It’s been just over a month since we provided a marketing update for linen and uniform companies navigating uncharted waters during the pandemic. This has been a difficult time for every company in the industry, including ours. Collectively, as a team and with our customers, we are pushing forward, making adjustments that make sense, and getting creative to deliver what is needed during this time. Linen and uniform companies are doing the same, adding product lines, growing their direct sale business, and using new digital channels to reach customers and prospects.
Since 2009, we have seen many changes and trends to laundry customers’ behavior online, specifically in search advertising and social media analytics. After a brutal 6 weeks, we are finally beginning to see an increase in activity in leads for all of our customers, across every segment (yes, even restaurants). While many businesses remain closed, most companies are in the planning phase of their re-opening. This is the most vital time in the buying process for providers. They are shopping for services and, now more than ever, new products. We see this as a critical time for companies to take advantage of their internal and external databases to market to both prospects and existing customers, through email and social media list uploads.
One unexpected and pleasant surprise over the last month is the actual cost to advertise online during the downturn. Across every segment, we are seeing inexpensive ad impressions on Facebook and Instagram relative to costs before March, with CPMs (cost per thousand impressions) down over 50%. This is due to decreased advertiser competition within the social giant’s platform, compounded by the increased inventory as users are spending more time on both desktop and mobile.
Here is social media advertising data compiled across multiple linen and uniform service company ads. Facebook and Instagram data shown compares ads for the 29 days ending April 16, 2020 vs. campaigns run during the month of February.
Starting last week, we have also seen a huge increase in overall search impressions for rental and service queries, both for linen supply and uniform services. There are also many non-programmers who currently wash their own garments, and are now looking for outsourced, Hygienically Clean solutions. Businesses are going to need to provide proof that they are taking the actions necessary to keep employees and customers safe, and commercial laundries are in a unique position to support that need. While there are still difficult days ahead, it’s nice to know that the light at the end of the tunnel is not a train, but rather a boiler getting fired up at 4:00am.
As many sales and administrative staff continue to work from home, this is the time to get creative. Collectively our industry has responded. Organizations are driving sales of new products, promoting sustainability, highlighting the importance of Hygienically Clean textiles, and communicating messages of hope and positivity to employees and the local community – as we all get through this together.
This crisis has presented us with an opportunity to support our customers with some inspiring and relevant creative content over the last 6 weeks. Looking forward, we see trends emerging as the world places further importance on safety. Tablecloths will surely make a comeback as they provide a far more sanitary option than bare tables. There are also non-programmers in multiple industries that are already looking to outsource their uniform programs. Many of our customers are already selling new items that are now in demand, as well as other facility services items they have carried but were not a sales focus.
Here is some of the content we’ve helped clients create and promote over the last 6 weeks. If we can help support your company with messaging, content, social media, websites, or lead generation – let’s talk!