Gift Cards

It’s no secret that loyalty programs can be a huge profit boost, particularly for car wash businesses. Attracting new customers is a huge expense. So if you can keep a core group of customers actively participating in your loyalty program, it can go a long way toward growing revenue month after month.

Yet it’s estimated that 22 percent of businesses don’t do any relationship marketing at all — no rewards programs, premium memberships, no gift cards. Gift cards and prepaid cards are a powerful way to incentivize new business and keep it coming back. But they don’t just go to work for you all by themselves. It takes a little bit of smart marketing to get your gift card program off the ground. Here are five tips to make your gift cards count:

  1. Load em up and ship em out. Load up your cards that is, and give them away. Make sure they’re placed in a strategic spot in your car wash and ask customers if they’d like to take one with them. Let them know it’s free and comes with enough pre-loaded cash to make them want to come back.
  2. Distribute them to people you know. Going to a local networking event, like the Chamber of Commerce or something? Bring a few gift cards along, and hand them out with your business card. Nothing says hello like a few bucks.
  3. Tie them to rewards. So for example, if they spend past a certain dollar threshold, you’ll add an extra $5 to their balance.
  4. Tie them to holidays. Order a new batch of gift cards with fancy labels for special holidays. When customers visit your car wash a few days before Fathers Day, for example, they’ll see your plain old gift cards may not pick one up. But they’re way more likely to buy one that says “Happy Fathers Day!”
  5. Make sure you can afford it. Check your budget before you order a bunch of gift cards. Think about your marketing budget, the number of regular customers you’re likely to acquire from a gift card promotion, and the value of those regular customers. As marketing spends go, gift cards can be a great choice if done right.