017 – Marketing, Marketing, Marketing

Welcome to the Autism Advantage podcast! I’m your host, Tom D’Eri, and my co-host for this season is Tom Sena. Throughout season 2, we’ll be chronicling the process of opening a second location of Rising Tide Car Wash, where we employ people with autism.

We’ve been making great progress throughout this podcast. In the previous episodes this season, we’ve talked about planning our second location, the interview and training processes, our successful opening, and the role of our employees who don’t have autism. Now we’re going to talk about digital marketing.

One important thing we’ve noticed that we’re lacking is continually engaging with our community and customers, and telling our story. We realized that, while many of our customers understand exactly what our company does, there are quite a few who had no idea. This was our fault for not being clear and outgoing enough with communicating our story, and so we decided to change that. We decided to do this through digital marketing instead of opting for standard car wash marketing techniques, such as door hangers or printouts.

We estimate that about half of the people who come through our car wash don’t know about our social mission, despite many million views on our videos online. Now, we’re figuring out how to tell our story to our audience, meaning anyone over 16 years old who lives within five miles of either of our locations.

To achieve this, we’re using Facebook, Google Adwords, Yelp, Waze, and more. We’ve been emphasizing sharing our story and mission, because that’s what sets us apart. Instead of just trying to compete on the standard categories of speed, quality, and cost, we’re giving customers something else to engage with. With that said, we also have great service; that’s why half of our customers keep coming back despite not knowing our mission!

We’ll dig into all of these topics in this episode, as well as much more. You’ll hear about why we focus our energy (and ad dollars) on Facebook instead of Yelp, what we do on location to drive home our mission, how we bumped up our Facebook performance, and what tools you can use while starting your own enterprise.


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In This Episode:

[00:30] – Tom S. talks about digital marketing! He discusses the need to engage with customers and tell the company’s story.

[02:15] – For a company that has a collective 65+ million views on their videos, it’s amazing how many people in the local market don’t know about their social mission, Tom D. points out.

[04:02] – Tom D. explains that they’re finding the most effective way to get the word out is digital marketing. Tom S. digs into what this means, what techniques they use, and why digital marketing is so powerful now.

[06:42] – We hear about some of the interesting things that they’ve been finding through using digital marketing.

[08:31] – Another interesting thing that they’ve found is what type of content is engaging on Facebook. Tom S. talks about their experience with letting people in the local community know about their special offers.

[10:57] – Telling your mission in an authentic way is the best way to create lasting clients, Tom S. points out, and talks about some reactions to their Facebook post.

[13:30] – Tom D. draws out some of what Tom S. has been talking about. He points out that every car wash talks about price, quality, and speed.

[15:45] – Tom S. talks about the importance of targeting ads. They have found that their ad dollars are much better spent targeting women than men, for example.

[16:31] – We hear about something that didn’t work out very well for Rising Tide Car Wash: advertising on Yelp.

[18:01] – Tom D. brings up another point: what they’re doing onsite after driving customers into the store through digital ad campaigns. Tom S. then digs more deeply into their onsite marketing techniques and strategies.

[21:18] – We hear some tactics and advice for those who are starting their own enterprise. Tom D. explains that they use Canva to design things themselves. Another tool they use is Promo by Slidely.

[23:55] – Before signing off, Tom D. brings up one more point: Facebook content. He offers an example of a company that does a great job on Facebook, and talks about what they learned by observing how that company uses the platform.

[26:08] – Tom S. points out that nobody knows your brand and business better than you and your employees.


Links and Resources:

Tom D’Eri

Tom Sena

Rising Tide Car Wash

Rising Tide U

University of Miami-Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism & Related Disabilities

Facebook ads

Google Adwords


Waze ads

Split testing


Promo by Slidely

Gary Vaynerchuk

Bitty & Beau’s Coffee

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