By Joe Marconi
Got your attention? Good!
Take it from me, a shop owner for 40 years; before you invest a dime on advertising, get your internal marketing in order....in other words...get your house in order.
No amount of advertising or marketing means more than what you do each and every day. And that is creating an amazing customer experience that gives your customers a compelling reason to return.
Make sure that each customer contact point creates a positive experience. The phone call, the drive up to your shop, the parking lot, the customer write-up, the upsell, the car delivery and every other point of contact with the customer.
These things I speak of means more than any money you spend on advertising. So, before you spend that dime, get your house in order. And remember, everyone in your shop is an important part of your marketing strategy!
I was looking for some input into advertising. I have really not done any the last 25 years. We are rebranding or should I say changing directions a little. Going back to tires, brakes ,alignment and maintence. When I did it last other than the phone book we did a little newspaper. I think those have basically gone. So many options out there, I just do not want to throw a bunch of money away on the wrong advertising. Any help would surely be appreciated. Sincerely David
Hey everyone. I'm planning on opening in about 3 weeks and am looking for a credit card processing company. Are there any geared for our type of business? Does anyone recommend Intuit for it's ease of integration with Quickbooks? I'll be doing around $10,000 a month in CC payments averaging $200.00 per RO. Payments are predominately Visa or Mastercard swiped. A very small percentage of Amex, Discover or over the phone. If there is a company name that a lot of you experienced members would recommend, I would like to hear it.
Looking for ideas or suggestions maybe something that has worked for other shops.
Again we are a small rural shop, out of the main town about 10 miles. We have several tow companies in the area that will haul by our shop & take to another shop. We mainly do tires but are able to do light mechanic work like brakes, alternators, batteries, starters, etc, etc. I know some customers may request to take it to another shop but I also feel that we are an option that gets over looked & the tow companies may make a little more buy driving on by.
My Question is does anyone have a program that they are working with a tow company to bring cars to the shop when a customer does not have a preference. We have a loyalty program that I thought for every dollar the customer we will give the tow company the same value in points. Do we offer to pay the tow bill upon del so they don't have to mess with? How do we know if the tow driver is bringing to us on his own or the customer requested? Open to ideas & maybe it is what it is.
The best advertising comes in the form of referrals, which are usually free but don’t happen overnight.
Advertising is perhaps the most confusing part of owning any business, not just an auto repair business. Advertising is, to take your marketing materials and broadcast them in mediums where you anticipate your target audience. The internet has drastically changed advertising as most understand it. We used to think of advertising as the “yellow pages” and newspapers. However today, the yellow pages comes in many different forms these days. All of which promise you the world and few of which will deliver.
We recommend taking a broad approach to advertising to test what will draw in the most amount of new business to you. When thinking about how to advertise for your business, below are some suggestions to consider. First, establish a yearly/monthly budget, then to execute a plan. The most important part of your plan is to follow through on asking your new customers how they found you, that way you know what advertising is working.
Our advertising model assumes you have a few things in place, as we also discussed in Part 2: website with contact module, Google Business Page, and a Facebook Business Page.
We are firm believers that Google’s vast grasp on search is what makes it the king of advertising for now. Most people start their searches on Google, and if you’re not on Google maps and your website hasn’t been crawled by Google… you may not exist. We can argue this until the cows come home, but the truth is they hold a grasp on nearly 80% of all search in the US. Picture 10 people searching for “auto repair in my town”, nearly 8 of them are using Google. It’s much easier and fruitful to advertise to 8 out of 10 than 2 out of 10.
We are going to assume you have a $250 budget, the starter plan would be something like this:
Google Business Page – Free Facebook Business Page - Free Adwords Campaign through your Google Business Administration Page – Budget Dependent - $100 per month recommended Local Paper Advertising – Prices Vary – Assuming $100 per month This leaves you with $50 left over. Personally, we recommend a service called Yext, however we are unsure of their price these days as they have gone into a "Demo mode". This means they likely introduce you to the price after you’ve demo’d their product. For a one location auto repair business, we believe their estimated price may be over $600 a year, which kind of busts the budget a bit. But once you see how much time their platform can save you… you may reconsider.
Yext does a few great things that stand out:
They broadcast your correct business information to well over 100 directory systems, including Google and Facebook. They also allow you to make business updates from their platform and broadcast it to all the directories in the network. They manage your inbound reviews from your customers on all those platforms and immediately inform you when you receive them. They allow you to broadcast messages of specials you may want to promote. They link your business website from 100 different directories, instantly giving your business credibility online. The most underrated thing they do… is save you time from trying to log into 100 different directories and fix errors, omissions, and broadcast them all at the push of a button. Can you imagine the time it takes to create 100 different accounts and to regularly check and manage them? We did, so we tested Yext at our founder’s facility and have been a subscriber for well over 5 years now. This article originally published in CAR's News Section
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