It seems that the marketing industry is launching new channels and initiatives daily. It can be difficult to know which tactics will be most effective for your business, and where to spend your budget. There will also be a lot of environmental factors in play in 2020 that could affect your laundry business and how you market it.
This article walks you through some of the ways you should think about your marketing strategy, which trends to follow, and which trends you don’t even need to bother with.
Trend #1: Recession-proof Strategies
It isn’t fun thinking about “economic recession” as a trend, but experts are saying that the chances of a recession are increasing. It pays to think ahead about how this can affect your business, and how you can try to further recession-proof your business.
As you think about your marketing plan, you want to make sure you have a solid recession strategy. While it may seem intuitive to cut your marketing budget – don’t do it arbitrarily. During a recession is when a lot of people will be changing routines, moving, and downsizing. It is quite possible that they will be looking for a new laundry to use.
You will want to analyze your target audience’s expected behaviors during a recession. In general, people will refrain from making large purchases (like new washers and dryers at home), so you may find more customers come in because theirs have broken. You’ll also likely see a bump in retention.
Another important recession strategy is to focus on the customers you do have. You want to retain as many of them as possible. It is much easier to generate revenue from an existing customer than it is to convert a new one, after all.
Do an assessment on yourself and your retention strategies. Are there any improvements you could make to entice more people to use your facility as opposed to someone else’s? Can you upgrade your machines or equipment? Acting now can help you be in a more stable position should the economy see a downturn, and now’s the best time to plan.
Trend #2: Content that Overcomes Competitors
Businesses are increasing their advertising budgets, and may continue to do so if the recession does hit in 2020 and business declines. This means you have more clutter to get through in order to reach your target customers.
To combat this, make sure you are offering quality content to your audience. You will also want to make sure you are very specific with your audience targeting. Take a look at your typical customer. Women? Men? Ages? Then make sure you are hitting them with a message that addresses their unique challenges.
You should also think about creating content that is helpful to your audience. Consider creating content that helps your customers get stains out better or get laundry done quicker. You could also create content around innovative ways to store or fold clothing, or try out some of these ideas — The sky’s the limit! You are an expert in the laundry business, so create content around what you know better than anyone else.
Trend #3: Postcard Marketing
Believe it or not, direct mail marketing is making a comeback. It is cost effective and a currently underutilized channel, and when done correctly it can be effective for local businesses like laundromats.
What should you put on your postcards? Consider making an offer to new customers for a free wash, or a discount on a laundry service.
You could also just focus on what makes your business unique – do you have only very large capacity washers and dryers, so they can be in and out more quickly? Do you have a gourmet coffee bar on site to help perk them up while they take care of business? Whatever makes your business the place your customers want to be is critical to point out.
Regardless of what message you choose, be sure to have a way to track the ROI of your efforts. You’ll want to have them bring in the postcard to be redeemed, or maybe a special QR code that leads to your website. While direct mail marketing is a less expensive channel, it is still imperative that you make sure your efforts are working. If a certain message didn’t work, maybe try another.
One of the best postcard strategies for laundry marketing is to target people who have recently moved nearby. When someone moves, they are recreating old habits and routines. If they use a laundry facility, they are most certainly looking for a new one. By hitting this audience with a message that feels very personalized to their situation – i.e. “welcome to the neighborhood” – you can increase engagement with your business.
Trend #4: Conversational Marketing
This is a trend that everyone is talking about and it is critical for local businesses to get right. Before visiting your laundry, most people will want to research whatever they can about your business. They will want to know whether you have Wifi, what your hours are, and maybe even what snacks your vending machines offer.
Consider setting up a chatbot on your site (or social media) to start answering some of these frequently asked questions. Studies have shown that more and more people are looking to chatbots for answers, and it can pay off greatly to have one for your business.
If you see a theme with questions that come in – like “what time are you open?” – that may be a sign that you need to make your hours more prominent on your website and in your marketing. As you continue to see questions come in, you can also build in automated responses so that your customers can get immediate responses even if you are not online.
If you find that most of your customers prefer to reach out via Facebook instead of your website, then you might also consider a Chatbot that is specific to Facebook Messenger. Again, you can set up automated answers to frequently asked questions, and then respond in person if the question is more complex.
Trend #5: Advanced SEO
Because competition is going to be more fierce moving forward, it is even more critical that your laundry business has all of its ducks in a row. This means going back to the basics and checking on your SEO.
There are tons of SEO checklists on the web that you can peruse, but some of the key elements to look for are alt tags on your site, site load time, and connections to other platforms (like your social accounts.)
You’ll also want to optimize your site for Local SEO. This is what helps your business pop up when people search for things like “laundry near me.” Pretty important, right? The key here is to insert your location (city, state) in a couple of headlines and paragraphs of text throughout your site. You’ll also want to list your “address” clearly as well.
Another way to improve your local search listings in addition to SEO is to claim your business on different review sites, such as Yelp and Google. By claiming the business, you can put in hours, any special features your business offers, and make sure all of your location information is accurate and accounted for.
Trend #6: Alternative Search Methods
Voice search and image search are finally seeing the spikes experts have been predicting for a couple of years. Similar to some of the SEO tactics mentioned above, you’ll want to make sure you describe your business online in the same way your customers might ask for it via a Google search.
This can take a lot of practice, but there are tools that can help.
Image search is not going to be quite as relevant for your business as it is for an ecommerce brand, for instance. This is where someone can take a picture of the shoes a woman is wearing in the coffee shop and figure out exactly where to buy them online. However, you will still want to make sure the images on your site are optimized for SEO and accessibility purchases.
Trend #7: Responsibility Initiatives
Today’s consumers care a lot about sustainability. What are some steps you can take in your business to be more environmentally friendly? How can you communicate those initiatives to your customers? While this may be a difficult initiative to launch in 2020, it is certainly something to think about. Could you only sell eco-friendly detergent and dryer sheets in your facility? Could you start investing in machines that promote less water usage?
If you do start taking some of these environmental steps, then you need to be able to communicate that to your customers. Depending on your competition, you might even be able to use it as a point of differentiation. For example, perhaps you could market yourself as the only “green” laundry business in your town.
You probably can’t focus on all 7 of these trends and focus areas in 2020. But it is important to focus on at least one or two and try to incorporate them into your strategy. In order to continue to draw customers into your business, you’ll want to make sure you are staying ahead of the marketing trends. If you don’t do it – your competitors will.