In the professional carwashing industry, whoever understands customers the best, wins. In the 1980s, before the emergence of the internet, satisfied clients shared their experiences of great service with about three friends or co-workers by word of mouth. On the other hand, an upset customer told around 10 people about the bad service and experience he or she received at a business; bad news always traveled faster.
Virtual crowd of critics
Today, however, the playing field has leveled as the internet has changed the game. The internet has closed the gap between the number of people who hear about your service, regardless if it is from a good or bad experience.
Review websites, such as Yelp, have multiplied the number of people who receive notice of your level of service by hundreds or even thousands.
Today, happy clients spread the word to equally the same amount of potential customers as upset clients do when leaving reviews. These reviews are read by thousands of people.
Potential carwash customers will base decisions on whether to do business with a company on the reviews they read as well as the number of stars the business has earned.
New prospects are influenced by people they do not even know and most likely will never meet.
Today, consumers are demanding to be contacted through their smartphones. Therefore, there are two effective ways to influence customers to do business with your carwash: on the web and through push notifications and text message marketing.
Aim for high grades
If you are in an unfamiliar city and you want to wash your car, how do you find a carwash? Most likely, you will turn to Google or other popular search sites. Then you will read the business’ online reviews before you choose a carwash. Therefore, as a business owner, you must ensure that your business is one of the top three in a Google search of your area and that you have great reviews.
According to BrightLocal’s 2015 Local Consumer Review Survey, nine in 10 consumers report that their buying decisions have been influenced by online search and reviews. Consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family. As a matter of fact, noted the survey, almost 90 percent of potential customers will not consider businesses that have low online ratings.
While the reasons why online customer reviews and ratings are so impactful today remain unclear, what does now matter is your SEO strategy and receiving positive online reviews.
Text message marketing and push notifications
According to GlobalWebIndex research, 80 percent of adults who use the internet own smartphones. Consumers are open to the idea of being reached by businesses via text messaging or push notifications. For a business to succeed in maximizing this form of communication, it must take advantage of text message marketing.
This is a great marketing strategy to keep in touch with existing customers and to immediately increase revenue on slow days.
Ninety percent of SMS messages are read within three minutes, according to Conversational Advertising. And, research shows that up to 50 percent of users who need the service offered — and have the time and money — will act within one hour to make that purchase, as opposed to email campaigns wherein customers may take up to one month before making a decision to purchase the offered service.
The old way of marketing a business does not work anymore. According to Forbes, 80 percent of small businesses fail within the first 18 months. Why?
In many cases, new investors will spend significantly on marketing strategies based on today’s most innovative technologies. Most small business owners know how to operate and run their businesses. Because they wear too many hats during the day to run their companies, there is not enough time to concentrate on the marketing aspect of a carwash.
Today there are apps available to help carwash operators, as well as many other businesses, automate their marketing strategies. With the use of such apps and technology, business owners can enjoy features that help market their businesses and increase revenue.
Measuring ROI and the personal impact
With the right technology in place, which helps improve positive online reviews and rankings, the cost for acquiring new customers is very minimal.
By investing in automatic text messaging and push notifications, the cost to improve the frequency of customers’ visits and dollar per transaction is minimal or close to zero.
Today, automated texting and instant push notifications are essential for communicating with busy clients. Simply put, texting produces results. Text message marketing is convenient not only for your customers, but also for the business, as it provides a highly effective and measurable tool for delivering important messages.
People do business with people, not companies. Carwash owners lead the managers, who lead the supervisors, who lead the people, who are in direct contact with the customers and provide them with the needed services.
For any text message marketing strategy to work, everyone at the carwash, especially the people who are in direct contact with the customers, should be involved in all marketing efforts.
Business owners should track the frequency of visits and the buying habits of their customers. It is possible, after knowing these facts, that the business owner can send automatic messages to increase the frequency of visits from existing customers.
According to the Harvard Business Review, depending on the industry and business, acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. Additionally, according to research by Bain & Company, increasing customer retention rates by five percent increases profits by 25 to 95 percent.
There are many reasons why text message marketing strategies should be automated to increase frequency of visits and attract first-time customers. The life of the business and its future depends on it. Technology helps reduce the cost of marketing a business to increase revenue.
Business owners today can change the game, be in control and actively increase their positive reviews by taking advantage of today’s technology.
AJ Rassamni, with over 30 years of carwash experience, currently owns Great American Car Wash in Fresno, California. AJ is the author of two books for the carwash industry, “Increase Business 30% in 30 Days” and “Dirty Cars Filthy Rich.” The first book details how to market and operate a carwash to increase loyalty, the number of customers, dollar per transaction and revenue. The second book is a mind shift on how to look at your business and how to take advantage of express pay terminals to increase loyalty and revenue. AJ started a company, My Loyalty Apps, to help small businesses take advantage of the latest technology to increase their profits. My Loyalty Apps creates customized apps that automate the marketing strategy of a business to increase positive reviews, search engine rankings, loyalty, dollar per transaction and new customers. Contact AJ via email at [email protected] or [email protected] or text (559) 284-1919.