The Best (New) Ways to Spend Your Marketing Dollars

The Best (New) Ways to Spend Your Marketing Dollars

June 4, 2024

3 minute Read

Three experts share some creative ways your marketing spend can be allocated for a better return in this CAR WASH Magazine Live™ session.

It was the epitome of an ah-hah moment. They had been posting videos on YouTube for a couple of months and, in looking over the analytics, found out that 80% of the people viewing their ads there were watching on a TV screen, not a computer. So, viewers were not able to click on the link to be directed to a landing page for their free car wash.

“We realized we were kind of doing it wrong,” said Sam Sousa, founder of All American Car Wash.

The ah-hah answer? A QR code. 

Voila! It just became a whole lot easier for people to opt in and for redemption. “With that campaign, we had about 3,000 people text in on the QR code and a 65% redemption rate,” Sousa said, which equated to about 37 cents a click. Their first video also had 1.2 million views in six months. 

Stumbling across a realization this big can open up a whole new market, which is exactly what happened for American Car Wash. They’ve since further customized their approach and are active on Facebook, Instagram and a variety of other markets, with each having a unique QR code so American knows where the leads are coming from, Sousa said. 

This funnel of new leads is not only equating to more memberships, it is opening up a communication channel with potential customers. “It is one thing to run an ad … but the biggest point is the ability be able to capture that phone number and then engage with that customer,” said Levi McClendon, the founder of OptSpot, the marketing company used by American Car Wash to help with its campaign. 

McClendon sees this as the direction marketing is heading. “The growth in this digital age space has been huge. It is smart marketing,” he said, where you are online and getting customers into your funnels — and actually tracking their engagement. Then, when reviewing the data you can see the story — whether good or bad. “If it’s bad, stop chasing things if it’s not working,” McClendon said. Or, if the numbers are good, you know to put fuel on the flame, he said.

Nick Rodia, director of marketing at Sgt. Clean Car Wash, has also explored the digital route for some of their marketing, especially when it comes to something very dear to them: the community. “Community is part of our DNA at Sgt. Clean Car Wash,” Rodia said. “So we wanted to move from being reactive to being more in front of this and being proactive.” Not only did they create a dedicated community impact coordinator position, they also begin to engage a community partner for grand openings and began to presell memberships. They started to lean into their digital fundraising platform, too, to find ways to make the fundraising orchestration simpler and more scalable to provide some real-time data to the groups trying to raise funds, Rodia said.

At American Car Wash, digital fundraising has worked well, too. “We create a custom landing page for each team, then they are responsible for sharing the QR code and getting as many people as they can to sell the car washes, with 30% of the profits going back to them,” Sousa said. All leads are also fed into the funnel, which equates to a steady influx of new connections for the drip campaign.

Not only are you filling your funnel with minimal effort and building your database, you are providing a service and solidifying your relationship with both your customers and your community. This is the type of marketing that not only allows car washes to reengage customers, you are getting on their phones and getting them into your wash, McClendon said. “You want to give but why not get back?” 

Watch It Online!

Want to hear more about some of the best ways to spend your marketing dollars — and how to track each initiative to see which ones are making the biggest impact with your goals? The entire episode is online. Access it at or on the CAR WASH Magazine app.

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