Originally posted on https://www.autoshopdigital.com/auto-repair-marketing
When it comes to getting your auto repair shop noticed on the internet, it can be confusing to know which marketing techniques are going to work for you – and which might just be a waste of your time and money.
We know that you don’t have all day to get the ball rolling, so we’ve got 10 auto repair marketing ideas to help you get your shop ranking highly and gain some traction with your email lists so that customers who need you can easily find you.
1. Word of Mouth
Did you know that when it comes to trusting what’s read on the internet, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they trust information coming from people they actually know? Which can seem a little daunting, but when it comes to auto repair shop marketing, this is a great opportunity to showcase what you do and get recognition for it.
Encourage customers to leave reviews whenever possible. When it comes to where you place on Google searches, the site takes around 200 factors into consideration, but online reviews are a huge component of it. Train and ask your staff to request reviews. It’s also encouraged to follow up with clients after their visits with you. This is a great way to ensure that you’re getting the benefits of your hard work without having to spend an extra dollar. Word of mouth is the best free advertisement around.
Related: The Dangers of Yelp for Your Auto Shop: The Better Alternative
2. Content is King
The thing to remember – from how you rank on an internet search engine, to how people can find your company – is to ensure that you’re offering up value from the get-go. The easiest way to do this is by generating content to get people to click on your website. What does this mean for an auto repair shop?
- Create videos on simple car maintenance topics, like oil changes
- Write blog posts answering common questions people have
- Send out emails with special information your customers can’t get anywhere else
It might feel like the internet is full of thought leaders and people spinning content, but you can easily do it too, and better. Share your content on social media and make sure you’re following SEO best practices to enjoy the organic reach this content will get you. The more organic your online traffic is, the less you have to spend on advertisement.
3. You’ve Got Mail
Email helps to keep in touch with your customers. Unlike many other industries, auto shops can be bad at getting the email addresses of customers or website visitors. This automated process is a great way to increase sales and repeat sales.
You might feel a little out of your depth when it comes to what you should email people, but it’s not as terrifying as it seems.
- You know your audience because you see your audience daily. What are the questions they’re asking you? What is it people want to know? If you’re repurposing blog content, direct people to click on these posts. Don’t worry about having to send out a lot of emails – once a month is enough to remind people you’re there.
- Look into segmenting your audience. You know from experience that an oil change customer has different needs if they’re a truck owner. By creating segments, you increase the likelihood of people opening up your emails (which is the point of sending them in the first place) and means you can tailor information to them.
- Give them value, not promotion. We can’t stress this enough – people are more interested in getting useful and valuable content than they are in emails that bombard them with advertisements and promotions. So make sure you’re not spending all your time on the hard sell.
Once you’ve got a list and start sending out emails, remember it also helps to be topical and seasonal. If you’re coming into winter months, email them some tips on keeping your car in peak condition through the snowy season. Also, don’t worry too much about being formal or stand-offish – instead engage with your customers as you do on the daily.
4. Back to Basics
When it comes to impressing potential customers and getting them to invest in you, the first step is making sure you have a decent, professional looking website. This should include:
- Your own .com address and blog
- An easy to find email address, telephone number, and auto shop address
- Usefully laid out information that is clear and easy to read
Think about how frustrating it is for you to visit a website where the information that you need isn’t readily available and instead takes you hours to find. You don’t have hours on a website: you have about 15 seconds. Your website should be so easy to navigate that it wouldn’t take a customer more than 3 clicks to find what they’re looking for.
Don’t worry about cramming the site with every piece of information that you think they may want. Instead, think through the perspective of a customer. While a dark gray font on a black background might feel cool and cutting edge to you, remember that people want to easily read the information that’s at hand.
Related: Why Your Auto Shop Needs a Modern, Professional Website
5. Gift Giving
While customers may be turned off by an aggressive hard sell, there’s no denying that everyone wants the opportunity to save a little bit of money. Everyone appreciates a gift every once in a while. Gift giving to prospective customers is a great way to get someone through the door. And gift giving to your existing customers is a great way to turn your already loyal customers into brand advocates. This could be anything from complimentary snacks, free trinkets, or a rewards program.
You can also reach out to other local businesses and see if they might be interested in giving a voucher for a discount or a free oil change to their customers. This is a great idea to build relationships within the local area, as their customers are likely to appreciate getting to be your customer too. You may have to spend a little more on branding, but it’ll be worth it in the long run when you gain loyal customers.
Other potential outreach companies include auto detailers, insurance agents who sell auto insurance, and auto parts stores.
6. Know Your Brand
It’s important for you to know your brand so that you can easily explain it to other people. Has your auto shop been in business for a long time? Is your business family owned? Whenever possible, you want to make sure that people can know and understand your brand’s image and what you stand for. Make sure to highlight customer testimonials along the way.
If you offer something specific, then make sure that you tell people – make it clear and transparent why they should use your auto shop over the competition.
It’s also important to make sure your branding is consistent across whatever platforms you use – your website, your Facebook, your Instagram, etc. Do you know what fonts you want to use and what the color scheme is? Things like this might seem trivial, but people remember visuals more strongly than words. Particularly if you are getting involved with outreach, it helps to have a logo that people can recognize and understand as your brand. Then when they’re wondering which auto shop to use, a particular one will come to mind.
When you’re planning your auto shop marketing strategy, it helps to look around and see what other people are doing and how well they’re doing it. What do you want to do the same? What do you want to do differently? Make sure you have everything listed out so you can track what’s working and log any helpful feedback.
7. Facebook Ads
Facebook Lead Ads are a great way to highlight your business to people in your area, as well as helping promote freebies or discounts to local people. They allow you to target your audience with geographical location, as well as giving you important lead information like names and email addresses (for your email list!) Even a low budget of around $5 a day will help you to generate leads and give you important email addresses for future outreach.
Related: Car Dealer Marketing Tips to Drive Sales in 2019
8. Install Facebook Pixel on Your Website
If you’ve ever wondered how Facebook or Instagram seems to know when you’ve been visiting a certain site, the truth is actually pretty simple: a Facebook pixel. This pixel is unnoticeable on your site but allows you to send Facebook ads and Instagram ads to people who have already been on your site. This is more valuable than ads in some ways as it targets those who have already been on your site and are aware of your business – and therefore are more likely to be looking to buy your services.
9. Join in the Chat
Use social media to make you more approachable and to share the wins that you can celebrate daily. Feature photographs of happy customers, beautiful cars, or even behind the scenes in the auto shop. This is a great way to not only show that you care about your customers and see them as individuals, but it gives them insight into the people behind the brand. This will make customers see you and your brand as relatable and more likely to use your services.
SEO, or search engine optimization, involves you making sure that search engines know to list your website when people are looking for specific things. So you want to make sure that your auto shop appears, for example, when people are looking for “[Your City] Auto Repair”.
This is a hyper-simplified version of how SEO works, but to get your website found on Google you should make sure your website’s data is accurate. Google provides a free keyword planner here to help you decide what should go on each page.
Other ways to help boost your SEO:
- Each page should have a different title
- Your homepage title should contain your city, state, and “auto repair shop”
- You need to have accurate contact data
- It helps to have your website listed on other websites through backlinks – make sure to update your website anywhere that your business is mentioned
- Create a Google My Business account (which is free)
- Hire an SEO team dedicated to optimizing your website