As an automotive repair shop owner, you know how important it is to keep your technicians busy. Having insufficient cars coming in the door can break the bank quickly. Often, marketing is the weak point that causes this problem. If you feel overwhelmed at the idea of marketing your auto repair shop, here are the top 3 tools to start marketing your shop and getting more cars headed your way:
1. Create a Marketing Calendar
The hardest part of marketing is getting started. A plan makes the entire process easier to manage and implement. At ATI, we work with members to create a marketing calendar that plans out an entire year of marketing. Start the planning process:
- Look up holidays, national focus months, and fun, unusual events that you can incorporate into a plan. A great resource for this is http://www.holidayinsights.com/
- Work with parts vendors to get information on special promotions at least 3 to 6 months in advance. Ask them about co-op advertising as well. You may need to speak to the regional manager or commercial sales manager for your area.
- Look in-house for special events to celebrate, such as your opening anniversary, birthdays, hiring anniversaries. Make your customers feel like part of the shop family by inviting them to join in the celebrations.
Need help marketing your shop? Get ATI’s FREE Marketing Weapons Worksheet for guidance on how to build an effective marketing plan.
2. Claim Your Google My Business Page
If you are not engaged and interacting with Google as a shop owner, you are sending customers to your competition. According to a recent study, 97% of people search online for local businesses, and Google is at the top of the heap. You don’t have to spend money on ads to start ranking in Google search results; you just need to take a few minutes to follow these steps to claim your page:
- Sign in to Google My Business.
- Choose the business you’d like to verify, then click Verify.
- Make sure you can directly answer your business phone number to get your verification.
- To have the code sent to your phone via automated message, click Verify by phone.
- Enter the code from the message.
After verification, fill in the page’s fields completely. The more information, the better. Also, be sure to keep it up to date with photos, short blog posts, and specials you are running as part of the marketing calendar.
3. Leverage Social Media
If you haven’t started using social media (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) effectively to market your shop, it’s time to catch up! These sites are not only good for getting referrals and engaging with your customers; you can use them to promote the specials from your marketing calendar. They also make it easy for you to cross-promote between social media sites. For example, Google owns YouTube, so if you want to take your marketing to the next level – short, fun videos will supercharge your Google ranking. Facebook owns Instagram, so the same idea applies – photos and videos are eye-catching and draw attention to your shop’s page.
Marketing is everything you do to make sure your customers (and prospective customers) think of you in a positive way when they need your services. These three tools are only the starting point to a high quality, profit-generating marketing plan. Does your customer service put a smile on their face? Are your telephone skills turning price shoppers into appointments? Do you give them a great reason to want to come back to you? If your answer to those questions is not a loud and proud “YES!”, then you’re doing a great job.
For assistance with putting these tips into action, the Automotive Training Institute can help. Join any of our shop owner events or get ATI’s FREE Marketing Weapons Worksheet on how to build an effective marketing plan.