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4 Car Wash Marketing Strategies That Work

May 12, 2016
by Margaret Link

The car wash industry is hyper-competitive and attracting new customers is difficult and expensive. Fortunately, there’s a better way to increase revenue for your car wash. It starts with creating fiercely loyal customers.

Here’s how top car washes in the nation are rethinking car wash marketing.

4 car wash strategies to help you clean up sales

1. Ditch the old-fashioned car wash marketing tactics like direct mail

Mass mailers are expensive and they don’t work. It’s ineffective to spend money on people who aren’t interested in your brand and aren’t expecting communication from you.

We call this “faceless crowd” marketing, where businesses are essentially shouting from the rooftops and hope someone responds. Car wash marketers see low returns from this type of marketing strategy. You have to print A LOT of flyers before one of them actually attracts a new customer.

2. Identify your VIPs

You’re no longer wasting money shouting from the rooftops. Now, it’s time to implement a targeted car wash marketing program. The question becomes this: Who exactly should you market to?

Here’s the real answer: some customers are worth more than others. The top 25% of customers make up about 65% of revenue at most car washes.  These customers already love your business and are receptive to communication from your brand. Identify VIP customers and communicate regularly to keep them loyal to your car wash.

3. Communicate with your guests via mobile

In a world where consumers are constantly bombarded with advertisement messaging, your brand needs to stand out and communicate in a way that resonates with your audience.

The solution? Find your customers where they always are: on their phones (especially those millennials!). Push notifications have 50%-80% open rates, which makes mobile marketing the most direct way to share information with your customers.  A mobile engagement strategy enables you to change customer behavior meaningfully (for example, imagine sending a notification directly to your customers’ phones that offers a deal like “25% of all washes until 4 pm!”), personalize messaging in real-time (sending your best customers a special message that nobody else receives!), and actually be heard by your customers (vs. other marketing channels).

Jimmy Starnes, Chief Strategy Officer of Wash Me Fast realized this trend and took action immediately. He recognized the power of reaching out to customers via mobile. Then, he implemented a loyalty program that works entirely through customers’ mobile phones.

We knew the solution would need to be really easy for customers. People are so distracted now with everything they have going on. brands are reaching out to them on every conceivable channel, all the time. We wanted something the customer didn’t really need to think about. -Jimmy Starnes, Wash Me Fast

4. Send highly personalized offers

Your customers aren’t just license plate numbers — they’re individuals. It doesn’t work to treat everybody the same. Send your customers targeted, personalized offers in order to increase both their frequency and spend.

Not only does this reward customers in a way that’s meaningful to them, but it builds a personal relationship between those customers and your brand. People appreciate being made to feel special, and as a result, customers engage at much higher rates — no discounting required. That’s a classic win-win situation. 

Jimmy at Wash Me Fast sees huge results sending targeted offers via their mobile app. They ensure their communication with customers is personalized, genuine, and valuable. In turn, they collect valuable customer data that drives their marketing efforts while retaining customers long-term.

Bonus Car Wash Marketing Pro Tip: Re-engage lost customers to supercharge revenue

Our car wash merchants have been incredibly successful in winning back lost customers through mobile engagement. Instead of sending random offers to the faceless crowd, smart car wash marketers generate more business with offers that incentivize increased spending.

For example, Wash Me Fast uses a tool called Winback to specifically target lapsed customers (folks who haven’t come by in a while). They’ve successfully reengaged 41% of customers who would have otherwise fallen through the cracks, netting them 500% ROI on this one campaign in particular.

car-wash-marketing

To learn more, see how Mike’s Carwash uses Thanx to drive revenue and positive ROI for their business.


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