3 Proven Car Wash Marketing Campaigns to Inspire Your Own Winning Strategy

December 11, 2023

An effective car wash marketing plan is essential, whether you’re launching your first location or preparing annual strategies for your established business. Successful marketing planning requires more than simply brainstorming ideas and plotting them out on a calendar. At SUDS, we recommend a more data-driven, strategic approach. 

As DRB®’s analytics and car wash marketing agency, we’ve helped clients execute numerous campaigns over the years. To get your wheels turning, we’ve identified three campaigns that stand out as being particularly inventive and successful.  

Campaign 1: A Twist on Membership Discount Promotions 

For our first campaign, we’re going to look at a customer who came to us when their unlimited wash plan membership numbers plateaued. They wondered if they had reached the market’s limit or if there were still untapped opportunities. 

3_for_30_campaign_results_graph.jpgKnowing that first-month discounts were no longer as effective as they once were, we decided to try a “3 for 30” offer in which customers would pay $10 per month for the first three months and then pay the full amount every month thereafter. By lengthening the discount period, we were helping customers establish a regular washing habit, making it less likely that they would quit after the discount expired like they often did with a first-month discount. 

The campaign wildly exceeded its goals by adding 9,000 new members in 60 days – a 60% increase. And revenue skyrocketed over 400% compared to the previous year. 

There were a few things that made this campaign particularly successful: 

  1. Expanded Reach. Before promoting the “3 for 30” offer, we increased the client’s customer database with a "spin-to-win" game in which customers submitted contact information for a chance to win prizes such as free washes and membership deals. In addition to marketing the “3 for 30” deal to that database, we further expanded the reach by running social media to promote the offer.  
  2. Ideal Timing. While you may be inclined to run membership promotions during slow times to drum up business, we recommend leveraging your busy season to drive as many memberships as possible. For this client, we analyzed their sales history, regional climate patterns and state traffic trends to determine the ideal timing for the “3 for 30 promotion.” Download our Quarterly Marketing Planner to plot out your marketing strategies based on your unique seasonality. 
  3. Engaged staff. The client thoroughly trained and incentivized their staff to ensure they were motivated and well-equipped to sell the offer. 

Campaign 2: Price Change + Membership Promotion 

One car wash operator was considering a pricing change to boost revenue. But with 100,000+ members over five different packages, they couldn’t leave their pricing to guesswork. They turned to PrecisionPricing®, our proprietary analytical modeling tool. 

The analysis from PrecisionPricing showed most members were concentrated in the low-end packages. Straight price hikes risked losing those customers, so we recommended a subtler approach. Based on our recommendations, the client removed one single-wash package and adjusted two mid-tier prices, increasing the average retail customer ticket by $1.83 per wash. pricing_change_before_and_after.jpg

For memberships, they kept the low-end package unchanged but decreased the high-end price by $5 to incentivize upgrades. Combined with tweaks to mid-tier pricing, this drove the average membership ticket up $4.68. 

To motivate customers, they paired these pricing moves with a promotional $9.99 first-month offer. This enticed members to purchase higher-tier memberships, thus helping boost ticket averages. 

The optimized pricing strategy led to a forecasted year-one revenue increase of over $11 million. This example shows how car wash operators can substantially lift revenue through strategic pricing changes tailored to their customer base. 

Campaign 3: Three-Prong Go-to-Market Campaign 

The last campaign illustrates the importance of a strong and multi-faceted go-to-market campaign. In this case, the client was a new car wash brand launching in the competitive upper Midwest U.S. market.  

We strategically attacked each of their three goals: 

  1. Generate awareness and excitement. We achieved this by utilizing digital ads, print mailers and onsite signage. 
  2. Collect 4,000-6,000 contacts. We offered a free wash coupon to customers who provided us with their contact information to build this database. 
  3. go_to_market_campaign_results.jpgQuickly sign up 1,000 unlimited wash plan members. Using the information collected with the free wash offer, we emailed customers a membership deal in which they could get their first month for $9.99. We also provided the staff with a sales script and rack cards they could use to help sell the promotion.   

The campaign exceeded the wash’s goals by collecting over 9,500 new contacts and selling 1,500+ memberships in 90 days.  

Key Takeaways 

While you should choose your specific marketing tactics based on your unique goals and seasonality, some concepts within these success stories can guide your overall marketing plan: 

  • Adopt a customer-centric marketing strategy putting customers’ needs and preferences first. 
  • Regularly refresh your promotions. 
  • Utilize digital platforms, including pay-per-click ads, geofencing, email, text messaging and social media. 
  • Let data and seasonality guide your marketing plans. 
  • Inform staff about promotions and ensure they are effectively trained and incentivized to make them successful. 
  • Build a strong database of customer emails and phone numbers.  

With these concepts in mind, you can build a successful marketing plan that will help you achieve your greatest success yet! 

Download our Quarterly Marketing Planner 

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