Marketing is vital for any business. It helps attract new customers and keep current customers happy.
But getting marketing right is no easy task. It is always changing and can be hard for busy car wash operators to keep up-to-date with what’s working and what isn’t.
With a million and one other things happening at the car wash, marketing activities can easily get pushed to one side. That’s why we’ve put this handy guide together to provide a quick overview of what car wash operators need to know about marketing. We’ve listed the key activities that any car wash business can do, regardless of size or budget, to see tangible results in their business.
Marketing Strategies for Car Washes
Long gone are the days of simply posting out direct mail and publishing an advert in the local newspaper. Today, effective marketing needs more strategy to ensure you’re getting the attention of your target market. Although this can be a daunting task, the potential benefits of getting marketing right is abundant.
So, what are some of the best marketing strategies for car wash operators?
If marketing is about getting the attention of your target market, then social media can’t be ignored. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube dominate our daily attention so being visible on these kinds of platforms can be a great way to get seen by your audience.
If you have the time (and not much budget) building up organic followings on these platforms by publishing high quality content will help gain momentum and visibility. Similarly, advertising on these platforms can be a quick and effective way to get your offer/message in front of your target market. Social media platforms allow for very specific targeted ads, helping your budget go further by only being used on people who are likely to buy from you.
Search Engine Marketing
The buyer journey often begins by customers searching on the internet for desired products or services. Ensuring your car wash is visible and has good reviews when people search for it, is paramount.
Having this presence in search engines will help attract a constant flow of new customers who are actively looking for your service. Converting these potential customers into paying customers is a lot easier than other forms of marketing as they are actively looking for car wash services.
Utilise the Forecourt
Installing a “Thank you for visiting” sign as customers drive away from your car wash isn’t utilising the forecourt as well as it could. Businesses are missing out on so many opportunities to guide customers on a tailored journey from when they arrive on the forecourt, to when they leave.
Having digital menus that offer a clear explanation to help guide customers through your services, as well as having timely messages/offers will help encourage repeat visits from customers. Similarly, having loyalty programmes and technology that incentives a loyal customer base is often ignored but extremely powerful for increasing overall revenue. Attracting new customers is only half the battle, nurturing existing customers and ascending them through your business is equally as important for sustainable growth.
Thinking about who your customers are and what services/products they also use, is another great way to ensure you’re visible to your target market.
Establishing strategic partnerships with associated businesses can be a great way to achieve this.
For example, if you think most of your customers do their grocery shopping at a certain shop, striking up a unique partnership whereby they get a discount or special offer, could be a wise investment for your marketing spend.
Or perhaps partnering/sponsoring a local event/charity will help create rapport with the local community and help boost your reputation and overall business presence.
The key to getting this right is knowing your customers better than anyone else. If you know where they are, you can show up there and as long as your message/offer is good, it will generate visibility and customers for you.
Offline Channels Still Work
With so much emphasis on digital channels today, many of us forget about the simplest of ideas. Offline marketing channels should still be considered and can often be great additions to the marketing mix.
If most of your customers are local businesses/fleet customers, then organising a monthly local business event could be highly effective to build a relationship with highly desirable customers. Or maybe you want to attract car enthusiasts in the local area so creating a local “car club” could work well.
Other offline marketing ideas like billboards/posters in specific locations could also generate high exposure with your associated target market.
Test New Ideas
The ideas listed so far are all very much part of any marketing plan for a local business. But as well as these established marketing practices, car wash businesses may want to test and experiment with new ideas to generate new business.
We’ve seen car washes set up lots of unique things, such as pet washes, barber shops, cafes, car repair shops, and the like, to help not only provide additional revenue streams for the business, but to also help get the attention of new customers.
These ideas will be more experimental than other more proven marketing ideas, but they may just be the missing piece to your overall business and could help cement your presence as the local go-to car wash location.
Learn More with PSD Codax
If you’re looking to boost your car wash marketing, we have some products here at PSD Codax that can help. As well as these products, we also have a range of access control systems to help car wash operators get more from their car wash businesses.
PSD Codax has been developing market leading access control systems for the forecourt trade for over 25 years. Our Codax products have proven so popular with customers and retailers that they are now the most common form of token-free access control in the world.