Marketing not working?

I’ve been dumping a lot of money into newspaper marketing and Facebook ads ever since my business started, and I’ve found that they are getting diminishing ROI’s and sometimes diminishing absolute returns. I’ve tried yard signs, flyers, and door hangars in the past with no success. I feel like I just can’t find a good marketing method at all. I’ve also been in a rural area an I am now trying to move into more urban areas around me (3 large cities within a 1.5 hour drive from me) and I’m not sure how to do marketing in these areas. Should I try door hangars, flyers, and yard signs again? What about google ads? I’m just a little frustrated.

Ask yourself truthfully when was the last time you personally bought a thing or a service off of a yard sign, door hanger or newspaper? apply that logic to your own business and then ask yourself why the phone isn’t ringing. If you want mass exposure you need web based or paid advertisement. Times have changed, computers and cellphones aren’t a luxury anymore everyone uses them.

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I’ve only ever received flyers for windows and roofing, so I can’t really judge based on those. Lol. Never the less I believe you are right, but it seems impossible for me to find an effective way to do web marketing. I’ve tried it numerous times both on my own and by hiring someone else ad every time has been a waste of money.

I save the window cleaning flyers for when I need a camp fire. No advertising will be an instant hit straight away, it’s more the idea of planting a seed wherever you can, with internet based advertising it’s a little more permanent than a yard sign or flyer and it’s always there when someone in your area is looking for your service. A website and google ads would be the minimum.


Oh, I do have a website. Would you recommend hiring for google ads or going the DIY route? If hiring another company to do it, how do I find a good one?

I would personally hire someone else, be honest with your ability you either know what you’re doing or you don’t, I personally didn’t have a clue i just made it someone else’s problem. I’m sure someone on here could give a good recommendation of someone they use. My guys in a different time zone lol.

That’s a good idea, I’ll ask for recommendations. Thanks!

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When people search power washing on the internet Google/Bing… gives them the closest businesses to them. I don’t know how to get your business to show up to someone searching in a city an 1.5 hr away. I would imagine you have to hire a professional or learn how to do it yourself. I would love to hear someone that knows how to do this chime in.

You have to either use payed ads or “add a location” from the google my business menu, but that requires you to have an actual address at that location. IF I were to do that, I would probably just use a friend’s address or find someone who will let me use their address in exchange for payment. I won’t do either of those though as I don’t really care to add another location. I’ll just use google payed ads.

It’s also possible that you’ve chosen the right medium but have the wrong message.
In other words, you’re using the right venues for advertising (facebook, et al) but the look of your advertising or the wording of your advertising isn’t great.


Web/social marketing is huge, but it will take time to build a presence and get yourself into the right position. Reviews will play a big part in that, which means (of course) building up an existing client base. In the meantime, be sure you are marketing while working (decent truck wrap, cards to the neighboring houses, etc.). Mass mailers are probably also necessary at this phase of your business (but be careful, our ROI varies by a factor of 5x within our washing season). Be consistent in your message, you’re building brand recognition all along the way. Donald Miller has some good insight here, as he points out that you can’t typically entice anyone to buy, but you need to be the one “in their face” when they do want to buy…this means always being in their face, via various methods…

Keep doing what you see any results from, but track the ROI for each as well. Offer customers a credit towards future work for sending their friends. Cover everything (truck, shirts, etc.) with your name and logo. Have a blog on your website (and maybe hire someone to do that and your GMB optimization). Also, you can use “service areas” in GMB, but I just did that the first time for our 3rd location (which won’t have a shop immediately), so not sure how well it is/will work. Along with here, watch Youtube for ideas…yes, I know there are a lot of people down on the self-proclaimed gurus there who never did anything…so look for guys who genuinely want to help others, and have done it themselves. There are plenty of guys I know with $1M+ businesses in 5 years on there offering advice to others…some offer classes, some don’t, but they still put content on there that can help you.

Whatever you do, keep at it! Nothing grows overnight (unless you dump $100k in mass mailers out there…). You can do it!

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The problem with yard signs and flyers, is that you are advertising to people who aren’t looking for your service…


Agreed, but they may not be looking for your service at the moment…it’s standard marketing planning to cast a lot of wide nets, while hitting focused targets on the back end. Build the biggest database of emails you can, and always be hitting them with newsletters, offers, reminders, etc. Also, yard signs and flyers are easily targeted to neighborhoods with a lot of dirty roofs, HOAs that are going “mildew hunting”, soccer mom neighborhoods where people would rather pay someone else to do the work, etc. Nothing should ever be done without at least some level of targeting of a specific market. You find the people that you want to work for, and market to them. Of course, top-notch service is a requirement.


Do you market to a specific area with your online marketing or a broad area? Have you chosen a small area to serve or are you trying to serve everyone? I’ve found that less is more when starting out, at least for me.

Everyone’s experience is different but I have found success in pinpointing the area I want to serve and focusing all of my marketing in that area i.e. online ads, yard signs, door hangers.

Consistency has been key, the more the same people see your marketing material the higher probability they will hire you or at least contact you.

I’m no guru but I know when I see an ad for a new sandwich at McDonald’s I pay no attention but then I see it again and again…now it’s catching my attention. Then someone I know tells me about how they tried it and it was great…next time I’m hungry driving by McDonald’s I’m swinging in to try it!

Client sees your ads once, they pay no attention, they see it twice and they may remember your business name. Third time they see your company name its a yard sign in their neighbors yard. 4th time a door hanger your left after cleaning their neighbor. If they talk to their neighbor and the neighbor boasts about how good of a job you’ve done you will probably get a call.

Best of luck to you, hope you find a method that works!


Do you wear a uniform when you wash? What does your equipment look like?

I never got a single call from any of my FB ads, nextdoor, very few organic website visits. My first year almost every single new client came from a referral or a person that saw me washing (in a tucked-in uniform polo and with organized, good looking equipment and truck) and asked for a card.


Most of my work comes from people seeing me out and about and they stop and talk. Now that I am trying to grow and expand I am looking more into running the ads and such. So I’ve done a lot of reading. You have to stay on top of them and constantly tweak them. Cast that wide net them look at the insights. If it’s 55+ year old males that clicked on your ad the most then the next ad (with a different message ) should be targeted at 55+ men. I keep my “wide net” going and refresh the pics and message every so often. Each month I look at the insights and decide on a targeted ad to send out. It had gotten me a few calls which gets me into new places and allows me to be visible and get the walk up people.

People make whole careers out of marketing, not saying we cant get good at it but I feel like it takes too much time from other aspects of our job and life. Come the first of the year I will be hiring someone to handle my ads.


Would like to sympathize with the original post.
I have also tried all of those avenues with little success. fb gets you as they’re created ad looks so appealing. But I got 0 hits from it. I used the company “nextdoor” and got a coupe of jobs for a 15day ad. I also used mail shark as that worked for a friend In the business. But all in all, my ROI has been awful as well.

I feel like yard signs work pretty well but I only place them in customers yards. Lot of people out walking more it seems since covid. People walk by and see a clean house and think I should do that too. $6 and potential people walk or drive by and the testimonial is right there behind the sign.

I want to rip my hair out right now. The simple fact of the matter is that nothing I am doing is working and I feel like I am fighting desperately for drastically diminishing returns on every single thing I am doing. I just don’t know if I can stay in business like this. FB ads are not working, and I don’t even know what else to do. Google? How do I even get started in those ads? Marketing companies I’m convinced are a sham, I’ve tried several and none of them had good returns.

I hear you man. We’re way off expectations for September. August was expected, but this month has been a veritable crap show of sick staff, breaking trucks, and lousy sales. We’ve tried some of the “quick gen” marketing stuff, but I refuse to spend on another EDDM right now (ROI on the last one a couple months ago was abysmal). I think we got so far ahead on sales from spring that we fell behind on certain marketing avenues. I’m so happy Christmas lights start going up in 3 weeks…that has to go smoother than late summer has, lol.

Hope something hits for you soon!