Marketing for auto shops is simple when you know where to focus. By implementing basic strategies, you can acquire and keep customers and grow your business.
Here are a few tips for attracting new customers and keeping the customers you have happy and satisfied so they come back to your business again and again. These tips for marketing for auto shops are relevant for:
- Auto repair shops
- Oil change stations
- Tire retail stores
- Paint and body shops
- Car parts retailers
- Car dealerships (new and used)
How to Acquire New Customers
Customer acquisition should always be a part of your marketing plan because you can’t rely on your current customer base to support your business forever. You must work to bring in new clients. So take these steps to acquire new customers.
Help customers find you. New customers will never make it to your door if they don’t know where your door exists. You have to make it easy for them to find you by engaging in multiple types of marketing.
- Digital Marketing -- A website that is easy to find through search engines is must-have marketing for auto shops. Set up a professional online presence that shares vital information about your business and makes it easy for users to find you. This site becomes your “hub” for social media accounts, providing more information for social fans and followers.
- Traditional Marketing -- While digital marketing is powerful and should be a priority, don’t forget to focus on traditional methods as well. Engage in direct mailing campaigns and advertise in local newspapers and magazines to let local customers know you are in the area.
- Word-of-mouth Marketing -- Also focus on initiatives that help new customers find you based on word-of-mouth recommendations from their family, friends, and colleagues.
Show customers why they should choose you. Word-of-mouth marketing is powerful because consumers rely heavily on the reviews and recommendations of others before they choose a service provider. Use this to your advantage by building a collection of reviews by current customers to help attract new ones. Your website, Facebook page, and Google business listing are three great places to post customer reviews.
Make it easy for customers to connect with you. Once you create a path for customers to find you, make sure the gateway to connect with you is fast and easy.
- Put your website to work for you by adding a tool that allows customers to schedule appointments for their car or times to meet with a salesperson.
- Don’t neglect the customer calling experience. Set up a phone service solution that allows you to answer calls quickly and use a strategic hold messaging system that gives customers the information they need without waiting for an attendant.
Once you get new customers, keep them coming back for more.
How to Keep Customers Coming Back
Bringing in new customers is a good focus for marketing for auto shops, but marketing to existing customers is also extremely important. Getting a former customer to return to your business is cheaper than acquiring new customers, so use these tips to get former clients back in your auto shop or store.
Provide exceptional customer experiences. All of your marketing efforts to bring customers back to your business will be wasted if you provide disappointing customer experiences. So, use interior design and digital content to improve the atmosphere of your store, decrease perceived wait times, and provide exceptional customer experiences that make you stand out from competitors.
Additional Reading: FREE eBook -- How to Provide Exceptional Customer Experiences Using Audio and Video
Host events. Get customers to come back to your location by inviting them. Host free events, such as demo days, customer appreciation events, and auto educational sessions that interest your target audience and give them a reason to return to your business.
Personalize the experience. The State of the Connected Customer study, conducted by Salesforce, revealed that smarter use of customer information expands opportunities for sales. Customers want a more personalized experience. They want a business to give them what they need based on their unique situation.
- Gather customer contact information such as email and physical address.
- Create customer profiles that include information about their vehicle make, model, year, and upgrades.
- Deliver customized product and service offerings that match their automotive profile (for example, send them notices when their oil needs changed, maintenance recommendations based on their model, etc.).
Build trust. People are often skeptical when doing business with an auto shop, but you can build trust with customers by being forthcoming with information. Provide product demo videos, product comparison reports and review, and service procedure info to educate customers and make them feel more comfortable about their purchase.
Collect feedback. If a customer has a bad experience the first time the conduct business with your auto shop, no amount of marketing is going to help you. You need to resolve issues and show customers you care about providing the best experience possible.
- Always follow up with customers after their purchase or service. A few days after a service or sale is complete, reach out to customers to get feedback and see if you can help in any other way.
- Resolve issues or concerns. If you find out that a customer had a problem with the service or product, resolve the issue until they are satisfied.
- Ask for public-facing feedback. If you find that a customer had an exceptional experience, ask them if they’d be willing to share their story on a review site like Google+, Yelp, or Facebook.
Reward customer loyalty. Acquiring new customers can be difficult and expensive. So once you get a new customer, don’t let them go. Show your appreciation by offering loyalty rewards and discounts that make it impossible for customers to go to one of your competitors.
These are simple steps that can improve marketing for auto shops and help you acquire and keep more customers. For even more tips and ideas on how to attract more business to your auto shop or store, check out: