car wash

How One Car Wash Uses Text Message Marketing… And How To Do It Better!

June 27, 2016 Case Studies

Better Text Message Marketing For A Car Wash!

Everyday, I’ve got my eye out for how businesses are using Text Message Marketing.  Of course, that’s the industry I’m in.  I’ve seen group texting at Golf events, for Ju-Jit-Su training centers, at fast food restaurants, and thousands of retail stores.

I find it fascinating how different businesses utilize text messages in their every day work.

Recently, I was at the local car wash.

Of course I noticed they were using Text Message Marketing too… so I quickly signed up.

Here’s what I noticed…

This car wash didn’t put up signs announcing the text messaging list.  There weren’t any signs or banners… no flyers or postcard handouts about the list.  When I dropped off my car, it was business as usual.

I didn’t find out about the text message marketing program until I checked out and paid for my wash.

I walked up to the cash register and a very nice lady asked if I wanted a discount on my next car wash… I thought to myself…. “WHO DOESN’T WANT A DISCOUNT?”

They then handed me a little device the size of a smartphone… I typed in my phone number… and we were off to the races!

Now, here are a few interesting notes on how the company was using text messaging.

First, within about 2 minutes of entering my phone number, I received a confirmation message.  It was nothing fancy it simply said:

Welcome to XXXYYY Auto spa.  Start cleaning up with a FREE Basic car wash coupon tomorrow!.  Reply STOP to cancel.  msg & data rates may apply.

Of course, I changed name of the company… to the best of my knowledge there is no XXXYYY Auto Spa!

Notice the first message arrived FAST!  And was short, sweet, and to the point.  It was a great way to start off our text message relationship.

The next day, I got another text message form the car wash – As Promised…  This message had a link to the coupon for my free car wash.

It simply said:

Your FREE BASIC Express car wash from XXXYYY is here!  Click the link for details… LINK HERE

Now here’s an important point for all business owners… when I clicked through to the coupon it had an expiration data on it… don’t forget that little feature!

Its been over a month since I received the last text message.  I haven’t heard anything form the local car wash, and that’s a shame.  The relationship started out strong… then they forgot about me.

Here’s how this Car Wash could be doing Text Message Marketing Better.

I think this car wash could be doing a few things better when it comes to running their Mobile Marketing program.

Let’s start with their sign-up process.

They do a great job of inviting paying customers to sign up for their text message list.  And I’m sure the personal invitation has a very solid option acceptance rate.

But the problem is, they have only one spot to get signups… at the cash register.

I think this business owner should add flyers and banners throughout the store to get more signups.  Also, think of this… they are targeting current car wash customers – which is smart – But what about new prospects?

Out in front of this car wash is a very busy gas station (they are owned by the same company).  The thousands of customers who fill up with gas, and pay at the pump every week could be a huge source of customers for the car wash… but they never see the FREE car wash offer!

A little flyer out by the pump offering a free wash could add hundreds, if not thousands of new car wash prospects!

Now, let’s take a quick look at their offer.    

A free car wash for signing up to their texting list is great!  I know it’s only a basic car wash.  But most people don’t care (free is free)… and they’ll add on other services, I’m sure.

So, I’ve got no real ideas for improvement there.

Lets move on to the actual messages.

The text message follow-up is a key area for some changes.  I like the fact that the first text message was delivered immediately… I knew what I signed up for, so I wasn’t surprised to get the text message.

I also like that they sent the coupon on the following day.

It gave me a reminder that I had signed up, and got me thinking of getting my car washed again soon.  They were off to a fast start building the relationship.

Now two comments.

The coupon the company sent expired only 48 hours later… That’s not really useful to customers, I just got my car washed… why would I bring it back in 72 hours later?  This offer would work better for new prospects… or a coupon good for a year might be helpful.

The other option is delivering the free car wash coupon a week or 10 days later would improve customer engagement and encourage repeat buyers?  Or Maybe just a reminder text 10 days later to use a coupon?

There was one other problem with the text message… It didn’t list the address of the car wash.

A minor thing I know, but there are 5 different car washes within a few miles of the house… a subtle reminder of where they were located would go a long way to remembering to use the coupon and the car wash services.

Oh… one other tip… when you put your location, don’t just list your address… use cross streets or landmarks, or the name of the complex you are in… Many people visualize the corner of Second Street and Main… but not 123 Main Street!

Let’s dig deeper on this Car Wash business…

One big hole in their marketing program… they didn’t have any type of loyalty rewards program… no frequent user program… or even a buy 10 get one free punch card.

This would be very easy to implement with text message marketing.

You can add on a loyalty program to your text message platform and reward customers based on a cell phone number… It’s a simple add on!

So, if I was running this car wash, I’d definitely put in place a customer loyalty program.

Finally, the car wash company needs to be better at consistent text message follow up and marketing with the news. 

Here’s what I mean…

For consistency, a single text a week wouldn’t be considered aggressive, and it would remind customers to stop by for another wash, to fill-up, or get some cool drinks!

The other opportunity is to use recent events and news.

Here’s a perfect example… The other day, we had a blowing dust storm and we got a tiny bit of rain.  Remember, I live in the desert, so this happens all the time.

The impact was devastating… My clean car was now spotted with dust and raindrops from the storm… (I guess “storm” is too powerful of a word… it was more spitting than raining!)

Anyway, I drove around for a two days with my car a mess before I finally broke down and visited a car wash.

This would have been a perfect opportunity to get a text from my car wash.

They could have said, 

“Storm mess up your car? Get a car wash, we’ve got extra employees ready for a rapid cleaning – XYZ Cross streets”

I would have driven over that morning to get my car washed.  Notice they didn’t need to offer a discount or coupon… just reminding people of your service is critical!

It was a marketing opportunity that was missed by every car wash in the area.

Would it have made the owner a millionaire?  Nope… but it sure would have got me thinking about their business… and made me visit again.

Follow-up in all things… text messaging too… is often the difference between success and failure.

Remember text message marketing is a powerful, cost effective tool to communicate with your customers.  

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