Many Auto Repair businesses are struggling to integrate marketing activities into their workflow to see sales climb up on the growth chart. If this sounds like your or someone you know, let’s discuss 6 specific ideas and how trying one or a few of them can bring in the ROI you are hoping to see.
Before we begin delivering these starting points, remember that you should be making data-driven decisions. We all may think we know what works but the ideas we have held onto for years are likely irrelevant as time moves forward. So, before you try any of these programs or promotions in your Auto Repair business, be sure to set SMART goals first.
Customer Relationship 101
You will not be able to do everything all at once. This is the main mistake small business owners across America make each day. They try to be everything to everyone. However, ensuring you have the right people in the right jobs, can free up your time to focus on performing activities that will show high returns. Having a customer relationship member on your staff can be the reason you reach your capacity of service. This person can assist with the marketing activities you choose to participate in and manage your social channels. They can also oversee company communication protocol.
In addition to hiring for this specific role, you should equip your business with a customer relationship management (CRM) system. There are plenty CRM and job management systems created especially for auto repair businesses. This is probably the biggest investment you will make in your process but will also be the biggest help in creating customer satisfaction. CRM and job management systems can help you schedule more efficiently. This software can also ensure that cars don’t leave your shop un-checked and can automate scheduling reminders to customers.
Content is Key
There are over 263.6 million vehicles in America. Yet, the average auto repair business only sees about 22 vehicles come in per week. To close the gap between your capacity to serve and your actual number of jobs per week, start an auto blog on your website. If you are wondering, “Why would I want to take time away from your day to blog?” Well- businesses who have blogs and promote their content see 67% more leads.
Furthermore, nearly HALF of Americans do not feel confident changing the oil in their car so they are looking for a professional to confide in. This is where a blog can give you an advantage. When customer’s feel like you are knowledgeable, understand their need, and can offer them beyond what they expected- they are far more likely to visit and recommend your services. The information on your blog can start with “Basic Car Maintenance” and you can add photos to help explain to your potential customers what they should know. Be sure to always keep your contact information and location connected to your content so people know how to find you.
Social Media Involvement
What good is creating content if you do not share it with your network? It is important to ensure you have a business account for social channels like Facebook and Twitter. Not only will you be sharing the content you create via these feeds, but you will also connect with customers and can answer their questions. You can also connect with auto influencers to read what is new and important to the car care market.
You can use your social channels to distribute programs, promotions, rewards, sales and business updates. It is important to stay involved with your network, not just output your own information, but show an interest with your connections’ news.
Programs, Promotions & Sales
You must be careful and strategic when it comes to a promotion or sale. If you always offer discounts, then you will just see a decline in your financials. When you decide to have a discount of services for any reason, go back to your SMART goals. Decide what you want to see, how long you will run the promotion and how you will share the information with your target market. Typically, an auto repair shop market are the people who live in nearby areas, so ensuring that your website is set up to your Google My Business location services is a must-do.
As far as programs are concerned, try to focus on incentivizing routine maintenance. A punch card (this can be electronic) for coming in for an oil change, new tires, or even a car wash can build loyalty for your business. When you run a promotion or start a loyalty program, be sure to share the news with signage for your physical business location but also through your online channels.
Build your Reputation
70% of Americans read reviews about the services provided by the business they’re buying from before making a purchasing decision. This is a number you can’t afford to miss. You can request your customers to review online on Yelp, Google reviews, etc.
Don’t be afraid of any negative reviews. Used the right way, they can be opportunities to turn the customer experience around and show to the potential audience that your business is true to its word. Always respond to the bad review keeping the next person reading in mind.
Event marketing can be the most fun and fruitful marketing events. If you don’t know the first thing about planning events, use your social channels to follow people who are good at this type of activity!
When planning your event, first decide what you want to accomplish. For example: If you want to schedule 10 oil changes in the following week from the event- offer an incentive for people to schedule at the event. Your event would then be- Oil Workshop. You could advertise this event on flyers at local businesses and in the local newspaper. Local Facebook groups and through your chamber of commerce are other good advertising channels. You could have the main types of oil changes you offer out and discuss what the benefits are to each.
We recommend having a raffle of some sort (like a free air filter or gift card) for the winner of the raffle. How to enter? Schedule an oil change before they leave. Be sure to clean your business regularly so that when you do host events, customers feel comfortable sitting in your lobby area or wherever your events will be hosted. Ensuring a clean work space also helps reduce accidents.
No matter what marketing approach you take, be sure you can track your success and return on investment. If you know you could benefit from any one of these marketing activities but don’t have the funds right now to do so, investigate short-term small business financing options. These are not bank loans and are offered on different terms with an upfront cost vs. a traditional loan rate. Also, you won’t have to collateralize your business. It is a great alternative to be able to test what works for your business to see the highest ROI.