If you operate an auto body shop, tire store, oil change stop, or vehicle repair business -- your target customers are the local people who live near your location. You need to connect with the people in your community to fill your shop with customers and clients.
To do that, use these top local marketing tips for auto shops to attract more business from the community around you.
- Create a Google My Business page. One of the most effective strategies for connecting with local audiences is through local search engine optimization (SEO). Local SEO helps your business show in search when people located near your business search for terms related to your business. Setting up a Google My Business page is the first step in this process.
- Create profiles on other business directories. While Google is the most important place to create a profile, you also want to be visible on other business listing sites such as: Yelp, Bing, Yellow Pages, Superpages, Angie’s List, and Insider Pages. Visibility on directory sites improves your search rankings and makes it easier for local searches to find your business online.
- Optimize your website for local search. To further optimize your business website for local and auto industry SEO, include your address in the footer of every webpage. This information tells search engines where your business is located, which helps connect it to searchers in that area. Also, optimize your pages for phrases that relate to your business (such as “auto shop,” “car repair,” “oil change") plus your city. That also tells search engines where to show your website in search results.
- Run geographically-targeted paid search ads. Paid search ads put your business at the top of the search rankings when someone searches for terms that are related to your industry or offerings. This is one of the most powerful marketing tips for auto shops who want to connect with local customers because you can set up ads to geographically target nearby searchers. With this strategy, your ad only shows to people who are close to your shop and therefore, more likely to patronize your business.
- Host an event. To bring local customers through your doors, give them something of value. Host in-store events, open houses, or training sessions to provide potential customers an incentive to visit your location. This strategy gives you an opportunity to form relationships with customers and educate them about your products and services. Throughout the event, promote your offerings and their benefits on digital signage screens and other multimedia.
- Sponsor a local event. If you don’t want to host your own event, leverage a third-party event. Sponsor a local festival, parade, fair, or community celebration to get your name in front of a large group of local audiences.
- Offer a giveaway or run a contest. To spark interest with local audiences, host a giveaway or contest with a desirable prize. Your prize could relate to the auto industry (such as a free oil change) or be broader (such as a free cruise). Choose a prize that will be the most desirable for your target audience, and be sure to require an email address for participants to enter. This is one of the marketing tips for auto shops will help you build and grow your email list.
- Be locally relevant on social media. Social media is a great tool for connecting with your local audience. But to build that relationship, don’t just share content about your promotions and industry. Share content about topics that matter specifically to your local audience (such as sharing snow tire info when a winter storm comes through or sharing stories about local road construction). This strategy will lead to more interest in your social media pages and create more shares and engagement from your audience. Here’s an example of a great Facebook presence by an auto shop in Minneapolis.
- Get more customer reviews. Customers want, trust, and use reviews when trying to decide where to take their business. A BrightLocal survey revealed that 91% of people read online reviews, and 74% say positive reviews make them trust a local business more. So make sure you have a strategy for generating reviews for your business. (Need help with getting reviews? Check out our guide.)
- Offer zip code discounts. Show local customers that you care about the community by offering discounts and special offers to those who live in the same area as your business. This marketing tip for auto shops is a smart strategy for building lasting loyalty with local customers.
- Create a customer referral program. If you already have customers who live nearby, it’s likely that they know other people in your area who also have auto needs. Partner with your existing customers to reach that group. Offer a customer referral program that rewards your current customers if they bring in new, local customers.
Put These Marketing Tips for Auto Shops Into Action Today
Don’t just run through this list, and tell yourself that you will come back to use these marketing tips for auto shops someday.
This template will walk you through filling in a complete marketing plan for the year so you can be sure that you don’t miss any opportunities to reach the customers who live right around the corner.
If you are interested in learning even more ways to promote and market your auto business, we have other resources you may enjoy. Check out our guides on: