Carwash loyalty programs

Carwash loyalty programs

Simple marketing tips to get the ball rolling.

Why should a new carwash investor consider starting a membership or loyalty program? First, membership solves a lot of a carwash’s pain points, including overcoming weather challenges and creating additional revenue streams. Also, having a steady stream of revenue also reassures lenders and will improve your chances of getting financing when you need it.

Power of the program

A LoyaltyOne survey of over 1,000 consumers shows that shoppers ages 18 to 35 score significantly high when it comes to being open-minded about investing in a loyalty program membership. As a whole, 62 percent of the respondents say they would consider joining a fee-based rewards program if their favorite retailer offered one, according to the survey.

For operators, loyalty programs are trackable and provide insight into consumer buying habits. But, how can a new carwash effectively market its loyalty and membership programs? 

First, when looking to start a program, create a plan that includes plenty of marketing and tactics to increase and maintain membership. Whether it’s through on-site signage, your website, in the tunnel or bay or on your pay station, it is never a bad idea to cast a wide net to capture the most interest. 

Another opportunity to market your membership and loyalty programs is through social media. However, when it comes to paying you back and casting the widest digital net, the marketing tool that has the highest return on investment is email marketing, and it’s also one of the most under-utilized. 

Email marketing tips

According to Campaign Monitor research, for every $1 spent on email marketing, $44 is made in return. With approximately 4 billion active global email users, email marketing’s potential eclipses Facebook and Twitter’s reach by almost three times as many users.

For email marketing to be successful, you must:

1. Create an engaging subject line. One third of people will decide to open the email based on the subject line. 

2. Include urgency in the call to action. Periodic discounts that expire will motivate customers to call. 

3. Become informative, not just spam. If customers don’t see value in receiving your email messages, they’ll tune out, or worse yet, unsubscribe. 

4. Thank them for their business. 

Power of the people

Actual members are also a powerful form of marketing. Word-of-mouth advertising is one of the best marketing tools available, and it’s being made easier today with apps. Having an app allows you to offer incentives, such as a free or discounted month of membership, to customers for referring your membership club to a friend right from their phones.

So, in order to do loyalty programs properly, investments in technology and customer acquisition marketing must be made. Remember though, running a membership or loyalty program is not set it and forget it. Once your program is set up and active, investments must be made in software, technology and people to keep it going and growing.

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For a long time — too long in fact — customer data has been undervalued in the carwash industry. For every one operator who believes that the more knowledge they have about their customers and, with that understanding, the more effectively they can retain and recruit others fitting the same profile, there are 10 operators who are simply happy to record a new member’s name and credit card details and call it a day. That’s a sub-optimal approach and one that is frankly out of step with every other subscription-based business, from Netflix to Dollar Shave Club to your local gym chain — none of which are shy about collecting as much customer data as possible as a foundational element of the signup process.

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