RIPON, Wis. — So much is made today about the need to provide an elevated customer experience. Owners are increasingly focused on providing greater amenities, offering more services and leveraging a high level of technology – both the customer-focused variety as well as the owner-focused.

However, the acme of the customer experience doesn’t begin and end when customers cycle through your store. If your laundry is ahead of all competitors by providing something truly unique and nobody but you and a handful of folks know about it, you’re not exactly going to own your market.

BEYOND SIGNAGE

When you opened your store, location was of the utmost importance. You wanted exceptional visibility in a high-traffic area. You made eye-catching signage a priority to make sure passersby knew exactly what your business was and how to find it. Let’s face it, that’s now just the entry point – as basic a need as water and gas.

Invariably, the focus will extend into social media. A word of caution: before jumping into creating your market-shaking presence in social, make sure you don’t ignore the online essentials. Think about your web presence. Your vended laundry’s website doesn’t need to have hundreds of pages and maintain a complicated structure. You just need people to find your business when they search.

The site should look professional, offer a number of images and detail your offerings, as well as what sets your Laundromat apart from the competition. Don’t forget, many studies show roughly 70-80% of consumers research a company online before visiting it and making a purchase.

Next, don’t forget that Google behemoth. If you’re building your Facebook strategy before setting up a Google My Business account, quite frankly, you’re doing it wrong.

Google is your business’ virtual storefront. And by the way, it’s free. It’s also super easy to set up and you should include your Laundromat’s hours, phone, e-mail and website address. If you are having any trouble setting up your account … well, Google it, of course, to get tips, tricks and helpful guides. If you really want to go the extra mile, consider adding a Google Virtual Tour.

LET’S GET SOCIAL

Let’s say your laundry has a solid website and is getting pulled up on Google search. Now, it’s time to leverage social tools to build your audience of raving fans. Facebook is definitely the place to be. Proof, you say? As of January, Facebook had 1.66 billion—that’s right, with a “b”—active daily users. Use of the platform will, no doubt, streamline communicating and engaging with your customers. It’s also a fantastic way for customers to post their online reviews, which are pulled into Google and will help bolster your rank on that search engine.

Once your customers begin frequenting your establishment, Facebook is likely where they will go for the most up-to-date information. Your website remains important, but Facebook is simple with updates appearing automatically in their feed.

In building your presence and momentum, consider using your store’s guest Wi-Fi and adding a splash page to promote your Facebook page. You’d be surprised what results a simple “Like us on Facebook” message can get. Make sure and add the same tag on all your marketing materials and website.

GIVE PEOPLE A REASON TO FOLLOW

In the online marketing world, content is king. Think about the brands, companies and individuals you follow socially. You do so because there’s a payoff – you’re learning, laughing and perhaps even winning. Bottom line, you’re getting something out of the interaction.

So, as you enter into this social world, plan out a calendar of posts – at least a month’s worth. Regular updates help keep your audience engaged. Think about your clientele and focus content around them. As a provider of laundry services, think about:

  • Stain removal tips. You could poll your followers on their toughest stains or even their tips for dealing with such stains.
  • Laundry processing, including how to sort loads and why you should. Walk customers through the temperatures and how they relate to loads to get the best results.
  • Teach about technology. Does your equipment have cycle modifiers? Craft a few posts that looks at each one and why a customer would want to use it.

Check back Tuesday for the conclusion!