Six Steps to Developing and Executing a Promotional Plan Tailored Specifically to Your Business
It doesn’t take an outrageous investment to market your self-service laundry business. However, it does take consistency, planning, and execution.
If you don’t currently advertise very much, you certainly aren’t alone. But sometimes it’s just the getting started that’s the hardest part.
In this article, I’ll outline a step-by-step plan for developing and following a marketing plan unique to your laundry operation.1. Define your brand message.
A brand message is the underlying value proposition conveyed in the language used in your content. It’s what makes consumers relate to your brand. Don’t worry, not everything you communicate must have the exact same message. However, every content piece should point back to your brand message. Your brand message should inspire and motivate consumers to want to buy and use your products and services. 2. Identify target markets.
No one can afford to target everyone. Focus your marketing budget on a narrowed group that’s most likely to use your laundry’s services. Or, target a specific segment you want to grow. This is a more affordable way to reach customers and generate business.
For example, let’s say that a rural laundry in Kansas enjoys excellent self-service business from the people who rent nearby. However, the owners would like to improve the self-service business from non-traditional, higher-income customers who own homes. To more specifically target this non-traditional demographic, it must clearly define a targeted geographic area (within 20 miles), gender (female), age group (30 to 50 years old), income ($100,000 to $500,000 annually), and family status (families).
To get started on targeting a specific segment of potential customers in your marketplace, access your laundry’s surrounding demographics. You can access detailed demographics from the U.S. Census Bureau at: www.census.gov
. In addition, demographic reports can be ordered directly through the Coin Laundry Association at: www.coinlaundry.org
.3. Establish a marketing budget.
As a general rule of thumb, new laundries should establish a marketing (grand opening) budget from cash-reserve project planning. Established laundries might define a marketing budget based on yearly gross revenue. Keep in mind that, as your business grows, your marketing budget should grow as well. What’s more, remember that new and emerging competitors are working every day to gobble up market share. Dedicate dollars to your vended laundry’s growth. Start small so that you aren’t overwhelmed.4. Identify the best and most cost-effective channels for reaching your target market.
Now that you have your target market and brand message clearly defined, analyze which channels (media) you’ll use to reach that market (digital/web, social media, direct mail, news releases, TV, radio, door hangers, signage, etc.). Keep in mind that frequency is critical to getting your message across. The more you connect with your market, the more effective your marketing will be. How does your target market receive communications? Consider sketching out your ideas.Medium (Description/Frequency/Cost)
5. Determine how your target demographic can improve their quality of life by using your products and services. Develop your value proposition.
- Radio (30-Second Ad/200 Per Month/$$$)
- Direct Mail (Postcard and Offer/One Per Month/$$$)
- Website (Five-Page Site/Constant/$)
- Television (30-Second Ad/200 Per Month/$$$$)
- Social Media (Updates and Offers/Daily/$)
- Digital Ads (Banner Style/Two Per Month/$$$)
- Press Releases (Events and News/Two Per Year/$)
- Signage (Interior and Exterior/Constant/$)
Write your responses to the above question in list form. Then prioritize. For example:Mission:
To improve self-service business from non-traditional laundry customers who are: (a) homeowners; (b) live within 20 miles; (c) are female; (d) are between the ages of 30 and 50; (e) have families; and (f) enjoy an annual household income between $100,000 and $500,000.
• WASH ITEMS YOU CAN’T DO AT HOME:
Use the store’s 90-pound-capacity washers for items you simply can’t wash at home – such as bulky comforters, blankets, sleeping bags, rugs, and so on.
• SAVE TIME:
Wash, dry and fold all of your family’s laundry in as little as 60 minutes.
• MAKE THE KIDS HAPPY:
While you wash, your children can play safely in the store’s special kids’ area, which is within sight of the washers and dryers.
• BE SAFE:
The laundry is bright, safe, clean and fully attended.
• EARN LOYALTY POINTS FOR FREE WASHING AND DRYING.6. Execute and Evaluate Your Plan
Now you’re ready to execute the plan, according to your established budget, target market and most appropriate marketing channels. Evaluate its effectiveness every three months and at the end of the year to determine how it might be tweaked moving forward. Follow through and follow up!