8 marketing tactics to boost your laundromat business
Updated: Jun 24, 2022
Marketing tactics are a set of strategic methods or actions aimed at promoting a business’ goods or services. The aim is to maximize sales and maintain a competitive edge. If you’re a laundromat owner or are looking to get into the laundry business, it’s important to think of your laundromat as any other business. One thing I’ve noticed in this industry is that owners ignore the most basic of marketing tactics and still expect to do well. This is a huge mistake. We’re in a digital era where people will search for things online, read reviews and then choose to do business with you, whether that’s walk-in customers or pickup and delivery customers. And yes, location is one of the biggest considerations for walk-in customers, however, if you’re looking to ‘really’ make money in laundry, then you should market your business. So what are some essential marketing tactics you must employ to be successful?
Website: Having an easy to navigate, fully functional website is a simple way to help your business grow. Your website doesn’t need to be perfect when you start off. This can be an ongoing project which you optimize, add to, take away from and really make your own. At a minimum, you can start with a homepage that has your contact information, address, customer pain points you’re solving, the value you bring, and the services you offer. A website allows you to brand your business and show your customers who you are. Over time, you can add a price list, specials page, about us, blog page and many more. You can also look into optimizing it for SEO as time goes by, especially once you understand which keywords you should be doubling down on. And the good news is that there are so many options to creating a beautiful website with pre-configured templates. Wix, Square, and Wordpress are a few web development platforms that can get you going quickly. You can also look into Fiverr, a marketplace for freelancers. Our website https://www.safilaundry.com/, for example, is an ongoing project and is actually built on Wix and we did it ourselves. I am constantly editing it, optimizing it and moving things around as needed.
Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all great platforms on which to build an audience and inform customers of your business, including upcoming promotions and events. While it is free to set up an account with these platforms, you will need to set aside time for regular engagement if you want to be effective. Aim to post at least once a week on each platform and try to monitor your social media pages daily so you can respond to your customers’ feedback. When we were getting started at Safi, one of the things we struggled with was keeping up with the posting cadence. We did some research, and for a small yearly fee, we signed up for Canva for creating and designing social posts and Loomly for scheduling posts across our three platforms. This allows us to pre-schedule content weeks out, and frees us from the anxiety of ‘remembering’ to post. I know TikTok is also pretty popular these days, we just haven’t experimented with it yet. These platforms also offer paid advertising opportunities, so if you’re looking to grow your business, it’s worth looking for opportunities to advertise.
Review Platforms: Yelp and Google My Business are two fantastic platforms to tap into. Both platforms are free to set up and will help you crowdsource reviews about your business. Make sure you claim your business on both platforms and update your business information and contacts so people can quickly learn about you and find you. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, 5 reasons why you should consider an attended laundromat, word of mouth is a powerful way of securing and bringing in new customers and, in this day and age, online reviews have become the best form of word of mouth. When you wow a customer, the customer will often respond with gratitude or praise and will leave a positive comment. That said, be aware that people will also use these platforms to leave negative reviews. You need to remember that both happy and unhappy customers will go and tell their friends and you’d rather they tell others good things. At Safi Laundry, we currently manage both a Yelp and Google My Business account which we monitor pretty closely and both have worked tremendously for us.
Promotions: When we started our business over a year ago, we always knew we’d want to give back to the community. We were lucky because we installed a laundry card system which makes it really easy to do promotions at scale. Our customers get a laundry card which allows them to use washers, dryers, vending and the bathroom (for free). We have ongoing promotions when customers load money on their cards:
$20 - get $2 bonus
$50 - get $5 bonus
$100 - get $10 bonus
In addition, we offer ‘Free Dry Tuesdays’ which has significantly grown our business on a day that would otherwise be dead and this has created a lot of loyalty. I know many laundromat owners frown upon free dry days, that said, do what works for your business and demographics. In addition, our customers also earn laundry points for each dollar they spend which they can redeem for prizes including electronics, blankets, sheets, and more. During major holidays, we run specials. We’ll sometimes do 50% off washers between 11am - 4pm. Again, because we have an automated laundry card system, it makes it really easy to do this at scale. All this is to help us create loyalty with our customers and in a way, thank them for doing business with us.
Paid advertising: If you are ready to invest in paid advertising for your business, Google Ads, Yelp Ads, and Facebook Ads are a great place to start. Advertising on social media can be extremely cost-effective compared to traditional media like newspapers and radio because you can target your message to specific groups and locations, resulting in a better return on your investment. It’s also important to be thoughtful about what you’re advertising and ask yourself if you’re ready for the impact of the advertising. At Safi Laundry, we took out ads for wash and fold and pickup and delivery services across Yelp and Google. We made sure to always answer our business phone, and created a landing page on our website to help convert customers. This helped us tailor our message accordingly for maximum impact.
With both platforms, Google worked great for us, but Yelp had ‘too much noise’ in the leads we received. After running Yelp Ads for ~6 months, we opted to cancel our paid advertising with them. That said, we still maintain a Yelp page for organic searches and reviews which has been so much more beneficial.
Branding: According to dictionary.com, branding is “the promoting of a product or service by identifying it with a particular brand”. Branding is intangible and you need to identify what you stand for. For those who are not aware, Safi (saf-ee) is a swahili word that translates to clean, pure, fresh, genuine, good. Our tagline is modern, clean, friendly and we have a mission and vision for our business. In everything we do, we’re always asking ourselves, are we advancing the livelihoods of the communities we serve?
Identify what you’d like to be known for and then go after that. Your brand will also translate to merchandise. Our laundry cards are branded and we sell branded laundry bags which people love. Can you imagine how much free advertising we get from all the laundry bags floating around people’s homes?
Print Ads: You should consider distributing flyers at churches, apartment complexes, college campuses, local coffee shops, and more. When we first opened, we went around distributing flyers door-to-door all over our neighborhood. We also did mailers within a 5 mile radius of our store. With both options, however, we didn’t see too much ROI. Honestly, we were better off spending that time and money on Google Ads from the get-go.
Videos: Videos are another great medium to explore for your laundromat. YouTube has so much popularity and businesses have been successful tapping into this platform. We’re in the process of exploring video content… we don’t have anything to show for it yet. As I mentioned earlier, Fiverr is a marketplace for freelancers and they have a ton of folks you can explore for content creation including video.
We hope that these tactics give you ideas of what to explore for your business. To learn more about us, check us out at https://www.safilaundry.com/