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8 Alternative Strategies to Boost Sales at Your Dry Cleaners

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It’s no secret. The dry-cleaning industry is evolving. The percentage of people who’ve never used dry-cleaning, for example, continues to grow. Meanwhile, the number of infrequent users (once every three months) is dropping.

Owners need to accept the fact that the state of the dry-cleaning industry isn’t as rosy as it once was. To survive, they also need to find new ways to not only produce a quality garment but also show the customers the value of their services.

Dry-cleaners that fail to do this may survive through attrition, but they won’t prosperous. Survival through attrition doesn’t guarantee profitability. Dry-cleaners that fail to find new strategies to prosper in the future will eventually go out of business.

Factors Affecting the Industry’s State

Numerous factors are impacting today’s dry-cleaning industry. Some are obvious. Others aren’t. Whatever the case, these elements are out of reach for dry cleaners looking to change. Below are six of these factors:

• Clothing manufactures making fewer and fewer garments that feature the “Dry Clean only” label.

• Manufacturers are developing “memory-sensitive” fabrics to eliminate wrinkles in home laundering.

• Lower-priced clothing means dry-cleaning’s cost looks more expensive compared to the cost of replacing the garment.

• Many home dryers now have a “steam” cycle to improve a garment’s appearance without ironing.

• The growing acceptance of casual clothing in the workplace is here to stay.

• The drop in the number of smokers means that fewer and fewer will need their clothes dry cleaned after being in smoke-filled rooms.

While these aren’t the only ones affecting the industry, they’re among the most prominent—and most critical.

8 Proven Strategies to Survive and Thrive

Dry cleaning revenues nationwide are expected to be $8.7 billion by 2021, down from over $9.0 billion. But given the industry’s state, it’s clear today’s dry-cleaners must find new strategies to survive and thrive in the future.

Below we look at some of the proven strategies to boost sales and profitability at your storefront:

1. Add laundry services

Some dry cleaners are offering laundry services beyond the usual formal wear as a way to generate additional revenues. Others are offering cleaning rugs and home cleaning, touting their environmental services or making drop off and pick up more convenient.

2. Boost operational efficiency

Automating processes, like installing a POS software system, helps increase operational efficiency. You can then pass on the savings onto customers, similar to what restaurants and other retailers are doing. It’s one way to cut the taxes on dry cleaning services that in some states are considering.

3. Add programs to stay relevant

Another strategy is introducing programs designed to remain relevant with customers. Using a POS software system with the right features, for example, you can add a loyalty point reward program as an incentive for customers to return. Or, you can send emails after transactions so customers can rate your service.

4. Rework employee schedules

Making changes to counter service schedules can help generate additional revenues. Scheduling your best and most personal employees at the busiest times, like in the afternoons, is one way to do it. Customers coming in the afternoon are often more relaxed and more casual, giving employees time to connect.

5. Use social media to promote yourself

Social media is a great marketing tool. Use it to familiarize customers in your area with you and your services. One in every eight people uses Facebook every day, with 53% logging in daily. In addition, 58% of them communicate more online than face to face. Use these trends to your advantage.

6. Focus on ways to gain new customers

Cutting costs can help you “save” your way to profitability. But that strategy is a challenge to implement. It’s better to focus on generating new customers. One dry-cleaner looked at its “curb appeal.” Its awning and signage were outdated. It modernized its awning signage, updated the store, and increased business.

7. Keep print media in mind

Print still has value. Research shows that you can make an emotional appeal and a connection when people see something in print. But think out of the box when doing it. One dry cleaner used the USPS’s Every Day Direct Mail to tell its story to customers. Dry cleaners using this approach have boosted business from 2% to 31%.

8. Try guerrilla marketing tactics

Guerrilla marketing uses unconventional ways to promote businesses. It’s ideal for companies with limited budgets. One dry cleaner sponsored “Free Pants Wednesday” in August. In the third year of doing this, the company boosted revenue by 57.3% and opened 252 new accounts.

To implement these strategies effectively, however, you need to change the way you look at things. Then change the things you look at. Focus on communicating to customers the value they offer.

Six Pricing Strategies For Dry Cleaning Services

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Pricing. It’s among the secrets to business success. Pricing your services correctly boosts sales, maximizes profits, and sets a solid foundation for business growth.

Pricing your services incorrectly, however, creates challenging business problems—the kind that dooms your business to fail. Obviously, you need to get the pricing right.

But getting the pricing right is easier said than done. Pricing is both an art and science—one that involves many factors. That makes pricing a challenge for many retailers.

The key is finding a pricing strategy that’s right for you. Fortunately, you have a  lot of flexibility when deciding your pricing.

Pitfalls to Avoid When Setting Prices

The flexibility you have in setting prices, however, doesn’t eliminate the risk involved in doing so. You face two key risks when determining a pricing: underpricing and over pricing.

·         Underpricing

Some companies set prices low hoping to drive sales. Underpricing your services can backfire on you big time. Consumers often consider these services as cheap or undervalued, which can damage your brand’s reputation.

Instead, you want to set your prices, so consumers feel they’re getting their “money’s worth.” Plus, you need to set your prices so that you cover all the costs involved in providing the service.

·         Overpricing

Other businesses overprice their services to maximize profits. This approach can be just as bad as underpricing. Remember, consumers are comparing your prices with your competitors’ pricing all the time.

If they feel they’re getting more for their money from a competitor at a lower price or the same price, they’ll buy your competitors’ services, not yours.

Also, you want consumers to feel that your pricing is fair. So take time to survey consumers about your pricing to see just how your current pricing stacks up.

Six Commonly Used Pricing Strategies

The first thing you need to do to avoid these two pitfalls described above is to study the common price strategies the retail industry uses. You have two basic approaches: Cost plus pricing or value-based, where you set a price based on how customers value your services.

We describe six common pricing strategies below:  

Keystone pricing

Popular with both retailers and eCommerce peoples, this strategy doubles a service’s wholesale costs. The strategy works well, but you need to make sure you cover your operating costs. Some companies use the initial price as a base, then apply markups/discounts.

MRSP

Manufacturer’s suggested retail price is another pricing strategy popular with both retailers and eCommerce people. The manufacturer sets the price, and that’s how you price your product or service. This approach is often based on Keystone pricing.

Psychological pricing

Research shows that people feel some pain when they spend money. This pricing strategy helps alleviate that pain. Pricing something $3.95 instead of $4.00 is an example. Whatever pricing approach you select, apply psychological pricing.

Discount pricing

Businesses using this approach often sell services below competitors’ prices. For smaller retailers, however, this pricing strategy leaves razor-thin profit margins, so it’s risky. Special markdowns, seasonal specials, and coupons all help lower prices for consumers.

Loss-leader pricing

This pricing strategy draws buyers into the storefront so they can buy more profitable products. Retailers set the price for a popular or much-needed product at cost or even below cost. Loss-leader pricing is another dicey pricing strategy that’s risky. Your profits on other items must cover your lost-leader costs.

Cost-plus pricing

This strategy is the simplest of the six strategies. You apply a markup percentage, say 20%, to the cost of producing the service. Make sure you add all your expenses to the costs before applying the markup, including indirect ones.

Many dry-cleaners use a mix of these pricing strategies to generate traffic at their storefronts, encourage additional sales, and/or generate profits.

Optimum Pricing Maximizes Profits

Ideally, you want to set the “optimum price” for your services. That’s where you set a price that factors in all your costs and maximizes profits, yet still is attractive to consumers.

Below is a six-step process to find the optimum pricing for your dry-cleaning services:

  1. Determine competitors’ prices. Also, how much consumers will pay.
  2. Choose which pricing approach suits you—cost-plus pricing or value-based.
  3. Consider cost-plus pricing. Use industry knowledge to set markup percentage
  4. Set value-based pricing based on the market value of service or services
  5. Calculate different prices for different services using the approach you think best.
  6. Keep an eye on what’s happening. Prices seldom stay fixed. Make adjustments, if necessary.

This six-step process helps you set the optimal price for your dry-cleaning services. Also, talk to customers to make sure your price or prices remain optimal.

Optimal pricing maximizes profits for your business and provides a solid foundation for growing your business.


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9-Steps to Launch a Mobile Dry Cleaning Business

If you’re an entrepreneur looking for a lucrative business opportunity, starting a mobile dry-cleaning business is just what the doctor ordered.

It fills a specific need, doesn’t cost a lot to launch as a business, and saves consumers time and money.  Its growing popularity comes from the need for people to get more things done in less time.

Let’s face it. It’s often a mad scramble for people to get things. Many have little time for themselves and their families, and for doing the things they like to do, like skiing, traveling, and/or dining out.

These conditions make mobile dry-cleaning services attractive. Plus, dry cleaning is a $9+ billion business, says Racked, and it’s not going away anytime soon. No matter what happens in the future, people will still need their clothes cleaned.

Keep Things Simple and Costs Low

Below is a simple 9-step process for launching a mobile dry cleaning business. The key to successfully starting this type of business is to keep things simple and costs low:

Create a one-page business plan

Write a one-page document that provides a high-level overview of your new business. Define your vision, mission, objectives, and basic strategies plan. Also, create a simple action plan. Make the written plan short and sweet.

Define a budget

Create a budget to launch your business. Determine how much you can spend initially and stick to it. If you’re using your own money be realistic about how much you can spend. Then tack on another 20%. Determine how much you can spend monthly as well.

Determine your type of business

Do an online search to find out what paperwork you’ll need to fill out, what fees you’ll have to pay, and what licenses you need to get for each legal entity. These needs vary from state to state. Starting as a sole proprietor saves time and costs but puts you at risk personally. Talk with an attorney before doing anything.

Create a Website

You’ll need a website no matter what type of legal entity you decide on or how you’re going to operate—online only or storefront. You can use popular platforms, like Weebly, to a site quickly. If you’re starting an online service, tie your domain to a shopping cart and storefront like Shopify for a low monthly fee.

Develop a marketing plan

Marketing your business is critical to your survival, so you’ll need to create a marketing plan. Include things like joining your local chamber of commerce or small-business chapter. Also, include Facebook Ads with capped budgets and an AdWords account with funding limits in your marketing efforts.

Choose a locale

If you’re opening a storefront, choose an area that’s easy to get to, has parking, and features a lot of traffic, such as a shopping mall, apartment building, or business park. You’ll need about 1200 square feet of space. You also have to buy the right equipment, including a POS software system with a mobile app and routing and delivery feature.

Set your hours

Keep in mind the most convenient hours for your customers. That may include staying open late at night. It also may include how you long you want your van or vans to be on the road during the day and at night. Also, determine how quickly you want to return items. Put your customers’ convenience first.

Set your prices

You’ll want to have a variety of prices tailored to your customers’ needs and budgets. Offer discounts to employees and groups interested in weekly services. That’s where you pick up everyone’s dry cleaning at one location. Ask for a set amount for the service, like $12, or charge a set fee, like $7, if customers fail to meet a minimum.

Purchase a vehicle

While it’s the last item on our list, this step is critical. Buy an eight-passenger utility van or shuttle. That should be big enough to start. You can always add more vehicles. Have your business name, telephone number, and Website URL printed on the van. Also, purchase auto insurance. That protects both your business and your drivers.

Mobile Dry Cleaning Makes Sense

Starting a mobile dry-cleaning business makes sense for enterprising entrepreneurs.  Mobile dry cleaning simplifies people’s lives and makes things easier. It also helps them get more things done, which many consumers appreciate. So there’s a market for these services.

Plus, you must determine if you’ll offer additional or specialized services like alterations, repairs, and cleaning wedding gowns. These things can make a difference. If you’re subcontracting out the actual cleaning of the clothes, make sure you choose the right partner.

Dry cleaning is a competitive industry. How well your business does depends on finding ways to make your customer’s lives easier, conducting on-target marketing campaigns, and providing customer service at the right prices. Do these things well and your business will thrive.


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9 Unexpected Habits of Successful Dry Cleaners

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Are you a creature of habit? Many highly successful people are. Being a creature of habit embodies a proven axiom: Success rewards repetition and consistency. Many highly successful people use repetition and consistency to achieve success. So do many highly successful dry cleaners.

That’s good news. It means you can adopt this approach e so you can achieve more success yourself. Savvy dry cleaners also share many other common habits with highly successful people—some of which aren’t what you think. Many habits are mundane habits and not at all what people expect.

9 unexpected habits that have helped dry cleaners boost business at their storefronts and achieve personal success.

Do you have any of them?

Revisit the basics

Every industry is unique. But one thing they all have are the “basics,” like providing good customer service. Successful people focus on the basics of their business—the things that made them successful in the first place. Simplify and refine these things at your dry cleaners. In other words, don’t lose sight of the core of what you do.

Trim business expenses

Working on cutting expenses at your dry cleaners. Successful rein in their expenses all the time. Review your daily expenditures. How can you cut expenses at your dry cleaners? By cutting expenses, you’ll have funds to invest in things that can dramatically help your business, like technology.

Make use of technology

The right technology can help boost business. It can increase productivity, efficiency, and profitability. It can also help you provide an epic customer experience. A good POS software system, for example with the right features, like routing and delivery or mobile apps, can dramatically impact your business.

Invite feedback

Many business owners and managers ignore customer feedback, especially if it’s critical. Instead, ask for feedback. Listen to what customers say and make a note of it. Then weigh their statements carefully. It might be merited. Now decide if it’s something will propel you to make changes. Make them, if necessary.

Take a balanced approach

Like many successful managers or owners, you work hard at running your dry cleaners. That’s to your credit. But you also need to take time away from your business. Make time for doing things you like to do, like playing golf or going to the beach. Above all, make time for your family. Taking a balanced approach recharges your batteries.

Unplug from your devices

If you’re like most dry cleaners, you probably have a smartphone and/or a tablet. You may even have a laptop. Having these devices means you’re always plugged into the digital world. Take some time off from these devices. Take walks on the beach or some other place that’s calm and peaceful and away from your devices.

Exercise as often as you can

Successful business people are more than just mentally fit, many are often physically fit as well. Exercising is critical to your well-being. Try to do something physical every day, like taking a walk or a spin class. Tai Chi and Yoga also make for good workouts. Exercise helps clear your mind so that you’re ready to take on the next big challenge. It’s all part of taking a balanced approach to life.

Read about your industry

Take some time after dinner or later in the evening to read about your industry—especially bloggers that cover your industry and discuss how to succeed in it. Reading is a good investment of your time. Knowing the latest trends in the industry can help you run your business better. Also, read about what’s happening in the world as well. You may find some trends that can help your business grow.

Pick three things to do every day

Running a dry-cleaning business or a chain of them is a challenge. At times, it can be overwhelming, with the work seeming never-ending. To regain control of your business, pick three things to do every day and get them done. Do them in the morning. That way whatever happens the rest of the day, you know you got those things done. Focus on things that make an impact on your business.

Incorporate one, two, or all of these habits in your daily life. They can help you boost business at your dry cleaner and achieve personal success. Start small to achieve meaningful wins, then move on.

Small wins can create the momentum for more bigger wins. This effort can drive significant change in your business and your personal life.

What To Look for in a POS Reseller Program

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Owning a dry-cleaning business is a challenge. No doubt about it. If you own (or manage) one, you know what we mean. It takes dedication, discipline, and hard work to squeeze out a profit from a retail business these days—even in a booming economy.

So if you’re like most managers and owners of dry cleaners, you’re always looking for new revenue streams to boost profitability at your storefront. Becoming a POS software system reseller can generate the additional revenues you need to boost profitability.

POS reseller programs have additional benefits as well. They expand your brand, create customer stickiness, and help attract new customers. In addition, they save the time, money, and headache of developing your own POS software solution.

With the right reseller program, you could even evolve into a business advisor. That would put you in the ideal position to coach others on how to get the most from their POS software system. It would also boost revenues.

Not All Reseller Programs are Equal

Not all POS reseller programs are equal. So you need to do your homework to pick one that’s right for you. Below are seven critical components you should be looking for in a good POS reseller program:

Robust POS software system

This component is a no-brainer. Look for a POS system that’s easy to use, provides exceptional customer value, and has advanced features, like routing and delivery or mobility that can help you grow. You also want a Cloud-based POS system. Cloud-based systems are more cost-effective than non-cloud-based systems and are in keeping with the latest software trends in the industry.

Partner that supports your growth

Growth is a critical goal for every business. So look for a partner that supports that goal, generates new opportunities for you, and is committed to its resellers’ welfare. You also want a partner that works closely with its resellers when problems arise and differentiates its brand from competitors’.

Lead generation and distribution

Leads are the lifeblood of a good sales program. Look for a company that provides qualified leads directly to you and helps you generate a healthy margin on every sale. Also look for a vendor that offers geographic exclusivity. That way, you’re not competing with other resellers for business in your area.

Sales and marketing support

Partnering with a company that provides a great product or service is only half the battle. The other half is promoting that product or service to potential customers. In other words, look for a partner that provides full sales and marketing support using both outbound and inbound marketing strategies. Also look for a vendor that features not-for-sale licenses for demonstrations.

Ongoing support and training

Even the best POS systems require technical training and support at some point. So make sure the vendor you partner with provides the kind of technical assistance that helps overcome technical challenges. You also want a partner that helps with the onboarding process. That saves time and money for everyone.

Competitive pricing

Competitive pricing is critical in today’s business environments. You want price point that customers see as providing a good value when compared to competitors’ pricing yet still produces a healthy profit for you. On the downside, competitive pricing means you’ll have to attract customers in other ways, which compels vendors to have good sales and marketing support.

Equitable program for the channel

As a reseller, you’ll have specific needs. So look for a well-thought-out channel program that shows an understanding of resellers’ needs. Review how the vendor organizes itself and operates to motivate and reward resellers. Also look at its corporate policies, the vendor’s stated channel goals and policies, and the reseller compensation plans. In short, look for a vendor that has an equitable channel program.

The components mentioned above are critical to an effective reseller program—one that drives profits for you and your company. Put another way, you want a partner that’s a market leader and offers comprehensive reseller program—one that will work closely with you to resolve issues and support you throughout your relationship.

More importantly, you want a partner that will not only boost profits at your dry-cleaners but will evolve with you as you grow and change.

Damaged Clothing? Know Your Rights and Obligations as a Dry Cleaner

Mistakes happen. But when you ruin a customer’s suit or dress, you need to take action. If you don’t, customers will be upset, and they’ll probably take their business elsewhere. Plus, they’ll tell others, either in person or via social media, which can hurt your reputation for customer service.

Responsibility for safeguarding customer’s clothes isn’t something you can avoid as a dry cleaner. You’re responsible for anything customers leave with you—anything. Even if you post a sign disclaiming responsibility for items left with you, you can still be held responsible if you damage the clothes. The disclaimer can be considered an unfair business practice.

Making Amends: Harder Than It Sounds

But making amends is often harder than it sounds. It’s not always easy satisfying customers whose clothes you’ve damaged. Retaining customers is the secret to long-term survival. So before taking action, you should review rights and obligations as a Dry Cleaner under the law. That way you can find a fair solution that satisfies the customer and you.

Below we describe some steps you can take to resolve a dispute with a customer:

Step 1: Determine who’s at fault

First, you need to determine who’s at fault.  It’s may not be you. Sometimes, manufacturers put the wrong care instruction labels on clothing or don’t account for any aftermarket decorations in their recommendations.

If that happens, the courts can hold manufacturers liable for damaged clothing. They did in a case several years ago, fining Pelle Pelle $40,000 in a civil penalty.

Customers can be at fault as well—especially if they give the wrong cleaning instructions.

If that’s the case, you wouldn’t be responsible for the clothing’s condition.

But you might want to compensate the customer at a fair market value for the item anyway as a gesture of goodwill. That makes more business sense than losing the customer.

Step 2:  Determine compensation

If you decide it’s your fault, make sure you get as much information about the clothing as possible before deciding on a resolution. You’ll want to know things like when the item was purchased, how old it is, and what it cost.

Having gotten this information, you can determine the clothing’s remaining serviceability. A dress that’s more than 15 years old, for example, would be valued differently than if it was only two years old and hardly worn.

Step 3: Decide on resolution to dispute

Next, you may want to determine compensation for the clothing based on its fair market value. You have a choice to offer the customer either the “replacement cost” or the “actual cost” of the item.

Dry cleaners often use “The Fair Claims Adjustment Guide” to decide on a garment’s value and how much to compensate the customer might get for a mistake. The document’s guidelines serve as a reference for claims involving textile products.

Option 1: Submit to your insurance company

You also have the option of submitting the claim to your insurance company. To make a claim, you need to provide evidence of what the item would cost and its serviceability to your insurance company, which then determines a replacement value for the clothing.

Many insurers pay claims based on the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Fair Claims Guide, which is a depreciated schedule based on the life expectancy of a given piece of clothing. This solution often works.

If the customer isn’t happy with this solution, you may want to remind him that he got some use out of the clothing before the disaster. Then ask him what he thinks would be a fair settlement to the dispute. Most people are honest, so this approach often works.

Option 2: Submit the dispute to a third-party

In addition, you have the option of seeking help from an independent third party, like the Drycleaning and Laundry Institute International (DLI), which provides services that can help you find a resolution to the dispute.

For a small fee ($36), DLI’s International Textile Garment Analysis Laboratory analyzes the clothing you send them and issues a report on what happened—a report you can use in court, if necessary.

The lab’s free app lets you skip the time and expense of sending clothing for analysis. For a fee of $24, the lab’s experts examine the images you provide and issues you an official Garment Analysis report right on your mobile device. No boxes, waiting, postage, or package insurance needed.

Absent an agreed upon resolutions, you always can go to small claims court. But that’s an option you want to use only as a last resort.

Resolving a dispute on damaged clothing is tricky. But you want to get it right. You need to satisfy your customer and create a resolution everybody sees as a win.  So take some time to review the situation closely before deciding what to do.

 

 

5 Tips for Marketing Dry Cleaning Business with Facebook Ads

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Looking for a quick and easy way to marketing dry cleaning business or laundry service?

Try Facebook ads.

They’re not only a surefire way to reach local customers, but also a cost-effective business tool that helps you zero in on your target audience.

Plus, they provide a substantial return on investment.

FB ads are ideal for local businesses. Facebook Ads done right, will drive customers to your storefront and increase profitability.

In other words, they deliver.

FB Ads Make Every Penny Count

Facebook advertising is re-shaping local advertising. That’s because FB has had made significant changes to its platform since 2004.

Those changes include a host of targeting options that help you pinpoint—and reach—your target audience—options like Lookalike Audiences, Dark Posts, and retargeting ads.

These tools not only help you target people physically near your business but also reach people that live near you—all thanks to the personal information of users in FB’s database.

The tools also help you make every penny of your marketing budget count. You’d be surprised how far $5 can go with Facebook advertising.

In fact, FB ads helped one company grow their local business by 40% in 3 months, while another generated $45,000 in revenue with only $250 spent.

While every business is unique, these numbers give you a good idea of just how much of an impact Facebook advertising can make.

Steps to Creating Facebook Ads

FB run on the same pay-per-click/pay-per-impressions approach as most online ads. So there’s no reason for you to be intimidated by them.

You just need a systematized way of implementing this promotional strategy. Below are five critical steps you can use as a guide to the advantage of this powerful yet proven social media marketing platform:

  • Target the right audience
  • Give people a reason to click on ads
  • Optimize Facebook ads with testing
  • Track Facebook advertising results
  • Follow-up on respondents to ads

A simple coupon ad combined with an email drip campaign, for example, can help keep you stay top-of-mind with local customers and drive more business to your storefront without costing an arm and a leg.

You could also use a FB ad to promote a new service, such as home pickup and delivery, and provide a coupon for first-time users.

Facebook Advertising Not A Silver Bullet

Facebook advertising isn’t a silver bullet. It won’t solve all your organization’s problems. Plus, Facebook ads aren’t all black and white.

But if you have a solid strategy in place and you approach FB ads with the right intention, your advertising should produce results.

Also, Facebook ads are passive. In other words, buyers get them when they’re not in a buying mood. So trying to sell a product directly using a FB ad is challenging.

However, if you’re trying to increase brand awareness and social exposure or capture and nurture leads, FB marketing could be just what the doctor ordered.

Simple Tips on Facebook Advertising

If you’re like the other 27 million small business owners out there, you need to spend your marketing budget wisely. FB ads let you do that.

Below are some simple FB advertising tips to help you do that

  • Set clear objectives for your campaign.
  • Make a clear offer to your audience
  • Know who your ideal customer is
  • Provide an incentive like a giveaway
  • Create a sense of urgency with your advertising
  • Use limited time offers when you can
  • Appeal to local customers with education marketing

Executing the last tips might not always be possible. But when you can do it, it’s a powerful way to generate new customers and get formers customers to return.

Measuring the ROI of FB advertising

The success of an FB advertising campaign is better measured by something called Social ROI than traditional ROI. With FB ads, you measure ROI by how well your target audience engaged with your ads.

Metrics that will be key in this process include:

Impressions

How many times your add was looked at

Reach

Number of people ad was shown to

Likes

Number of people that like your ad

Shares

Number of people that saw your ad and shared it

Comments

Amount of comments on your ad

Frequency

Number of times your ad was shown, on average, to a user

Click Through Rate

Percentage at which a consumer saw the ad and click through to the landing page

Pages Likes

Number of likes generated for your FB page because of the ad

Using real-time analytics like these tells you exactly how your ads are performing. If it’s not performing the way you want, you can make adjustments on the fly.

Setting up a Facebook advertising account is straightforward. Plus, there are plenty of material out there that will tell you how to get started.

If you’re a dry-cleaner with a tight marketing budget, Facebook advertising is the ideal tool to generate growth and increase profitability at your dry-cleaners.

Dry Cleaner’s Ultimate Guide To Local SEO

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Are you ignoring local SEO? If you are, maybe you should revisit your decision. Using local SEO can boost revenues and profitability cost-effectively.

Ignoring Local SEO is like throwing a party but not sending out invitations. You wouldn’t do that, would you? Of course not.

Local SEO is a robust, proven strategy for promoting your dry-cleaning business and driving local customers to it.

It puts your business front and center when local customers search Google or other search engines for dry-cleaning services.

Plus, there are numerous local SEO tools that you can help you promote your dry-cleaners for free. These tools help when quantifying, tracking, and evaluating your local SEO efforts.

Benefits of Using Local SEO

Local SEO offers numerous benefits. It increases website traffic, helps convert searches to conversions, and is easy to execute.

More importantly, it reaches every customer—even those on the go, people using mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

People being reached thanks to Local SEO

With so many people using these devices these days, it’s imperative you use local SEO to promote your dry-cleaners.

Below is the Ultimate Guide to local SEO:

Setup Google My Business Page

An excellent place to start your local SEO efforts is at Google My Business, previously known as Google Places. You can use this tool to help you appear in local map listings in Google’s search engine results pages (SERP).

 

Local SEO with Google My Business

Google displays these maps for the vast majority of local queries. Setting up your Google My Business page is simple and easy. You’ll also want to use the Google Posts feature on your business page. It updates viewers on what’s happening at your business.

Optimize you’re my Google My Business listing

Optimizing your Google My Business page listing is the next step. It’s critical to succeeding with local SEO. The most crucial search engine you want to optimize your site for is Google.

About 50% of all searches are done using this search engine tool. But don’t forget other search engines, like Bing.

You want to optimize for these engines as well. After all, you want to maximize all online traffic sources.

Do keyword planning for your website

In addition to optimizing for local SEO, you’ll want to do some keyword research. Head keywords—single words or short phrases—are the terms consumers use most often to conduct searches. Using keywords in your content is critical for driving consumers to your website.

A good place to start with keywords is to use Google’s Keyword Planner, the best and most effective keyword planning tool out there. Checking the keywords your competitors are using is an excellent way to kick off your search. It’s done all the time and is ethical.

Make sure when you optimize your site you increase the number of local keywords you’re targeting. This simple technique adds the name of your local area to searches with the most critical keywords that describe your business.

You’ll also want to optimize “long-tail keywords”— longer strings of words searchers might use to find information. These beat out head keywords because they often reveal a searchers real intent.

Conduct a Local SEO Audit

Optimization is critical to succeeding with local SEO. Doing a local SEO audit is the key to optimizing your website and boosting visitors to it. Doing an audit tells you how your site is doing with the keywords selected.

If you want it to make a real impact, you need to conduct audits regularly. Doing one might seem challenging, but it’s not. Tools like Ahrefs and SEMRush can help you with this critical phase of your local SEO audit. Both of these tools offer a trial period for very little money. If you want a complete an audit in 45-minutes, check out this post by Neil Patel.

Local SEO Audit with ahrefs

In addition to doing keyword analysis, you’ll also want to analyze your organic search results. Plus, you’ll want to identify any loopholes in the meta information of your website and fix them.

You can do this manually or use a tool like Screaming Frog, which simplifies and streamlines the process.

Local SEO Audit with Screaming Frog

Additional Tips on Local SEO

Below are some additional tips on using local SEO support your marketing efforts to generate new clients for your dry-cleaning business:

• Make sure you update information across all channels
• Optimize your tags, URL, and content
• Engage in local link building
• Get on relevant review sites
• Track rankings for local search
• Use a review management system
• Use Google calendar events
• Provide directions; create a trackable custom link

The tips discussed above will boost your local SEO marketing efforts. Local SEO pays off but only if you do it right. Plenty of articles and tools exist that can help you with this effort.

If you have a local dry-cleaning business (or you are thinking about starting one) and you’re ignoring local SEO efforts, you’re missing an opportunity to drive customers to your website and your business.

That, in turn, can boost revenues and profitability. What’s better than that?

Make Them Stick With You: How to Boost Customer Retention

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Learn the Best Practices to Boost Customer Retention

Acquiring new customers costs more than keeping old ones—a lot more. In fact, it costs five times as much to acquire new customers as it does to keep old ones.

It’s also more profitable to retain customers than find new customers—much more profitable. A 5% increase in customer retention can increase company profitability by 75%.

But retaining existing today’s customers isn’t easy for dry-cleaners. Today’s customers are demanding—thanks in large part to the Internet. Today’s customers want what they want when they want it and won’t settle for anything less.

Fail to meet these demands and customers won’t hesitate to bolt. Below are seven proven best practices that can help you retain more of today’s customers at your dry-cleaners:

Personalize your service

Delivering value is a great way to keep existing customers. One component of value for today’s customers is personal service. Today’s customers expect you to personalize your services to meet their needs. So, look for opportunities where you can do that, like adding home pickup and delivery. That saves customers a trip to your store.

Stay in touch with customers

Staying in touch with today’s customers is imperative. It makes them feel valued and special. Sending them special promotions, for example, or discount coupons for all the business they’ve given you is one way.

Be consistent with these touches but don’t overdo it. Two or three times a month is reasonable. It keeps customers involved and makes them feel appreciated. And touch them in different ways—email, newsletter, Facebook, and so on.

Reward, recognize, and thank

Thanking your customers for their business makes them feel appreciated. They’re not just a dollar sign to you. There are two proven ways to thank customers. You can thank them by sending them a note or recognizing them in a newsletter or other communication piece.

Or, you can send them a gift card, say to Starbucks or a local restaurant, along with a thank you note. It’s a nice touch—one your customers will remember.  You should look for other ways to thank customers.

Provide proactive service

It’s not enough to provide good services these days. Many dry-cleaners can do that. You need to deliver epic customer service to differentiate yourself. One way to do that is by getting employees to be lavish with customer support.

Thoughtful gestures, warm and welcoming greetings, watching someone’s bike while they shop—little things like that can drive loyalty and repeat business. Add additional services, like rug cleaning, to save customers time is also good proactive customer service.

Offer a customer loyalty or VIP program

More and more retailers are offering customer loyalty programs. It’s a strategy that’s helping them survive. You should do the same if you want to retain existing customers. It’s also a great way to personalize your services and make repeat customers feel special.  Plus, it can provide you with deep insights into customers while also staying top of mind.

Get creative with technology

Beacons, m-commerce, mobility apps—more and more retailers are getting creative with today’s technology as a way of retaining existing customers. A mobility app, for example, enables you to stay in touch with your customers wherever they are.

You can send them push notifications regarding order status, let them view open and past orders, and pay for orders directly on the app. These types of tools boost personalization of your services and lets you share promotions and discounts with customers

Create a community around your brand

Apple Computers is a prime example of this. They’ve created a community around their brand, and it’s paid off over the years. This strategy works because it connects customers with other people that use your services.

And give them a voice on your website, so you can remind them they’re not just a number. You can also use that voice to solicit feedback on your services. Take that feedback seriously. Use it to improve things. That shows customers you heard them and that you value their feedback.

 

Additional ways to boost customer retention are:

  • Be passionate and engaging
  • Offer time-limited promotions
  • Be transparent and honest with customers
  • Under promise and over deliver
  • Create a community around your brand
  • Incentive social media shares.

These best practices are all proven ways to keep existing customers. Of course, you’ll have to tailor them to your dry-cleaner or dry-cleaners and to your budget.

But they’ll help you beat the challenge of retaining existing customers. It’s more cost-effective—and more profitable—to do that than beating the bush to acquire new customers.

Is Investing in a Franchise a Good Move?

Let’s face it. Operating a retail franchise these days is no cake walk. Just ask anyone that owns a McDonald’s, a Burger King, or a Hilton Hotel. These franchises don’t run themselves. Owners must put in long hours and a lot of hard work to keep them going.

But retail franchises are profitable under the right circumstances. Many have built-in opportunities for growth if you invest in multiple storefronts. So, if you’re an entrepreneur looking for the right opportunity, you could do worse than investing in a dry-cleaning franchise—much worse.

Investing in Franchise Makes Sense

Investing in dry-cleaning franchises makes sense. They offer you a combination of advantages that starting from scratch doesn’t provide in this $11+ million industry:

Here are some reasons why investing in a dry-cleaning franchise makes sense:

Market will always be there

While clothing has become easier to care for, many clothes still need to be dry-cleaned. U.S. News & World Report lists dry-cleaned clothes as a $6 billion to $7 billion industry.

Reasonable franchise fees

Franchise fees for dry-cleaners are much less than those for other franchises, like McDonald’s, Burger King, or Hilton Hotel. Dry-cleaning fees range from $15,000 to $25,000, with total investment about $70,000 to $80,000.

No experience needed

Good franchises provided extensive support to new owners from day one. If you have the right attitude and are dedicated, you can become profitable relatively quickly.

Benefits of a large company

Franchises get the benefits of a large company and cleaning laundry at a centralized facility at their disposal. Small dry-cleaning business, on the other hand, can run into snags when buying equipment, dealing with government regulations, and so on.

Proven franchise system

Franchise owners can follow the franchisor’s guidelines and be successful quickly by taking advantage of its accounting, training, and marketing support. When it comes to marketing, for example, the Tide Dry-cleaning franchises can leverage the company’s brand name recognition.

Additional advantages of investing in a dry-cleaning franchise are built-in repeat business, less employee turnover, does well in down markets, and limited inventory. Also, there are no perishable items as in other industries, like food and beverage.

Need to Overcome Three Barriers

Despite the advantages that investing in a dry-cleaning franchise brings, you still must overcome three barriers to create a profitable dry-cleaning business—reaching a younger audience, increasing your service’s convenience, and creating a rich customer service experience.

Appealing to a younger audience

Appealing to today’s young people is a challenge. No doubt about it. Previously, you could use print media to reach potential customers. That won’t work any longer. Today, you need to use the latest online strategies and tools.

Effective ways you can appeal to the young include employing social media, optimizing for mobility, utilizing app-based marketing, targeting different demographics, executing an influencer strategy, and using outbound marketing. You also have to make it easy for today’s customers to connect with you online.

Increasing convenience of services

Increasing the convenience of your services is a must. Today’s young generation have less time than generations in the past as well as less disposable income. Many have taken second jobs to make ends meet. Anything that you can do to make things easier for them is a positive.

For example, adding a POS computer system to your dry-cleaners allows you to add pickup and delivery service. Customers no longer need to stop by your storefront. Other ways to boost convenience includes adding a drive-through or car hop service, 24-hour drop boxes, same day service, and adding ancillary services like rug cleaning and cleaning of shoes and boots.

Enhancing customer service experience

Today’s customers are more demanding than ever. If you don’t provide them with exceptional customer service, they’ll bolt. Some ways to do that include utilizing technologies for customer service, connecting with your customers across multiple channels, aligning your services with your marketing programs, creating staff roles and responsibilities for customer service, and boosting customer experience with garment management.

Overcoming these three barriers can increase profitability whether you buy a franchise or start from scratch. Investing in a franchise, however, provides a combination of advantages that going it alone can’t match.

Plus, it gives you a chance to work with a proven system and provides built-in opportunities for growth by investing in multiple franchises. For the right entrepreneur, investing in a franchise is just what the doctor ordered.