As we all know, every business nowadays needs marketing in order to succeed. So we decided to write down 10 quick and inexpensive marketing tips that will increase the clientele in this upcoming year. Make sure you take each one at a time and once you have done all of them, please let us know how it has affected your auto repair shop business and as always, feel free to add anything so it can help the rest of us as well. Good luck!!!
1. Create a blog
This is the first thing that any business has to have nowadays, and it is extremely easy to create one. You can either create your own blog (which is probably a little bit more complicated, but if you have the know-how, it is probably the best choice) or just get one through wordpress.com, which will only cost you about $18 a year for the domain and hosting.
The best thing to blog about is to start taking pictures of all the cars that come into your shop and that you fix, and write a little bit of a summary about what you fixed and how you did it, and it only has to be about 250 words max.
With these posts, it will be easy for you to accomplish two things. The first thing is that It will allow you to rank on Google for certain keywords that are related to auto repair and your geographical location. For example, you can start ranking for keywords like “auto repair in (insert location of your shop here)” or auto body shop in (insert location of your shop here)”. The second thing is that it will allow you to start creating a small following of people in your area because they will see the type of cars that you are fixing and they will gain trust with you.
2. Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
These are probably the three biggest Social media venues that you should focus on at first because they are the most important ones. So after creating the blog, spend a little bit more time creating a Facebook fan page, a Twitter page and a Instagram account. These are all extremely easy to create and it would only take about one hour or two create all of them.
Once these profiles and pages are created, make sure that you share whatever auto repair post you write on your blog in these three sites that way you can reach even a bigger audience in your area, and also make sure that you interact with people in these three social venues all the time. This will help you create a following and it will also help you gain trust from people that follow you.
3. Email newsletter
Create a mailchimp.com account and link it to your blog and your Facebook Fan Page. The mailchimp account is free at first and it is extremely worth it because email marketing is one of the best ways to market nowadays.
In order for people to sign up, offer something for exchange, like “Sign up to our newsletter and receive a free oil change” or something that will bring people to the door so you can help them out in other areas of their car.
4. Oil change or checkup reminder
Make sure that you invest in your current customers by emailing them and sending them reminders to get their oil changed or to get their cars checked up. Mailchimp.com also offers a service which is included in the upgraded account where you can automatically send your client emails every two months or so as a reminders to bring their cars in their shops. The good news is that you would only have to write these emails once, and once you add a customer’s email. The software will do all the work for you.
5. Online review sites/ directories
Make sure that you remind every customer to leave you a good review on yelp.com or on your Facebook fan page or your Google Reviews pag. These are valuable priceless reviews that will create a strong buzz and of course will give you a sense of trust for anyone that reads it.
6. Follow up with old clients
Online marketing is great and it will increase your clientele, but you also have to focus on some simple, old school marketing. Any customers, who haven’t been around for a while, make sure you give them a call and make sure that everything is fine, and offer them a free checkup next time they come in to your shop.
You can even hire a high school kid, or a college kid to do this. All you would need to do is write a simple pitch for them so they can follow it when calling your clients. Make sure that they read the pitch out loud 20 times before they even get on the phone so they can be comfortable with what they are saying.
7. Mailing Holiday cards to old clients
The holiday season is the best time to bring people together and to remind customers that you exist and are there to help them out in anything auto repair related. So come up with an interesting and funny holiday card that will put a smile on your customer’s faces. You don’t even have to give anything away for free here. All it is just a small gesture from your local automotive repair or body shop wishing them Happy Holidays.
8. Network with non-competing businesses
I am sure that in the area where you live there are plenty of businesses that can help you market your business and vice versa. There are two great ways to take advantage of this situation.
Create a small flyer and ask those businesses if you can leave 100 -200 flyers there and they can do the same so you can put them in your auto repair shop as well.
You can also do a coupon where if something is bought in the business that you have made a partnership with, they get a $5 discount for something in your shop and you can do the same for them
A great example of this is a tire shop and a car wash place trading flyers so they both can bring business to each other and giving out coupons for each other’s business.
9. Local flyers
Use those same flyers that you are giving to your local businesses and go to a local parking lot and put them on the windshields of all the cars. You probably won’t get a big return from this but it is enough to gain a couple of customers for a half an hour of work, and of course, you can always get a high school kid to do this for $20.
10. Word of mouth
Make sure that every customer that comes into your shop is completely satisfied and informed about everything in his car. Every customer that leaves your shop satisfied is a potential advertising machine that will tell all of their friends what a great job you did for them and for their car. So go that extra mile because at the end of the day, that extra mile ends up being a lot shorter than you think, and extremely rewarding.
Do you have any other strategies that you use?