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Magic Marketing Pills

What’s the trick to selling more unlimited memberships?

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When I talk with carwash operators, their first question is: What’s the trick to selling more unlimited memberships? It always makes me smile, because that’s a tricky question to answer. It’s like asking a doctor or personal trainer: What’s the trick to losing weight? 

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There is no magic pill; there is no magic trick. To see results, you must put in the work. It takes lots of little efforts combined to make an impact and it doesn’t happen overnight — although we all wish it did! How many of you have jumped on the scale after that first workout in a while and wondered why the scale doesn’t bless you with an immediate weight loss? Or you decided to skip the last beer and can’t figure out why your pants still feel snug the next day.

Think of your marketing professional as your doctor or personal trainer. Pair up with professionals that have expertise in the area you want to improve. If you break your foot, I’d like to think you’re not going to make an appointment with a dentist. Ever hear the saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none”?  Expertise in marketing doesn’t necessarily mean expertise in carwash marketing or customer marketing. Work with professionals that specialize in carwash and have carwash experience. Not only will they have more experience of the industry, but chances are they’ll have the passion for the customer and know the nuances of the business.

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Next, quality over quantity. Your time is valuable. Each marketing tactic should be executed properly and put in place as a simple step towards your goal. Ten good sit-ups will get you to your six-pack goal faster than 20 sloppy ones.

Lastly, it’s not about you — it’s about them. The customers and their experience. Don’t confuse this with your customer service; they aren’t the same.

People are willing to spend more for a better experience. Carwashes that implement a focused customer experience strategy generally achieve increased revenues, reduced churn, higher satisfaction and — you guessed it — higher loyalty and memberships.

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Win-win, right? You bet.

Search “carwash near me” on your phone. Does your wash pop up? If it does, great. Your customers are off to a great start customer experience: They can find your wash. If it doesn’t, you have work to do with your “find me” searches.

Go on Google and notice the ads being delivered to you. The ads should be of companies near you or services related to topics and products you’ve been considering. These companies are doing a good job with their digital ads. Your wash can be this good with digital ad placement too.

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Marketing professionals know how to place digital ads properly when customers are considering washing their cars. The kicker is, I can’t tell you how many times we look at a client’s ad setup only to find they are marketing to people 1,500 miles away from the wash. Google is global; your wash is not. Sure, these are people considering a carwash. However, most will not drive 1,500 miles for a wash. We can all agree poor digital ad placement not properly geo-targeted is a waste of time and money and a bad customer experience.

Here are some other common customer experience efforts to consider: improving the purchase process at the pay station, clearly communicating membership options, and having signs that make people look and are easy to understand. All these quick experiences increase conversion when done properly.

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And, finally, the after-effect. You know, drinking water after a workout. The same holds true for responding to customer feedback on social media (good and bad) or sending a text message to thank customers for their visits. Do it timely; do it right. These small dopamine hits to your customers’ brains feel good. Small, positive experiences that make them want to come back.

When we look at marketing, there are a lot of metrics and analytics that provide great direction and guide us in our decisions. Honest marketers know it’s impossible to say which of these end-to-end customer journey tactics led to a customer signing up for a membership plan. What a marketer can say is the details that created this pleasant experience within the set budget converted an engaged prospect into an unlimited member. Goal … achieved.

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Finally, word of mouth travels fast, and there’s no better (or worse) marketing than that done by your customers. A customer experience that is nurtured and cared for will positively impact word of mouth quickly and directly.

Going back to the beginning, the trick is the combined interactions your customers have with your wash. And the best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing. No matter what, you’ve got to hustle for that muscle, and it’s not one exercise that will you get you there.


Mike Berlin has over 20 years experience in the marketing industry. In his current role, Mike leads SLAM CarWash Marketing, representing over 100 clients in the carwash industry. Mike teaches a Marketing segment in Sonny’s CarWash College Management and Multi-Site Classes. You can reach Mike at [email protected]. For more information about SLAM CarWash Marketing, visit www.slamcarwashmarketing.com.

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This content is sponsored by CarWash College. Sponsored content is authorized by the client and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Professional Carwashing & Detailing editorial team. 

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