Marketing for the Digital Age

by | Jan 13, 2023 | Digital Ads, Online Presence

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I recently purchased an old house and, while fixing it up, I realized I needed a new drill. It seems like all I did was think about buying a new drill (or maybe mentioned it to my wife a time or two). At some point, I went to The Home Depot website and was immediately receiving online retargeted ads. Home improvements on Facebook, display ads about drills on my weather app, and even my favorite podcast was tossing out ads about drills and home improvement. For a full week all I could think about was how much I needed a drill.

Next thing I notice is I’m up late looking at reviews and comparing the Ridgid to the Milwaukee and asking myself “is the DeWalt worth the extra money?”

Home Depot’s website understood that I needed a drill when I first searched for it. Home Depot anticipated my journey, and nudged me towards the purchase. As customers, we take journeys like this all the time. In marketing we understand it as the Sales Funnel—how we convert a prospect into a lifetime customer.

Check out my article on the Car Wash Sales Funnel here.

Lesson Learned

When SLAM first started, we led prospects from a Facebook ad, to a landing page, to a contact form and we emailed them back a code. They then redeemed the code at the car wash so we could track all touchpoints. We would text and email them, as well as display retargeted ads from a tracking pixel, it was awesome! The only problem:  it was more complicated than it needed to be.  Too many steps. If you are a marketing nerd, like me, it’s killer – the data is great, the journey intriguing – but it’s also unnecessary steps to convert.

Since then, we’ve refined the approach to reach a customer with intent and higher probability of visiting your wash. And let me tell you, it’s been a complete game changer.

Using the Data to Your Advantage

A good sales and marketing strategy starts with tracking consumer’s foot traffic via Google Maps and other software. This data is essential for knowing where to place ads, among other things. Newer tools allow us to track cell phone location data, so if a phone sits at a location for a few minutes, it registers as a visit. With this insight, comes data.  We can see who is coming to a car wash, or the competitors. We gain insight into details like where they live, work, where they came from before they arrived at a carwash or where they went after.

With this information, SLAM can laser focus Geo-targeted ads, which makes for a better return on ad spend. Some clients have seen return on ad spend go from 100-150% to 400-500% – just from efficient ad spend.

Beyond Digital Advertising

The visibility into a prospect’s activities lets us know who the audience is.  Do we need to cater to hospital workers, mega-church goers, restaurant regulars, and city sports enthusiasts? Do we need to target certain audiences on certain days? Once we know which groups we can successfully focus on, we can take the marketing efforts beyond digital ads. By anticipating group movements, we can work out a deal with Bob the restaurant owner down the street. We can place an advert on his menu with a QR code for a discounted wash or membership at a specific car wash and in return give him a  free carwash membership. It’s a win, win—Bob gets free washes all month long, more restaurant goers get their cars washed at the advertised wash, and valuable customer data is collected such as phone numbers and the ability to analyze  campaign success.

Use What You’ve Got

You don’t need a marketing degree to get your hands on some data but knowing where to start is critical.  And where should you start?  Your current management software. If you have Sonny’s CarWash Controls Back Office you can easily pull monthly member emails, load into Facebook to create look-a-like campaigns, and serve ads to the look-a-like audience online. Facebookers with the same attributes as your members including location and preferences, will receive specials and promos.  This is a highly qualified audience of potential new members –  It’s that easy!

The key is understanding which platforms perform best for car wash customers. Facebook and Instagram aren’t the greatest for car wash conversion but both do very well as as engagement tools and to stay top of mind. If you’re feeling confident, test out Google Advertising SEO tools to help you optimize your Google Business Profile.

Learn how to set up your Google Business Profile here.

So basically, if you do this well, you’ll drill down to a solid pool of potential customers, and you won’t be burning dollars for marketing and advertising.  Exactly what The Home Depot does. They bring people back to buy; you can too.  I ended up purchasing the Ridgid from The Home Depot. Once people are interested in a carwash, you want them only thinking about your retail location as the option. 

Ready to setup a plan or want to discuss if your current digital plan is optimized? Contact SLAM CarWash Marketing..


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