IMPORTANCE OF WORD OF MOUTH
Word of mouth remains the best marketing for auto repair shops, as people are more likely to trust a referral from a friend, coworker, or family member than almost any other source. To make the most of this, your best marketing efforts should be those that focus on increasing word of mouth referrals. It's a more effective use of your limited marketing budget, and can be considerably cheaper than more traditional routes like TV or radio ads, direct mail, or even online marketing campaigns.
Marketing for small business can be tricky—and expensive—and auto repair shops especially should invest in lower cost marketing methods that reach out to past and present customers—by keeping your shop on their minds, you'll stand a good chance of increasing new customer referrals.
Here are five great JMC marketing tips sure to increase your word of mouth referrals.
1. Stay Current via Email Newsletters
Sending your customers regular newsletters via email is a great way to keep your business and the services you offer on their minds—but to be sure the newsletters get read, you have to be sure there's some quality content in each one that the customers on your email list will look forward to receiving.
Discount coupons or sales on certain service options are one way of providing value, but you may find it more effective (and cheaper!) to focus on entertaining or informative content. Make a list of the top five day-long road trips customers in your community can take advantage of, or a list of essential driving apps for smart phones that your customers are likely to find useful. Content marketing in this way isn't just more cost effective—it generates buzz. If you can give your customers something they can mention or talk about with their friends or family, the name of your business is likely to come up.
2. Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Referrals
There's nothing wrong with wanting to grow your business, and if you ask customers to refer you to their friends, they'll feel like you value their business, their judgment, and their faith in your shop. You'll want to always be sure to have a business card or two to hand them when you ask for referrals, and it's a great opportunity to make sure you have their contact information.
When you do get a new referral from a customer, let them know how much you appreciate it. Send the referring customer a note, and think about including a Starbucks or Amazon gift card along with a personal (handwritten) message. It will provide them with even more incentive to refer people to your business—and will keep your already loyal customers coming back.
3. A Thank You Goes A Long Way
Just like a $10 or $20 gift card in a note thanking a customer for a referral is a great idea, a creative and heartfelt expression of your appreciation of their business does wonders to generate buzz and word of mouth business. If you have the means (and the time), consider having a customer's car washed or (for larger repair jobs) even detailed before your customer picks their vehicle up. That kind of surprise will be sure to delight your existing customers—and is likely to attract more to your shop, when your existing customers tell their friends about how you went the extra mile, just to say thank you.
4. Get Reviewed
Online reviews are often the first place people turn to for information on small businesses in their community—probably especially for auto repair shops. To be sure you stand out, consider asking your customers for feedback. Reviews on social media sites, Yelp, or even Google Maps act as a sort of indirect word of mouth referral, and businesses with high marks do well.
5. Social Marketing
Speaking of social media, working your social media connections is never a bad idea. Whether it’s through Facebook, Instagram, or some other platform, connecting with your customers is a great way to keep people engaged and aware of your business. Post pictures of vintage or unusual cars that may come to your shop for repairs. Even posting pictures of people’s pets is a great way to generate buzz. Whatever you can do to get people interested gives you the opportunity to remind them of your business.
Placing a focus on connecting with your existing customers is a good method for auto repair shops to increase their word of mouth business. Other forms of advertising may not be as time consuming, but they’re much more expensive—and less effective.
Provide quality service, excellent value, and interact with your customers in the ways described above, and you’ll build connections that will serve your business well.
CHECK OUT: Word Of Mouth Is MASSIVELY IMPORTANT - Gary Vee
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