It’s no secret. The dry-cleaning industry is evolving. The percentage of people who’ve never used dry-cleaning, for example, continues to grow. Meanwhile, the number of infrequent users (once every three months) is dropping.
Competition isn’t static, either. Just look at two-speed marketing. Customers who bring their clothes in once every three months want to know their clothes are in great hands. But people who routinely drop clothes off weekly or monthly have different expectations. They’re on the move, on the go, and want to be able to drop and go. With two customers’ expectations, this makes our marketing approach very different.
To address this challenge, some dry cleaners have attempted a “one size fits all” strategy. Take this approach, and you’ll reach fewer customers, spend more money, and be less effective than you could be. The opposite approach, however, works. Targeting customers by their usage and preferences leads to a smarter, faster, and more cost-efficient marketing strategy. So just how do you get started?
The key is to gather performance-based insights and test ideas. Few dry cleaners realize the financial implications of a customer’s age or their overall usage frequency. But this is vital information.
Consider the value of a person who:
- Is accustomed to infrequent dry-cleaning
- Is in their early 20s and has few purchasing decisions
- Is willing to pay more
A 25-year-old who typically uses a dry cleaner twice a year, and who makes six times more money than someone who uses our service weekly, is a far different prospect.
This data can help you understand what different customers value, and in turn, this helps you create a marketing strategy with more impact. One that uses ads that resonate with them. One that leverages direct mail to deliver potential customers their demographic desires. As a result, your marketing and sales efforts align with each customer’s primary needs –something other dry-cleaning owners rarely do.
Align Marketing And Sales
In independent dry cleaners, marketing typically follows the clothing transaction. In franchised dry cleaners, customers have no choice but to buy dry cleaning services. Both have their pros and cons.
In independent dry cleaners, for example, it can be difficult to include the right amount of repetition. This is why many independent dry-cleaning stores use subscriptions, which remove concerns with repeat customers.
However, subscriptions are easier if you have technology and infrastructure in place. Other independent dry cleaners could learn from franchised stores’ ability to cultivate a membership mentality among customers. It is as simple as providing a reason to come back, such as snacks, customer loyalty, or even entertainment programming.
By becoming data-driven marketers, you can profit from understanding the demographics of your customers. With demographic information, you can better align your marketing strategy with your customers, and attract more of the same.
Marketing For a Dry Cleaning Business
- Who are my customers?
Take a look beyond the typical demographic information (age, sex, family, income) to get a profile of your customer. It might work best if you customize your micro-marketing strategy to reach shoppers by age or frequency.
- What are their motivations?
A dry cleaner’s success depends on the motivations of its customers. Whether it’s the cost, convenience, or even entertainment values, understanding these motivations helps you deliver a valuable offer that inspires customers to act. If you had the opportunity to open your business again today, what factors would you target?
- Do advertising resources align with my preferences?
Once you’ve identified your customers’ motivations, look at advertising sources that match your customers’ needs. For example, if you’re working an outdoor mall with potential customers with high-casual tastes, then you might consider a billboard that reinforces you’re the freshest.
- Do I offer a membership?
Franchised cleaners often offer bonuses such as membership for those who spend a certain amount of time with their business. And being able to collect data on customers’ buying habits is valuable for long-term market growth.
- How do my customers like to be contacted?
Mobile devices are a valuable marketing tool. If you have the budget, consider a fully-integrated plan combining digital, print, and the site with mobile to optimize the ease of communication with customers.
- When the message is delivered, does my customer see the relevance?
With your customer having the sensitivity to so many channels, it’s easy to find the relevance of a message. But a message is only relevant if your customer understands to a great degree. How do you ensure your customer understands your message?
- What is the best message for them?
Delivering a message tailored to each customer by their demographics is the best way to create a cohesive, relevant message. Direct mail is a great marketing channel to help, with its ability to deliver a message through a variety of media.
- How can I use direct mail to deliver my customers the message they need?
Consider the specific products that you sell. What features matter? A flyer in a letter might help you reinforce the need for a specific product, for example.
- How might I use direct mail in a unique way?
Integrate your dry cleaning services with a direct marketing effort. For example, you might create a coupon your customer can use when you dry clean their garments.
- What is the right message?
As you consider the specific products you sell, can you think of a message that will encourage your customer to purchase the new product, product, or service?
- How will I contact my customer?
The number of channels open to you is rapidly expanding. Choose marketing channel that best meets your customer’s needs, and allows you to leverage something unique to your business.
- How often will I remind my customer?
Today, the competition is fierce and your business will have to win with customers. A smart marketer will be concise and consistent in communicating with understanding your customer.
- What value can I offer customers?
For example, if you see that your customers are dropping off their items less frequently, perhaps you can reward them with a discount for bringing their dress to you a few times per year. Or maybe you can arrange for a shared-ride service for your customers.
- What is the best approach to drive the best customers to my business?
Consider how you can reach potential customers. Is there a way to use direct mail to reach your new markets? Can you use social media to send a message to existing customers? How will you get customers’ attention?
- Where does my customer buy?
What websites do your customers use? Can you think of ways to reach them online? What other avenues do they prefer to use? What is the value of your offering for your customers?
- What is my most important product or service?
How do your customers think of your most important product? Are you able to provide it better than your competitors? How can you get customers’ attention?