Marketing is one of the critical components of small business success, and one of the few that is under the control of the business owner. 14% of small business failure is attributed directly to a lack of marketing; however, even this number is misleading. The same study listed several other reasons for small business failure that can be alleviated with a good marketing plan, including failing to keep up with the competition (19%) and pricing/cost issues (18%).¹
Many laundromat owners plan their grand opening event with enthusiasm, but it’s critical to continue marketing beyond your open date to bring in customers and set your laundromat up for long-term success. Partnering with an industry expert is one way that small business owners without marketing experience can create a solid, strategic marketing plan.
As a laundromat owner, there are several strategies you can employ, both online and offline, to help grow your business and drive revenue by attracting new customers and retaining your existing customer base.
1. Start before the grand opening
Branding and signage
Laundromat marketing should begin well in advance of the grand opening. Start by creating a logo that you can use on your signage and business cards. A recognizable logo will help you build and maintain a consistent brand. Outdoor signs should be attention-grabbing, and in sync with the overall style of the location. Include a ‘Now Open’ banner for additional publicity and don’t forget about indoor signage, such as machine usage instructions. At this stage, you will also want to secure the same social media handles for each platform, even if you aren’t ready to use them yet.
Launch your website
An astonishing 92% of small business owners believe that their website is their most effective marketing tool.² Create a website for your laundromat that includes its location, contact information, hours of operation, photos, and descriptions of any additional services (wash & fold, delivery, etc.). Setting up your website prior to the grand opening allows you to promote the celebration and generate additional interest online.
Use Google tools
There are a number of free tools available through Google, including Google Maps, which can be used to provide directions to your store, and Google Analytics, which allows you to monitor website activity and learn more about your customers. You should also ensure that your Google business listing is set up ahead of the grand opening so that you can ask customers to leave reviews from the start.
→ Explore More Laundromat Marketing Tips
2. Plan a memorable grand opening celebration
Start your business putting your best foot forward – with a party! Take a good look at your target demographic, and choose activities that will interest potential customers and get them excited to attend. If you are hoping to get the attention of college students or young professionals, hire a DJ for the day. If you are attracting families, get some children’s entertainment or activities. At the very minimum, offering free services and refreshments for the day can be a great way to get people in the door on your first day of business.
During the grand opening, ask that each of your new customers provide their name and email address on a sign-in sheet at the door. This critical information is the start of your new email marketing list, which you can use to communicate with and engage customers, as well as keep them informed of upcoming events and promotions.
A professional service, like Laundrylux Creative Services, can be extremely helpful in creating grand opening marketing materials – flyers, postcards, and door hangers – to maximize impact and reinforce your business brand.
3. Don’t underestimate the value of ongoing marketing
Continuing to market your business is a critical factor in the long-term success of your company. This involves both online and offline strategies, which can be combined to reach the right mix for your target audience. Some ongoing marketing tactics to use after the grand opening include:
Use social media to reinforce your brand
41% of small businesses rely on social media to drive revenue, and 44% use it to improve brand awareness.³ Marketing your business on social media channels can help you to reach a new audience, distribute promotional materials, engage with your customers, advertise new services, and respond to customer issues quickly and efficiently.
Monitor review websites to address customer issues
A recent study found that 91% of Millennials trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends or family and that 57% of all consumers refuse to frequent business with a lower than a four-star rating.⁴ Negative reviews that are left without a positive response from the business can turn customers away. Monitoring reviews on popular sites like Google and Yelp, addressing concerns, and thanking loyal customers is a great way to maintain healthy business relationships.
Run promotions to increase business during slow periods
To re-engage existing customers, and bring in new ones, consider running a promotion. This could be as simple as a coupon, or you could create a pricing differential to drive business during slow times of the day or week. Laundry management software like LaundryPulse allows owners to view real-time revenue reports and remotely manage pricing and promotions.
Create a customer loyalty program to drive repeat business
A loyalty program that rewards customers for every purchase is a great way to build your business. Loyalty programs can be managed digitally through an app like LaundryPay, accumulating points toward event-based discounts or free services.
Related reading: 4 Ways to Improve Customer Loyalty
Marketing can have a significant impact on small business outcomes, driving revenues and helping you to reach new customers, generating interest and increasing foot traffic and sales. A strategic marketing plan can be the foundation of long-term success, from your laundromat’s grand opening celebration and beyond.
Laundrylux is a trusted laundromat supplier with over 60 years of experience in helping entrepreneurs find success in the laundry business. Working with a partner with decades of proven success and industry expertise can help a new business owner fill gaps in knowledge and skill, and set a foundation for long-term business success.
From selecting a location, choosing equipment, to marketing for the grand opening and beyond, Laundrylux is a full-service partner in your journey to entrepreneurship. Connect with our experts today.