The gasoline fueling station industry is fairly homogenous across the board: Prices, amenities, products and even architecture are quite similar for a majority of gas stations in the country. Because of this, gas station owners must look to creative marketing strategies to bring new customers in the door and turn first-time visitors into repeat purchasers.
Gas station customers may view fuel stations as virtually undifferentiated. Customers often select which gas station to patronize based on current fuel prices, rather than acting loyal to a single station. To catch these price-conscious customers, stay on the leading edge of gas prices in your area. Watch competitors' prices carefully, and always match or slightly beat the lowest price.
Gas station customers often purchase the same items on a regular basis. Instituting loyalty programs for items such as coffee, hot dogs and fuel spending can give your customers an incentive to visit your station more often, even going slightly out of their way to buy from you and receive one more point toward their reward.
Offer valuable prizes for temporary contests and promotions, and advertise the promotion and the prize on your premises. Make the prize something that will encourage word-of-mouth advertising — think free gas for a year or free coffee for life. Utilize radio promotions to push these contests and boost short-term sales volume considerably.
Establish a partnership with a local or regional grocery store chain to mimic large-scale grocery outlets' gas station components. Customers are becoming accustomed to earning discounts at gas stations tied in with specific grocery stores; forming a local partnership can help you ride the wave of this trend. Offering discounts to patrons of another local establishment can help you to increase both your sales volume and customer satisfaction.
Use your unique product-and-service mix to fuel word-of-mouth advertising and garner customer loyalty. Include a fast-food component to widen your target market. Consider reviving full-service fueling for one or two pumps. Sell lottery tickets, alcohol, supplies for roadtrips and any other items that customers have come to expect at convenience stores.
David Ingram has written for multiple publications since 2009, including "The Houston Chronicle" and online at Business.com. As a small-business owner, Ingram regularly confronts modern issues in management, marketing, finance and business law. He has earned a Bachelor of Arts in management from Walsh University.