We gave you the first 3 tools last month. Here are the rest:
Business Building Tool #4: Google My Business – I’m sure you have this done, BUT there is the right way to populate this site and there’s the wrong way. First of all, it’s FREE! There is room for 26 photos. Your smiling face should be the profile photo (Why? People want to do business with other people, not some faceless corporation.) And then you’ve got these 5 categories to put photos in: Interior, Exterior, Photo’s at Work, Team and additional photos. Fill up all these spots with everything you’ve got. Get pictures of your van, the inside of your store, photos of your employees, photos of all the things you do and then whatever else you can come up with. Google wants you to fill all the slots—so fill them.
How many reviews do you have with Google? If you don’t have more than 10, you had better get some more. How? Start asking your customers to post a review when they say something nice to you about your business. This could be on the phone or at your counter. You could also send out an e-mail asking your customers to write a review. Reviews are important. They will get your dry cleaner on page 1 of Google when someone is searching for a dry cleaner.
You’ll also want to set up your business on Google+. Didn’t know you could do it, so I just did it. Hey! Things on the Internet are changing rapidly and you gotta change with them.
Business Building Tool #5: Write blog posts on your blog – If you don’t have a blog, you had better get one. One of the simplest things you can do to get your dry cleaner listed on the first page of Google is blogging. Google owns 67% off all searches and if you’re on their first page, you can bet you’re also on Bing’s and Yahoo’s too.
How do you write a blog that will get you on the first page of Google? I’m going to give you the short version here in this article. First of all, your blog post must have one of the top keywords for your dry cleaning business to work. In the title, you should have [keyword] [city or town] [state] and [zip code] to make it work. Then you must sprinkle this into the first paragraph and towards the end of your article.
Here is an example of the headline for one of your blog posts:
“Pittsford NY Dry Cleaner Offers FREE Pick-Up & Delivery In 14534”
“Dry Cleaner” is the number one keyword in most markets. “Dry Cleaners” is number 2 and “Dry Cleaning” is #3. I’d write 3 posts right away with these 3 keywords in them and the city, state and zip code information. Be creative and write weaving this information into your blog post. Once you do that, you’ll find your name showing up on the first page (or better yet, the top of the first page) of Google, Bing and Yahoo.
Business Building Tool #6: Write a newsletter – David Whitehurst from Champion Cleaners in Birmingham, AL says, “The biggest thing a newsletter can do for you is customer retention through connecting with a customer as a person instead of some faceless business, especially if you’re delivering.” David sells other services through his newsletter like carpet cleaning. He mailed out 550 newsletters last month and about one third of the cost was paid through getting carpet cleaning jobs. He does this with a carpet cleaner he has contracted and gets a commission. David takes our monthly newsletter template and changes a few articles to customize it.
Business Building Tool #7: E-mailing – If you’re not e-mailing your customer base, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to sell them more of your services. The biggest objection I get with e-mailing is that you don’t want to alienate your customers. I understand that and I don’t want to alienate mine either. BUT, and this is a big but—it’s not your job to decide if your customers want your information or not. It’s their job. They can always opt out. With all the e-mail autoresponder companies, you have to easily show them how they can “unsubscribe.” If you’re skittish about this, you can put your “unsubscribe” info at the beginning of your e-mail message instead of at the end. I see lots of companies doing this now.
I rent “Rug Doctors” through my e-mailing. I sign up customers for our house cleaning business there too. I let them know about the holiday delivery changes. I give them household and garment cleaning tips. I send out around one e-mail per week. About 90% of my customers stay with me and 10% opt out. You’re crazy if you’re not taking advantage of this simple and very profitable idea.
Business Building Tool #8: New Mover Mailers – Do you know how hard it is to find a good dry cleaner? I remember back in the 80’s when I was dry cleaning my customer suits and shirts. It took me 3 cleaners before I finally settled in on one. When someone moves into your territory, they are looking for a good dry cleaner. Why can’t that be you? For our members, we’ve got a tested letter that brings in about 6% of what’s mailed. If you’ve got 100 new people moving into your territory, that’s 72 new customers over the next year. Every little bit helps.
Business Building Tool #9: Bag Dropping – If you don’t mind knocking on doors, you can drop bags at doors in your territory and knock on their doors to get them back. Most of my members don’t knock on doors, so they do a “pure” bag drop and after following up with post-it notes (instead of knocking), 3-8% of homes end up signing up for the their delivery service by leaving their bag out full of dirty dry cleaning. What’s nice about bag dropping is that your customers are in concentrated routes instead of being spread out all over the place.
Business Building Tool #10: Businesses as customers – There are two kinds of business customers you can get. The first is the business as a customer. Customers like hair salons, doctor and dentist offices and the like. The other is getting a lawyer’s office or an insurance office for the individual people as your customers. You can do this by stopping by those offices and asking them for their business. Or…we’ve got a 3-step letter program that gets the businesses to call you. Either way, it’s a good source of more business for your dry cleaner.
Take one of these ideas this week and put it into use. Make me proud!