I started advertising my cleaning business by printing flyers and distributing them locally. This was an ineffective strategy because there was nothing to make me stand out among my many competitors. Consumers receive a barrage of advertising in the mail. From small businesses like pizzerias and restaurants. From heavy hitters like Wal-MartŪ and K-MartŪ. From professional mailers. From community "newspapers" filled with ads. But who hasn't seen week-old piles of this mail sitting in front of people's doors or unopened by the curb? That's why it's called junk mail. Nobody reads it.
So I tried advertising via email. I found email addresses by typing in the name of my town in a search engine like Google. Then I browsed the web sites I found in the search and manually extracted email addresses. I also visited community web sites. These were a great resource. I posted in the free classifieds and pulled hundreds of email addresses from the forums.
I got plenty of clients using this method. But in time I found that new customers kept contacting me with the same questions. What are your fees? What are your hours? Where is your service area? Are you bonded and insured? Do you offer a satisfaction guarantee?
Answering these questions was very time consuming. I wanted to create a resource that would give new customers information they wanted—quickly and efficiently.
So I built a web site to answer the questions I received by email and project an image of professionalism. Judging from my growing client base, this was a big success! And a timesaver. Now people emailed me requesting services, not asking questions to determine whether my company was right for the job. I stopped wasting time answering questions for people shopping around for a deal and instead was able to focus on serving new customers who were already familiar with my company.
This was such a success that I soon added more features to my web site and to my business.