SAN FRANCISCO — As owners and managers of a fabricare operation, marketing and customer relations are necessary ongoing projects.
You may see this dual duty as enjoyable and interesting; as a tremendous challenge; a necessary evil; or, in the worst, most disastrous case, to be ignored.
You may spend more time than warranted. You may neglect it despite the need. You may even determine that it is a duty better delegated to someone else, internal or external.
Regardless of approach, there are general plans and budget issues that require executive oversight. You need the right mix of old-school tradition and hot new media.
As always, for effective project oversight, the essentials must be: clearly defined goals and desired outcomes, accompanied by adequate and reasonable resource allocation.
The best way to increase business with any customer, new or existing, is to tell them what you do that they need, especially if they don’t know they need it.
As winter approaches, doormats are important to keep mud and snow outside. They are difficult and messy to clean at home. Tell your customers you can clean their mats regularly and will retrieve and return them on the schedule of their choice.
You can also buy the mats with a payback in a few weeks, and they last for months or years. Provide a complimentary service to your route customers for a week or two and you will be pleased how many want to keep it going.
Do your customers and prospects know that you clean and restore the following: flags; shoes; pillows; handbags and hats; leather and furs; heirloom quilts; bed, table, and bath linens; patio cushions; drapes and window coverings; car mats and doormats; boat, plane and RV décor; lettermen jackets and military uniforms; event attire and costumes; altar pieces and banners; and all the miscellany you are thinking of right now?
Let them know!
Timeliness is essential to an effective call to action. Holidays and seasonal changes are perfect opportunities to win new business.
The same things that are important to your existing customers are important to your prospects. Prospects are just more difficult and more expensive to reach. Find them where they live, work and play. It takes more creativity to attract the attention of someone who is not already doing business with you.
Consumers are bombarded with messages on every media, so yours must be entertaining, informative and, most importantly, actionable!
If you want new route customers, make sure they can register immediately and schedule their first pickup now.
Your creative, iconic van graphics can catch attention (don’t forget the roof) but the contact info must allow for immediate sign-up or the most important marketing component is lost.
When targeting prospects who work in casual environments, include basic wash-and-fold laundry services in your appeal. Give them an interactive app and flexible time/place options. They are used to being in control.
Since the future of our business requires younger customers to replace aging ones, let’s focus on millennials and their priorities. The following lists provide insight into communication channels and events they frequent.
According to Inc. magazine, here are some “Top” lists from the end of 2015:
Top Millennial Apps:
- Yik Yak (to “find your herd”)
- Venmo (to pay/split the bill)
- InstaSize (photo editor)
- BuzzFeed (for “breaking buzz”)
- Tinder (to “meet people”)
Top Millennial Websites:
- Elite Daily
- Craft booze
- Donations at the cash register
- Energy drinks
- Tattoos and piercings
- Organic food
Top Millennial Celebrities:
- Taylor Swift
- Jennifer Lawrence
- Robert Downey Jr.
- Emma Watson
To win millennial business, support a good cause and broadcast it on BuzzFeed. Talk about their interests and needs. Be in front of them wherever they are, figuratively and literally.
Everyone has limited time. Give back time by adding a drive-thru, signing them to a route, managing wardrobe care, automatically scheduling rug or holiday linen pickup, and more.
Show how great they and their homes look when using your services.
Any and all of these messages can be delivered in a format and media designed to reach your specific target audience effectively and affordably, resulting in ever-increasing sales and profit.
To read Part One, go HERE.