mothers. when you look at success or failure that is what it comes down to how good are you on the phone. Most business owners I see answer the phone and give a price and let the caller go without ever asking for the sell or heaven forbid actually giving them a reason to purchase what they have. You ever heard of a General Benefits Statement? I bet you 100.00 we could ask everyone on this site to give us two reasons why we should use there business and it would be becuase I'm better than the rest and I'm friendly or something stupid like that. Take it for what it is worth and good luck. Key points are understand why you are better than the competition, Gorilla maketing is a given and go out and buy as much active buyers or ready to buy customers as you can or the match you desired level of growth and you will find success. Watch out for those crazy people that tell you it is all internet, I did a study one time and only 4% of the traffic converted to cusotmers, compared too 40% in more traditional areas. Good mixture is a must, but the leads are not cheap on the internet. I would ask for a bundle when working with your advertising people. Best rates and product mixes are there. Good Luck-
                                                                              • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                                                                                FlAdMan Adventurer
                                                                                Try my website, www.freewebs.com/cheapadz, it is helping small business survive in these difficult economic times. It really works. See for yourself and research it some. Then call me directly to set up your ad! Good luck!
                                                                                • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                                                                                  payperclikfl Newbie
                                                                                  Here are some search volume figures for February on a national basis...your search volume would be much less..this gives you some idea of the possibilities.

                                                                                  carpet cleaning74000
                                                                                  carpets cleaning1300
                                                                                  carpet cleaning machines12100
                                                                                  chemdry carpet cleaning590
                                                                                  rotovac carpet cleaning-1
                                                                                  dalworth carpet cleaning2400
                                                                                  bonnet carpet cleaning320
                                                                                  coit carpet cleaning1900
                                                                                  chem dry carpet cleaning1600
                                                                                  carpet cleaning business1900
                                                                                  professional carpet cleaning1900
                                                                                  commercial carpet cleaning1900
                                                                                  carpet cleaning service12100
                                                                                  carpet steam cleaning2900
                                                                                  carpet cleaning machine3600
                                                                                  carpet cleaning services3600
                                                                                  home carpet cleaning880
                                                                                  best carpet cleaning720
                                                                                  dry carpet cleaning2400
                                                                                  cleaning berber carpet1000
                                                                                  quality carpet cleaning390

                                                                                  • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                                                                                    MissHippie88 Newbie
                                                                                    I've recently started using Biz Ad Splash to promote my crafting business. So far it's been easy to use which has allowed more time for me to focus on my actual business. I'd definitely give it a look if you haven't already. The site is www.bizadsplash.com
                                                                                    • Re: MARKETING/ADVERTISING
                                                                                      azren35 Newbie
                                                                                      Carpetman,

                                                                                      Most businesses are moving online to some sort of PPC or SEM. These are marginally good choices depending on your budget. If you are in a city that is covered by craigslist, you should place some remnant pieces or sale there, give away some advice on how to pick the right carpet or how to remove and install new carpet and so forth. You might try to add your information to as many local search engines as possible. Many of them are free and may give you some results.

                                                                                      I market for one such company that is fast becoming a top 1000 visited websites. Ours is not free, it runs $50 to $200 per month depending on the area you want to cover. We focus the advertising for our clients down to the zip codes they are interested in. We don't wait for people to find our website, we push your ad out over our ad network of close to a million websites(and growing) and onto 109 search engines.

                                                                                      I'm offering anyone who would like to try our service a 50% discount for the first three months.
                                                                                      Write me if you'd like more info.

                                                                                      Aziz
                                                                                      azren22@yahoo.com
                                                                                      www.azren.mylocalads.biz
                                                                                      323-420-9026