Which Marketing Tactics Deserve Retirement?

Linley McConnell

Some marketing tactics have stood the test of time. Others have been short lived or just aren’t a fit with our industry. This month, I’m exploring which marketing tactics we should retire, retain and revitalize!


The tactics below have had a good run, but it’s time to thank them for their service and throw them a retirement party.

Bad Stock Photography

What screams ‘we’re out of touch’ when it comes to your content-based marketing? Bad stock photography. Unfortunately, our industry has been a victim of using mediocre stock images for too long (see image at right). It’s time to stop!

Instead, consider using original and thoughtful imagery in your email newsletters or posters to show your business’s personality. Hire a freelance photographer, or get a staff member to get some action shots in the store and in your cleaning facility. Today’s phones have phenomenal cameras, but if you really want to level up your photo shoot, you can buy a staging light on Amazon. Make it fun by telling the team it’s ‘picture day’ – it can be an annual photo shoot!

Having a ‘library’ or database of business photos will pay dividends for your marketing playbook. If that’s not a fit, you can find high-quality and inexpensive stock photos on sites like Canva and Unsplash. Let’s start off Fall 2023 with high-quality, relevant and exciting imagery.

Aggressive Discounting

Black Friday sales used to be reserved for November. The past few years they’ve been starting in early October! Today’s client is getting used to ‘fire sale’ promotions. The problem when we aggressively discount? We undercut the value of our services.

This Fall, retire the use of aggressive discounts like ‘50% Off’ or ‘BOGO’s (Buy One Get One). I believe over-discounting can lead to the expectation of always getting something for less. We don’t want our clients to expect a deal every time they visit our store. I am constantly frustrated when I hear clients ask if ‘we can offer a better price’, and wonder if we’ve taught them this behaviour or it’s a unique challenge in our industry.

If you have the urge to offer a ‘flash sale’, make sure that it is time sensitive, like three to four days, to create a sense of urgency.


These tactics are still relevant – enrol in some continuing education to level-up!


Google is the king of the internet, so when someone searches ‘dry cleaner near me’, you want your business to be at the top of that search page. This comes down to your site’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO). While there are thousands of articles dedicated to SEO, there are a few tactics you can start doing right now.

Let’s start with backlinks. These are links from one website to a page on another website. The more your company’s website appears on other credible websites, the more searchable your business will be. For example, let’s say your business gets profiled on The Globe and Mail’s website and includes your website link in the article. Google sees this ‘linking back to your site’ as trustworthy and it will enhance your searchability.

We’ve had success building our backlinks through ensuring Gibson’s Cleaners’ website is mentioned whenever we have a press opportunity, support a charity event, and cross market with another business in our community.

Another cost-free way to enhance your SEO is to use keywords. Google will rank your business’s site higher in searches when the words someone is searching for match the keywords on your website. For example, if someone Googles ‘Toronto’s Best Dry Cleaner’, it’s helpful to include the same language on your site. Aim to include these ‘big ticket’ words in your heading or subheading. For more information on key words check out this article.

Google Reviews

Google Reviews or reviews on your Google Business Profile Page (formerly Google My Business) help with SEO, increase brand trust, and prove your business to potential clients. If you can only afford to implement one digital marketing tactic for SEO, my choice would be a Google Review program.

When it comes to reviews, you want to aim for quantity, quality and frequency. The more credible reviews you have, the higher your business will rank in a search, or show at the top of the Google search page. Reviews also act as free testimonials that prospective clients can read when assessing your business. While we all hate negative reviews, Google gives us an opportunity to show potential clients how we deal with problems and can help us identify areas of improvement.

SMRT Marketing, Cleaner Marketing and BeCreative all offer some sort of automatic Google Review program. Get in touch with them today for details.


If you’ve retired these tactics, consider re-introducing them into your business.

In-Store Displays

When I joined Gibson’s, I gave little thought to the appearance of our stores. I know, I know, it sounds crazy, but my Millennial mindset was focused on rebranding our website and ensuring we had Instagram followers. Since then, I’ve learned the importance of having a beautiful store and including displays that can market a variety of services.

We launched sneaker cleaning at the beginning of the summer, and levelled up our store display to include sneaker cleaning and shoe care products, as well as a poster to advertise our services. As a dry cleaner, we have a unique opportunity: while a client is waiting, we can grab their attention for free!

Why not create an environment that gives them incentives to try a new service or buy a retail product? Services to market in your stores can include wedding gown cleaning and preservation, shoe or sneaker cleaning, in-home services, or wash and fold.


A lot of businesses are using text blasts as a way to drive sales. If this is working for you, that’s great, keep doing it! If you’re using a system like SPOT or SMRT, I think there is an opportunity to re-craft your texts and templates to including upselling techniques and market more services. This could include adding information about free pickup and delivery, or your in-home services with your order-ready messages.

Texting can get pricy if you don’t watch how many characters you send out, so make sure to upsell in a concise way. For example, consider updating your order-ready notifications to include a message like, “Your order is ready for pickup, but did you know we can also deliver it?” This is an easy and cost-effective way to advertise your pick-up and delivery services.

Keep in mind there are tons of marketing tactics – I’ve simply highlighted a few here. HubSpot wrote this article about the most popular marketing trends for 2023.

What marketing tactic do you feel needs to be retired? What’s something we need to be thinking about? Write to us in the comments below.

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