Like any other business, auto detailing promotion is an absolute must. There is no difference between the need to promote your auto detailing business and the need for large corporations like General Motors, Chrysler or Ford to promote their business. The business promotion budgets will vary drastically but the need to promote remains the same.
Month after month a percentage of your operating budget must be set aside for advertising and promotion. Remember that repetition is the key to a successful promotional plan that will help to retain your current customer base and will encourage others to give you a try.
Lets start by talking about a business website.
This is one of the most effective low cost means of auto detailing promotion I
have ever experienced. You can build a website yourself or have one built for
you. Either way, you will have a cutting edge 21st century business promotion
tool. Best of all, you will probably be one of the few auto detailing businesses
in your region with a website and you may be the only one in your local area
with a website. Most small businesses in any category still don't have a
Just imagine auto detailing promotion opportunities available if you were to hook up your website to social media like Facebook or Twitter. Promote weekly specials or offer printable coupons.
Building a website will provide your current and future customers with a modern convenient way to learn more about what it is your business offers at any time, day or night.
OK, now lets talk about traditional media, the Big 3. Television, radio and newspapers. If you have enough money in your budget to use one, two or all three of the traditional medias, then go ahead. Keep in mind that steady ongoing repetitive ads are the key to success. You must keep your business name up in front of the public on a steady ongoing basis. Placing an ad once or twice this month none next month, a special promotion with one ad per day for one week, then nothing for three weeks, just doesn't work and is most likely a waste of money. Successful auto detailing promotion means hearing or seeing your ad consistently on an ongoing basis in sync with your advertising budget, so that the public begins to subconsiously expect your business name in a predictable manner. When this happens your business promotions will begin to feel like a pair of comfortable old shoes. Familiar, safe and trustworthy.
Another familiar method of auto detailing promotion is the Yellow Pages. The size of your ad and whether colors are used will determine the price you pay for the ad. If your competitors have larger ads, then your ad will be placed farther away from the beginning of the business category. A potential customer looking for the business category automotive detailing, will see the larger ads first. One way to offset the larger ad problem is to list your smaller ad under an additional category such as carpet cleaning. One of our competitors did this and was surprised at how many new clients he gained that were looking for auto carpet and floor mat cleaning only.
We did use a Yellow Pages ad for our auto detailing business for one year. However, we did not feel that the number of responses to the ad and the number of new customers gained, justified the cost of the Yellow Pages ad. After the one year trial, the Yellow Pages was deleted from our advertising budget.
Now lets talk about the less glamorous types of auto detailing promotion. It doesn't matter if your business is a mobile detailing business or a brick and mortar building, choose a business name that tells the public what it is you do. Bob's Auto Detailing not Bob's Enterprises.
For your business sign choose one large enough for easy reading. Choose high contrasting colors such as white background with black or red letters and numbers. Keep it simple. Name, address if applicable, telephone number and if you followed our suggestions earlier, email and website addresses.
Consider one or two Sandwich Board signs. These are two boards joined together with a hinge for easy folding. These signs look like an A or a triangle and should have the same coloring as your main sign. This sign could be placed on a boulevard in front of your detail shop or on the boulevard in front of a customers premises if you are mobile detailing. Make sure your local rules and laws will allow a sandwich board sign to be placed on a boulevard. If your local laws allow sandwich board signs use them. They are so effective that they are sometimes referred to as the Silent Salesman.
Please remember that whether it is a portable or a permanent sign, No Hand Drawn Signs. Have your signs made by a professional.
Don't forget about business cards. Make the colors and the text the same as your
signs. Consider putting your email and website address on the back of your
business card. Once again, professionally made looks best.
Professionally made inkless rubber stamps are inexpensive long lasting colorful ways to promote your business on envelopes, letterhead, invoices, checks, etc. when you are looking for a quick and easy method for getting the business name out there in a pinch.
Your car can also be a great promoter with a magnetic sign attached to each
front door. The sign is the same coloring same text and in our detailing
business it made everyone realize that this car was also our customer shuttle
for anyone who wanted to go home or to work. If you provide this service, you
will probably be the only one doing so in your area. At the end of the day take
the magnetic signs off and the car is your private vehicle again. Just make sure
that local rules and laws in your area allow the use of magnetic signs on
vehicles. Make sure that if you are considering using your vehicle for a shuttle
that you contact your insurance agent for proper coverage and your motor vehicle
department for any special licensing.
Another means of auto detailing promotion while mobile detailing, or at a Show and Shine or if you have a booth at a trade show is a 10 foot by 10 foot pop-up canopy. We chose a Caravan pop-up canopy that we purchased at a local big box store. These canopies are well made, strong, easy to set up and come with a travel bag.
To go along with the canopy we used a local graphics shop to design and make a 2
foot by 10 foot vinyl banner that we attached to the canopy. This canopy and
banner helped our auto detailing promotion efforts whenever we were away from
our base of operations.