By : Forum Member
Published 17th July 2015 |
Read latest comment - 19th October 2015

I have advertised in the local newspapers, handed flyers out, advertised on all free listing sites and have a web site. but I still don't get enough customers through the door. has anyone got any advice for me please. cheers,


Who are your nearest competitors and what do they offer? What do you do that's better or different? You have to have a USP. Describe your ideal customer and work out where they are and when to contact them (e.g. are they on social media, in a workplace  (lunchtime service while people work?) etc). Sorry I don't know anything about your industry but imagine it is competitive so you'll have to work hard to get people to come to you rather than the cheapy hand car wash I'd imagine.

Best of luck. 

Hi bouncernev

Marketing can be extremely frustrating in the early days, some would argue it never stops!

The key thing to remember is, what your objectives are, the message you are sending out, and how is that message been received?

Most initial objectives are straight forward, ie "I need more customers". Later on it maybe customer retention, special offers for current customers etc.

So assuming its about generating new business, then review what's been done so far.

"advertised in the local newspapers"

That's plural, so how did it work out? How often have you run the advert? Is the advert actually working. Did it work better in one paper than another? It may be that this is the perfect medium for your business, but your advert doesn't work. Have you tried different adverts? Have you asked anyone (other than family!) what they think of it? Honest feedback is invaluable, especially critical.

"handed flyers out"

A very cost effective way to generate new customers. But as above, are the flyers any good? If they are generating no leads then maybe they need some tweaking?

"advertised on all free listing sites"

Not all free listing sites are equal. As long as they are professionally moderated, then this won't hurt you, and is very useful for things such as citation building. In other words telling Google you are a real business and this is your trading address. But you have to be realistic with free business listings, how much effort would you put into free car valeting?

If there is functionality, such as the ability to leave reviews, then use it. Reviews and positive feedback on a variety of sources builds consumer trust, as long as it genuine and not spammy.  

"have a web site"

Having a bad website is worse than having no website. I haven't seen yours, but from experience a lot of new business websites tend to be homemade, or free websites that give little or no customer confidence. Can people order and book your services from your website? If not, what is the purpose of the site? If it's informational, is it well presented and gives potential customers the answers they need, or reassurance that you are the person to go to.

Is the site marketed? If you had a websdesigner build your site, have they optimised it so it's search engine friendly? Do you show up in any related local searches for your service? Do you show up for your business name? If your website does get any traffic, have you analysed to see where the traffic is coming from? Does any of the traffic visit other pages, or does it bounce off the first page? How long are they on your page? You can find out all this by looking at your Google Analytics, a treasure trove of information and it's all free

Then there are other opportunities. Maybe social media is a way forward, or special offers, groupon sort of thing. Cross promotion with other traders, maybe team up with local garages, or offer business services, maybe it would be good for a garage to have someone valet customer cars, or offer the service at local business centres. Plenty of biz owners under 1 roof, you come out and valet the motor while they work.

There's a starter for 10, hope some of its useful. We can look at any points in detail.

Steve Richardson
Gaffer of My Local Services
My Local Services | Me on LinkedIn

Hi, Have you thought about offering a loyalty card for existing customers..

Sometimes you have to plant a seed in their brain by using such words as, see you next week month, you are basically asking them to come back

Ask your customers if they will recommend you to their customers

Flyers dont work and you get aching legs (where I come in as a business..hint hint!!)

Sometimes you're business has to "be seen" upwards of 200 times before someone knows you are there

Do you use an A board advertising you are where you are?

Pay a teenager to walk around wearing something eye catching that advertises you and you're business

Do a charity car wash, with X being donated to the charity, that way you can advertise in the local paper - and bonus get some free advertising..for example

This saturday we at Extreme Clean Car Valeting Services are doing charity car wash in aid of (insert chosen charity here) tell the paper why you are doing, dad died of cancer, how such charity helped you and your family and you want to do something back

then the following week..tell the paper how much you raised and thanks to everyone who supported you..again name your business,,

and during the day give out loyalty cards, free tea and coffee etc, 

Hope that helps



Hi bouncernev

You asked a question and have some good responses, has any of that helped? What are your thoughts?

Steve Richardson
Gaffer of My Local Services
My Local Services | Me on LinkedIn

Hello Bouncernev,

I just took the time to check out your website and the opening hours would seem to me, to be the biggest drawback to me!! Most people who can afford valeting would be either on their way to work or actually at work during your OPENING HOURS: MONDAY TO FRIDAY 0800 - 1600 SATURDAY 0800 - 1300 SUNDAY CLOSED

Try opening on the way 'from' work and at weekends... you'll get those with time to 'pop in' and maybe if you provide refreshments, have a cup of tea while they wait... (you don't mention if you do refreshments while they wait, or I didn't see it lol!)  Who wants to leave a new or valuable car alone with a stranger 

The other was in the prices you quote... I'm not saying they're too expensive but you don't say why the prices are 'from £19' etc... what are the extra's that they may incur? why might they get charged more? these are considerations people would look for.  

No one wants to feel like they're being a cheapskate by having to ask... as some people say 'if you have to ask the price, then you probably can't afford it', lol! Snobbish? Yes! There are a lot of people who'd rather not feel awkward having to ask.  I'm not one of them, but I used to be. Now I think, 'if you don't ask, you don't get', but not a lot of people think like that, so either be clear on prices, let them know what costs any extras would be ie is it going to cost more to use.... what? and how much? Good luck with the business. Carol of A.R.C. Entertainments


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