CHICAGO — The widespread use of the Internet and proliferation of mobile devices in today’s society has given self-service laundry owners plenty of ways beyond the traditional to reach their communities and promote the services they offer.
But whatever tools you use, traditional or otherwise, their true value lies in their ability to aid you in identifying your target audience and helping you understand what motivates them to use your business.
For a self-service/service business like a Laundromat, what basic questions should its marketing answer for customers and potential customers?
“I think it is, are they really getting the most reach within their geographic footprint?” says Jennifer Schulman, president and founder of Fortune Web Marketing, a full-service online marketing agency.
Her firm specializes in things like website design, search engine marketing, content marketing, e-mail marketing, and social media marketing, but also has a full print design department capable of handling anything from truck wraps to business cards.
“Most of the time when we speak to owner-operators, especially at shows like the Clean Show, it’s more like, ‘How can I let people know what I have? How can I tell them that we are the most state of the art, we have the amenities that they need?”
That starts with having a website presence, says Schulman, plus social media marketing is very important to businesses like coin-ops.
“The key performance indicators depend on the goals the specific owner has,” whether it’s brand awareness, customer acquisition or customer retention, says Dennis Diaz, lead marketing guide for digital marketing company Spynr. “The common denominator there is the amount of impact you have with your campaigns.”
Spynr specializes in working with Laundromats and dry cleaners, and focuses specifically on online marketing, website development, and building search engine/social media strategies. Before joining the firm, Diaz worked several years as a marketing director and loan officer for a laundry-focused financing company.
The success of any marketing effort lies principally in how many people are engaging with or viewing your content.
“At the end of the day, I think the main goal for all of your marketing efforts is acquiring an audience that you can speak to, and speak to over and over again,” Diaz says.
In Part 1, we looked at some fundamental steps to marketing, including knowing your target market. Let’s continue with more fundamentals.
PRACTICE THE FUNDAMENTALS (CONTINUED)
Your marketing efforts should include a call to action.
“A call to action (CTA) is the action that you want a user to take after engaging with a piece of your marketing, whether it be print or digital,” Schulman says. “On your website, a CTA might be ‘Get directions.’ Very important, especially if they’re coming to your website from a mobile device. It might be ‘Contact us today.’ Might be ‘Call us now.’ Any of those things.”
“I love that you brought up call to action because I think so many Laundromats don’t have one,” Diaz says. “They tend to just showcase the hours and their address on their website but never tell someone to go visit them.”
He favors tying the CTA to some sort of incentive. For example, incentivize your wash/dry/fold services by offering a downloadable coupon to first-time customers.
Finally, you need to monitor your efforts, measure their effectiveness, and refine them based on the results.
“You should make performance analysis ongoing,” Diaz says. “It should be part of your strategy consistently.”
“Digital marketing is probably the easiest form of marketing to measure,” Schulman says. “You can see if it’s working and if it’s not. And you can refine with only days of data, typically. From a search engine optimization strategy, it takes a little bit longer, but things like social media ads and posts, you can start refining a strategy—or building on what’s successful—almost immediately.”
“Analyze the performance of your marketing efforts in real time and on an ongoing basis,” Diaz says. “Don’t just set it and forget it. Stick with the analytics, know what your key performance indicators are for that specific campaign and make adjustments during that campaign.”
Many online measurement tools are free. Google Analytics measures traffic coming to a business website and where that traffic is coming from, such as social media or a search engine search.
Facebook Insights “gives you data on the times of day and best days that your posts or ads are performing, how many people they’ve reached organically and paid, how many clicks you’ve had, how many shares, likes, comments, etc.,” Schulman says.
It’s never too late to start marketing but those who have been doing it a while have the upper hand, Diaz says.
“I think the challenge is the people who have been doing it for a while have built up the authority within their communities, have built up kind of the territory ownership. The challenging part is to kind of break through that.
“Marketing is an ongoing effort to help shield yourself from the competition, and that’s where it becomes more challenging. You have to be more creative with the type of marketing you do. You can’t do what everyone else is doing because you’re not setting yourself apart.”
As much as we’d like our laundries to be like the baseball field in Field of Dreams, just because you build it doesn’t mean they will come. Schulman says your front-line customer service people are your No. 1 resource for polling customers and learning how best you can serve them.
“‘What are the biggest problems and the biggest pain points that our clients have? What are the questions you hear day in and day out? What are their issues that we can help resolve?’ When you ask those questions, the answers become your marketing.”
Miss Part 1? You can read it HERE.