When it comes to marketing, it can be crucial to define your target market. Defining your market has several benefits but it can be a challenge.
As you narrow your marketing strategy, consider your primary expertise. If you and your staff have become familiar with the cleaning and maintenance needs of specific industries, this can provide a focus and your collective knowledge can help streamline training.
Referrals can come as you build your reputation within an industry sector as companies within a given industry tend to know each other.
Identifying your area of focus takes some honest reflection on your strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. Begin by considering these points:
One of the first ways to determine your target market is to decide what types of clients you don’t want to have. For instance, a cleaning contractor in Northern California was quite excited when he learned he had won the contract to clean many dialysis centers. However, even though the account paid well, he underestimated how involved the cleaning was in these centers. This was complicated by the fact that the people using dialysis centers are often quite ill. Ineffective cleaning could impact their health. Today he says he would never clean this type of medical facility again.
Related to this is just the opposite: what types of clients do you want to have, and which industries do you want to serve?
One cleaning contractor I knew specialized in cleaning small- to mid-sized banks. He knew what they expected as to insurance and bonding requirements. His staff was well-trained in the cleaning needs of banks, and for the most part, banks were well-paying, long-term clients. His market strategy focused almost entirely on attaining bank customers, and he was quite successful.
Other ways to determine your target market include the following:
Check out your competition. If some of your key competitors are all targeting the same types of clients in the same industries, it probably would be a good idea to find another target.
Choose the demographics. We mentioned in another blog that one Atlanta contractor only selected customers within a 10-mile radius of her home. This can actually be a very effective marketing strategy. Having clients all over a city – with the traffic problems Atlanta has – can lead to problems. It’s usually better to focus your customer base in specific areas.
Let your staff decide. In one case, a cleaning contractor hired several people that preferred to work early in the morning. While most commercial facilities are cleaned in the evening, after business hours, he found that most retailers in his area wanted their stores cleaned before 10 am. She started target marketing retailers and was quite successful.
Pay attention to trends. In the past few years, many Californians have been moving to surrounding states such as Idaho and Utah. As a result, the real estate industry in these states has grown significantly, much faster than in previous years. Major real estate companies have been opening up multiple locations to attend to the real estate needs of these new citizens. Cleaning contractors that added real estate offices to their target market likely made a very lucrative decision.
Ron Segura has over 45 years of experience in all segments of the professional cleaning industry including ten years as Manager of Janitorial Operations for Walt Disney Pictures and Television. To contact him, 650-315-8933. e