NEW ORLEANS — When someone mentions the self-service laundry industry, rarely does the phrase “great marketing” come to mind. That can change, according to Chris Balestracci of Super Wash Laundry, East Haven, Conn., who led an early-morning Clean Show educational session today.
If you don’t think marketing is important, consider that each new customer is worth $556.40 a year, and each wash, dry and fold customer is worth $22 a week, Balestracci said.
Marketing success starts with a plan, he added. Owners need to decide if they want to reward current customers, attract new customers or increase sales.
A variety of things — such as a free wash, money off of a giant wash, free dry time or $5 cash on a card — can catch the eye of customers. If you’re pushing wash, dry and fold, a dollar amount off or a percentage off can work. Even a free laundry bag might do the job.
Balestracci has experimented with register-tape coupons. The cost varied, but he was generally pleased with the results, he indicated. If you’re going to try this, he suggested doing it for two cycles.
Balestracci has also dabbled in direct mail. He designed an attractive, individually addressed piece for $.625/piece. One key to direct mail success is to target your piece. You can target the piece by age, household income, ethnicity, etc.
Direct mail experts recommend a minimum of three mailings, at least three weeks apart. You need repetition to change a customer’s habit from using another laundry. An expiration date is also suggested, and owners should limit coupon use to one coupon per family per day.