Another in-person marketing opportunity is attendance at trade shows. "We've had a booth at a municipality trade show in Connecticut," Kuhns says. "We bring a piece of equipment to show and usually have a few free giveaways." The benefit for contractors who exhibit at a trade show is they can target a specific audience who is there for a specific purpose. But sometimes the people you are looking to market to are not always the ones attending the show, Kuhns points out. Another consideration is that trade shows can be expensive, he adds.
Getting out and being seen is a great way to market. Custom Maintenance Service does this through community involvement. "We provide assistance to the local food bank through our company name. We provide sweeping services to charity events at no charge. It gets the truck and the name of the company out there," Nawa says.
If you have it in your budget, a short television commercial is an option. Capitol Sweeping Services uses TV commercials on a seasonal basis to market its catch basin cleaning. The company decided on the day, time, and channels that would work best for them. They then created 10 and 30 second commercials keyed in on a target audience - business people watching TV on a Sunday morning.
Depending on the market and target clientele you serve, electronic marketing may be a good option for your company. For example, having a website for your company can help market you to a much larger audience - anyone can find you.
A more intimate way to market to both existing and potential customers is through e-newsletters. Capitol Sweeping Services says the e-newsletter has been a very cost-effective marketing strategy for them. The company sends it out through e-mail and also posts it on its website. "With e-newsletters you can contact people you did, do, and want to do business for," Kuhns says.
If you're going to do an e-newsletter, think about what content you would like to include. Remember, this is not meant to be a piece of advertising. E-newsletters should have educational value for your customers. Highlight the services you offer. Inform the customer about what the service is, what the benefits are, and maybe even how the service is performed.
Southco has also increased its electronic marketing to include an e-newsletter, monthly updates, and breaking news from the industry. This constant communication of information is helping to establish Southco as "the Source" for its customers, McCaskill says. "You need to keep your customers informed and keep your name in front of them," he adds. "Sometimes they forget easily."
And don't forget one of the best marketing tools, and probably the cheapest: word of mouth.
These aren't the only marketing strategies a sweeping contractor can use. Nawa suggests looking at other industries both in and outside of the pavement maintenance industry. Take a look at how other industries are marketing and what materials they are using. If you see something you like find a way to adapt it to the sweeping industry and your market.