By Jeff Gardner | May 15, 2009
The biggest mistake made when marketing your wash-dry-fold service is not doing the market research and then launching a campaign that is directed at a group that has little interest in your service. Yes, we all would love to have someone to do all of our chores for us; however, many people are simply not interested in our product.
So how do we identify and deliver an offer to the customer that would consider our drop-off laundry service?
1. Identity a type of customer that is located in your marketplace. Also, understand that every marketplace is different. For example, let’s say that your self-service laundry is based in a mainly blue-collar neighborhood – you may think that there are no customers interested in your full-service product. But that’s not true. Take a minute, and think like the people who are doing laundry in your community. Whether you are the wife of a factory worker or a factory worker yourself, subconsciously every time you load your work clothes into your home washer, you wonder if you are going to create a problem with your good clothes for which you paid a lot of money. What is the opportunity?
2. Now that you have identified a specific group of clients to target you need to develop a message for them. In our example, you may want to consider that there are actually two separate groups that might be doing the laundry – the spouse or the employee (single or married). Hint: Marketing is creating an emotional attachment to a product or service. Come right out and hit them in the forehead – “Are you worried that your work clothes are ruining your good Saturday night outfits?” Or, “Is your home washer tough enough to handle your work clothes and gently return your fine garments to like-new condition?”
3. Get the message to the right people. There are several ways to do this. The one that has progressed the most with the advancements in technology is direct mail. Direct mail gives you the ability to identify and mail to individuals, not just zip codes. The Coin Laundry Association recently released a new member benefit that puts the power of direct mail into the hands of the small-business person in an easy, affordable manner. Another way to get the words out might be considered a “guerilla marketing” method – go directly to the source. Call on local businesses that do manufacturing. Ask the manager if you can distribute a flyer in the company’s break room.
4. Make an offer. Every flyer should contain an offer – for two reasons. First (and most importantly), you are trying to persuade people to change what they are currently doing – and most people don’t like change. Therefore, you need to give them a bit of a push: “First XX Pounds Free!” or “$XX Off Your First Load!” You get the idea. The second reason is because you always need to track the results so that you can measure a campaign’s success and make adjustments to your marketing efforts.
5. Get them to come back. You have spent time and money attracting your new customer, so now you need to ensure that this change in their behavior is permanent. This is just as important as the four previous steps. Give them something in their first order to get them to come back to you a second time. Make another offer. As a rule of thumb, you need to get them to use your wash-dry-fold service three times to create a new habit.
6. Most importantly, deliver a professional service and deliver it with pride – the excitement you create within a new customer with your service will result in him or her becoming a long-term client. In addition, you now have turned that person into a fan of your laundry business… and fans talk. And, of course, all of you know that the best advertising is word of mouth!