GLENDALE, Ariz. — Think for a minute. When you’re driving down a street, what stores catch your eye? Big stores and big signs, yes, but what else? What stands out above the fray?
For me, it’s contrast, color, light, something new, repetition and a sense of movement.
Let’s take a look at some more ways that you can get your laundromat noticed:
Rooftop Cold-Air Balloons — I once put one of them on my roof with 300 watts of light inside it, and it was like a lighthouse. A small fan kept it inflated. I even had a banner on it so I could change my message. The only problem: the New York City Building Department made me take it down after a few weeks.
So, if you want to do this, you should check your local codes. It needs to be securely anchored down to the roof with guy wires. When it got too windy, I’d unplug the power and the whole thing would deflate.
Person on the Corner — My mat was in a densely populated area but slightly off an intersection that had thousands of pedestrians and cars passing by. I was able to boost sales by putting a person wearing a sandwich sign at that intersection. Many stores use handheld signboards or a sign on a 6-foot pole.
But have your corner rep keep the movement to a minimum. A person standing on a corner spinning or flipping a sign does grab eyeballs but inherently distracts from the message, I think.
A cheaper way to do this is simply park a car/truck with your sign on the corner, even if you have to feed the meter. But you do lose the human/movement factor.
Arrows — When using a sign to direct people to your location, consider using an arrow to point the way. It’s short, sweet and simple.
Vehicle Near Street — If your shopping center is on a high-traffic street but your mat is way in the back and not visible from the roadway, consider parking a car or truck in the lot near the street with a banner or flag on it. These signs work best with some kind of sale motivator. Here’s where an arrow could help to point the way to your mat that is offering a deal.
Brightness — It always comes back to lighting, doesn’t it? A dark mat won’t draw as many people as a bright mat, it’s that simple.
In New York City, I found that some commercial buildings charge more rent for the sunny side of the same street, so keep that in mind when shopping for locations.
Sidewalk Signs — I had a mat on a high-traffic street, with thousands of cars passing every day. So I used sidewalk signs to draw attention to my promos. I often put an arrow on these signs pointing right at the mat. In New York City, the sign could not extend past the building line more than 36 inches, so it has to basically hug the building; check your community’s local regulations.
Host a Free Laundry Day — I sold my mats just as this type of event was taking off. If you partner with the LaundryCares Foundation, it will create a “Free Laundry Day” and also set up a learning center for children in your mat, with volunteers to help kids learn to read.
These events can attract your local politicians eager to ride the shine of this community help. You may even get some free publicity on local TV because it’s a feel-good promo that is actually newsworthy.
Have a Sale Countdown — Whenever I hosted a grand opening that offered a great deal such as free dry, BOGO (buy one wash, get the second free), or half off, I usually created a countdown to a date when the promo would expire.
For example, I’d limit free dry to a month, maybe two. Every day leading up to the deadline would have a new “Only XX days remaining” sign. This did two things: It created more and more excitement as the deadline approached, and it lessened the chance that I would create a price war because most competitors, due to their own inertia, were more inclined to do nothing because the promo had a limited time.
Invite a ‘Celebrity’ — Videos or photos of costumed characters will live on people’s smartphones for their children for years. This is not a direct promotion, nor should it be. However, it’s a good way to raise awareness and boost the image of your mat in your area.
I hired a purple dinosaur for a day at my mat, back when children were all watching “Barney & Friends” on TV. I expected to draw about 50 people but at least 200 showed up! The character had to go outside the store because the mat was jam-packed!
In closing, let me say that aside from maintaining a great location with a striking storefront and sign, promotions should be changed from time to time. Otherwise, they become stale after a few weeks or months. You want your store to be noticed every day possible!
Miss Part 1? You can read it HERE.