SAN FRANCISCO — Are you doing the self-promotion needed to educate and convert your prospects and current customers to become users of all your services?
Do your prospects and current customers know how many of their needs you can meet?
Do they know the facts about the environmental advantages of your family laundry service versus the huge detrimental environmental impact of the home washer and dryer?
Do they know how many stores, routes and drop locations you have? And are they receiving new relevant lifestyle information in a concise manner?
When asked about self-promotion efforts, a common response from drycleaning owners is a variation of, “We’ve been around forever, so everybody knows us.”
Even if that was factual, which it is not, the consumer probably thinks of you as a “dry cleaner” period — conjuring up the image of suits and formal clothing that they seldom wear.
They need a broader updated understanding of your offerings. There are plenty of drycleaning industry examples.
Broadcasting an ever-evolving expertise is a challenge for all cleaners, including even an established brand like Anton’s Cleaners. With 106 years in business, 28 processing plants, 14 dry stores, and 13 delivery routes, Anton’s Cleaners is a well known dry cleaner in New England.
A third-generation family owned and operated business, brothers Charles Anton and Arthur Anton, Jr. are always looking for new ways to better serve their customers and their business as well as ways to broadcast their expertise with a multi-pronged effort including all types of media and specifically new locations and community involvement.
Anton’s continues to grow, acquiring two high-volume processing plants and stores in 2019 alone: former Champion Cleaners of Woburn, Mass., and Sturgis Cleaners of Boston, Mass.
Per Charles Anton: “We are fortunate enough to be in a situation where we can strategically evaluate our position in the community and acquire new locations that complement our existing portfolio.”
They also strongly believe in leveraging the business to help neighbors in need, which is why they formed two annual community service programs and a supporting non-profit foundation that encourages community involvement through donations and volunteers.
Since the Coats for Kids and Belle of the Ball programs began, Anton’s has donated over $18.5 million in cleaning costs directly benefiting the communities they serve.
To date, Anton’s has been leading the effort in collecting, cleaning, and distributing 1,073,306 warm winter coats to children and adults as well as 76,469 prom dresses to students in need since the programs began in 1995 and 2005 respectively.
Although similar success takes years of dedication, it is time to review your current program to market yourself and determine how to make an ever-growing impact in your market.
Package your know-how for prospects, existing customers and for sharing your expertise with the industry. In this competitive market, you have probably already widened your business scope, but have you broadcast that fact to the audience that needs to know about your ever-improving business model?
Many of your peers are actively and successfully marketing themselves. If you attended the Clean Show last year, you probably heard Bobby Patel of Kona Cleaners in California talk about all the many ways he disseminates information to his target audience, including consumers, businesses, and the fabricare industry itself for his marketing business BeCreative360.
Dave Coyle of In The Bag Cleaners in Wichita, Kansas, runs ads in trade media to share his expertise with other owners who want to shadow him during his business management activities.
Several cleaners around North America cater to remote regions to provide their expertise to other owners or direct to the consumer, who may not believe they can get the desired quality results in their own plant or market.
Since you are reading this article you probably have attended educational sessions in person, or via webinar, to discuss the many ways to use social media for the benefit of your business. If you have not implemented a coordinated targeted media plan, do it now or risk joining the growing ranks of cleaners who have closed their doors.
Social media is a powerful component of a multifaceted promotional plan that also includes print, both public and customer targeted, branding of all types and locations, whether stationary or mobile, sales through internal and external efforts and partners, and information and events that appeal to your target audience.
Check back Thursday for the conclusion.
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Dave Davis at [email protected].