How To Market An Auto Repair Business
February 16, 2021 / Marketing
Every shop knows that marketing an auto repair shop comes with unique challenges. Competition can often be high, leaving your shop with the need to have an air-tight marketing plan in order to be seen and heard. In addition, with many services that are truly only on an "as needed" basis for many customers, marketing to vehicle owners' specific needs at any given time can feel a bit like you're shooting in the dark. The good news is that the digital age has made it easier to reach your customer base. With a combination of traditional methods, and some new strategies, you can give your shop the greatest shot at visibility. Let's discuss how to market an auto repair business.
Keep Existing Customers Coming Back
It's much easier to market directly to your existing pool of customers. They know you, they trust you, and it's not as difficult to win them over. People fall behind on their routine maintenance for a variety of reasons, but keeping them as engaged as possible on their vehicle's health and upkeep is the best way to keep them coming back.
Postcard reminders for services have been a tried and true staple for many auto repair shops. Physical, tangible reminders that people can pick up and put on their bulletin board or refrigerator are great. When used for services such as oil changes or state inspection reminders, they've proven to be effective at getting traffic back in the door.
While a lot of traditional marketing struggles with effectively targeting the right people at the right time, direct mail manages to overcome those impediments. You are able to control what and to whom you are sending reminders or promotions.
Many auto repair services are on an 'as needed' basis, and it can be difficult to talk directly to customers at the time they need maintenance. Some promotions may be great, but just not needed by the vehicle owner at that point in time. Sending reminders at specific intervals that align with the customers' needs can help ensure that they're coming in regularly for their routine maintenance services.
Instituting rewards for your loyal customers helps incentivize vehicle owners to keep coming back. In a world where we're fighting against lower prices, we need to do something to give customers a bit of a break without partaking in the race to the bottom in terms of pricing. Sentiment really does go a long way to strengthening customer relationships. When customers feel like you're taking care of them and valuing their loyalty, the more likely they'll be to keep choosing your shop over and over.
Digital marketing does a great job at finding new business despite the existing marketing challenges of our industry. While traditional marketing casts more of a wide net in terms of audience, modern digital marketing allows us to be more focused in our approach.
One of the biggest struggles we face is that it's just plain hard to market products and services when vehicle owners don't need them at that exact moment. Digital advertising, such as Google Ads or social media advertising can help you reach people when they are in need of service. Google Ads can help your business appear at the top when vehicle owners are researching shops to trust with their vehicle.
Social media marketing, such as Facebook ads can help you stay in front of potential new customers so that when the time is right, you'll still be top of mind, because you're on their newsfeed. Advertising on social media platforms also affords you the ability to create more actionable advertising as well. While traditional advertising may display a sale, a social media ad can take it a step further and provide the user with a link to make an appointment right away. By increasing accessibility and ease, you can better ensure that people will come through your door. An added bonus to social media advertising is it is often cheaper than more traditional forms of marketing.
Strong Web Presence
In this day and age, if you don't have a website—and a good one—you could be deterring more potential customers than you realize. When people are in need of service these days, one of the first places they turn to are search engines. Investing in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies to make sure your shop's website appears as a top result will help you drive more traffic to your website, and eventually to your shop.
Many shops neglect their online presence in favor of more traditional marketing initiatives, but this is a strategic mistake. Consumer behavior has changed and shops must adapt to stay relevant to buyer behavior. As a local shop in your community, it may feel like turning to the internet for marketing may feel like you're putting your energies in the wrong place, but that's just not true. While the internet connects us with places all over the globe, it also helps us connect better with our local communities.
In recent years, consumers' searches for businesses 'near me' have increased significantly. Google specifically likes to display these searches in a "local 3-pack"—the first three search results which are highlighted by Google in a box at the top of the page. This makes it easy for potential customers to see top ranked shops in your area as decided by Google. We know you're a top shop, but do the search engines?
If you're a beginner or simply looking to optimize your shop's existing website, BOLT ON can help. With our Pit Stop Websites product, you can easily create a sleek and effective site for your auto repair shop to help with your SEO needs. If you already have a website that you're happy with, Pit Stop can help to make it work harder for your shop. You can incorporate an easy-to-use booking system which can turn website visitors into booked appointments.