Dry Cleaning: How would you help to market?

22 replies
I've recently been approached by an offline client who has just bought a company of a local dry cleaner.

I was just wondering how you would help to market the business?
It has been around for a couple (4-50 years, may have changed several owners) years already, but I think they have established quite a nice branding.

However, the client would like to have some out of box marketing (either off or online), and hopefully grow even more than the previous owners.

So, any suggestions would be great!

Thanks
#cleaning #dry #market
  • Profile picture of the author dbrown12331
    I have not personally handled Dry Cleaning clients myself, however I have seen a few in my area implement a few strategies that are working very well.

    Getting involved in charity work really boosts brand appreciation and is a great way to increase brand awareness even further. One of the cleaners in my area is involved in a winter charity event known as "Coat a Kid". People drop off old, used coats and the Dry Cleaners clean them for free and send them to the donation site, hassle-free. Perhaps your new client could offer their services to local charities.

    There might already be a service like this in your area though, if not they could have a hand in creating one.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      I have a few dry cleaners as clients. Videos. Create videos to put on Youtube, throw some links at them to get them ranked...and you'll have on happy client.

      People go online looking for the local dry cleaner. Videos are the way.

      And almost no dry cleaner uses videos in marketing, so you'll have little competition.
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  • Determine first where this cleaner is positioned in the market. Are they the low price leader? The longest-running store in town? The upscale cleaner in the upper income zip codes? The "green" cleaner?

    Once you've sorted their position, it is much easier to determine which marketing works for the client. For example:

    --An upcoming fun run to raise awareness about the ecology is a natural fit for a "green" cleaner.

    --An upscale cleaner could publish a consumer guide on how to best care for horse-riding clothes, boots and accessories.

    --The longest-established store could run a "price rollback" special day where they lower prices to what they had in the 70s.

    -- The "green" cleaner could produce videos that show the behind-the-scenes operation and how their process is different from the harsh chemicals used in the traditional stores.

    Etc.
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    • Profile picture of the author TimD
      Dan Kennedy did an interesting case study on dry cleaners.

      It turns out, if someone goes to a dry cleaners three times, they are hooked. Dry cleaning is like chiropractic, very dependent on drive time. They pull their business predominantly from people who are close by.

      So Kennedy recommends you do a three step direct mail or flyer promotion. Offer a great deal, get people to come back and pick up their clothes. Offer them another great deal. Then, they're hooked.

      He says this has worked great for dry cleaners he's worked with.
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  • Profile picture of the author Matt Lee
    Encourage current clients to join the business's fanpage, offer an exclusive discount to your fans.
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  • Profile picture of the author SashaLee
    Hi there,

    I've often wondered why dry-cleaners don't advertise other businesses for a fee.

    For example - many dry cleaners use a piece of paper to cover items like silk blouses and other delicate clothing. This paper is almost always blank or has some generic "#1 cleaners" stamped on it. I've often thought about seeing whether you could get these printed and have your own message on them.

    Also, the plastic they use to cover the clothes - that could be printed also.

    Imagine, your message travelling home with a slew of local punters....

    This would be a new revenue source for the cleaners. At a minimum if you took over the supply of the paper/plastic it would add directly to their bottom line.

    All the best,

    Sasha.
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  • Out of curiosity I googled Facebook cleaners. Who knew Tide has a dry cleaning operation/franshise?:

    https://www.facebook.com/TideDryCleaners

    You can get some good ideas from that page. Like a 24 hour drop-off service. And provide bags for them to use for the drop-off (or is that standard for most cleaners?).
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  • Profile picture of the author bob ross
    What Tim said above is right, it's heavily dependent on drive time so you need to target the immediate radius of people living near the location.

    The goal is to simply get people into the location because they'll keep coming back if the service is good.

    All you need to do is get EDDM (every door direct mail) campaigns out with a bunch of coupons. A 6.5x11 or 6.5x12 would work best for the first campaign. The coupons should be loss leaders preferably; with dirt cheap deals for shirts, suits, sport jackets, dresses, and comforters.

    If there are competitors (likely) then make it a point to highlight a major difference. Using EDDM and some good loss leaders you can swallow their competitors whole.
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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      Assuming the store is pretty successful, Open a second, then a third, fourth location. Because, as it's been said, people go to dry cleaners on the way to work or on the way back from work...

      If they locations are close to each other, position each location differently... for upscale... for business clothes... the fastest, etc.

      Around here, there's a chain, they do well but they don't do a good job. Their prices are very low and the stores are the cleanest, nicest-looking dry cleaners I've seen.

      When I say that they don't do good job, I mean, I gave them 3 of my shirts, I got back one of them... the other belonged to much taller people... and were not the brand I turned in... The counter person told me it was just my imagination, the shirts were the same... Interesting conversation, overall, but I'm still of the opinion that, if I turn in a 16.5 neck sized shirt and get back a 17.5, I'm not getting back my shirt.

      Anyway, the point is, they positioned themselves as the fastest cheap upscale dry cleaner... You drop them off, go do some shopping, get a Starbucks venti, then come pick up...

      They had, when the first one opened, a lot of ads in small, local papers, with coupons... And, when you picked up, they gave you another coupon... The coupons were serious stuff, 50% off, nothing timid like 10%.
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      • Originally Posted by DABK View Post


        If they locations are close to each other, position each location differently... for upscale... for business clothes... the fastest, etc.
        I'd advise against that. If you have that many locations, you have the opportunity to create a consistent brand. Your message will get confused if you are changing it for each location. Consider what position you want to occupy in the minds of the members of the community, and everything you do should support that.
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        • Profile picture of the author DABK
          If they're close to each other and going after the same clients, one takes clients from the others.

          Originally Posted by KingOfContentMarketing View Post

          I'd advise against that. If you have that many locations, you have the opportunity to create a consistent brand. Your message will get confused if you are changing it for each location. Consider what position you want to occupy in the minds of the members of the community, and everything you do should support that.
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    • Profile picture of the author TimD
      Originally Posted by bob ross View Post

      What Tim said above is right, it's heavily dependent on drive time so you need to target the immediate radius of people living near the location.

      The goal is to simply get people into the location because they'll keep coming back if the service is good.

      All you need to do is get EDDM (every door direct mail) campaigns out with a bunch of coupons. A 6.5x11 or 6.5x12 would work best for the first campaign. The coupons should be loss leaders preferably; with dirt cheap deals for shirts, suits, sport jackets, dresses, and comforters.

      If there are competitors (likely) then make it a point to highlight a major difference. Using EDDM and some good loss leaders you can swallow their competitors whole.
      Yes, EDDM would be a perfect vehicle for a dry cleaner since it lets you target literally by the carrier route.

      And, I have Jake's (Bob Ross's) WSO on EDDM. It's terrific.
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    • Profile picture of the author IMBlest
      Bob,

      Can you post the link to your EDDM course?

      Thanks.

      Originally Posted by bob ross View Post

      What Tim said above is right, it's heavily dependent on drive time so you need to target the immediate radius of people living near the location.

      The goal is to simply get people into the location because they'll keep coming back if the service is good.

      All you need to do is get EDDM (every door direct mail) campaigns out with a bunch of coupons. A 6.5x11 or 6.5x12 would work best for the first campaign. The coupons should be loss leaders preferably; with dirt cheap deals for shirts, suits, sport jackets, dresses, and comforters.

      If there are competitors (likely) then make it a point to highlight a major difference. Using EDDM and some good loss leaders you can swallow their competitors whole.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8759926].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Ed Micah
    I appreciate for all the precious marketing tips. Loved them!

    However, I got a deeper talk with the client, that since they are a kind of commercial/industrial dry cleaner, only 30% of their clients are from local area, and 70% of them are from 33 of the agents (that being said, they have partnered up with 33 shops who don't have dry cleaning machines, and sends them all the cloths to dry clean - and splits somehow).

    And, this is kind of a different story now. Targeting the locals would work so well, since the location of this store is not located on the ground floor of some apartment, or some shopping centre.. it's in an industrial warehouse.

    From studying one of the biggest competitor (over 100 staffs, 22 stores & 300 agents) nationwide, they have targeted major hotels & residential apartments as well as commercial services in airport & ports.

    So, what are some good ways to expend this business? or simply heading towards the goal of being that successful?

    Thanks
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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      direct mail to hotel and banquet halls and restaurants that use cloth and assisted living and nursing homes. Chamber of commerce events... assisted living and nursing home in my areas often have business after hours events for chamber of commerce members.

      Originally Posted by Ed Micah View Post

      I appreciate for all the precious marketing tips. Loved them!

      However, I got a deeper talk with the client, that since they are a kind of commercial/industrial dry cleaner, only 30% of their clients are from local area, and 70% of them are from 33 of the agents (that being said, they have partnered up with 33 shops who don't have dry cleaning machines, and sends them all the cloths to dry clean - and splits somehow).

      And, this is kind of a different story now. Targeting the locals would work so well, since the location of this store is not located on the ground floor of some apartment, or some shopping centre.. it's in an industrial warehouse.

      From studying one of the biggest competitor (over 100 staffs, 22 stores & 300 agents) nationwide, they have targeted major hotels & residential apartments as well as commercial services in airport & ports.

      So, what are some good ways to expend this business? or simply heading towards the goal of being that successful?

      Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
    I don't know if they do any retail then. If they do, then they could add pick up and drop off service. Market to office buildings as well.

    Dan
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  • Profile picture of the author Peter Lessard
    I have helped dry cleaners.
    You already have some correct answers here that I know from experience work.

    1. Youtube vids
    2. Direct mail with great offers to get them to the 3rd visit and have them hooked

    The ones that I worked with personally that took it to the next level went to more locations even if they were just pick up/drop off locations in commercial buildings etc..

    The other big trigger I have seen is branding/awareness.
    One client did everything just right for the 1st location and maxed out his exposure.
    Opened up 4 more locations (NOT full service just depots)
    and became the official dry cleaning provider to the cities NHL team. He gave them free dry cleaning and his name was constantly mentioned on radio etc..
    I now call him the wealthy dry cleaner :-)
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    • Originally Posted by plessard View Post


      The other big trigger I have seen is branding/awareness.
      One client did everything just right for the 1st location and maxed out his exposure.
      Opened up 4 more locations (NOT full service just depots)
      and became the official dry cleaning provider to the cities NHL team. He gave them free dry cleaning and his name was constantly mentioned on radio etc..
      I now call him the wealthy dry cleaner :-)
      Boom! That's that I'm talking about! "The Official Dry Cleaner For the Vancouver Canucks!"
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      Marketing is not a battle of products. It is a battle of perceptions.
      - Jack Trout
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  • Profile picture of the author TeamBringIt
    Originally Posted by Ed Micah View Post

    I've recently been approached by an offline client who has just bought a company of a local dry cleaner.

    I was just wondering how you would help to market the business?
    It has been around for a couple (4-50 years, may have changed several owners) years already, but I think they have established quite a nice branding.

    However, the client would like to have some out of box marketing (either off or online), and hopefully grow even more than the previous owners.

    So, any suggestions would be great!

    Thanks
    There, are quite a few ways to market such a business.

    They could partner up with, a NON competing business and refer customers/clients to each other. The More, the better!

    Direct mail can also work really well, using coupons can spark an, interest from customers.

    Possibly using the media/charity can also work well. There are many ways, to market, just go to try and see what works and what doesn't .
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  • Profile picture of the author Austin357
    Great thread with lots of good information. I have a few Dry cleaning clients and what we did was give a $20 voucher to the owners of other surrounding businesses (Subway, Nail shops, gyms, gas stations, etc..) In return, they would put up a Dry cleaning promotion that we were running that month. 74% of the local business owners we approached had no problem. We had a referral code for each business so we could track where new clients were coming from.

    We signed up 16 local businesses with the $20 promotion. If everyone redeemed their $20 coupon then it would cost us $320 (marketing expense). In 30 days we got 57 new clients into the dry cleaners. With an average bill of $17. The second month we had 42 people come back from the original 57. We gave them top notch customer service free coffee every time they popped into our store.
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