Thanks to last year’s unexpected pandemic, auto repair shop marketing is as important as ever. We all watched how the world in the blink of an eye went digital and shop owners who refused to adapt, found themselves scrambling looking to create an online presence.
COVID ushered in a digital era unlike any we’ve seen before and every industry was affected. Repair shops that relied on word of mouth and phone calls realized they’re leaving a ton of business on the table by not adjusting. For that reason, we've created a list of 9 can’t miss tips to add to the modern auto repair shop marketing plan.
Tip #1 - Follow-Ups
Following up with your current customers is the best way to ensure they will continue to visit.
Customers don’t know when their next oil change is and if they’re forgetful like I am, don’t even know when they need to get their tires aligned. Following up is the first auto repair shop marketing tip as it is not only easy to do but also creates active engagement with your customers.
It might seem like a no-brainer but you’ll be surprised how many repair shops still wait for their customers to show up at their front door.
Orderry not only provides your customers with scheduled notifications but also helps with in-house tasks such as productivity and sales. Starting at $19 per month, you can’t go wrong.
Tip #2 - Create a Website for your Auto Repair Shop
Even if you don’t have a website for your auto repair shop, don’t be alarmed, they’re easier than ever to design and build.
A website might sound daunting to those shop owners who have avoided technology instead of traditional marketing methods. But one can’t deny that an auto repair shop website is indispensable in 2021.
An auto repair shop website doesn’t need to be super elaborate or cost you thousands of dollars. On the contrary, the simpler the better, and a good website consists of:
- Original images (hire a local/inexpensive photographer)
- An about us section with a meet our team
- An active blog
- Specific calls to action - (customers like to navigate websites but as a shop owner, you need to steer them in the direction which gives them information and makes you money).
- Testimonials or Reviews
- Services page that goes over what you do and how you do it.
Pricing isn’t as important but you can include if you see many of your peers are doing so as well.
If you want to learn more about creating an auto repair shop website, be sure to contact us today.
Tip #3 - Have an Active Blog
In today’s SEO-friendly age (more on this later), content is king.
The more relevant content you have on your website, the easier it will be for search engines (such as Google and Bing) to deem you an authority for the services you offer. It also allows for prospects and current clients to find you and research your shop before they visit.
A blog page on your website is a page that holds all your info content which can be anything from tips and tricks for at-home repairs, best insurance companies for new car owners, or even the coolest garages in the world.
If more than a repair shop your customers and prospects see you as a hub for relevant/cool content, search engines will too.
Tip #4 - Create Explanatory Videos
You may have noticed scrolling through your Facebook and or Instagram feed that everything is now video. 1-minute videos have entered the social media culture and the world seems to be hungry for more.
Why not emulate what you see on social media and create your own helpful videos? Get yourself some cool equipment (or hire someone), record yourself in your shop, and show prospective buyers what they will be getting.
For more information check out our handy guide on how to create videos for an auto repair shop.
Start with using a car that came in with a common problem and let the experts at your shop walk the viewers through what they’re doing. This creates transparency with your prospects as well as with your customers. They also keep people on your site for a lot longer which helps boost SEO! This leads us to...
Tip #5 - Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization or SEO is a fancy way of saying, how much work are you willing to put in to become #1 on Google?
SEO’s concept is simple and here’s a step-by-step guide.
People search for words or phrases (known as keywords) in Google
Google in a matter of milliseconds dishes out what they consider (based on algorithmic values) what the top results are for that keyword.
The user knows that Google is the authority and clicks on the top results.
Google’s algorithm is a mystery. No one knows exactly what the process is that goes into selecting who will grab the much-coveted #1 spot. So we’re not going to dive into that.
Instead, what we do know is that to rank, you need to have a website, you need to have an active blog and you need content. Content is king, remember?
Website speed, user-friendliness, and images are also important. So make sure you don’t optimize for Google but instead, optimize for those who will be visiting your website.
SEO is an ongoing process that can take years (that’s right, years) to have your site front and center for your target customers to see. But even then, you’re competing with those looking to take your spot at the top of the proverbial ladder.
If you wish to learn more about auto repair shop marketing and or SEO for repair shops, contact us today to learn more.
Tip #6 - WhatsApp or Text
The modern buyer is smarter and more tech-savvy than ever which is why we can no longer rely on word of mouth or phone calls. Your customers digitally hang out on a plethora of platforms which is why we need to be made available.
Whatsapp might not be as popular but have a Whatsapp account and encourage customers and even prospects to text you. The more channels you’re on, the easier it will be to get a hold of you.
Tip #7 - Facebook and Instagram
You might not see Facebook or Instagram as relevant for the customers that walk into your shop but that’s the problem.
The videos you created for your website can be posted and shared on social media which is then exposed to a wider audience. You then have the possibility of investing in ads. This will have your shop exposed to an audience of every Facebook and Instagram user in your city or town.
Your social accounts shouldn’t contain pricing or be all about you. Today’s top websites and social media accounts add value to their viewers and followers. Things like tips and tricks, customer satisfaction stories, car maintenance advice, and even pictures of cool garages.
Tip #8 - Push for Reviews
Today’s buyer is more alert and aware than ever before. A study by search engine journal says a whopping 91% of young customers make purchase decisions based on reviews. That means, your shop can be the newest in town but if within a few months you’ve managed to garner dozens of positive reviews, you might have bought yourself a dozen new customers.
Reviews are the new word of mouth and even all positive reviews are sketchy. Not everyone will have a 100% satisfaction rate at your shop and that’s ok. The important thing to realize is to stay on top of reviews. Interact with both positive and negative reviews and use this free advice to continue what you’re doing well and tweak the areas of improvement.
Tip #9 - Email Marketing for Auto Repair Shops
We will cover this topic in a separate article but in the meantime here are the basics.
Remember how we mentioned you have to be made available on every possible platform? Well, periodic emails informing of specials you’re running, or inviting them to visit your shop are a great way to engage with your customers.
But email marketing isn’t about asking them to buy (even if it’s at a discounted rate). It’s about filling the newsletter with value. Have 2 of your latest articles and a banner displaying a special you’re running. This way, customers and prospects will find helpful information and though you might still be sent to spam, you will remain active among those who read your content.
Where does the Road to Auto Repair Shop Marketing Begin?
A lot of this might sound overwhelming but not to worry, we’re going to cover every item on this list in future articles. You’re not alone in this.
But the first place to start is the follow-up program. If you don’t already have a system in place where every few months customers are contacted via a phone call, they will appreciate it and return. We then recommend brainstorming for a website. Jot down ideas you’d like to see and if possible, visit other websites you’d like to emulate. If you don’t know what you want, checking out the competition is a great way to start.
Our next article will focus on getting started with a follow-up program. We’ll see you in the next article!