Good car wash marketing should be executed with two main goals: 1) bringing in lots of customers in a short period of time and 2) generating loyalty among them, plus exponential brand recognition through word of mouth, social media, etc.
When creating a marketing plan, the quantifiable end game should involve formulating a target return predicted from those two streams: short term and long term. Based on those predictions, you can set a budget and decide which marketing strategy to place in effect. (If you don’t have an in-house marketing squad, we of course recommend bringing in a professional to help you.)
But how do you bring in lots of people in a short period of time? What tools are there? For a car wash business, maybe more than you’d think. Here are just some of our favorite car wash promotions (for a few ways to deliver those promotions, click here.)
1. Discounts. There are so many kinds of discounts you can offer. Percentage discounts. Dollars off. Discount off second purchase. The idea is to offer something that will result in a lower profit margin in the short term but will generate good will down the road. When you use them in the form of a coupon book it allows your customers to share them with friends or family.
2. Free add-ons. People love this because they feel like they’re receiving added value. And they are. But it’s not costing you much to provide it. Examples may include oil changes, interior sweeping, fluid checks, tire checks — or even just free food while they wait. Ice cream, anyone?
3. Buy one get one free (BOGO). Buy one get one is another form of discount that encourages loyalty. The key is to treat the free wash with just as much (or more!) careful devotion as the paid wash. Customers notice.
4. Coupon for future purchase. There’s no better way to bring someone back to your car wash than to promise them a discount when they return. You should make sure to collect their email address the first time so that you can remind them to return for their free wash in a couple of weeks.
5. Free gift card with purchase of Unlimited Monthly Wash Package. We’ve sung the praises of the monthly membership. You should consider doing whatever it takes to get people to enroll, including free giveaways. Even if you take 50 percent off the cover price of that first month, you’ll love having the regular cash flow each month.
6. Seasonal or event-driven sales. There are so many holidays you can use to promote your business. Memorial Day just came around, and before that it was Mothers Day. One great idea is offering to donate a portion of the car wash proceeds to veterans groups (for Memorial Day or Veterans Day) or to breast cancer research (Mothers Day).
Have you tried any of these promotions? Which one works best for you?