If you own an auto repair or body shop, there will inevitably be times when the business goes through a slow period. So, how can your shop attract more customers and stay competitive in a tough market?
Below, we’ve listed six pro strategies to help market and grow your automotive service business.
1. Set Up Your Business Website
“If you don’t have a business website yet, your team needs one—now! The vast majority of car owners today are under 40, and only interact with businesses that they can find online. The most compelling auto repair shop websites have:
- A list of the services they provide
- Contact information displayed front and center (include your location PIN for customers viewing your website on their mobiles)
- Fast load times
- Mobile-friendly designs
- Relevant content (think blogs and tips)
- Customer reviews (pro tip: you can import Google Reviews to your website)”
2. The Importance of Top Tier Customer Service
“Did you know that on average Americans will spend up to 17% more on service with a company because they were happy with their service? On the other hand, 33% of Americans will never do business again with a company that had poor customer service. Half of Americans have straight up canceled a planned purchase because of poor service (– American Express).
As people have come to expect high-quality customer service, it’s now absolutely crucial shops go above and beyond for each and every customer that comes through the service bay.
It’s not just the automotive repair industry that benefits from loyal customers either. 61% of brand-loyal customers go out of their way to buy from a specific business. The crazy part is that 50% of brand-loyal customers actually end up buying more from their preferred stores (- Inmoment). It’s for these reasons your shop absolutely needs to have a customer retention strategy in place to gain true, brand-loyal customers.”
Source: AutoServe 1
3. Market Your Shop on Social Networks
“A good way to attract new customers and increase the car count in your shop is through social media strategies. Social networks like Facebook and Instagram can help disseminate information, allowing more people to know about your shop. The reach of this type of platform is staggering and continues to grow as we speak.
In addition, social networks also provide customer relationship options. Through social pages (both Facebook and Instagram), it is possible to deliver informative material, publicize promotions and other types of content. This is also a great tool to get feedback from your customers to improve any possible issues.”
4. Branch Into New Markets
“The thing about running an auto repair shop is that once you’ve built your customer base on dedicated customers, they’ll come back again and again over the years. However, you always need to be branching out to new audiences.
If you’re located in or near a college town, you should try to reach out to college kids. Dents, dings, and fender benders are more common for younger drivers and college-aged kids. You’ll also find that if they’re using a family auto, they might need to fix little marks so that their parents don’t find out.
If you can lock in new drivers when they’re young, you’ll be able to keep them for decades. Use promotions that reward or discount people with college IDs or who are under 25.”
5. Create a Referral Challenge or Program
“One of the best ways to give and receive is to create a referral challenge or program where you incentivize your existing customers to refer people to your shop for a reward.
For example, during a particular time range (like during summer months), you can run a referral challenge where for every three new customers an existing customer brings in during that time range, the customer who made the referrals gets a gift card or a certain percentage off of their next repair. Or you can create a referral program instead, where existing customers can get rewarded year-round for meeting your shop’s referral program criteria.
Whether you go the challenge route or the program route, you should have a system in place that makes it easy to track who referred new customers. The easiest way to track customer referrals is to train your service advisors to outright ask each new customer who walks in if anyone referred them to the shop, and if so, who. That way, you can easily track which of your existing customers need to get their rewards.”
6. Send Personalized Service Reminders and Deals via Email or Text
“Providing personalized shopping experiences is another way to make your mechanic business stand out. Collect data (Wifi Marketing makes this easy!) from customers and create profiles that allow you to see when a client is due for a service. Then, send targeted, personalized reminders and deals to customers through either email or SMS. Ideas for deals may include:
- Free service with the purchase of another service (free tire rotation with tuneup)
- Discounted service with the purchase of another service ($10 oil change with tuneup)
- Dollar amount discounts ($10 off an oil change)
- Percentage discounts (20% off an oil change)
- Seasonal specials ($15 off A/C check in May)”
Need Funding for Your Auto Repair Shop?
First Union Lending is here to help. We’ve worked with thousands of businesses including auto repair and body shop owners. With merchant cash advances, lines of credit, and business loans that offer quick approval and cash in as little as two days, you owe it to yourself to check out what we can potentially provide you! Give us a call at 863-825-5626.