Wouldn’t it be great if you had no competition? Then you could provide pressure-cleaning services to everyone in town and reap massive financial rewards.
Not so fast. Competition is good! It helps motivate you to work harder to reach customers and can teach you a thing or two so you can keep beating the competition.
How does competition help your business?
1. Piggyback Marketing
Getting clients, and keeping clients, takes educating them. You need to explain to them, for instance, why should your customers pay you, the expert, to do the job rather than any person with a power washer. That kind of education takes money and time.
Your competition has the same problem, and when they educate the public you benefit from it. That’s called “piggyback marketing” and it helps you sell your services. The more people in your location know they need a specific kind of service you offer, the more clients you will have.
2. Learn How to Zag
In marketing, the worst brand you can have is being everything to everyone. Firstly, it’s impossible to cover all of that ground and secondly, no one believes it. The best way to sell your business is to have a clear brand that’s different from the competition – a niche, per se. You zag when everyone else zigs. For instance, you present your company as one that “provides excellent service” while your competition focuses on “low prices.” Does that mean you can’t be price competitive? No. It just means people in the community know you as the one that provides great service. It gives you a specific focus for how you share your business and how the community relates to you.
This kind of marketing planning and execution often falls to the way back burner because it doesn’t seem closely related to sales. As a small business, you are hyper-focused on providing services and finding new clients. However, having a clear brand helps you find new customers by helping them find you: when they feel they “know” you, they are more likely to hire you.
Once your competition puts the pressure on, you are forced to let your community know, “Hey! We are different and here’s how!”
3. Get Creative
Competition also forces you to get creative about sales, specials, incentives and general advertising. It takes money to make money, but it’s hard to let go of that money! If you’ve been dragging your feet in this area while your competition is going all out, you’d better get walking.
Your community offers endless opportunities to advertise and will make it easy for you to spend your marketing dollars. Coupon packages, online specials, mailers…it can be overwhelming. Finding out what provides the best return on advertisement investment takes trial and error, a necessary education to get ahead of your competitors.
Need help with marketing tips and tools? Get The Pressure Cleaning Bible: Marketing bookby Steve Stephens! It gives you an excellent education in marketing and advertising specific to the pressure wash cleaning business.
How do You Learn About Your Competitors?
1. Find Your Competition
First you need to find new businesses cropping up. If you lose a bid, ask the person politely who gained their business. “Do you mind telling me…” usually does the trick. Periodically do a Google search in your service area for new businesses. Not all companies are Internet savvy so don’t be surprised if you can’t find them. Try the online Yellow Pages instead if nothing comes up. Keep your eyes open for new trucks, mailers and promotional signs on lawns, too.
2. Sign Up For Their Newsletter
Keep tabs on your competition by reading their weekly or monthly newsletter. You’ll read about new sales, blog posts, services, hires, and anything else they think helps sell their company. If you want to run head-to-head with other pressure washing companies, getting and reading their newsletter is vital. Consider using an alias email that dumps into your company inbox.
3. Examine Their Flyers
Do you get competitors’ mailers? Don’t toss them; check them out. How do they look? Are the photos clear and useful? How are they selling themselves? Can you do better? Are they doing something you like? You’ll be surprised how much you can learn from this simple exercise. Perhaps your mailers need a small tweak to get your point across based on what another company is doing. Use them to expand your marketing knowledge and practices.
4. Don’t Get Overwhelmed
With all of this examination of the competition, be careful not to copy them. Present your company as unique compared to your competitors as opposed to following in their footsteps.
Also, resist the temptation to go crazy and advertise everywhere, spending lots of money on unnecessary ads. Find what works for your company and stick with it. Just because the competition is in the newspaper or advertising on Facebook doesn’t mean that’s a good idea for you. Be wise about where you put your ad dollars and you will see a great return.
Rather than lament new pressure washing businesses in your community, use them to bolster your marketing and advertising. Soon enough you’ll be blowing them away.