Advertising A Laundry
( Originally Published 1902 )
New York laundries are excellently advertised as far as wagons, windows, machinery and offices are concerned. They do little or no newspaper advertising. Occasionally some send out circulars or large postal cards.
As a couple of hundred dollars capital will start a man in the laundry business, there are hundreds of small laundries in Manhattan alone. Yesterday I was talking with a man who operates one of these small laundries, and here is about the gist of our conversation.
He said " I have been established only ten months in my present location, but I call my laundry the 'Old Hickory' Laundry. I have a double reason for this. New York has a shifting population, and many people will think from the name that my laundry was established in Andrew Jackson's time. Others will imagine that my process of cleaning clothes will make them last, for hickory is the name of a wood that lasts don't you see? I do a nice little business on Fourth Avenue, and keep my windows, office and work-room as attractive-appearing as possible. I never did any advertising, but I feel as though I should."
" Regarding the advertising," was my answer, "I would advise you to get a list of the names of all families, together with lodgers and boarders in your vicinity—say within three blocks east, west to Broadway, six blocks north and six blocks south. Circularize these names once a month. Have these circulars briefly, brightly and logically worded—each with a good illustration suggestive of your business. The reason I speak of boarders and lodgers is that in this, a great boarding house region, is a shifting class that hardly ever thinks of laundry work until a bunch of soiled clothes is a reminder of its necessity. A circular will do effective work with this class. Newpaper advertising is not advisable in your case, for you cover but a small portion of the city, while the daily papers cover the whole city and its environments. There would be so much waste circulation that such advertising would prove too expensive. Systematic monthly circularizing with the good work of your growing business will cause a further and rapid growth."
But if this laundry cannot advertise to advantage in news-papers, there arethousands of laundries in small cities and towns that can use newspapers to advantage.
In such an instance a laundry generally bids for trade from the entire town, and as the local paper does likewise it stands to reason that the paper is its best advertising aid.
I have been told that a laundry business is usually very profitable. I see no reason why the appropriation of a laundry business should not range from three to five per cent. There may be weeks when this systematic advertising does not seem to pay, but looking back on the year's advertising the manager of a laundry about to open a new year of business is invariably found to express himself thus —" Advertising is all right and I am going to keep it up another year."
Some laundries advertise that they will darn socks, put on buttons, sew tears, etc. Others talk about the exceeding care with which they handle delicate laces, embroideries and such filmy features of the feminine wardrobe. Others speak of the unapproachable manner in which they handle shirts, collars, cuffs, etc. All such points are very valuable to study as advertising arguments.
The question of filling up advertising space with business-bringing talk is a question that almost any advertising writer can answer, and the wise laundry man will put himself in touch (to stay) with that individual.