You might not have thought about it, but your customers are changing. Millennials are far more influential to B2B focused industries such as Janitorial companies than they ever have been before. In a recent article outlining the findings of a study conducted by Google and Millward Brown Digital, in just the last 2 years, millennials make up nearly half of the individuals who research and make a purchase decision for B2B products and services.
The oldest of this group was born around 1980 which makes them between 25–36. This means that they have never known a world without the modern day internet. They are digital natives. They are highly connected and have grown up expecting an abundance of information at their fingertips. So what does this mean to you and your Janitorial business? A lot!
#1 — If they don’t find you by searching, they may not find you at all.
According to the study 71% of millennials start their research with search. While that may not surprise you what is interesting is that these searches are generic. They are not looking for any specific brand but start with a general service search like “Cleaning services in [Enter your city here]”.
What to do about it
The first thing you need is a website. While this may seem like an obvious first step, many reputable Janitorial businesses still depend on marketing tactics like Yellow Pages to handle their “website”. The main issue with this approach is that you do not OWN that website, you are simply renting it. For companies that already have a website, you’re not out of the woods yet.
Your website also needs to show up when they search for you. There are two main ways to make this happen. First is to pay for this by bidding on specific keywords using services like Google Adwords and Bing Paid Search. There are a number of consultants out there that can help you with this service. When selecting them, make sure they are certified and have a proven track record of delivering measureable results.
The second thing you can do is to invest in SEO or Search Engine Optimization. Of the two tactics, this is the more time intensive and costly as it takes not only a well organized website but a number of other factors to make sure you rank for terms that are relevant to your customers. If you haven’t done either start with paid search to better understand what specific keywords are worthy of your SEO investment.
#2 — Millennials will judge you by your website
It may go without saying but having a professional website in 2016 is not only a must, it will make the difference between never hearing from a prospective customer and being shortlisted for a proposal. Millennials are not only used to researching you before they call, the more important fact is that these researchers are already 57% of the way through their buying decision BEFORE they do anything on your website. Your website has to appeal to them on any screen they choose to research on. This demographic is doing 3X more searches on their phone than just 2 years ago. With 91% using their phone through the whole process, your website MUST appeal to them on every screen they use.
What to do about it
What you do first depends a lot on how much you have already invested. Assuming you are thinking about a new website, or a complete redesign, don’t reinvent the wheel. Websites like WIX and Squarespace are a great first step that will not only provide you a great looking website, but will deliver one that looks great on any size screen. The hard work is sitting down to think about what questions your website will answer when you’re successful at getting their attention. Here are a few questions your customer will ask to get you started.
- How do I know I can trust them?
- Who else can speak to their work?
- How do they screen their staff?
- What makes them different from any cleaning company I could hire?
- Do they use technology that will make my life easier?
#3 — Millennials love B2B video
According to the study in 2014, 70% of B2B customers researching a product or service will watch a video about the product/service when making their buying decision. That is a 52% increase from just 2 years ago. So while video was something that has been important to B2C for many years, nearly half of this demographic want to see a video about your company. This is an opportunity to stand out.
What to do about it
If you haven’t already invested in video, this is the year to budget for it. Services like Wooshii and Upwork can connect you with companies and consultants that can walk you through the entire process. The key to this step is to think creatively about what you want to say. This medium offers a way to once again, set your company apart from others in your market. Talk about your company’s personality and culture to help connect on an emotional level so you can appeal to both the left and right side of your new customers brain.
Change can be intimidating, but the internet is changing how customers think about your business with or without your involvement. Think about each of these ideas as mini projects to take on. You don’t need to do everything at once. Each change will build on the last and help set your Janitorial business on a better trajectory giving you and your team a better chance at staying relevant now and into the future.