CHICAGO — There seems to be new digital tools for marketing popping up every day, to the point that dry cleaners can find themselves lost in the weeds when trying to reach their customers. Having clear goals and seeing which tools will help you achieve those targets, however, can help cut through the noise and set your marketing efforts up for success.
In Part 1 of this series, we examined the differences between digital and traditional marketing and some simple — and free — tools dry cleaners should be using to connect with their customers. In Part 2, we looked at some older methods of online marketing that should serve as the bedrock of your digital marketing efforts. Today, we’ll conclude by seeing where social media should fit into your mix, and the mindset that will help you reach your marketing goals.
Getting Seen on Social
While the previous methods of marketing allow customers to get vital bits of information about a cleaner’s business, social media is a way to connect faces and personality with the company.
“You can show your culture, your employees, and how things work at a dry cleaner,” says Dawn Hargrove-Avery, digital marketing manager for the National Cleaners Association (NCA). “You can get personal and let the customers come into your place. You can show what happens during the cleaning process. You can talk about your causes — what you support and the things you do in your community. All that creates this sense of loyalty and wanting to be part of it — which makes the customer want to be your customer.”
One of the biggest recent changes to take place in the social media world is the emphasis on video.
“This has been the major change in maybe two years,” Hargrove-Avery says. “Everything is video. All the social media platforms have changed their algorithms to adapt and show videos over other posts. And it can be simple things. If you post a quote, and if you turn that quote into a video, it’ll be seen. If you just post the quote, chances are only 2% of the people are going to see it. Video has changed the way we do things online.”
Video reviews are especially valuable, Hargrove-Avery believes.
“Video marketing — both user-generated content and employee-generated content — is by far something that everybody should be doing,” she says. “Written reviews are fabulous, but the problem is that some people think you’re sitting there writing your own reviews and putting someone else’s name to it.”
The best part about making videos for social media, websites and other marketing is that technology has simplified it.
“You don’t need to hire some big production company,” Hargrove-Avery says. “We all have these phones that have these great cameras on them. Ask the person if they could give you a video. If the person is willing to give you a video, they’re giving you permission to use it.”
Keep it Simple and Steady
Keeping in mind how all the online marketing pieces work together is crucial for success, according to Hargrove-Avery: “Google is a search engine. Facebook is a search engine. Pinterest is a search engine. They’re all search engines. So, making sure you’re using the same business name, the same phone number, the same hours, the same website, the same email, and similar profile words will increase your ranking.”
Most of all, drycleaning owners should make sure that their own efforts stay consistent. While it’s not necessary to master all forms of online marketing at once, it’s important to constantly move forward.
“Recognize the importance of small steps,” says Donna Botti, owner of Delos Inc., a digital marketing strategy firm based in Collegeville, Pennsylvania. “You just have to keep doing it. It’s like a snowball and will build traction. Too often, people say, ‘I’m going to post on Facebook every day, and we’re gonna do a blog every week, and….’ Then, it just falls because you haven’t figured out how to integrate it into your current process. You have to make it part of your process. Get it to where it just happens automatically.”
Hargrove-Avery agrees, urging owners to start small.
“Pick one or two things,” she says. “Pick your email marketing and Facebook, or pick Facebook and Instagram. Once you master one, you can take that experience and move it to the others. But trying to do it all at once can get overwhelming very fast. So, focus on one or two and pick out of your strategies, and then follow it through to the end.”
For Part 1 of this series, click HERE. For Part 2, click HERE.
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Dave Davis at [email protected].