Rob Anspach, owner of Premiere Carpet Cleaners in Lancaster, PA, was recently honored by the Business & Entrepreneurs Network for a direct mail marketing campaign that he personally created. ServiceMonster caught up with Rob to find out how he achieved his marketing success, and to see if he had any marketing advice for other carpet cleaners.
1. What are the “Marketer of the Year Awards”? Are they regional, local, national? Who is eligible?
The “Marketer of the Year Awards” are held to honor those individuals who excelled in business as a direct result of the marketing they’ve designed and implemented. These particular awards were held in West Chester PA (a suburb of Philadelphia) through The Business and Entrepreneurs Network. The awards were broken down into 3 categories: “Rookie of the Year,” “That #1 Thing,” and “Marketer of the Year.” I was selected as the “That #1 Thing” winner.
2. Why did you win this award? The Cleanfax and Business & Entrepreneurs Network articles about your win say it was for a direct mail letter written in a ‘conversational’ style, but could you give us more details?
The letter I created was in effect a “reactivation” letter, designed to bring back clients who hadn’t used our service in over 4 years. It was written to build trust and not to be a typical sales letter. It was more of a conversation between me and the reader, which made it personal and believable.
3. What was the response to your sales letter like?
Unbelievable! You see, I only mailed the letter to around 200 people that hadn’t used our services in over 4 years. These were clients who had spent some money with us in the past, but for some reason or another hadn’t called in a while.
The letters cost less than $200 to print & mail. Within 48 hours of mailing the letter, we booked 3 jobs totaling over $1700, and throughout the month the calls kept coming in. Within 30 days, that letter produced a 32 to 1 ROI (Return on Investment.)
4. What percentage of your marketing is direct (snail mail, BNI meetings, phone calls) vs. indirect (phone book ads, radio ads, or online (social media, websites, etc.))? Which types of marketing have worked best for your business?
I eliminated all phone book ads about seven years ago and haven’t done radio in over a decade. 80% of new and repeat business is generated through direct mail (newsletters, postcards, reminders, reactivation letters & thank you’s) and the other 20% is generated online through our website and social media.
6. If you had one piece of advice for other carpet cleaners, what would it be?
Raise your prices. If the majority of people who call you say the reason they call is that your prices are great…it’s a good indicator your prices are too low.
7. Premiere Carpet Cleaners has been in business for 18 years. How has your marketing strategy evolved over time?
When I first started in business, I had no clue how to market and relied on others to design ads and marketing materials. And for three years all I did was give money away to ad reps who designed ads that never compelled anyone (well, except those without money) to call me. So, I took matters into my own hands and started creating my own ads.
Back then I did a lot of Clipper Magazine and newspapers coupons, which generated good responses, but as I got more focused on the types of clientele I wanted to serve, my marketing took a shift. You see, I realized my service wasn’t designed for everybody, and as much I wanted to help, there were certain customers that didn’t make a good fit. Instead of blasting my ads out to everyone, I focused on getting my message directly to a precise customer that valued my services and was willing to pay my prices.
8. You also do marketing consulting and write marketing articles. Where can people access your marketing advice? Do you write for any industry publications?
I’ve written many articles for Cleanfax Magazine and have been working with Bruce DeLoatch on co-editing The Monitor, a publication of the Society for Cleaning & Restoration Technicians (SCRT). On occasion I have been known to pop in and teach social media marketing at Jeff Cross’ Totally Booked University. My next class will take place on March 7 at Jon-Don in Langhorne, PA.
If you’d like to know more about me or how to kick your marketing into high gear you can visit me at www.robanspach.com.
9. Could you tell us more about your carpet cleaning business?
I started Premiere Carpet Cleaners in 1995 thinking I could win the world (at least my little part of it) over with cheaper prices and fast service. After 6 months, I realized very quickly that offering cheap service was making me broke. The moment I started raising prices was the day I actually felt I was in business to make money.
I added a janitorial service to our services in 1996 and a flooring store in 1997. The flooring store was a complete flop and cost me more money than I liked to admit, but it taught me a valuable lesson. If you try to be everything to everyone, you won’t be good at anything. So by focusing on our core services (carpet, area rug, upholstery & mattress cleaning) we are able to make money and keep our clients happy.
10. Anything you’d like to add?
Test everything! Look at what others are doing in their marketing (not just cleaners), look at the plumbers, the lawyers, the realtors . . . look at everything then use it for your marketing. Test it! Don’t be afraid to make a mistake–that’s how you’ll learn to be a better marketer.