Own an Auto Repair Shop? Here Are 10 Marketing Strategies You Need to Try
Like all businesses, auto repair shops need a steady stream of customers if they want to grow and thrive. Unfortunately, the days when local shops could rely primarily on word-of-mouth advertising to attract new customers are over. Today’s auto repair shop owners need to take a more modern, multi-faceted approach to letting drivers know about their services and convincing them of the shops’ value. Read on to find out about ten of the most effective strategies to get started.
Drivers are often skeptical of auto repair shops, so shop owners need to focus first on building trust. One of the best ways to do that is to provide drivers with informative content that explains everything from how the services are performed and why they’re necessary to how specific products provide drivers with extra value. UpSwell Marketing can help shop owners with all their printing needs for both in-person and online educational content.
Auto shops that offer routine maintenance services should implement programs that keep drivers coming back, increasing customer lifetime value. The best way to get drivers to return to the same shop for all of their maintenance and repair needs is to create a subscription service plan that comes complete with discounted scheduled services and the ability to spread out payments over time.
3. Create a Referral Rewards Program
Implementing subscription plans that keep the same drivers coming back over and over isn’t the only way to leverage the shop’s current customer base. Establishing a referral rewards program can also help by getting enthusiastic customers to do some of the work of marketing for the shop. Plus, referral rewards programs can be easy and affordable to implement.
Start by letting current customers know that, if they refer new drivers to the shop, they’ll receive a small reward. Set up the rewards in advance and be clear about what customers can expect. The rewards don’t have to be expensive or extravagant in order to work. Service discounts, small freebies, or even entry into contests can all make excellent rewards for customers who refer new drivers to the shop.
Blogging is a crucial online marketing tool for any business, and that includes auto repair shops. Well-written blog posts can help the shop connect with potential customers while simultaneously improving the website’s search engine rankings.
To get the most out of blogging, establish a regular schedule and stick to it, and remember that the blog entries shouldn’t be glorified sales pitches. They should contain informative, engaging content that relates to customers’ needs and includes industry updates.
There are many ways to connect with local shoppers, so auto repair shop owners shouldn’t limit themselves to just one. Direct mail postcards and on-premises signage can be quite effective for reaching drivers in the immediate area, but it’s also wise to branch out by making better using the Internet.
Local search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns can be just as effective as in-person marketing at reaching nearby customers, as can geographically targeted pay-per-click (PPC) ads. Shop owners should also make a point of creating Google My Business pages and signing themselves up for all of the relevant site indexes. Drivers who don’t live in the same neighborhood may still be willing to drive out of their way to visit a shop with a strong local presence online.
6. Encourage Social Media Engagement
Social media platforms offer auto repair shop owners another means of connecting with local drivers. As with blogs, social media pages need to be updated frequently to keep audiences engaged. Not all the content has to be related to auto repair, though. It’s perfectly fine to post about cars or driving, more generally, or even traffic news and automotive travel tips and local events.
Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective forms of digital advertising. It allows shop owners to form a direct line of communication with their customers and leads and opens up the door for personalized content. Instead of using email lists only as a means of promoting sales or events, send regular newsletters or shop updates that contain valuable, informative content in addition to sales-focused ads.
These days, most Americans consult review websites before visiting any business, and that includes auto repair shops. Start building a strong reputation online by encouraging past and current customers to post positive reviews, then cross-post them to social media so local drivers can see how much their peers love the business. Most customers will be willing to leave a review if the shop makes it easy for them, so try sending out email reminders after each visit.
Hosting events both virtually and in person can bring customers to the shop and let them familiarize themselves with its services in a low-stakes environment. Try hosting open houses or seminars about car maintenance, and don’t be afraid to take events virtual by live streaming repairs or informational presentations.
10. Get Involved With the Community
Local auto repair shops should make a point of getting involved with the community. They shouldn’t stop at taking out ads in the local papers. Drivers want to know that their hard-earned money is going to support a local business that plays an active role in their community, so try sponsoring community events, working with a nearby charity, or even partnering with other, non-competing local businesses.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
If the suggestions above sound intimidating rather than inspiring, it may be time for auto repair shop owners to consider bringing in some professional help. While it costs some money up-front to hire a marketing company, the right campaigns will provide an excellent return on investment that allows the shop to attract new customers so that it can grow and thrive. Just make sure to reach out to marketing companies that have experience working with local businesses and the capabilities required to engage in both print and digital marketing.
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