The thing about the internet is that it’s big. Through internet marketing, you can reach almost any demographic in the world. That’s great for multinational corporations like Coca-Cola or Walmart, but it presents some challenges for a car wash business, which depends on a hyper-local target market. Where are they on the internet? How do you talk to them?

We believe there are few tried and true methods for talking to your existing and potential customers. While many are traditional paper methods, including direct mailings, and good old word of mouth, these four digital communication tools can be even more effective in building both long-term loyalty and direct response:

  1. Content marketing — In a world where people are being bombarded with obnoxious advertising, the biggest marketing trend of the past year is to provide something more useful and engaging. Content marketing represents a subtle form of brand building that eschews promotional material in favor of something your audience will enjoy. It can be a blog or even just a Twitter feed that aggregates helpful tips for your customers. What kind of info is helpful? Car washes have it easy because 100 percent of their customers have something in common: They drive cars. And they’ll likely appreciate auto care tips and promotions to save them money. The more local the better.
  2. Google Maps — When we’re out and about and we just want to find the nearest car wash, the first place we turn is our Google Maps app. In the same way that the Yellow Pages used to be, the suite of Google tools, especially maps and Google Plus, are now indispensable for businesses. After creating a Google Plus account for your business, go to Google Places for Businesses to sign up there.
  3. Electronic mail — That’s right. Email. By now, you should have asked for all your customers’ email addresses. Once you have them, treat them very carefully. All it takes is one irrelevant email, one piece of correspondence that feels like spam, to get henceforth filtered into the junk box. Email can be an all-important way to keep good customers loyal, but it’s also extremely easy to be annoying. The key is to send your clients information they want: half-off promotions, a free car wash on their birthday, or a notice that their next wash at your business will support an important, local charity are all good examples.

Are there other marketing channels you’ve used successfully for your car wash businesses?