National Clothesline
Focus on your best prospects
Most business owners understand that advertising is getting your “message” out there.
That message is what is unique about your business. Is it your quality? Is it your customer
service? Is it some services that you offer that no one else does? Advertising is what helps you get found by consumers and educates your current customers on services and products that they might not know you offer.
Get “findable”
Being “findable means your cleaners is visible to consumers where and when they are ready to buy. There are five main key components or factors that help identify how findable a business is to consumers. The degree that your cleaners is engaged with each factor will play a role in your overall visibility.
Dollar stretching. In this state of the economy, few business can afford to waste precious resources on advertising that doesn’t get seen or generate any valuable leads. Every dollar needs to count. That is why it is very important to make sure your advertising is seen by the right people in the right place at the right time. The best way to do this is define your target market.
“Everyone” is not your target market. One of the most common mistakes business owners make is to assume that everyone is interested in their service.
You can’t be everything to everybody. If you try to craft your message to speak to the needs of every consumer, you will have a message no one will be interested in listening to.
Also, keep in mind that defining your business too narrowly will eliminate a lot of potential prospects. There are many drycleaners who only want to market to millionaires, because that is “where the money is.” This is a bad mistake. The range is too narrow for your specific service. The “Goldilocks” zone is where your cleaner needs to focus its marketing resources. Not too broad, not too narrow, just right.
Targeting works. You can’t afford to advertise to everyone. Targeting your marketing will allow you to be more precise.
There is the old adage about “advertising with a rifle versus a shotgun” approach. This will allow you to reduce waste while increasing the efficiency of your advertising dollars.
Instead of trying to convert every one under the sun who simply could be your customer, targeting allows you to focus on who are the most likely prospects to become customers. As a result, it’s a lot easier to know where and how to market.
Targeting also allows you to craft more relevant messages. Speak to your prospects offering them a solution for their needs like pick up and delivery, 24-hour lockers or fastturn-around alterations.  This will allow you to stand apart from the cleaner down the street.
Get specific. When it is time to look at a prospect list, you don’t want to get too broad.
An example might be work-at-home moms. The needs of a work-at-home mom with three small children are much different than those with teenage children.
Also, those who need to meet clients are much different than those who sell items on the Internet.
Pick-up and delivery service might be a perfect fit for one but not the other.
Also, keep your sites close to home. Too many times cleaners want to “expand” into the high-priced home neighborhood five miles away. Rarely will you pull far from a one- to two-mile radius of your store.
Sculpting the message. Now that you have a better idea who your target market is, making an offer and writing the copy should be a lot easier. Your marketing objectives might depend on which service you are planning on offering.
Here are a few tips to keep from getting lost in the crowd or thrown in the trash:
Keep your message simple. Don’t try to say too much. Make sure your offer is large and to the point with as few exclusions as possible. The more limitations you put in your offer the less likely a prospect will think it is valid for them.
Be different from your competition. Find out how you are really different. Just saying, “We do a better job,” or “We offer higher quality” won’t cut it these days. Your prospects expect you to do a good job.
Use the correct language and images for your prospects. Make sure you are solving real problems for them. Don’t get too technical into the drycleaning process or negative about solvents.
Be unique. Make sure your message is uniquely yours. This will help your message stand out.
Test and track
Before reaching out to prospects with an offer, try testing an offer with your current customers.
One test might be on Facebook. Another could be email marketing. Still another might have an offer on your website. See what your current customers will respond to. Knowing this information gives you a leg up on increasing your response rate with your prospects (and future customers).
Defining a target market can actually make today’s overwhelming advertising choices a little easier and give you more confidence in your marketing decisions. Placing your message in front of customers who are more likely to buy from you and speaking directly to their needs will increase your visibility as well as your business’ “findability.”

Neil Schroeder has been in the marketing industry for the past 15 years. He is president and creative director of the Golomb Group, developing direct response, social media, in-house promotions and web site campaigns for drycleaners throughout the nation. He can be reached by phone at (800) 833-0560, by email at neils@golombgroup.com or on the web at www.golombgroup.com.