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Hey guys! I’m Mike Berlin from Slam Car Wash Marketing. With this video series, I’m going to bring you some new ideas to consider when marketing your carwash. I call it the Slam Six. Today, we’re going to go a little more in-depth. I’m going to share six steps to consider when launching your new car wash business the best I can.
There looks to have been about 450 new express car washes built in 2019. In regard to marketing and launching with a bang, what should you do first, second, and third? Let’s take a look at these six steps.
1. Build Yourself a Timeline
I know it sounds simple and of course we need a marketing plan and timeline to launch our carwash, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to get caught up in the financing and the construction the tunnel layout that you forget to sit down and build a timeline of what you should do first and when you should begin marketing projects and when to start advertising.
Look at a full go-to-market plan. You would be surprised how far out in advance things should be started.
If you’d like to see a few examples, we’d be happy to share one with you. Branding usually takes about three to four weeks, a website about a month. Online presence should be created about 70 days out. Organic posting on your social sites should start about 60 days prior to opening. I recommend starting a paid advertising campaign about 30 days out and then really hitting it big 15 days before you’re washing cars. Sitting down and putting together a timeline of your launch is crucial and it’s not as hard as you think.
2. Discover Your Brand
This is so important to get right early on. Some people think branding is simply logos, colors and fonts. It’s so much more complex than that. Think of your carwash like a ride at Disney World. You can ride Space Mountain in Tomorrowland, or you can ride Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland. A good brand discovery will literally set the tone for every other marketing decision you make moving forward.
In this phase, you want to think about and define the actual personality of your brand. What if your carwash brand was a person? Write it out. How will they act? How will they talk? What will they wear? Take some time and describe the brand tone, mission, vision and the purpose of the brand. When we work on branding at Slam, we also research competition in the area and study demographics of the market. It’s a good idea to look at some national brands and write out what you like and dislike about them.
Another good exercise is to pretend that you’re writing the obituary for your company. How will it be remembered? Another one is to try to come up with five keywords that the brand lives by. Write down five traits that your carwash manager should have if your carwash was a ride at Disney. What’s the theme? If we help you with this or do it yourself, it’s important to think about it and go through the exercise of getting these thoughts and decisions on paper.
Your brand guide is like your blueprint for every piece of marketing material you create moving forward. If your brand is all about quality, consistency and innovation, you might hire somebody that’s very detail oriented. If your brand’s wacky, fun and wholesome, you might hire somebody with a big personality that matches that vibe. Your brand influences everything in the business so you want to get this dialed in well before you move on to the next step.
3. Site & Signage
The big deliverables: signage and website. One of the main purposes of your website is to help you get discovered on Google and other search platforms. Your website needs to look cool, but it also needs to be in good shape under the hood.
Have somebody go through the back end of your website and make sure it’s well optimized for searches. This makes sure things like your H1 tags are in order. You want to make sure it’s mobile-friendly and responsive. It also needs to be set up for fast page load speeds. The copy and structure of the pages itself is vital for your website.
There’s all kind of tricks that you can do to make your website rank higher on searches. A great location page set up with proper name, address, phone number and store hours are key. You’ll always want to mention your category name, which is “Car Wash” in your header. Also, use your surface area in the body of the text.
Example: Wash City proudly serving Orlando or Central Florida.
All of these little things will affect how it ranks on searches like “Car Wash near me.” After your website, you’ll want to create other delivery like your RAC cart used to help you sell at the pay station, business cards, vanity, email set up, stickers and giveaway stuff.
4. Builds Your Online Presence
When your site is almost live, build out your online presence. Start with Google and then set up all your social profiles like Facebook, Instagram, Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc. Then you’re going to want to set up your map listings on platforms like Waze, Google Maps and Apple Maps. Making sure all your data and content is in perfect sync across the web. This will put you ahead of the pack in search results. Many of these same accounts are what you’ll monitor for reviews after you open.
Having your online presence set up and live will also help you with recruiting your first team of employees.
5. Advertise Your Launch
If you launch your brand with a good ad plan, you can launch an ad campaign and start creating a buzz before you even open. You absolutely can have your website and online store live and begin to promote and sell memberships before you start washing cars.
I’d recommend ramping up an ad campaign 30 to 45 days before you’re washing cars. I would plan to have a photographer and a video crew at your site about 3 days prior to you washing cars to capture all the content. You’re going to need more ads and your social media feeds reflect what you’re going to run moving forward. You’ll find that you’re constantly looking for short videos and photos to load on all these platforms to keep things fresh. Keep it going all year long.
6. Manage Your Reputation
You want to jump on this one early. Reviews are so crucial to our business these days. Our customer base is being trained by Amazon, Google and Yelp to be hyper-focused on reviews. At the start, you’ll want to be ready to respond to reviews very quickly and make sure everyone that comes through your wash is a raving fan. You’ll also need to run some campaigns to solicit new reviews from happy customers those first two weeks of being open.
Make it a priority with your crew and rack up a bunch of five-star reviews that’ll help you rank higher on search engines and driving more business to your site. Make a commitment to respond to reviews daily. Find someone good on your team and make it part of their job every afternoon.
That’s the six steps to consider when launching your new car wash business. I hope this gets you fired up about launching and marketing your wash. If you need some advice or want some help, email or call us at Slam.
Also, a huge thanks to my family at Sonny’s the Car Wash Factory! They really are the best in the industry and have an army of experts in every discipline standing by and excited to help you absolutely crush it in the business.
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