As an auto repair shop, you expect that customers will find you, right? Maybe! People are certainly never short of car troubles, but the closest option is often the first one they’ll take. Unless you’re the only shop around, you’re probably facing some competition. In this article, you’ll discover helpful tips for marketing your auto repair business.
Understand your auto repair shop target market
Marketing starts with knowing who you’re talking to. As an auto repair shop, that starts with understanding your area. Are you the only shop in a 25 square mile stretch? Are you situated on the corner of a populous city block? Your location helps determine the radius in which you should be focusing your efforts, since more populous areas have more prospective customers per square mile and vice versa with less populous areas. Mapping out the area where your existing customers live and spotting outliers can help you figure out how far most people are willing to travel for your services.1
Set your marketing goals
Always account for success metrics! By what percentage do you want to grow your existing customer base? How much engagement on social media would have a significant impact for you? Is it more about traffic on your website? Determine the answers to these questions. Then, once you’ve rolled out your plan and given it time to work, compare your results against your answers. This will help you figure out what’s working and what’s not.
Auto repair advertising ideas
Submit your auto repair shop to online business directories
If there’s a place people visit when they’re seeking services you provide, then that’s a place you need to be. Online business directories like Yelp, Foursquare and the Better Business Bureau are very popular, making a spot on their lists worth your time and effort. You should also make sure you cover the basics of modern brick and mortar business ownership. Build your business profile on major search engines like Google, Bing and Apple Maps. If your business comes up in a search with no address, business hours, and other basics listed, people are likely to look elsewhere.2
Start loyalty and referral programs
People tend to trust the recommendations of people they trust. Incentivize your customers to refer their family and friends to you with a referral program. Offer a discount or reward in exchange for referrals and get the word out about this program through social media. You can use a similar strategy for customer retention by offering discounts to people who regularly return to you for services.3
Hold in-person events
Establishing your business as part of the community is a great way to promote it. There are a host of ways to do this – consider setting up a booth at community fairs and festivals, and sponsoring recreational sports teams and organizations. You can even hold open seminars on basic car care at your business location.4
Create a content strategy
You may have heard about content creation, or at least you’ve noticed that many businesses are doing it. Whether you follow social media trends or not, content isn’t just for fads. Your presence on any of the channels you’ve chosen to use should be guided by a well thought out content strategy that ensures your posts are topically, seasonally, and situationally relevant. In short, a content strategy is the playbook that guides the content you put out, wherever you’ve decided to do that. Winter car care tip videos in January, spring tune up reminder graphics in May, these are just a couple of examples of content you can plan when creating your strategy.
Create a social media strategy
We’ve covered content, but there’s more to social media than that. As spontaneous as many great social media accounts may seem (and there is an element of reactiveness in a great social media presence), the best are very calculated in their approach. Your social media strategy needs to include audits of all your accounts to determine success factors like follower growth, engagement rate, and content performance. You should also have a playbook for engaging with followers or other accounts so you’re ready to react to things like relevant events or a customer who posts a bad review.
Develop an email marketing strategy
Some people might think of marketing emails as clutter, but the reality is they work and are an instrumental component of advertising any small business. Be sure to collect email addresses from customers as part of your standard business flow to build out your contact list. Email campaigns are excellent ways to remind customers to come in for regular service, provide seasonal auto-care reminders and tips, or prompt customers to consider a recent event that might impact their vehicle such as weather events and road repairs. Review the FTC’s CAN-SPAM guidelines to ensure you’re complying with email marketing regulations.
Advertise your amenities
You’re an auto repair shop, true, but you’re also more than that. When people bring their cars to you, they might not have a ride to go anywhere else so the comfort of your in-store experience can be a selling point. If you’ve provided things like free coffee, work stations or even a complementary ride service, advertise these amenities.
Market your auto repair shop during small business holidays
There are holidays just for celebrating small businesses, so go ahead, celebrate your small business! Days like Employee Appreciation Day and Mom and Pop Business Owners Day are excellent occasions to remind your audience they can celebrate local business owners by bringing their vehicle to your shop.
Other ways to grow your auto repair business
It’s not all about marketing strategies. Following best practices on social media and following the plans you make will take your business far, but you can also do wonders by focusing on the little things many business owners ignore.
Optimize your auto repair website
It’s not enough to simply have a website anymore. Your website also needs to be optimized to drive increased traffic and ensure a positive experience once people arrive at your page. The full process of website optimization can be incredibly extensive, but for many businesses it starts with search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is the practice of including popular search keywords into content on your website. When search engines crawl the internet looking for search-relevant links, those keywords will stand out and cause your site to jump higher on their list. This organically improves visibility of your site and, consequently, generates increased traffic to your page. More traffic, more customers.
Ensure your website is mobile friendly
As you go about improving and optimizing your website, always remember to open it on your phone to confirm that it functions correctly. It’s important to recognize that mobile web traffic accounts for roughly half of all web traffic worldwide, and a website that looks pristine on your desktop computer might not translate properly to a mobile device.5 Make sure you have everything sized and positioned to fit within the confines of a phone screen, or that your web designer is using an approach that adapts to the user’s device.
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