Get the latest dry cleaning business tips each week on our blog. Each week we cover topics from technology to customer experience.

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.

Challenges of Marketing to Millennials and How to Overcome Them

There’s no denying it: Millennials are taking over. By 2025, they’ll represent 75% of the workforce, says one research report. It also says that about 66% of millennials expect to work beyond 65, with 12% saying they’ll never retire.

Also, millennials work harder than other generations, putting in more than 45 hours a week, with 21% taking second jobs to make ends meet.

If you’re a dry cleaner (or any other retailer) looking to survive and thrive in the future, you need to learn to market to millennials. That’s a challenge. Millennials are a different breed than Baby Boomers.

They’re less concerned with owning houses and cars, for example, and they’re careful spenders, many of whom joined the job market during the Great Depression. They also have less money to spend, especially those paying off college loans.

Marketing Dry Cleaning to Millennials

So how do you market to Millennials? Well, you’ll still have to use the same timeless strategies, like delivering authentic, real value, positioning yourself correctly in their minds, and removing barriers that prevent them from using you, to get them to come into your store. And you still have the ultimate goal of building long-lasting relationships with them.

But you’ll have to “speak their language” to do it. That means using online media over print outlets. Millennials, for example, are more likely than previous generations to check out brands on social networks (57% versus 37%), and more likely to use technology to read reviews, research products, and compare prices while shopping (50% versus 21%), according to one report.

Below are some additional tips on marketing to this younger generation that can help you reach them:

Develop a social media strategy

Millennials love this way of communicating, so you’ll have to use it to do business with them. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter are especially popular with this generation. Identify which your target audience uses most and use it.

Optimize for mobile

Young people today love their smartphones. Walk past a table full of them and you’ll see most of them glued to one. That makes it critical to use mobile promotional efforts—including social—to reach this generation. Ensure that your content looks great on a smartphone or tablet, and it’s easy to share—something millennials also love to do.

Utilize app-based marketing

About 80% of this generation’s device time focuses on apps. So use this trend to your advantage. You can learn to build your own app using the tools available online. Or, you can use services like Google AdMob to create ads that appear on third-party apps. You can also use services like Kiip to create ads that engage with your target audience.

Zero in on non-traditional demographics

Traditional lifecycle marketing, like school graduations, house buying, and getting married, fails with millennials. That’s no surprise. They love breaking with tradition. Instead, use other demographics, like social causes, small business owners and entrepreneurs, and creative, freelance lifestyles. Also, check out the gig lifestyle.

Favor outbound marketing

Millennials hate advertising. Pure and simple. So, stay away from it if you want to reach this generation. In fact, stay away from outbound marketing, like commercials, direct mail, and magazine ads. Instead, use more inbound strategies, like podcasts with actionable dry-cleaning tips, blog posts, or even colorful infographics with helpful educational tidbits.

Make it easy to connect with you online

No other age group spends more money online than millennials. Or, spends more time researching services and executing online transactions. So, if you’re going to attract Millennials as customers, you need to make it easy for them to do things online. Enlite’s dry-cleaning mobile app, for example, helps customers stay connected where ever they go. It gives them unprecedented access to your services.

Execute an influencer strategy

Millennials are enamored with social causes. So, a good way to reach them is to implement an influencer strategy. Few things have more social clout with this generation. For example, partner with other business already on brand with millennials, developing shareable content and innovative initiatives, and use the influencer’s vast audience to create awareness and visibility for yourself.

Here’s a bonus tip for you:

Stay on top of digital trends that are emerging in the marketplace as much as you can so you can stay relevant. Update yourself on the latest cultural items and influencers your target audience is interested in.

Marketing to millennials is a challenge. No doubt about that. They’re a diverse group that loves breaking with tradition and loathes outbound marketing.

So, use the tips above to help you reach them and stay abreast of what’s happening with this generation. And don’t be afraid to try some non-traditional marketing tactics. They just might resonate with this highly diverse generation.

 

5 Facebook Marketing Ideas for Dry Cleaners

Despite some well-publicized changes to its algorithm, Facebook (FB) remains one of the most powerful marketing tool in business—one that can help you expand business significantly.

In fact, if you’re looking to drum up more customers for your dry-cleaning business, Facebook is just what the doctor ordered.

Your dry cleaning business relies on the right tools—like a solid POS computer system—to reach customers and keep them happy.

FB is a great tool to have in your arsenal to connect with existing customers but also lets you reach customers you never knew existed.

Facebook Marketing Meme

Facebook: A Marketing Powerhouse

One reason FB is such a marketing powerhouse is its extensive reach. With over 2 billion active users ( 1+ billion daily), Facebook is the Internet’s biggest social media platform.

In fact, it’s bigger than YouTube, bigger than Instagram, and bigger than Snapchat. It’s also bigger than Twitter and WeChat.

Another reason FB is such a marketing powerhouse is engagement. It’s among the top social media platform for driving engagement.

Over 90 percent of today’s marketers admit using Facebook advertising regularly. More importantly, 53% of FB’s users claim they’re “always on the site.”

These numbers make FB the most avid user-base of any social media platform—bar none. That’s a testament to just how good FB is at driving engagement.

If you’re a marketer, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Concern About Recent Algorithm Changes

Despite Facebook’s track record, some marketers worry about the impact of the recent changes FB made to its algorithm.

Facebook made these changes to protect its community and reduce the amount of misleading information on the platform.

More specifically, the changes target clickbait and spam, fake accounts, and false news items—targets driven by Russia’s attempt to interfere with the presidential election.

And while some marketers have reported ad impression decreases and cost increases as of January 2018, the changes shouldn’t impact FB’s marketing capabilities.

Necessary Moves You Need to Make

If you’re new to Facebook marketing, you’ll first need to take some baby steps to start you on your FB marketing journey. These include:

  • Creating a business page
  • Getting a vanity URL
  • Adding a great cover photo
  • Adding a good profile picture
  • Optimizing your “About” section
  • Choosing your CTA button
  • Adding milestones
  • Earning a “Very responsive to messages” badge
  • Customizing page tabs

Completing these necessary steps will establish your presence on Facebook. To attract and engage visitors to your page, drive them to your website, then convert them from prospects to customers, you’ll need to optimize your page’s marketing capabilities.

Here are five tips on how to do that:

  1. Follow the 70-20-10 rule for content — Try starting with some link-based or visual content, like business updates. Then go from there. Also, test out different formats to see what resonates with your audience. A good approach is to post original content 70% of the time, content relevant to your visitors’ interests 20% of the time, and self-promotional content 10% of the time.
  2. Make content stand out — The Facebook news feed is crowded with businesses all vying for visitor attention. Among the best way of doing that is to accompany a media post with a striking, high-quality photo. Posts with these kinds of graphics are ten times more likely to get engagement than plain text posts. Also, keep images sharp and easy to read.
  3. Have users share photos — Having users share photos of interactions with your brand or product also drives engagement. It also promotes brand loyalty and helps users feel included in your activities. Also, share posts on your community page whenever a user mentions you or your dry-cleaning business. This tactic also allows users to be part of your page and to bond with your brand.
  4. Post videos (especially live ones) — Video content makes an impact online. That’s as true for FB as it is for any other social media platform or media outlet. In fact, FB users watch over 100 million hours of video content daily. Plus, interest in video content keeps growing. So, take advantage of video’s power to attract and engage consumers.
  5. Promote your page beyond Facebook — One way is to drive traffic to your page with promoted posts and paid ads. They help you promote your page to users browsing the platform. To capture the interest of users that don’t know you have an FB page, add it to the bottom of your emails, include a link on your website, put it on your other market materials, and make blog posts shareable on FB.

These five tips can help you market your dry-cleaning business to today’s consumers and drive engagement with your target audience. That will help grow your business by adding new customers.

Don’t let recent changes to FB’s algorithm scare you. The platform is still the most powerful marketing tool of any of the social media site.

It might even be the most powerful marketing tools anywhere. With the right approach, FB can help you reach customers you didn’t even know existed.