Crafting Creative Store Promotions

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Crafting Creative Store Promotions (Part 1)

Pointers from Paulie B: Best to offer a variety and switch them up from time to time

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Wouldn’t it be great if there was one easy promotion that would bring in as many customers as you wanted?

But there are all kinds of people out there with all kinds of needs, so one promotion alone won’t do it. Different people respond to different promotions, so it’s best to create a variety of promos and switch them up from time to time.

The word “free” is a real attention-getter but the public has grown wary of it. They know there are usually strings attached.

Same thing with percentage discounts or even price drops. You may get some who will try out your promo but if it isn’t a true deal for them, they’ll be disappointed.

Not all successful promotions involve giving price discounts. For instance, you may want to hire a popular costumed character to appear at your mat to entertain the kids as well as their parents with laundry.

Let me to cut to the chase. The promotions that will truly boost your bottom line are those perceived as real honest deals.

Case in point: Saturdays and Sundays are almost always your busiest days, so it’s a good idea to offer senior discounts on Wednesday, since most of them can come any day of the week. The seniors will know it’s a true deal for them. You can do the same with other groups, like first responders or college students.

This also goes for things the customer “earns,” such as “early bird specials.” If they qualify for the deal by coming in early, they know it’s genuine.

Lots of promotions will get folks in the door but how do you get them to come back? If you want to retain as many of the “promo people” as possible, you really need to make your mat stand out from your competitors. You need to have an awesome mat.

And by awesome, I mean it’s big, beautiful and clean, with all equipment working well, and a friendly crew. When you have that, a creative promo isn’t as important in the first place. An awesome mat is your single best promotion!

It’ll generate good word of mouth, plus positive reviews online, and your business will grow automatically. But what if you can’t make your mat as awesome as it can be? Then you have to get a little creative.


It seems like a long time ago when some mat owners would offer free dry. They’d jack up the wash price just to get the words “Free Dry” out there. These stores saw success in the beginning but the action ruined markets because competitors joined the show and then no one was special anymore. (It works much better with a card store, but I still wouldn’t do it.)

Instead of offering free dry, how about trying a “free laundry day” event at your store? You could try contacting the LaundryCares Foundation, which is skilled at organizing such efforts. They know how to do these events and can sometimes get the local press or TV station to visit your mat. It’s just one day and they are usually very popular.

You can even try organizing a “Free Wash Day” yourself. You’ll have to come up with some bucks for extra help, free food, some prizes, and the time and energy to manage the hectic day. Be sure to promote your event starting a month or two ahead of time. The day will cost you, but your good deed will go a long way in your favor.

Check back Thursday for Part 2

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Bruce Beggs at [email protected].