The gift card has been democratized.
And this is excellent news for your small business.
According to a 2016 study, half of American consumers are now very open to buying gift cards from small, independent retailers. What’s more, over one-third of consumers admit that they frequently buy gift cards for themselves.
So, how can you get your business on the holiday gift card bandwagon?
One. Don’t Wait
The holiday countdown has already begun. So, recognize that time is of the essence. If you haven’t already added gift cards to your seasonal promotions, start now.
People are already in the thick of holiday shopping, and the more choices you can offer, the better your chances of cashing in on the gift card consumer trend.
Two. Know Your Audience
Next, get really familiar with your target audience so that you can market directly to them. Effective advertising should feel tailor-made to your customers. You need to speak directly to them. But you can’t do that until you know who your customers are…
So, get aware of who’s frequenting your car wash and what attracts them. When does your wash see its most frequent business? Do your customers tend to be business professionals commuting from work? Thrill-seekers returning from muddy off-roading adventures? Road trippers passing through on their way to an attraction? “Soccer moms” commuting from schools to athletic events? Find out now so that you can learn and speak their language in your gift card advertising.
This is also the perfect time to market to self-givers. It’s more popular than you might think for customers to purchase gift cards for their own use. So how do you market to self-givers?
Create promotions prompting shoppers to get a little something for themselves while busting the pavement in search of that perfect “something” for each of their loved ones. Tired, weary consumers can’t help but get a little self-indulgent. Use this to your advantage in advertising.
Three. Catch the Holiday Spirit
Shoppers get fatigued and desperate as the holiday shopping season draws to a close. That means, time is your best friend. It makes your gift cards more and more desirable as the season progresses.
Promote your cards as something special that recipients will enjoy after the hustle and bustle of the holidays subsides. Remember that most gift cards are used in the months of January and February when post-holiday deals abound.
Four. Take Advantage of Impulse Buying
Where’s the best place for a gift card display? Near the cash register. Gift cards are often a last-minute or impulse buy, so use this knowledge in your promotion placement.
Consider taking this premise one step further by creating an attractive, eye-catching display of cards and envelopes (or mini-boxes) that’s filled with the holiday spirit and appears irresistible to customers.
How you present your gift cards goes beyond simple esthetics, too. For budget-savvy customers, promote purchases using gift cards. You can apply discounts as leverage to push buyers into spending at a threshold. For instance, you could host a special where customers receive a $10 gift certificate for every $40 worth of merchandise purchased.
You may also wish to consider sending gift cards through the mail or by email. While this may sound pricy, it’s important to remember that customers who are brought into your location by a gift card typically spend more than the gift card’s value. So, your ROI benefits.
Five. Inspire & Maintain Loyalty
Gift cards are often seen as more valuable than discounts. Why not use this perception to your advantage while rewarding loyal customers?
Reward your loyalty program members with gift cards instead of (or along with) member discounts. This will drive your business sales while pleasing the customers who matter most to your long-term business success.
Six. Get Social
Once you’ve developed a strong gift card program at your facility, it’s time to get the word out. Whether you’re dealing in plastic gift cards or e-cards, the success of your promotion depends on letting customers know what you’re offering and how it will benefit them.
What’s the best way to do this? Take advantage of your social media pages for regular shout-outs, articles, and other content that supports your promotion. Spread the word with friendly, engaging, interactive posts, and watch your gift cards fly out the door!
Does your wash use gift cards? If so, how are your promotions working? Where could you fine-tune and improve your marketing efforts? If you’re not using gift cards, what are you waiting for? In both cases, are you using social media marketing to your advantage? We’d love to know the answers to these questions as they pertain to your company in the comments below. So, start typing!
White Water Solutions is your one-stop shop for everything wash-related. Whether you’re looking for equipment, a service tech, fresh marketing strategies, or the latest industry trends, we’ve got you covered. Contact us today for a complimentary on-site evaluation and/or cutting-edge marketing advice.