Website Stuff

Technology, Marketing, and Creating a Buzz Without Hyperbole – How is it done?

It looks like I didn’t set up the Google+ page right the first time.  I created a “business” gmail account and apparently treated that as if it were a G+ business page.  OOPS!

I should have just left that account alone and created a Google+ business page from there instead, or just used my original, personal gmail account.  Anyway, I’m still trying to get it all figured out.

I’m starting to get the hang of working with our carpet cleaning and restoration website.  I’m also doing pretty good at maintaining the facebook company page, but that can probably be attributed to the fact that I’m a facebook junkie anyway.

The Spotterdog linkedin page is a little more cumbersome as far as navigation goes, but I’m beginning to think it’s just that linkedin isn’t really designed for promotions, blogging, company updates, etc, in the same way some other social media platforms are.  If I’m wrong about that I’m sure I’ll figure it out sooner or later.

The twitter account for Professional Carpet Systems will probably not see a whole lot of use.  I can’t really see how I can leverage the power of 140 characters in any way that I, if I were a follower, would actually care about.  Maybe it’s lack of imagination on my part or a particular cynicism I have, and a bias against traditional “marketing strategies.”

Marketing…I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with it.  I hate *selling*!  I love talking about what we do and how we might be able to help, but that isn’t selling, it isn’t “closing” and it isn’t fast, but even as aggressive as I am when it comes to normal conversation, I don’t like being pushy to get into people’s pockets.  Either there’s an honest need for service that I can help with (Ideally better than our competition, which I think we do) or there isn’t, in which case I’ll see what I can do to find someone who CAN solve the particular problem.

After over 25 years of training, field experience, and experimentation with chemicals, equipment, processes, etc, I’m confident that as far as carpet cleaning and restoration goes, we ARE the best in the area (or at least tied with 2 other companies that are one man operations and HIGH priced compared to us) and have a boutique style operation in a market segment that perceives our services as a commodity.  However, being the best (or tied for it) does not generate calls, does not let people know about us, and that’s where marketing and advertising come into play.  And with a gazillion different companies all trying to generate calls and prospects, and all claiming to be the best, or the cheapest, or the whatever, a successful message that isn’t loaded with hyperbole or rhetoric is hard to come up with.  So, instead of hyperbole, we added services based on customer service areas, like before and after job documentation and address tracking for the multifamily (apartment) market, a 200% guarantee to help with a prospective client’s peace of mind, a 7 day spot and spill warranty…etc.

Unfortunately, just adding those things doesn’t get the phone to ring either.  They need to be communicated, and that communication costs money and goes up against a wall of skepticism because we’re so bombarded with marketing messages 24/7 anyway, and we’ve all become at least a little jaded toward marketing messages…at least that’s my thought.

So, any suggestions on how to cut through the hype with an honest message that will work?  I’m all ears, friends.


Updates to the site – functionality

Customers can now send us their carpet cleaning work by uploading a work order directly into the upload area of the order form.

Customers can also upload video testimonials or testimonials on letterhead directly and get $20 off their next service.

The file size maximum is only 1 meg right now, but I’ll be working on changing that one very soon.

I really hope you find the added functionality useful and a bit of a time saver.  That’s an important part of what we’re trying to do; make things easier.

Feel free to send your comments and suggestions to us because we want to know what you think

Online Ordering Page

Testimonial Page

Our Facebook Forum – Check it out and LIKE it.

Okay, thanks to Miranda at Randam Art, I learned about a Forum application that can be added to our Facebook page.

Finally installed and I want everyone who may have a carpet cleaning question to feel free to post their questions here.

Post your own successful DIY tips for stain removal.

Tell us (and everyone else) how we did when we cleaned your carpet.

Suggest improvements to our online marketing efforts.

We want you to see us as a trusted resource that is responsive to your wants and needs. Help us be better.

Go check it out HERE:

NOTE: The link will direct you to an “App page” that will tell you that the app can post on your behalf.  This means that when you like or share something from the Forum page that it will update your “recent activity”.  It’s a safe app with a lot of small business subscribers.



Lots of Work

Bob put in a lot of work on this, and I appreciate it, hope others find some helpful information here.

SEO Work is done…for now.

I finally got the seo work done on the website.  I’m fairly sure I’m going to have to mess with it every week or two after I see how what I’ve already done ends up working.  I guess I should know that in a month or two, so for now I think I’m probably done with SEO work for a while.

I was also able to get the live client services chat plugin installed…finally.  Now to get everyone here (myself included) to make it a habit of logging into the admin site and keeping it open all day so we’re actually available to answer questions when someone goes to the website.

Probably need to spend the vast majority of my time right now working on promoting the website and the Facebook pay, eh?

Speaking of which, if you haven’t done so already, click on the Facebook icon at the top of the page and “LIKE” us.  ;-)

Take care!

New Order Page for Apartment Properties

I played around with the oscommerce plugin for ordering, but it would have been WAY too unwieldy for the customers, not to mention a royal pain for me to edit and get just right, so I deleted it.  I replaced it with a simple order form that sends us email so we can get the work scheduled then confirm the appointment times with either a phone call or an email.  People are getting way too busy to be on the phone for long, and doing it this way allows the very busy property managers (is there any other kind?  Nope.) to do it all via the web page form and email.  Yeah, it’s more convenient.

The only question now is will the form be used much.  For decades the managers and maintenance supervisors have used the phone almost exclusively, though we are seeing a rise in emails from commercial accounts a very few apartment communities.  The option is, and always will be, there for the clients to call in their orders, fax in their orders, or email their orders.  This is just another option for when it might be more convenient to just open a webpage and type in the information.

I like it, but then again I’m biased.  If you haven’t seen it you can take a look at it right here: Apartment Online Ordering Page


Tell me what you think

This is a TON of work..

…especially for a non-coding person like me.  I’ve got the framework set up for online ordering for the apartment division services.  I’m afraid that there is no way to have 2 different shopping areas so I’m going to have to have one e-commerce area that has a category for apartments and a category for residential services.  There is a fairly large problem with that, though.

There are a lot of people who do not understand why we charge so much less for apartment services than residential services.  For example, to provide a standard steam cleaning in a 2 bedroom apartment we charge $45, but for the same amount of carpet in a residential environment (approximately 640 square feet) the price would be $192.

A simple explanation as to why this is the case:

1) The cost to acquire a new client, whether it’s an apartment community or a home-owner, is approximately the same.

2) The cost of chemicals and equipment to provide the service is approximately the same.

3) The cost of labor is substantially higher for the residential home because of the necessity of communication before, during, and after the cleaning.  There is a higher standard of care in this market segment.

4) A homeowner will utilize our services an average of once every 15 months over a 6 year period, or 4.8 times for a total revenue of $921.

5) An apartment community with 200 units will have us clean approximately 8 apartments each month and need an average of $60 in additional services for each apartment: approximately $60,500 over the same 6 year time frame.

The result:  We are able to, because of the revenue and workload expectations that allow us to maintain a staff of trained technicians, provide apartment communities with a substantially reduced pricing structure.

Just a couple of the many facets of business that occasionally require an explanation because we do get asked why we charge different amounts for the same service every once in a while – quantity discounts and economies of scale.

Website Back Up – Whew

As you can probably tell, I was able to get the website repaired, after fretting for hours and trying to get help from our hosting company.  Apparently I didn’t actually “delete” everything, instead I just “trashed” the pages.  All I had to do was find the trash bin in the program, remove them from the trash, then republish and organize the pages.  How did I learn this?

Special thanks to the WordPress Memphis folks, especially Otto, who I did end up buying a beer for.  If you use WordPress I can’t recommend highly enough both the group and Otto when it comes to resources that will help you get it all figured out.


Uh – Oh!

Ladies and gentlemen, the fella who designed the webpage responded to an email of mine asking for a little guidance and said he no longer supported websites.  After reading that I made the mistake of deleting him as an administrator.  Unfortunately, without thinking, I selected the “delete all posts” he made as well because I thought it meant POSTS, as in blog posts, which he never made.  I selected it just in case he had done some testing with posts but never published it so that it would just clear it out of the system.  What happened was that I deleted EVERY WEBPAGE he had designed for the site, which was everything except this blog page.

I feel like a total moron.  So, not only did I delete the entire website, I did so in a way that looks like it is entirely non-reversible.  Talk about a steep (and expensive) learning curve.

1st Blog Post…EVER!

This week has been fantastic.  We have finally found the time to start to really work on learning how to manipulate our website.  There are so many things needed to increase the functionality, ease of use, and ease of management so you can get the most up to date information on what offers we have, and get assistance FAST through the website.  It’s going to take a little while to get everything just perfect, and we know there’s a long road ahead of us, but in the end the website will be one awesome hub for you, our valued client and partners in business.

Hey, if you have anything you would like to see us add to our website that would help make your life any easier, whether it’s scheduling related, invoice related, education related, or customer service related, PLEASE let us know and we will do what we can to make sure that your experience is as easy and efficient as possible.

Until next time (hopefully soon),

Live long and prosper.