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As we prepared to enter the new year, I began thinking back to my conversations with operators from all over the country. Last year saw mixed results for the car wash industry with some parts of the country having a good year and others, not so good. We all know that there are many reasons we can attribute to an area’s good volume or low volume. The top factor on my list is still weather. Let’s look at some things that you can do to help make 2011 a good year, weather permitting.
I definitely think that a lot of operators have given up on marketing. Now I am not talking about putting signs on your property offering discounts. I am talking about a real marketing campaign to boost your business. One thing I recommend trying in 2011 is a direct mail marketing campaign. In order for a direct mail campaign to be successful, your mailing materials must have a great offer that will “call people to action”. Now, doing a direct mail campaign is certainly not the least expensive type of marketing but it has proven to be very effective when done properly. Here are some tips on how to reduce your cost and get the best return for your money. One of the best sources I’ve found for any print item is the web site www.gotprint.com. They have good prices and the quality is top notch. They offer marketing packages that include design services, printing and mailings. Included in this package is the creation of a mailing list based on your specific criteria. For instance, your mailing list could be based on zip codes, age or income. By getting specific on your list it increases the chance of your return. Using specific criteria to build your list greatly increases your probability of a successful campaign.
Not sure what to look for when building your list?
- Keep the mailing limited to a 3 to 5 mile radius.
- Target consumers based on their income and your wash type.
- Target households based on size, age and gender.
- If you're not sure of what to look for the ICA (International Car Wash Association) published a study on Consumer Car Washing Attitudes and Habits that you may find helpful.
- Don't be afraid to ask your current client base questions that could help you build your list.
Robert Andre is the President of CarWash College™. Robert can be reached at RAndre@carwashcollege.com. For more information about CarWash College™ certification programs, visit www.CarWashCollege.com or call the registrar's office at 1-866-492-7422.