Today’s U.S. dry cleaning is a $9 billion industry with more than 36.5 thousand businesses in service. Dry cleaners process about one hundred thousand garments each year, or one to three garments per household. Between 2010 and 2015, many households cut back on dry cleaning expenses. They turned to new ways to care for their garments or bought garments that didn’t need special care. It’s a downward trend that’s expected to continue.
Another challenge dry cleaning businesses must overcome is their impact on the environment. For instance, the chemical, perchloroethylene (perc), was recently labeled a hazardous pollutant now subject to EPA regulations. In a world focused more and more on protecting the environment, an earth-friendly approach is necessary.
Core Marketing Concepts
Here are a few tips to help you keep your dry cleaning business ahead of the competition starting with some core marketing concepts.
Understand your audience: Some two-thirds of dry cleaning customers are women, and of those, 65% are married. If the professional man has been your target audience, you could be missing a large consumer base. Becoming familiar with your market demographics is very important. Market knowledge enables you to determine what to advertise and to whom.
Advertising to the right audience is one way to get them into your business, but how will you keep them coming back?
Nurture your existing customers: In addition to running a quality business, offer discounts for repeat business. Hand out loyalty cards and referral cards to keep good customers and get new ones.
Humanize your service: A friendly face can build a lasting connection that keeps customers coming back.
Develop your marketing plan with your ideal audience in mind, then use all or some of the following marketing tips to your benefit:
- Claim Your Local Business Online
Many small businesses underestimate the importance of claiming their local business listings online. Taking the steps to claim your online business listing ensures your business information is accurate. It also makes it easier for consumers to find you and rate your service. The steps to claim your online business listing vary, but you can download the guide, Claiming Your Local Business Online: Why It’s Important and How to Get Started, or have your local claiming completed by a professional.
- Social Media
In an omni-channel market, social media can be a critical way to reach customers. Social media is a great platform to express the personality of your business, as well as engage with your customers. Consider encouraging customers to “like” and follow your social media pages each time they come to your store. The promise of special discounts for social media fans only could be just the inducement they need and could lead to even greater business loyalty.
Social media advertising can also be an effective way to promote your business online. Each social platform offers helpful tools to target and bid on ads, which helps with budgeting. Most social media platforms offer a variety of ad formats. For instance, Facebook allows image or video ads and offers rotating ads for increased user appeal.
- Search Engine Marketing
Nearly half (48%) of all mobile research starts with a search engine. Of the local searches, half will result in a consumer visit within one day. Tapping into search engine marketing can improve your visibility in those searches. The use of proper keywords, combined with local claiming, can boost your business’ appearance in search results, especially “nearby” searches as in “dry cleaners nearby.”
- Local Radio
Radio is a traditional medium, but still a powerful one. It’s the fourth most influential medium when the listener is ready to make a purchase, which means that a radio ad may be precisely what sends a customer to your business rather than a competitor.
Radio also offers healthy ROI: most see $6 of incremental sales for every $1 spent on radio ads. Plus, 48% of listeners will visit a store after hearing a radio ad, while another 28% will visit a website. Do your market research to understand which channels your audiences listen to and why. This will help you develop a creative ad to play in the right time slots that will grab their attention.
- Direct Mail
Another source of strong ROI is direct mail. According to the DMA, the average targeted direct mail ROI is 15% to 17%. Take the time to segment your customer database and reach out in a personalized way.
Direct mail provides many options to convey your message. From oversized postcards to coupon inserts, you can use direct mail to offer discounts, announce a new location, or provide a list of dry cleaning services. Direct mail is an affordable way to bring old customers back in and capture new customers, as well.
Using these marketing tips will help your dry cleaning business keep more hangers full.
Clean Up Your Marketing Strategy Today:
- Review your current strategy and budget and be sure you have current market research.
- Develop a plan to integrate these marketing tips into your marketing plan. Which can you put in place immediately and which will take longer to develop?
- Adjust your marketing tactics periodically to stay fresh and effective.
- Know your competitors and highlight the services you offer that they don’t.
Looking for even more ideas? This article continues to rank as a reader favorite because it outlines four more ways you can improve your dry cleaning business.
Need help with marketing your dry cleaning business? Contact Valpak today!