[Marketing is the management process that identifies, anticipates and satisfies customer requirements profitably]. The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM)
I hope that this basic information will help you take a critical look at your current business marketing; and this article will give you the key elements that all detailing business owners need to be aware of... There are many important words in business but there is one that holds the key to entrepreneurial wealth and that word is 'Marketing.'
It is the mainstay of business and although it’s not a panacea, it is the one thing that if you don’t get right will kill your business stone dead even in the best of times. Marketing is what gets people to come to your business and try out your products and services. If you do a great job for them or delight them with your products, then it’s this fact and your ongoing marketing that’ll keep them coming back over and over again. And that’s where the real money is: the ongoing relationship with your customer
Marketing is the wide range of activities that involve making sure that you're continuing to meet or exceed the needs of your customers and are getting appropriate value in return. It can mean direct-mail advertising, e-mail marketing, traditional media like print and radio ads, couponing, and non-traditional approaches like websites, blogs and social networking through the Internet. The most successful form of marketing is ‘word of mouth’ referrals and repeat clients
Being good at what you do is 25% the balance is business acumen, client relationships and marketing yourself and your services and product. Strive to offer customer-focused services that differentiate your company from the competition. Ensure that your marketing focuses on customer’s needs as opposed to what you think they want
A fundamental question; what is my target market demographic and what exactly am I marketing? Is it a detailing service, protection of investment; preservation of their leisure time or is it to gratify their ego?
With a well thought out business and a solid marketing plan, a good work ethics, quality tools, products and workmanship, along with outstanding customer service, knowledge and experience of products and the tools of your trade you'll be on your way to achieving success.
Take a step back from your business and start thinking outside the box and begin looking at your marketing in a totally new way. (See also “Essentials for Starting a Business” article)
A few questions to enable you to form a marketing strategy
• Target market - who are my potential customers?
• Where can I find potential customers?
• Branding strategy - what would make my services attractive to them?
• Pricing strategy - how can I motivate potential customers to buy from me?
• Promotional strategy - how do I reach potential customers?
• Customer – acquisition and retention
Take time to answer these questions as accurately as possible.
• Vision -what do we want to be?
• Relative strengths
• Relative weaknesses
Everyone’s heard of S.W.O.T. analysis, haven’t they? You need to read, learn and know more about your competitors, your customers and your marketplace than anyone else. SWOT analysis is a great place to start. Get a blank piece of paper and list the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats for your business and those of your nearest competitors. SWOT analysis – as old as the hills but still effective – it will make you think about your business from a new angle and should ideally be repeated once a year at least.
• The current economy and business environment
• The Market Place
• Competition - who are they, what do they offer?
• Market share - in each key market
• E-commerce/ technology
Any time your name appears in print, you are automatically an expert. People believe what they read on the Internet, read in the newspaper or see on the TV. It can be as simple as writing a small column in a local paper, most of these papers are crying out for quality content. They have little money to pay freelancers to write for them and might very well welcome material from you.
Understanding who your target is should help you decide how to communicate with them. Getting a sense of their needs will help you decide the best way to communicate to them. The answers will also help you develop a communication strategy. The key with all your communication - be it words or pictures - is you want to develop an emotional bond with your consumer. Pictures done well help deliver an emotional bond at a different level than words alone. That's why the best ads almost always will have a combination of words and pictures.
Has definitely become one of the best things out there when it comes to promoting websites and businesses today, you will find that many individuals are turning to this form of marketing in order to promote their business. Article marketing is one of the most popular tools which people use today to gain more and more traffic to their websites.
On top of everything else, you also need to make sure that you write numerous articles in the same niche. You should also keep the same name on the articles you write, as this will help to build up a good reputation on the Internet, which will be great for your business
For example, a few years ago Michelin ran an ad for tyres. All it was, was a Michelin tyre with a baby sitting on top and the ad said something like "Aren't they worth it?" See the emotional connection?
You're not just buying a tyre; you are buying safety for your family so of course you will spend whatever you have to. The campaign was hugely successful. [Based on an idea by MB fan, TID forum]
Potential customers are most probably; professional with higher than average disposable income, aware of maintaining their professional image, an automotive enthusiasts with more money than time.
You must understand that auto detailing is a niche market. It is not easy to define exactly who the target market is One marketing sector- people will be of above average incomes that truly care about the appearance of their cars;, doctors and surgeons, realtors, dentist and oral surgeons (perhaps to project their professional image) golf course, health spas and gyms or automotive enthusiasts with more money than time and are willing and able to pay a premium for a detailing service. Quality and outstanding customer service creates its own demand
If you live in an area where there are people with prestige cars and high disposable incomes, the sky is the limit. Customers in this type of niche market will have their vehicles detailed on a fairly regular basis, especially during the concourse show season. Building long lasting customer relationships should be your main goal, ideally you want to establish a customer base that uses you not only for the major concourse details, but also for maintaining their vehicles on a weekly to monthly basis.
Build a solid portfolio of before/after vehicle correction photographs, word of mouth, show your work on various enthusiast Internet forums, and maybe even put ads into some car enthusiast publications (i.e. Local Porsche publication (PCA FSR: Horizontally Opposed, etc.) Most car clubs put out a newsletter or have a website. Advertising there is usually pretty reasonable. Also, car shows/events are good for marketing. They are usually populated with car wash & wax operators as opposed to true detailer’s.
Should be a personal communication to the individual reading it; it should be about them, addressing their needs, and it should constantly communicate how you can meet and even exceed those needs and the benefits of what services you are offering. At the end of the ad you need a call to action, that means you must state exactly what they need to do to obtain the benefits of the services you offer ( contact number, e-mail address, website, etc.) and you must make it easy for them to do so.
It can sometimes be misconstrued to be a product vendor’s catalogue, or a vendor pretending to be an educator, as there are a lot of companies that are now using forums and YouTube video’s on detailing and preaching that only the product they sell or manufacture are suitable. Posted articles (thread) should be a true ‘How-to’ for educational purposes, not a lame attempt at a sales pitch
In reality they are just advertisements, with the appearance of educators as opposed to mere salesman.
Commercialism brings with it concerns of honesty and true representation. In other words, it’s difficult to know what is true when someone is motivated by income, i.e. directly targeted at product sales, more so than an unbiased opinion.
Types of marketing copy
a) Factual information = neither theory or subjective opinion
B) Marketing Hype = Blurring the distinction between science and fiction
c) Opinion = Not necessarily fact or fiction but usually highly subjective
d) Advertised Claims= Nothing more than advertising copy of dubious functional validity.
In business negative marketing involves making your competition look bad. This is a ploy used in order to make their product look better than yours in the eyes of the consumer. While some people may find this to be unfair or unethical it is a marketing strategy used all the time. Why? Because it gets attention and it really seems to work. Promoting the strengths and advantages of your own product is much more effective; but it takes creativity and intellectual effort. Negative Marketing, which slanders competition, is a new and growing trend
Prospects for Success
By providing a value added service that meets or exceeds their needs, believe me customers will come to you in droves. Auto detailing presents vast opportunities for motivated individuals. It is an industry in its infancy. Only about 20 percent of the population knows what auto detailing is, and less than 15 percent have purchased detailing services. Yet, auto detailing is a huge industry. The biggest challenge for the industry is educating the public.
As the number of detail shops continues to grow, the public slowly is becoming aware of the service. The average price of a new car is over $20,000. That level of investment warrants maintaining the resale value by maintaining and protecting the vehicles exterior and interior.
People are keeping their cars an average of nearly nine years. During this time, they need more services than washing, waxing, and vacuuming the inside i.e. specialist services such as Paintless dent repair (PDR) carpet dyeing, paint surface renovation, leather dying and repair, etc. (See also A Vehicles Condition and How it Affects Resale Price)
All of us in businesses can make better use of testimonials. Why are they so powerful? Because, no matter how strong your sales and marketing skills, no matter how well you communicate the benefits of your products and services, nothing communicates the quality of what you are offering better than the words of other people who have experienced doing business with you.
The best testimonials give a detailed and specific description of how the person has benefited from what you have to offer. Let’s suppose an accountant wants to use testimonials.
“David is a great detailer and I highly recommend him” is not a particularly effective testimonial. The following would be much better because it specifically describes the benefits of hiring Jon:
“John is a great accountant. He takes all the hassle away from taking care of my vehicles and is always available to answer my questions. Just one piece of advice that he gave me a few months ago saved me $2,000 when I traded in one of my vehicles. Above all I trust him. He started as my detailer, but has become a trusted advisor. If your vehicle requires a top notch paint renovation and detailing - I strongly recommend calling him today.”
One of the biggest obstacles to growing your business is convincing people that you can really deliver on your promises. A testimonial does it for you. So when customers tell you they’re pleased with you, don’t be shy. Ask if they would be willing to share their experience with others. Most will actually jump at the chance to write you a testimonial. You know what it’s like to experience a great product or service. It’s so unusual you want to let others know about it.
Include your customer’s name and if appropriate their business name on the testimonial. Don’t use anonymous testimonials because people don’t believe them.
If you are starting a new business, plan to make testimonials an integral part of your marketing from the outset. You could even give your first customers a price reduction if they’ll write you a great testimonial.
Don’t under estimate the power of testimonials. They can increase your conversion rates by 30% or more.
Another useful piece of marketing copy is a photographic portfolio of your detailing work. Try to show a cross-section of vehicles. Ferrari and Lamborghinis are great but include some everyday vehicles (unless of course this is only the market segment you sell too). Show a cross section of before and after details and don’t forget to show a few vehicle interiors, after all that’s were most drivers spend most of their time
As a professional detailer you need to showcase your work as best you can. A portfolio of your detailing work is a great selling tool. Internet detailing forums all have a section (Detail Gallery) were you can showcase your work as a form of advertising to potential clients. A decent camera with a great lens makes the world of difference. Without good photographs, people find it difficult to imagine what a difference a proper detail can make, after all you cannot describe a ‘look’ with just words, as they say a picture is worth a thousand of them
If you've ever removed red-eye from a photograph, or used a spell checker to correct an essay, then you know how computer software can enhance a raw photographic image.
• Take photographs when the sun is setting
• Use digital a photograph in an editing software picture editing program (i.e. Paint Shop Professional X1) you can also adjust contrast, and white balance from the camera
• Open the digital photos in a picture editing software program and use the tools to "sharpen" the image. The end result is a better, more finely tuned picture.
Does the camera ever lie?
Photographs can now be digitally altered to tell an entirely different story. In the age of the airbrush, can we ever really believe our eyes?
Software like Photoshop CS5 Content Aware is a simple and easy program that allows users to ‘desaturate’ the background enough so there is still colour; Selective Colour this will make the ‘subject’ more vibrant than the background without being too obvious, or fill in parts of the photo that are not desirable and allows easy manipulation of images, but just be careful what claims you make for a product with ‘enhanced’ photographs (i.e.’ Truth in Advertising’ ) as a professional detailer you will be expected to replicate this in your work
Very subtle differences in shadowing are often a give-away. Identifying exactly where the shadows fall on an image reveals where the light source must have been to have created that shade. Re-touching: sharpening blurred or under lit detail, but proportions of basic colours in sequences of pixels are often not balanced after a re-touch.
Lighting -by analysing all shadows in an image, scientists can tell whether a shot had a single light source. RAW pictures; uploading jpeg images to a computer allows its hard drive, which is much bigger than the camera’s, so that you can manipulate the picture on a computer, which is not possible on a camera that simply records .jpeg images.
Is this then cheating? Liken it to the ‘air-brushed’ photographs of fashion models or celebrities, it has very little to do with reality, you are creating an illusion that people ‘want’ to believe.
To be of real practical use, a subject like automotive detailing requires a great deal of research, and updating as new products become available. The advent of materials like detailing clay, micro fibre technologies and finely milled micro diminishing abrasives, suitable for ceramic nanotechnology paints are examples of why it’s so important to monitor the industries new products, chemical technologies and ideas that are constantly being introduced, as are the techniques for applying them, hence all of the in-depth articles will be up-dated and revised on a regular basis
Always be willing to learn; because the more you learn, the more you’ll realize what you don’t know. It is said that knowledge is power, with the caveat that it includes access to a reliable information sources. I would like to think that these articles become an asset to anyone who is new to detailing and to professional’s alike, as well as industry experts who seek to advance their knowledge.
I hope these articles are informative. They are based on the current status of technical development as well as my experience with the products.
By having some understanding of the ‘What’ and ‘Why’ as well as the ‘How’ along with a little science to help you understand how the chemicals we use react, you can achieve the results you desire.
I would appreciate it if you would share these articles as it helps other detailers further their knowledge.
As always if you have questions, I’ll do my best to answer; bear in mind the only stupid questions is the one that was unasked. Questions and/ or constructive comments are always appreciated
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