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Looking for some input into Advertising

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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

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I have 4 main campaigns going and some other things.  One hits 45K homes every 3 weeks, one hits about 10K homes every 5 weeks (overlaps), one is direct mail to people that have never visited my shop and then other reminder marketing.   What I did was to align myself with a small business marketing company that specializes in automotive.   I get lower pricing thru him than I would going direct to the mailing companies because of his total volume.   Actually, the direct mail and the reminder marketing are done thru two other companies that specialize in those types of marketing.  I track all of these very carefully to monitor success rate.   In spite of that, frankly, I couldn't tell you for sure that it works versus doing nothing, but I do believe it helps get the word out that we exist, which IMO is my biggest barrier being relatively new.   I'm still doing it and have no plans to stop.   I'd be happy to share contacts if useful.   This is costing me about $2500 monthly.

They say that you need to be seen 7 times with advertising to be "known".   I had significant heart-burn deciding to do this and didn't want to do what I'm doing.  I'm mailing much wider than I want to because of how the postal / advertiser routes are structured.   If I want to mail across the street, I have to accept that whole area.  Kind of frustrating, but I'm hitting my target areas.

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  • Alex changed the title to Looking for some input into Advertising

Advertising is one of the biggest heartaches for many automotive shops. Their are many questions that swirl around the idea about advertising.

How much money do we need to spend?

Who is our target?

How do we know if the advertising going to work? 

Their is no right answer to the advertising question, but the answer does lay with your customers. Simply put, there is three generation of customers; past, present and future.

The past customers already know you and know the customer service that you provide, in return they send word a mouth to other friends that need repairs. These customers don't go un-noticed, they are your behind the scene advertisers. They are the ones that you send special support to, such as, gift cards, thank you cards, free oil changes and so on. They will continue to feed your business.

The present customers are your referral customers. They require a little more attention and communication so they know they can trust you as a reliable automotive shop. Making sure that you spend the time explaining what is wrong with there vehicle and what the recommend repair is and the options they have. With these customers you add a key chain to there rings, you give them a oil change sticker on the windshield, you give them a cool looking decal. Something that they can walk away and say I went to THIS SHOP to have my truck repaired.

The future customers, is our future customers. We rely on past and present customer to continue to feed our shops with work. Most important thing that many people forget is that you are AIMING for the FUTURE CUSTOMERS "Gen Z, iGen or Centennials" these are the social media, internet advertising customers. They don't deal with direct mail or hassle with emails, they scroll through social media and look at pop ups, they google business and look at reviews. To answer your question, invest in SEO if you want to continue to build your business.

Conclusion, I took over a 40 year old transmission shop 12 years ago. It is still family owned and operated and houses excellent talent and knowledge in the field of transmission. I noticed that we were loosing customers and things needed to change. They were still advertising with phone books and newspapers. But we were in the middle of change in society with social media picking up speed. I saw it coming. I quickly changed direction and started focusing on the "Future customers". We started to focus and research the SEO world. What did it have to deal with me. The more I learned the more I realized that we all do the same thing. You go on vacation and you have a breakdown, where do you turn to? The internet. When you have problems with your car and who do you take it to? You look on the internet.

Currently 60% of our new cliental come from the internet and reviews, 30% from word a mouth and 10% all others. There is not a right way or wrong way to advertise, you just have to look into your community and see where your greatest strength are.


Hope this post helps someone. Have a great day.

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Hi David, aka tirengolf!

To start, I think you have to adjust your mindset a little on this. You said...

On 9/1/2019 at 6:57 PM, tirengolf said:

I just do not want to throw a bunch of money away on the wrong advertising.

I understand - but you have to look at it slightly different. Lets say, for example, you invest $500 in a campaign. That could be direct mail, Facebook ads, or just about anything... and that $500 ad spend gets you about $1,000 in total sales. Is that a waste of time?? A waste of money?? 

Now, I don't know your shop - but I'm going to use some very general basics. I think I'm safe saying that your GP% is about 50%. I know, most are above that - I see high 50's to 60's in the shops I work with - but 50% GP is safe, right? 

That means, on a $500 ad spend, the $1,000 in work was about a break even. 

Is that a loss? No. I agree, it's not a win either, but all the money you sent out came home with it's its friends, right? 

That's where you HAVE TO START! There's no other way. Nobody... and I mean nobody, no Guru, or Ad pro is going to give you a strategy that is guaranteed to work. You can only use some best practices and give it a shot. 

I've got two resources for you that will help:

#1) A YouTube video that I created that outlines everything you need to know about doing direct mail or postcard mailing. Having said that, understand that the fundamentals really apply to just about any type of advertising. 

#2) I created a FREE COURSE, "How to Double Your Car Count in 89 Days" - and do it without wasting your hard earned dollars on money sucking advertising. Over 2 hours and 20 minutes of video training, broken up into 16 short videos, delivered in 4 chapters - about 1 chapter every 2 days - and you get UNLIMITED ACCESS. Oh, did I tell you it's FREE? It is!

I also agree with what bantar said... he said...

On 9/1/2019 at 9:46 PM, bantar said:

I have 4 main campaigns going and some other things.  One hits 45K homes every 3 weeks, one hits about 10K homes every 5 weeks (overlaps), one is direct mail to people that have never visited my shop and then other reminder marketing.

It's about creating campaigns that work - as long as they are all returning AT LEAST what they cost. 

With respect to bantar's comments, 

On 9/1/2019 at 9:46 PM, bantar said:

I track all of these very carefully to monitor success rate.   In spite of that, frankly, I couldn't tell you for sure that it works versus doing nothing,

The fix for that is to add a single line like "BRING THIS WITH YOU TO GET THESE PRICES - NO EXCEPTIONS!" or something like that. 
Also, deadlines help No, not 30 days - Make it 3-5 days. I can't tell you how many times I run postcards with clients and they all tell me the same thing - Friday was really busy - it was the last day on the offer! Ha! Go figure. Strong call to action and a deadline!

I could go on and on about this topic, but it doesn't matter unless there's more detail. 

In short, you've got to start somewhere. The easiest is direct mail to your list. Then put a Customer Referral Program in place - and work your customers for more customers. It's all about the reward - and no, 10% off your next service isn't a reward. 

Hope this helps!

"The Car Count Fixer"

P.S.: FREE Course - How to Double Your Car Count in 89 Days!
P.P.S.: Car Count Hackers on You Tube
P.P.P.S.: Like and Follow Car Count Hackers on Facebook




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  • 2 weeks later...

When I said:

On 9/1/2019 at 8:46 PM, bantar said:

I track all of these very carefully to monitor success rate.   In spite of that, frankly, I couldn't tell you for sure that it works versus doing nothing,

I intended to say....    I've not tried "doing nothing", so I have no way to compare "nothing" with what I'm doing.   I believe that doing nothing would be bad and therefore don't have plans to test it.

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Hi bantar! Thanks for that clarification. I figured that's what you meant. What I really like is the fact that you've got various strategies - all working together. I think you said 4 campaigns! The only thing I would suggest is, trying different types of offers.  I explain that stuff in my free course, How to Double Your Car Count in 89 Days

Good luck! Hope this helps!

"The Car Count Fixer"

P.S.: Join the conversation at YouTube.com/CarCountHackers - Like & Follow Car Count Hackers on Facebook

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
      One last thing; the cost of technician turnover can be financially devastating. It also affects shop morale. Do all you can to create a workplace where technicians feel they are respected, recognized, and know that their work contributes to the overall success of the company. This will lead to improved morale and team spirit. Remember, when you see a technician’s toolbox rolling out of the bay on its way to another shop, the heart was most likely gone long before that.
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