How Facebook is Killing Jimmy's Business

Jimmy owns a full service car wash.

He spends a lot of time on Facebook.

Mostly, he’s lurking and spying on people who want to be noticed.  But he’s trying to convince everyone (including his seriously suspicious wife) that he’s mastering social medial marketing.

Jimmy is full of crap.

I had coffee with Jimmy and his wife Marlee a few weeks ago, and I was brutally honest.

Marlee knows that I have been heavily involved in LinkedIn and Facebook for quite a while, and she asked me if I would send a message to my 8,000 connections and the 6,500 people receiving my newsletter to visit Jimmy’s car wash.

I politely refused.

Not because he doesn’t have a good car wash, but because my connections are very unlikely to become his customers.  They’re generally not near his location, and are certainly not looking to me for car wash advice.

The last time I cleaned my trunk, I discovered a copy of the Dead Sea Scrolls and a few unopened ballot boxes (Chicago joke).

I also told them that Jimmy was deluding himself if he thought his Facebook lurking was building his business.

The first rule of advertising is:

“Start with the people closest to your cash register.”

In Jimmy’s case, that means putting a guy in a gorilla suit on the street with a big sign that says “Car Wash” with an arrow pointing to Jimmy’s place.

Car Wash Gorilla

For $25 bucks an hour, gorilla boy will get the attention of a large number of people in dirty cars driving within a few feet of Jimmy’s location.  They are “closest to the cash register.”

That gets people in the door for the first time.

To keep customers coming back, Jimmy needs a text marketing loyalty club.

His customers send a text from their cell phones to receive a free upgrade or discount, and they give Jimmy permission to send them occasional offers and discounts via text message.

When Jimmy has a slow day, he can send a text to his customers and give them a “buy one get one free” or “early bird special” or any other deal to get people through the door.

Gorilla Sign Boy reaches non-customers who are likeliest to buy, and Jimmy’s text loyalty club reaches his past customers who are likely to return.

Jimmy knows that sending a timely, targeted message can bring in people on slow days and keep them in the habit of frequent washes.

Try it yourself.

Text: DEKALB to 36000

dekalb text

If you’re not already driving business with a good text marketing program, we should talk.

Next week I’m publishing my manifesto

“39 Things You’d Better Know about Text Marketing”

my secret tips, best practices, and serious warnings for anyone interested in marketing via text message.

If you’d like a free copy, send me an email at this address with the subject line “39 Things.” It’s my gift for sharing.

Dick Larkin
Dick Larkin

ps. I’m happy to connect with you on Facebook or LinkedIn, but I’ll never confuse online social networking with actual marketing.

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