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The Most Effective Car Wash Advertising Strategies

Posted by Ray G. - Branding specialist/graphic designer at LookOurWay who has worked in multiple industries including printing, packaging & labeling and graphic design. He holds a BFA from Academy of Art University. on

A combination of offline and online car wash advertising is an effective way to drive business. Car wash operators may want to focus on building local loyalty before expanding the regional presence of a business online. Keep your promotional budget and target customer base in mind as you consider the following car wash advertising ideas.

Local Offline Car Wash Advertising

One of the best ways to attract new local customers  is to catch the eyes of those driving by. Even if a potential customer does not stop by as soon as they see your car wash, he or she may make a mental note that car cleaning services are available at a convenient location.

Outdoor advertising is an obvious choice to bring attention to your locale. Asdie from your main sign, you should choose car wash signs like vinyl banners with a custom message and logo or car wash feather flags that can be placed on the side of the road or on your building's property.  Opt for bright and distinctive colors and bold fonts that are easily read from a distance.  You may also want to splurge a little on car wash air dancers or a giant car inflatable to go that extra mile. 

Advertise at local sports events, sponsor a little league team, or work with charities, getting involved in your community helps out the area you are in with the added benefit of boosting name recognition and sentiment. Teaming up with surrounding businesses can also stimulate business. Reach out to commercial fleet operators, rental car agencies, or used car dealerships to obtain new bulk clients. Draw more individual customers by supplying coupons to a variety of vehicle-related locations:

  • Auto parts stores
  • Auto repair shops
  • Car dealers
  • Oil change locations
  • Gas stations
  • Tire stores

Contact your local cable provider and see if they provide any affordable packages for small businesses. When you first open or when you want a boost int he busiest seasons, hyper-local targeted commercials can be affordable and high impact on television. 

Offer a one-time discount or complementary service to customers who bring in promotional materials. Car wash operators may also want to start a loyalty program with the goal of reaching a retention rate between 15% and 20%. Incentivize repeat visits and referrals with membership bonuses, discounts, or gift certificates.

Try to focus offline advertising on the clientele you want to have. Promoting concierge services such as hand-washing and detailing or environmentally-friendly cleaning products and processes can bring in different customer bases. Factor in the average income of the surrounding area and whether you also want to attract destination traffic. 

Targeted Online Advertising

Advertising online is the best way to increase your visibility. Online car wash advertising is an easy way to get the word out about specialty services. Operators can promote cleaning services for sports cars, luxury vehicles, or larger trucks. In addition to a website with locally-focused search engine optimization, car washes should also use social media. A business page can make it easy to schedule special events for charity or cleaning classic cars.

Social media makes it easy to connect with repeat customers and stimulate referrals. Encourage customers to share before and after images and repost this content on your feed. As you build a base of followers, you can also use these platforms to run contests or introduce specials to bring in more business during slower periods. In addition to sharing updates, social media is also useful for attracting new customers. You may want to broaden your follower base by sharing useful information such as car care tips or notifications about automotive events.

Make the Most of Maps and Reviews

Car wash operators should also make the most of a business's presence in map and navigation applications and ensure your average review is high enough to stand out among other car wash locations. Online directory pages are good places to describe the amenities a car wash offers. If you are located near a store where customers can shop while their car gets cleaned, you should point this out. Car wash operators can also draw attention to the features of a lobby, such as free wireless internet and possibly even a convenience station.

You may also want to offer incentives for positive customer reviews, such as a free bonus service during a future wash. This can help you raise the average rating of a car wash, which may boost your standing on regional web searches and in location-based rankings. Try to respond positively to middling or poor ratings and offer a discount on future services.

The online advertising and physical presence of a business should be mutually reinforcing. Make sure the color scheme of your online and offline promotions correspond to build brand identification. A new customer may have an easier time locating a car wash with familiar car wash signs and eye-catching displays, such as a car wash air dancer.

Unify an Advertising Strategy

All of these car wash advertising ideas can be more effective than mass mailers. It is crucial to determine who your ideal customers are, or several demographics you would like to serve, and target offline and online advertising toward this audience. The most important component of an advertising strategy is to find ways to lock in the loyalty of your most frequent customers. This can result in repeat business and increase the likelihood of positive reviews and referrals. Make sure that offline and online methods are complementary for the best results.

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