How can small businesses promote brand awareness in the car wash industry? Here, the key is consistency. When you provide a seamless experience across your website, digital marketing, print media and offline marketing, your customers get the same impression of you no matter how they encounter you. It’s crucial to use a mix of strategies, so you can promote your business no matter where your customers are. That’s why we’ve developed a list of 12 high-impact marketing tactics to get your car wash found and expand your brand loyalty.
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Why Is Increasing Brand Awareness Important?
If you’re one of the many entrepreneurs wondering how you can expand your car wash business, the answer lies in brand awareness. It lets you become the first thing that pops into your clients’ minds when their cars need cleaning. Brand awareness gives you a magnetic pull over your customers. With a consistent brand, superior service and a sharper clean, you’ll have customers driving a few blocks out of their way to visit you.
How Can I Expand My Car Wash Business?
Growing your car wash business involves a blend of strategic digital and offline marketing. It starts with creating an online presence that gets you found on search engines and influences your target customers. Since car washes rely on upselling and repeat business, prioritize customer loyalty. A focus on community can lay the groundwork for a strong presence in your area.
1. Update Your Website
If you haven’t updated your website in a few years, it could be making you look unprofessional, or even out of business. As web design evolves, customers expect companies to have an appealing, user-friendly interface. As many as 94% of website visitors judge a business by their website’s look and feel. A fresh look could be what you need to bring in new customers.
Modern web design favors a clean design, high speeds and an intuitive layout. Remember, most searchers will access your content through a mobile device, which is why a responsive design should be a top priority. It ensures your web content adjusts to a visitor’s screen size, whether it’s a monitor, tablet or smartphone.
Besides web redesign, updating your content gives your customers accurate information about your business. Your website should reflect your current hours of operation and list of services. An online menu for your car wash lets your customers find the services you offer and know how much they cost. Customers may be more willing to drive to your shop in person when they know what price to expect. Keeping your web content fresh can also give you a search engine optimization (SEO) boost.
2. Get a Website If You Don’t Have One Already
How do you promote a new car wash? With a new website. If you’re a local business, you’ll probably get a good deal of your customers by catching people who live nearby and know where you are. Still, a website could be the ticket you need to increase your brand awareness.
Small businesses without a website might be surprised to learn one-third of online consumers search for a local business every day. Another 16% are searching several times a week. On Google, searches for the term “car wash near me” have grown steadily over the last five years. Those searchers discover car washes in their area through their websites.
Your website is a digital storefront for your car wash. It lets your customers preview your business and get a sense of the experience before visiting you in person. They can see your services and view what your storefront looks like so they don’t miss it when they drive over. It lets customers who are looking for a car wash find you quickly, and gives them a wealth of information to drive decision-making, including:
- Hours of operation
- Services and rates
- Loyalty club opportunities
- Upcoming deals and events
A website is your first impression. If your website is professional and visually pleasing, you instantly let your customers know you’re open for business. It puts you ahead of the companies that don’t pop up online and head-to-head with the others appearing on search results pages.
3. Use Video and Media on Your Website
You make your customers’ cars look sharp as ever. Do the same for your website with rich visual media. Video content is one of the most trusted forms of marketing. It builds an emotional connection with your customers as they can see your face and hear your voice. It can also leave a stronger impression than text alone. Video can work immensely well for a car wash, since the cleaning process can be fun to watch, with colored foam, big brushes and high-pressure hoses.
Some video concepts that can work well for a car wash include:
- Action shots of your add-on cleaning services, such as undercarriage cleaning or waxing.
- Before and after footage for some of your dirtiest cars.
- Discussion of the benefits of professional detailing or particular services.
- Step-by-step overviews of the carwash process.
- Recaps of a previous event.
- Testimonials from satisfied customers.
While video will always make a splash, you can also fill in your website with other media, such as graphics and photos. Consistent use of color and graphics combined with high-quality images that load quickly can help you build brand awareness and ensure your company looks polished and waxed to perfection.
4. Add Awards and Recognition
Awards earn you recognition from independent evaluators and public opinion. When website visitors check out your “Awards and Recognition” page, they can see a list of endorsements from brands and publications they trust. Some ways you can flesh out your awards and recognition list include:
- Local business awards from regional, state or city magazines and newspapers.
- Readers’ choice awards.
- Local employer and “Best Places to Work” awards.
- Small or local entrepreneurship awards, such as 30 under 30 awards, family-owned or green business awards.
- Better Business Bureau accreditation.
- Service provider awards from local business review aggregators.
- Industry awards from trade publications and associations.
- Membership status with trade associations, such as the International Carwash Association (ICA).
- Featured article publications in trade or local magazines.
5. Include an Embedded Google Map
Most customers will choose a car wash based on what is convenient for them. Is it on the way to where they’re going, or close to where they live? Answer your customers’ most pressing question by embedding a Google map of your location. A written address doesn’t give the full picture and isn’t interactive. With an embedded map, your customers can visualize your location in context. Maybe it’s right near a favorite restaurant, or just a block up from the grocery store. Make those connections clear with an integrated map.
6. Use Social Media
7. Recognize Customer Loyalty
In the car wash industry, most of your revenue likely comes from your repeat clients who take advantage of your upsells and add-ons. They’re also more likely to use your vending machine or towel rental services. Cultivating favor with your customers to keep them coming back is the number one way to grow your profits. Here are some of the best ways to build customer loyalty:
- Build rewards programs: Everyone loves a freebie. Today, savvy customers know their worth and want to be rewarded for their loyalty. Offer any new customer who buys a wash a free loyalty card, where they can earn a free or discounted wash on their 10th visit.
- Use refer-a-friend campaigns: Referral programs help introduce your business to new customers while improving your existing clients’ loyalty. Offering a deal or discount in exchange for referrals encourages customers to come back and reap their reward.
- Create special events: Car washes often partner with local organizations for fundraisers to get people coming back. People are more likely to return a little sooner if they know their money is going to a good cause. Food trucks or a classic car show can entertain your guests and encourage them to return for the added value.
- Send digital coupons or rewards: The car wash market is price driven, which likely means your customers are motivated to get a discount. Offer to send your customers some digital rewards or coupons in exchange for a phone number or email, and they’ll be happy to oblige.
- Create a loyalty program for returning customers: Loyalty programs give customers the incentive to pre-load a wash card with enough money for several washes. They may earn 50 cents off any time they use their loyalty card and receive an immediate one-time discount with each reload. Offer more deals for more prepaid cash. For example, a $200 loyalty card could buy access to a Gold Club, where customers receive exclusive members-only discounts. Those who join your club can earn a free wash or bonus service on their birthday and other seasonal promotions. Keep membership applications close to checkout to ensure you’re ready to offer a sign-up.
- Use email: Direct mail campaigns are expensive. When you send flyers to a large group of addresses, most recipients may not be interested in your services at all. Email marketing works better because it allows interested readers to voluntarily opt in. Most of your customers have their phones on them all day and can see your communications wherever they are. An email marketing strategy lets you send deals to your best customers to help ramp up sales. You can also use email to send surveys and request reviews, building stronger connections with your audience. Once you gather those reviews, they can help you with your SEO. Plus, people trust reviews — more than any other marketing you create. Remember to take your email feedback to heart to continue the brand loyalty you’ve built up.
Offline Marketing for Car Washes
When so much of your business depends on having a strategic location in your area, you must treat offline marketing with the same weight you treat your digital efforts. Some offline strategies include:
8. Tap Into Social Causes
Supporting your community is one of the best ways to grow your business. The 100 largest industry players own only 13% of conveyor car wash locations. Independent operators run the rest — a major point of pride for many in the industry. About 90% of car washes are run by small business owners. As a local business, it pays to celebrate the community that supports you through fundraiser events. You can broadcast your support for great causes and bring in more business through charity events.
Another social cause you can participate in is sustainability. Since 35% of consumers are willing to pay 25% more for sustainable products, try playing to the water-saving value of hyper-concentrated car wash chemicals.
9. Build Community
Having a brand community can help to grow your business in many ways. It can increase customer retention and give you valuable feedback on new ideas and products. Build a following by letting your customers connect through events that help the community or entertainment events like a trunk-or-treat. Put your customers first by being honest with them about the services they need or don’t need. They’ll reward you with their trust.
You can also partner with other local businesses to expand the reach of your community. For example, most car dealerships will be happy to throw in a free car wash coupon for each car they sell. You can draw in customers as they are getting used to caring for their new vehicles, and your connection with the local car dealership builds trust.
10. Use Advertising and Public Relations
In the local business market, it still pays to use good old-fashioned newspaper ads. Many in your community trust print media for local news, especially among older demographics. Consider placing ads and coupons in your local publications or getting coverage for a community event. It’s also a good idea to update your signage with eye-catching, modern designs. Street-facing signage can invite more people to your business, while wash bay or sales counter signage can encourage more sales for bundle deals and add-ons.
11. Attend and Market at Trade Shows
Car wash trade shows are a great way to get new marketing tips and learn about the great new products and cleaning chemicals sweeping the industry. Often, top-quality cleaning chemicals are an excellent way to get your customers excited about your business. A customer driving off the lot with a noticeably shinier car is the best offline marketing you can buy.
If you’re planning on attending a car wash trade show, be sure to look for the marketing seminars that are right for your business, and plan to meet with vendors so you can see products in action. You can also set up a booth at local business expos or community events, where you hand out detailing towels or other freebies to attract customers to your location.
12. Revamp Your Car Wash
Revamping your facility is another fantastic way to generate new interest in your business. It shows you have the latest technology and a modern experience. The change of pace can get your customers excited. Here are a few tips to give your shop a face-lift:
- Update terminals: If you run a self-service wash bay, new payment terminals can transform the experience. A user-friendly interface, modern graphics, organized layout and valuable bundling functions can make the payment experience much smoother for your customers.
- Add new products: Foaming high-concentrate products make customers feel like they’re getting a deeper, more luxurious clean. The best cleaners, polishes and waxes leave a car visibly cleaner, and your customers will notice. Add to your service menu with specialty products like wheel and tire cleaners, undercarriage washes, salt cleaners and air fresheners.
- Add a dog wash station: When you already have the car wash infrastructure, adding a dog wash station is an easy way to gain an additional revenue stream. A self-service dog wash can let customers enjoy a fast cleaning experience with high-quality dog shampoos. It’s a lot easier and drier than getting a dog into a bathtub, and your customers are sure to take advantage.
- Change out machinery: Better machinery for a conveyor facility or better accessories for a wash bay can also enhance the cleaning experience. A conveyor car wash can add on machines and brushes for a deeper clean and more entertainment value. Try adding wash machines that put on a light or foam show in addition to providing a superior clean. Wash bays can add adjustable pressure hoses, new brushes and even a low-pressure kids’ water gun to turn the experience into fun for the whole family.
If you’re looking to revamp your car wash, JBS Industries can help. We offer a selection of powerful and colorful cleaning chemicals alongside specialty products like dog shampoos and pre-soaks. Learn more about the cleaning supplies and the on-site marketing assets we offer.
Choose JBS Industries For Cleaning and Marketing Excellence
The all-time best way to gain a loyal customer base and encourage new business is by offering a top-quality service and running a successful car wash. When you provide a better-than-the-rest clean and a fast, enjoyable experience, you’ll have more repeat customers.
That’s why at JBS Industries, we’ve founded our business on four core beliefs: quality, innovation, value and service. We understand how providing those benefits to your customers will help you grow, so we strive to deliver them to you. We are always on the hunt for a better, more concentrated car wash soap to help your business — and your customers’ vehicles — outshine the competition.
Reach out and learn more about the many car wash soaps and specialty products we offer. Or, if you need help with on-site marketing, check out our marketing website for customizable assets.