I want to start a brainstorming thread here on targeting customers that hopefully could be beneficial to all of us.
One of the first things you do in marketing is you figure out who the heck you are targeting. In my case, which is probably close to everyone else that does residential work… it’s a:
household living in a 250k+ house,
income is $150k+, but that can vary if they are retired and living off net worth
Female is the decision maker
target age range is 35+, but majority of prospects are 50+
a lot are still using older forms of media like newspapers, evening news on TV, radio, etc
They normally vacation a lot in the summer months
They normally use services businesses because of a neighbor using that business/service or because of a direct referral
They also use services because of a planned event/holiday
So as I am “hunting” customers during the summer months to keep the schedule full… I am trying to think like the customer. I am planning ways to get my company/services in front of them throughout their daily activities/routines.
So what does this target customer do with their day? How do they find services? How do they make decisions? How does a service company create the need in front of the customer and it causes them to act?
One way is to do Internet advertising that is targeted to specific zip codes. Another method might be to target female executives (buy a list). Another method would be to network with other service companies who are targeting the same customers especially those that would need a clean up after their service like pool repair or window installation companies, or curtain instalation, interior decorators, party hosting companies etc. Think about the other people these people talk to or use often. I have found that alot of these woman have a close relationship with a well known interior decorator who they are constantly connecting with.
The key is to get in the “circle” and rub shoulders with their “circle” and be the guy for your services and word will spread quickly. The key to getting more referrals with these customers is not discounts but outstanding customer service (going the extra mile, doing small unexpected extras without being asked and at no charge etc. You have to price this time into your regular pricing and give them the the value back with your extra time and attention).
Another way is throught the husband. Sometimes the husbands catch you and ask for a bid. Target medium size business owners and executives. Most of these neighborhoods here have golf clubs and alot of the men and woman play. Try to land the golf club as an account so the customers see your company there regularly.
I have found that one of the keys is to target a single neighborhood or community and try to gain exposure from several sources so your are in front of them often. This is better than spreading your marketing out over multiple neighborhoods. Targeting one neighborhood maximizes your exposure and gets you referred quickly in that neighborhood.
I think your other thought is correct as well about knowing how to motivate a sale. I think that is key. I would say highlighting the right benefits to create desire and then create a sense of scarcity or limited availability. So in other words send out your ads at key times: Currently booking our spring schedule. Limited spots available so call now (just an example).
One benefit that is key is speedy service. People like that their time is what is important to them and they don’t want to be stuck at the house all day waiting for a service to finish the job. Another one would be maintenance programs available. I have found that those customers love to get on a regular schedule and most companies might love to do that for them but they rarely advertise it. So it makes the customer think your the only one who provides that. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard customers, when I offer a regular schedule (quarterly etc), tell me no one has ever offered them that before.
As you know you can advertise all you want to those customers but I’d your jot singing their tune they just ignore it.
Exactly! That’s one direction I am getting at here. People associate with those of similar stature and standard of living generally. That’s why when our advertising gets us in the door in new subdivisions we grow rapidly cause we push for referrals.
What I am asking is: outside of conventional ways that we all target customers, are there other ways to connect with that prospect? For example, I donated some gift certificates to a local orphanage for a charity golf tournament. Come to find out a lot of the high rollers in my area support and get involved in the same charity. I got a lot of exposure for my company by being in a place/event that my target customer is at.
It could be as simple as putting yard signs at the entrance of subdivisions, or maybe something like presenting at a local rotary club. I dont know I am just throwing stuff out there hoping it will stick.
We have a decently large facebook campaign and that method is working for us very well this year
I dont know if the cold call would work. I like to sell to a customer that already needs the service instead of otherwise.
We do pursue those relationships. In my experience they normally take time… I find that not all business owners in my area are even close to being as aggressive and passionate about business as I am
With powerwashing, with the husband we never have a problem with. But I don’t know about everyone else but husbands hardly see value in window cleaning. 80% of the time its the women. I have even had wives schedule us when their husband is not around and pay cash so their husband doesnt find out!
Is targeting the wealthy the best way to make you wealthy though?
I know it differs from one area/culture to the next - but I often found in Ireland that the wealthier people were often the busiest, who didn’t take so much pride in their home because they were never in it, and who were often the first to complain about the cost of the service.
The goldmine audience that I always tried to target was the active retired people - maybe not as wealthy, but they know the value of hard work and appreciate a job well done - they’re also home more so notice when the windows are dirty - and they’re more likely to tell their friends who are happy to pay a slight premium to use a “trustworthy” and recommended company…
one of my old photo stores was in the wealthiest neighbourhood in the city. many said it was full of cheapskates and tightwads but i did not find that true. there were some of course but mostly it was people who wanted good value, they had the time and money to go anywhere and chose any business they wanted. they did not want to feel ripped off any more or less than others but they could afford to pay as long as they felt it was a fair trade.
In my neck of the woods it seems that many of the truly wealthy homeowners have their second (or third, or fifth) homes here. They typically outsource all of their home maintenance to a property management company. If you can get in good with the management company, it can lead to a lot of business.
They make for some of my favorite jobs, since the homeowners are never around and for the most part I can work whatever hours I like. If I want to crank out a 12 hour day and be there after dark, I’m not imposing on anyone. And if I show up 2 hours later than planned, “oh well”
As far as how to ‘get in good’ with these maintenance companies, most all of the ones I work with have contacted me. So it’s important to be visible
online. It might also help to send a letter of introduction, and then stop at their office location in person.
I wish I knew. I am fortunate to be in an area where almost every house fits your description above. Our clients do vacation a lot all year but they always seem to make house maintenance a top priority.