CHICAGO — While very few people go into the drycleaning industry to tackle the issue of digital marketing, those who do embrace these efforts have an advantage over those who dismiss the practice as “not practical for them.”
This was the message of Donna Botti, president of Delos, Inc. during her recent webinar presentation “Get More Customers and Clients in 2024 with a Digital Marketing Success Plan,” hosted by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).
In Part 1 of this series, we listed some of the digital marketing trends that Botti sees coming in 2024, as well as the first key action in marketing of focusing on the right clients. In Part 2, we looked at the value of assets dry cleaners already have but might not be aware of. Today, we’ll conclude by looking at perhaps the most vital part of the digital marketing effort — making sure it gets done.
Key Action No. 3 — Make It Easy and Manageable
“Your random acts of marketing are not working,” Botti says, “and you don’t really have time to not have one strategy.”
Planning content and when to use it helps to make a marketing program automatic, which is going to keep it from being a chore that gets avoided.
Botti offers the following tips for making planned marketing part of your schedule.
Get rid of the silos — Use the same message on all channels, instead of spending effort making each channel “unique.” “The same message is fine on all channels,” Botti says. “You can put it on your website, you can put it on social media, it’s actually good to be repetitive.
Reuse and repurpose — You want to reuse and repurpose things, Botti believes. By taking existing content and finding different ways to package and present it, it becomes more valuable and keeps the owner from having to constantly come up with new ideas.
Have a mix of timely, seasonal, and evergreen content — While it’s great to have messages relating to sales or other timely events, it’s also a good idea to plan out seasonal messages, along with evergreen content that’s always available on your website and sent out at different times to email and social marketing efforts.
Batch and schedule — “It is easier to sit down and say, ‘We’re going to take a day, we’re going to record eight videos, and we’re going to use one a week,’” Botti says. “We’ve just made two months of content, and that’s much easier than it is to sit down every week and try to make a video. Same thing goes with email marketing.”
Use automation — By using tools to make certain marketing efforts automatic, the customer is well served and the owner doesn’t have to take time to individually respond to certain actions. “When someone requests information, is there something that can go back to them automatically?” Botti asks. “Can you figure your chat out to answer questions so that you’re getting back to people in a timely fashion?”
Botti believes a great use for automation is for onboarding. “One of our clients is a gym,” she says. “When they get a new client, they automatically start to get a series of six emails, telling them how to best use their membership and giving them tips and motivation along the way. That happens automatically for every person who joins — they are added to that list. You can spend the time setting that up once, putting your best foot forward, and then every person gets that same treatment.
Use Al for ideas — Artificial Intelligence is growing up and getting smarter. “When you start brainstorming the problems people have, AI tools can come in really handy,” Botti says. “Give me some ideas. Here’s my client — what’s the best way to reach them? What are the top 10 problems that they have? This will all be ideas for your content.
While they are getting more powerful every day, you’re going to want to use AI tools wisely, Botti says, because your message and content ultimately have to have your voice.
“The importance of what you ask it — the prompt — is where a lot of people get tripped up,” she says. “You can’t just say, ‘Give me a blog post about X.’ You have to give it context. Every prompt you write should be talking about, ‘Here’s who we are and what we do. Here’s who my customer is. Here’s the person I am creating this for. This is what their concerns are and the problems they’re trying to solve. Here is the solution that I want you to give me answers on.’ Then, you ask it to now write you an email that will get people to take a certain action as a result.”
Seeing AI in the proper light is important to marketing efforts.
“You want to think of it as an intern,” Botti says. “it’s going to solve the ‘blank page’ problem, but you’re going to have to edit it. And you want to keep editing it until it really matches your voice and speaks to the customer you’ve identified. If you read that email out loud, and you don’t see yourself actually saying that to your best customer, it’s probably not right.”
Botti ended her presentation by urging business owners to keep their digital marketing efforts in perspective.
“This whole thing is progress, not perfection,” she says, “and you just have to start somewhere. And you just have to take the steps necessary and follow your plan.”
The best steps to success are planned and scheduled, Botti believes. Otherwise, they become something that gets pushed aside when the hectic day-to-day work comes through.
“Planning it out ahead of time also gives you the opportunity to work special events in,” she says, “because it’s already in the plan. When the time comes, you already have the stuff there.”
Whatever the target, message and channel a dry cleaner uses in their digital marketing efforts, Botti says that the most important thing is building it into a habit.
“The number one thing that I have seen that moves the needle for people is that consistency builds traction,” she says. “Build a calendar so you know what you’re doing now and down the road. It’s so important that you actually do this on a regular basis.”
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].