“Give them quality, that’s the best kind of advertising.” – Milton Hershey, Founder of The Hershey Chocolate Company
Marketing isn’t magic. It helps to elevate an already successful product or service. The most successful marketing comes from businesses who look at marketing through this lens and continue to elevate all parts of their business.
With that said, there are definitely some car wash best practices to consider when making your marketing plan.
Get to know your customers – the power of customization
The better you understand who is using your services and why, the better you can tailor your marketing efforts to speak directly to your target market. Customized marketing efforts are netting better results as the marketing landscape becomes more and more saturated.
This concept can be applied in a number of ways. For instance, does most of your car wash traffic come from people living near-by? If so, a targeted mailer to neighborhoods featuring people in the neighborhood endorsing your wash might be a great approach. You could also run a targeted, zip code-specific, campaign on Facebook on the first nice day after a rough winter.
Put yourself in the mindset of your customer and think about what is happening in their life and when and why they need your services.
Connect your brand – consistency is key
Taking the time to match the look and feel of your car wash with your marketing is a great way to help build brand recognition. If a customer sees one look and feel in person and different fonts, colors, and messaging in a newspaper ad, they will be confused. Your marketing efforts should all reinforce each other. Everything from the signage at your car wash to the cover photo on your Facebook page should have a streamlined look and feel to help strengthen your brand.
It can take anywhere from 6-8 touches on average before someone choses to use or buy your product. A focus on consistency helps ensure that wherever a potential customer encounters your brand, they will encounter a similar message, look, and feel. This approach helps build visibility and familiarity.
Track your efforts – test and monitor
There are so many marketing channels available to you, but which ones are actually best? Honestly, it depends. If you think a direct mail campaign with an attractive coupon will net you new customers try testing it on a small sample before you send it out to a massive mailing list.
Experiment with different marketing messages and tweak or trash your concepts based on your findings. Is email marketing a good avenue for you to entice your repeat customers? Try it for a couple months and see how it goes.
Many free email services, like MailChimp, give you the option to send different test messages to different audiences. Separate your list by gender, age, or job title if you have that information, and use different messaging and offers geared towards those audiences specifically. Once you begin to hone in on what achieves the best results for your business you can double down on those efforts with confidence.
Be human – sales talk is dead.
Don’t talk AT your customers, talk TO them. Sales-y advertising copy is a thing of the past. Today’s consumer is constantly on the lookout for authenticity.
To bridge the gap between what you want consumers to know and what they want to hear, start with writing down your goal for the marketing piece. Then, think about how you can frame that goal in a way that would interest a consumer. Test it on your family!
Once you have settled on the copy, read it aloud. If it doesn’t sound like something you would say, it probably will come across as inauthentic and you should rework it.
Welcome to the age of the consumer! Exploring these best practices and applying them to your business will help elevate your marketing, messaging, and brand to appeal strongly, confidently, and correctly to today’s consumer.