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10 Marketing Strategies for Your Auto Repair Shop

UTI Profile Image Universal Technical Institute Apr 9, 2019 ·

To get customers in the door of your auto repair shop (and to keep them coming back), you need trackable auto repair shop marketing strategies that can help you grow your business. Your marketing campaigns should be easy to analyze so you know what's working and what's not. While traditional advertising like print ads or TV/radio spots may expose your business to some new customers, their effectiveness is more difficult to track. Online marketing enables you to see:

  • Where visitors are coming from
  • What visitors are clicking on
  • What kind of content your target customers enjoy the most

Here are several digital marketing strategies your auto repair shop can use to grow your business, as well as some print and physical marketing ideas you might consider. If you are curious about what is the best marketing for auto repair shop, keep reading.

1. Website Branding

Your website is your digital storefront, and as such, it should portray an appealing view of your auto repair shop that gets people interested and wanting to come into your shop. Some basic best practices when creating your website so that it markets your business well include:

  • Use responsive design, since more internet usage occurs on mobile than any other device, and search engines like Google prioritize mobile-friendly websites in search results.
  • Secure your site with HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure), which is a secure internet communication protocol – which benefits users and your search results.
  • Create content on your website that accurately and clearly explains your services and includes reliable contact information.

You should also choose a domain name that reflects your business. Make it easy for those who visit your website to get in touch with you, by displaying live chat boxes throughout your site or by making the Contact tab prominent on each page.

2. Search Engine Optimization

Local businesses must use search engine optimization (SEO) best practices to get seen by web searchers. HubSpot, a digital marketing software company, reports 72 percent of consumers who did a local search, say for something like “Dallas auto shop,” visited a store within 5 miles. According to Google, 28 percent of searches for something nearby result in a purchase.

Make sure your website is SEO-friendly by:

  • Researching popular keywords that relate to your business, and then use those naturally throughout your website content
  • Adding those keywords to other websites your business has a presence on, like in the bios of your social media sites and review sites
  • Creating pages throughout your website that relate to keywords – for example, separate pages for each service you offer at your shop

As mentioned, the security and mobile-friendliness of your website also have effects on your search results. You may want to work with a professional website designer and SEO expert to optimize your website and content.

3. Social Media

It's OK to hate Instagram, but your business should still create a profile on it. Pew Research Center reports on social media use in 2018:

  • 73 percent of American adults use YouTube
  • 68 percent of American adults use Facebook
  • 35 percent of American adults use Instagram
  • 25 percent of American adults use LinkedIn
  • 24 percent of American adults use Twitter

There are dozens more social media sites to consider adding your business to, but these five are essential to start with. Some ideas for how to use them for your shop include:

  • YouTube: Upload videos showing your technicians in action, or create video content with tips for car maintenance. Even if you're not producing your own content yet, you can still connect with customers and other channels by interacting with auto-focused content on YouTube and leaving comments on behalf of your shop.
  • Facebook: Share business updates like specials or service promotions.
  • Instagram: This photo-sharing site is great to upload content like before-and-after shots of work you've done, or to share photos of your staff to promote your shop's company culture.
  • LinkedIn: You can share business updates on a company page, and create your own personal page to connect with other local business owners.
  • Twitter: Twitter is a great site to form relationships with journalists and online influencers. Search popular hashtags, and share content from your business page that uses those hashtags, too.

Treat each social network your business is on as its own branded website. Make sure the bio reflects your business, include accurate contact information, and check your channels regularly in case clients are using them for customer support.

4. Email Marketing

Ask customers if they'd like to join an email list for your business so they can stay up-to-date on deals and new offerings. Always ask permission before adding a customer's email to your list. If you start emailing clients without their permission, they may mark your business email as spam, which can affect your ability to email other customers in the future.

There are several free email marketing services you can use, depending on how many people you're emailing and how often. With Mailchimp, for example, you can subscribe up to 2,000 people and send 12,000 emails a month for free.

Use email marketing to:

  • Send a welcome email to new customers
  • Spread the word about new services
  • Share blogs or other forms of content marketing

Make sure any email marketing client you use offers instant one-click unsubscribe capabilities. Use A/B testing to manipulate certain elements within emails to see what techniques work best.

5. Local Reviews

Building up a business presence on local review sites should be one of your crucial auto repair shop marketing strategies. Pew Research Center found half of adults ages 50 and younger regularly visit online reviews before making a purchase decision. Make sure your business has profiles on the following sites:

  • Google Local Search, which is tied to your business listing on Google
  • Yelp, a review site which averages more than 75 million monthly mobile web unique visitors and 69 million monthly desktop unique visitors
  • Yellowpages.com, which is the online version of the classic business directory book

Strengthen your marketing power on local review sites by:

  • Adding the links to sites you're on to your website
  • Sharing links in email marketing
  • Mentioning to happy customers in person that you are on review sites and you greatly appreciate reviews
  • Promoting review site links on business cards

Also, you should make sure that you're interacting with those who leave reviews, including bad reviews. Turn every piece of feedback into an opportunity to build better relationships with your customers. Let them know you're listening, that you appreciate their feedback, and that you are working to address any issues they've brought up in their reviews.

6. Content Marketing

Content marketing is a form of marketing where your business produces helpful content your target customers will enjoy. By sharing this valuable content, you build trust and authority with leads and existing customers, who will then have your business at top of mind when they are ready to purchase. Content marketing includes forms of marketing like:

  • Blogs
  • Infographics
  • Webinars
  • Videos

The Content Marketing Institute reports content marketing creates 3 times as many leads as outbound marketing (like TV or radio ads) and costs 62 percent less. Content marketing reinforces SEO strategy, since every piece of content you produce for your website strengthens the search potential for it, as more people visit and interact with your website.

To be successful at content marketing, you need to switch from the lens of auto repair shop owner to publisher. Use a spreadsheet to organize a content calendar, and commit to regularly publishing content. At least one blog post a week is a good starting-off point, but the more regularly you publish high-quality content, the better. HubSpot reports companies that publish 16 or more blog posts a month get 3.5 times more traffic, compared to companies publishing 4 posts or less per month.

If you're strapped for time, ask your staff members if they'd like to contribute to your blog. When you enlist your team to help with content marketing, they'll also be more likely to share your content with their own personal networks, which helps spread the word for your business.

7. Referral Program

If you want to build trust in your business, let your happy customers do the marketing for you. Nielsen research shows 83 percent of people around the world trust recommendations from friends and family. That's the most trusted form of advertising, with branded websites coming in second, at 70 percent.

You can give a discount to a customer when a new client says they were referred by that customer. Promote your referral program when you're checking customers out, and on your website, social media and in email marketing, too.

8. Reward Program

Like referral programs, reward programs are a great way to increase loyalty for your business. Some interesting findings from research by global management consulting firm Accenture include:

  • 77 percent of people participate in at least one retail program – your customers are used to these kinds of programs already
  • Loyalty program members generate 12 to 18 percent incremental revenue growth a year
  • 66 percent of American consumers spend more on brands to which they're loyal

From something as simple as a punch card for services, to tracking how much customers spend and giving them a discount or freebie once they spend a certain amount, you can get creative with the kind of loyalty program you devise.

9. Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Pay-per-click advertising is a great way to get the word out about your business, especially when you're just starting out. Like the name implies, you don't pay unless people click on your ads, making it one of the most effective forms of advertising around.

The way pay-per-click ads work is, you create an ad and target certain demographics or keyword searches. When the user clicks over, say to your website or a landing page, you pay for that conversion. You can run pay-per-click ads on search engines like Google, or on social media sites like Facebook, or through pay-per-click ad networks where ads are shown on a variety of websites.

If you run pay-per-click ads, like your emails, be sure to A/B test your ads. You'll want to change one distinctive feature – like the photo in the ad, the headline or the call to action – and then track which ads are getting more clicks. You can then optimize your campaigns so that you're evolving your ads to be the most effective they can be.

10. Good Ol' Print and Physical Marketing

Print and physical marketing may work for your shop, too, especially if your target customer base is more receptive to it. Here are some ideas.

  • Send postcard mailers to homes around your business with a discount offer.
  • Print up flyers, and ask businesses near yours if they'd be willing to post one or share them with their customers.
  • Leave business cards on doors or on cars in your area.
  • Create branded swag with your business logo on it, like pens, and give them out at a local event.

To track the effectiveness of your print and physical marketing efforts, you can create a unique code or website landing page to display on the materials. Then, you can track how many people are using that code or heading to the landing page, and compare your return on investment to your other marketing efforts.

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