I hope all of you enjoyed your summer and are getting ready for fall. Out here on the West Coast we have experienced some unusual weather, which hasn’t really been witnessed since the late 1800s and again in 1990. We have seen rain showers come and go, but one storm in mid-July was a surprise. That being said, we enjoyed a great summer, and business keeps picking up.
On the East Coast, the regular humidity had an early start in June, and some business dropped through July. By now, as we kick into fall, the cars are dirty and all the summer fun should be lead to detail work for vehicles, especially the interiors.
At exterior express washes, be prepared for lots of customers using the vacuums a little longer than usual. And, make sure your maintenance of the vacuum systems is up to snuff.
Now, let’s move on to this month’s article topic of advertising and how to best target customers that may be looking for a little extra work on their interiors (and the exteriors), especially now that kids are back from summer camps and heading off to school.
Where will customers who are parents of kids heading back to school and/or into sports likely be around this time of year? And, where will they shop? Well, one good guess is places like back-to-school stores.
When targeting customers with children, if you are able to work out a deal with a store manager or owner for some cross-promotion, you will be way ahead. I have found that a good, old-fashioned approach is preferable and often works well for both businesses.
Make sure your visibility is right where it should be. Another good procedure to follow is to set up a tracking system to monitor how many leads you’re getting from any one particular store and what the sales and leads look like. Offer to reciprocate this lead generation with the store manager, and you will likely pick up not only a streamlined approach to promotion tracking, but also a loyal new partner you can do business with into the foreseeable future.
Furthermore, use coupon-style register receipts at the supermarkets. If you can tie them in with any of the back-to-school offers, the better you may do.
Targeting Web-savvy customers
In this day and age, the use of social media and other forms of multimedia are not only prevalent but are also more or less leading the charge in many ways. I have found that this is a much more complicated method when it comes right down to it, but the exposure you can have and the demographic you can reach are invaluable.
Like it or not, the new age of computer and social media technology and Web-savvy customers are now one of the highest priority demographics. And, these customers are here to stay.
I have a lot of personal experience with social review websites such as Yelp and Google. For some of you (and for me as well), review sites may be kind of a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it is very hard to control and can take tenacity to manage your “reviews.” On the other hand, it serves as a great customer feedback vehicle, allowing you and your staff to make the changes necessary to improve customer service, production methods and store policies. I personally find that if you actually spend a little money advertising with these websites, they can be a little easier to manage.
Another great way to advertise is through your website(s). If you don’t currently have a website, I highly suggest you create one and start utilizing this important medium.
Additional advertising promotions
Finally, I would like to point out some other methods to help you operate a successful carwash, including:
- Text messages and other types of “blast-outs,” which include emails
- Direct marketing and cross-promotion (as briefly mentioned earlier)
- Viewable message boards at the ticket island/kiosk island.
With all these types of promotions and exposure methods to work with, you can reach your desired demographic and can specifically target any given customer at any given time.
More specific targeting methods are also available, and they can help you and your staff really fine-tune your advertising needs.
For further help on this, or any of the other topics I have discussed here, please feel free to contact me by either phone or email.
Until next time,
Christopher M. McKenna of McKenna Assets LLC, based in Redondo Beach, California, can be reached at 310-947-9711 or via email at [email protected]. You can also visit his website at www.carwash-consultant.com. For more information on this subject and other carwash equipment, products and services, please visit www.theschoolofwash.com.