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In last month's "What's in it For Me" tip, we talked about the importance of the customer experience at your car wash. This positive experience is crucial in keeping, maintaining and possibly growing your customer base. How would you like an avalanche of new customers? You could be missing out on one of the most powerful tools to attract people to your wash: the internet. If you can successfully incorporate this unbelievably powerful resource into your current activities, 2011 could become your best wash year ever.
People are often uncomfortable with the idea of working with technology to deliver business. "I'm not a computer person," is a familiar refrain. Many of your customers and future customers are using their computers every day. A lot of their time is spent on social networks in discussions about friends, family and yes, businesses. You have to be willing to step outside of your comfort zone if you want to get more customers to part with their dollars at your car wash. "But I don’t know where to start," you might say. Google is your best friend when it comes to finding information about different social media/marketing avenues. I'll share with you a few of the basics that will set a foundation for your success, but with a little research on your part, you will learn about the many opportunities the internet can provide.
Facebook has now become the 800 pound gorilla in the social networking space. Facebook now has more visitors than Google! There are more than 500 Million Facebook users. People are using it in droves. Twenty-eight percent of car wash users are under 40 years old. Nearly 80% of Facebook users are 40 years old or younger. If you don’t have a fan page set up for your business, you are missing out on a great opportunity to generate "buzz" about your car wash with those who are likely customers. Go on-line to learn how to set up a simple Facebook fan page for your business. If you need help, find a friend or employee that can assist you. Have all of your employees, family members, friends and current customers sign up as fans of your business. Offer promotions through your Facebook page. Encourage feedback about your car wash by having fans post on your Facebook wall. The cool thing about Facebook is that it becomes viral, meaning it can spread rapidly with little effort required on your part. Of all of those fans that you have created, each has a list of friends who now have visibility into your business. They can see comments by your fans and this could be the push that they need to come try your car wash. No marketing message is better than a friend of yours saying that they had an awesome experience at your car wash. Others are more likely to give your car wash a try as a result.
Twitter is another powerful tool that can help get the word out about your business to masses of people for free. This micro-blogging service is great for creating networks of people who are interested in the same thing. It is important that you use twitter to get relevant, helpful and authoritative content out to your potential customers. This helps build trust and projects your authority in the business, which goes a long way toward giving them positive feelings about you and your wash. Sprinkle in some articles from PC&D and other authoritative publications. Tell them about the importance of car maintenance, link to articles about vehicle surface protection, send out a picture of cars gleaming as they leave your wash. Be creative, create valuable content and the customers will come.
Other possibilities for social networking include: Foursquare, Yelp, Posterous, Ping.Fm, LinkedIn, the list goes on and on. Look into all of these as options. They each provide another arrow in your quiver as you hunt for that ever elusive new customer. You don’t have to be an expert at each of these. You don’t even have to use all of them. The important thing to remember is you do need to at least start leveraging some of these free tools. Begin to use a combination of the basics that we mentioned last month and some of the newer marketing and social media ideas from this month, and watch your car wash stand out from the crowd.
By: Matt Nall, Territory Manager for Lustra™ Car Care Products
For more information go to Lustrabear.com.