Q&A: Mike's Express Carwash's Sally Grant on How to Get New Customers to Your Subscriber List
Mike's Express Carwash, a chain of 37 car washes in Indiana and Ohio, launched a back-to-school marketing campaign last month that offered customers free car washes for completing an online customer satisfaction survey and subscribing to its email marketing program.
The 10-day campaign, which was powered by email marketing services provider ExactTarget, has added more than 40,000 new customers to the company’s email subscriber list, to which the company plans to email monthly free and discounted offers throughout the year. The promotion was advertised at the bottom of every car wash receipt.
Sally Grant: The end of August through September is traditionally our slowest time of the year — kids are going back to school, summer is ending and our customers' daily routines are changing. It also can be expensive getting kids ready to go back to school. As a result, we thought it was perfect time of year to give our customers a free service.
We also wanted to know how our customers felt about their latest car wash experiences, so we included a short survey that asked them on a scale of one to 10 how satisfied they were with their washes. We also asked them to specifically comment on their experiences. We used this information to “grade” our 37 locations and improve in areas that may have been rated less than excellent.
SG: Our IT department programmed the campaign so that unique sale ID numbers on each car wash receipt were specific to a Mike’s location. This way, we knew where the feedback was coming from and what type of car wash the customer received on that visit. The number could only be used once at TalkToMikes.com, our survey site, and the customer had five days to take the survey.
After the surveys were completed and customers gave their email addresses, they received emails with a free car wash offer that also had a unique barcode that customers could only use once. We indicated on the car wash receipt that the offer was good for one free wash per unique email address.
SG: We only send emails to customers who specifically want to hear from us and have opted in for our special email offers. We also try not to send out more than two emails per month, as we've noticed that customers become less responsive if they get too many email notifications from us. Also, we keep our messages relevant and don’t email any messages that aren't interesting to the majority of our customers.