A typical auto repair often has a tough time coming up with marketing ideas. Most auto repair shops are too busy running their business and servicing customers and coming up with complete customization repairs that they forget to think about marketing. Marketing is one of those things that you don’t realize you need until your well begins to run dry. The best time to think about marketing is when you don’t need it. Here are our best ways for auto repair shops to start some marketing in ways they haven’t thought much about before.
1. Foster Reviews
Customers don’t typically make it a point to go and give you a review online. In extreme cases (extremely good and extremely bad) customers will go out of their way to give you a review, it’s the run of the mill happy customers you want to try to have them review you. Good reviews also mean new leads – those who leave reviews (especially really positive ones) are like a referrer for your business.
The top mainstream review sites you should sign up for:
- Google My Business
- Better Business Bureau (BBB)
Here are some tips to help separate you from other auto repair shops:
- Ask them, in a professional way
- Remind them you are on social media and or review sites
- Encourage a review on Google Plus (formerly Google places) because it will show up in your Google search listings and create a great first impression for prospects looking for opinions.
2. Local Community Involvement
Getting involved in the local community is a great way to get your name and face out there. Not everyone is looking for your services today, but by being involved you can be in their context once they are looking. Here are some ideas:
- Meetup – Is a great way to find local communities for auto repair shops. All of the meetups happen offline and locally, so get involved.
- Local associations and citizen groups – help out
- Schools, PTAs – show your support for your community
3. Auto Repair Shop Online Community Involvement
Online communities can help drive business to your website.
- Helps potential customers get to know you and your style
- Find a place to showcase your expertise, where people are looking for it. Car blogs, forums, etc.
- QA sites – Quora, Yahoo Answers
- Find forums and discussions. Reddit (subreddits for auto repair shops)
4. Local Business Card Shares and Local Partners
Many local businesses with waiting areas have places other local businesses can place business cards. For example, non-competitive auto shops. So if you do mechanical work, seek out cards for a body shop or a tire shop. Other alternative cards include gyms, salons, daycares, as they all typically have a business cards share. Have your employees be on the lookout for these types of cards when they are out and about. Your business and their business can then exchange cards and promote each other. It works out for everyone!
5. Give Aways and Contests
Giveaways are a great auto repair marketing tactic because they take a low amount of capital and have a high ROI (return on investment). You could do a raffle for a free tune-up, or store credit. Good rewards could also include inexpensive car parts like wiper blades or a free tank of gas. Here’s our guide on giveaways.
6. Customer Referral Program
Customer referral programs leverage your existing customers to get new customers. Referral programs could help you bring in a ton of new customers. Since most auto shops have a steady flow of returning customers, it’s easy to establish some sort of relationship. It also means you’re providing good customer service. These are elements of a great referral program. Here are some resources to help you get started:
- Here are some Awesome Referral Program Ideas.
- Plenty of Referral Program Incentive Ideas to use.
- Of course, you need to see these Referral Program Promotion Techniques.
7. Social Media
I’m sure you’ve heard about it before… but yes social media is something you should be involved in. It does take work but the ROI is there for all types of businesses. Everyone is on social media, people of all age ranges, so you can tap into a huge market. Plus, if you are on social media, it makes sharing your business page a lot easier for customers. Facebook does this thing called recommendations. Let’s say someone is looking for an auto shop, they simply ask their friends who they recommend. If you’re on Facebook as soon as someone tags you, your business information is added to the reply. This allows for excellent, not to mention free, advertisement.
- It’s great for products that have mass consumer appeal
- Facebook makes sense if your appeal is to the consumer
8. Email Marketing
Email marketing is a great way to keep in touch with your existing customers. It’s one of the best ways you stay in a customer’s context. Here are some of our best tips:
- Think before you email – Is the content right for my audience? Is it compelling? Do they care? Once you start sending irrelevant content, you could lose your audience.
- Be Contextual – Send content that touches on some relevance to your customers. Close to the holidays? Send something related…
- Don’t send for the sake of sending – If you don’t have something relevant to say, don’t say anything at all.
- Combine some other marketing ideas in this article like adding your contests and customer referral program links to the footer of your emails
9. Customer Service
Last but not least. Customer Service is your most important way to get more business. Whether your business depends on recurring customers or new customers coming in the door, one of the best things you can do is provide consistent customer service to everyone. Even if you yourself are not the most personable or can provide the best customer experience, you can surround yourself with people that are. Your front office staff, your billing people… Automation is great but it can’t beat a personal touch.