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Found 48 results

  1. I hear a lot of auto repair shop owners say they don't want to offer a cheap oil change coupon on their direct mail marketing. They feel the cheap oil change coupon brings in the wrong clientele, and they don't want to devalue their brand and position themselves as the cheap oil change shop. As a quick note, the concept behind the cheap oil change offer is that it is a loss leader and utilized to entice new customers. The key is getting new customers through the door, which the cheap oil change can be extremely effective at doing. Once you get them in your shop and you do a great job for them, you can build a great rapport with them and win them over as a loyal customer. All that said, you will always know your business better than any marketing company. Therefore, we certainly can't argue with the fact that you would not like to use this strategy if in fact you have already executed a cheap oil change coupon campaign and it did bring in the wrong clientele. However, having an oil change coupon as part of your shop's direct mail marketing strategy is critical. Here are a few reasons why. An oil change is something that every non-electric vehicle owner will need at some point in time. Consequently, I would venture to say that most vehicle owners are familiar with what an oil change is more so than any other maintenance service. Compare that to a timing belt replacement coupon or a serpentine belt replacement, each of which the average consumer may not be familiar. When you have a coupon that is familiar and relevant to everyone that you are targeting, you have a much higher chance of increasing redemption rates. Therefore, for those shop owners that are afraid of attracting the wrong clientele or devaluing their brand with a low-price point oil change, the simple fix is to increase your oil change price point to a number that you are comfortable with and that is still a value from a consumer perspective. An alternate option would be to offer a specific $ off discount that you are comfortable with — for example, $10 off any conventional oil change & 15 off any full synthetic. My next recommendation, if you are a general auto repair shop, which is a non-negotiable one, in my opinion, is to structure your oil change coupon to offer both a conventional and full synthetic oil change offer. All too often, shop owners only offer a conventional oil change coupon. A conventional oil change coupon is fine. However, it will never appeal or be applicable to owners of vehicles that require full synthetic oil. There is no reason to limit your offer to only appeal to a specific set of vehicles. It's crucial you cast a wider net and appeal to as many vehicle owners as possible. The simple and quick solution is to offer both options. PRO TIP: if you are concerned about coupons bringing in the wrong clientele, think again. Even the wealthiest consumers use coupons. Here is a snippet from our blog post entitled "WHY YOU SHOULD BE SENDING DIRECT MAIL COUPONS: It might seem surprising, but wealthy people love saving money with coupons. In fact, households with annual incomes of $100,000 or more are twice as likely to use coupons than households earning less than $35,000 a year. Wealthy customers may be able to afford your most expensive products and services, but that doesn't mean they don't want a good deal. The majority of them are cautious about spending money and rarely make frivolous, unnecessary purchases. Rather than viewing your business as cheap, they'll appreciate your coupons and the opportunity to save money, You can check out the entire blog post here. https://www.themailshark.com/resources/blog/send-direct-mail-coupons/ Josh Davis Mail Shark Executive Vice President of Sales Direct: 484-948-1611 Email: [email protected] www.themailshark.com/AutoDirectMail Oil Change Coupon Example.pdf
  2. 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
  3. Tracking the return on your auto repair shop’s direct mail marketing can be a challenge. One tool that can give you a tremendous amount of transparency into your direct mail ROI and that I recommend almost 100% of the time is call tracking. For those of you who aren’t familiar with what call tracking is and how it works, it involves putting a unique phone number on your direct mail that isn’t used anywhere else. When someone calls the number, it forwards immediately and seamlessly to your main phone line. This gives you the ability to track and record all phone calls from this special number, in turn giving you some transparency into how your direct mail marketing is performing. There are of course many other nuances, capabilities, and uses for call tracking that you can learn about from companies like CallRail or Conversa, just to name a few. That said, it’s critical you understand call tracking is NOT the be-all end-all when it comes to determining how well your direct mail marketing is working. If this were the case, you’d have to assume that 100% of every new repair order you get calls directly from your mailer. However, we all know this will never be the case. Here are a few reasons why. Your Online Presence Before they consider using you repair shop, many prospects will go online to check out your website. If a customer lands on your website – assuming you aren’t using a PURL (Personalized URL), which is almost never the case with most auto repair shops – they do their research and then call your shop from the phone number on your website. In this situation, you immediately lose insight on how they heard about you. Customers are also reading your online reviews, whether on social media or review sites. Sites like Demandforce, SureCritic, Carfax, Repair Pal, Facebook, Yelp, Yellow Pages, etc. all have your shop’s contact details, including your phone number. Any call from customers who used these sites removes transparency on how they heard about you. Walk-Ins Our auto repair shop clients consistently tell us customers will just stop by their shop with their direct mail piece in hand. I’m not just talking about quick lube shops that are based on walk-in traffic. I’m talking about general and specialty auto repair shops. It’s great when customers have your mailer with them, because you can attribute these customers to your direct mail marketing. However, this won’t be reflected in your call tracking, which is another reason call tracking isn’t the be-all end-all when determining ROI. Online Appointment Scheduling More and more auto repair shops are offering online appointment scheduling. We like to position these shops as being easy to work with, and part of that is promoting their online appointment scheduling. We include verbiage on our direct mail pieces to inform customers they can conveniently schedule online, and most times we accompany this with a QR code that brings them directly to the appointment scheduling page. This is similar to my first point regarding your online presence and website. However, I also want to point out this specific example because in these cases, we’re actively pushing people to go online to schedule their repair or maintenance service, thus losing transparency from call tracking. All that said, call tracking is an effective tool that gives you a lot of transparency into your direct mail marketing ROI. However, you should also be running matchback reports that compare new repair orders during (and in the trailing months following your campaign) to your direct mail list. This helps you identify customers who were missed on call tracking or by your service advisor. You can then use your call tracking data in conjunction with your matchback reporting to get a clearer picture of your direct mail ROI. If you’re using EDDM® Retail or EDDM® BMEU, you won’t be able to execute matchback reporting because there’s no mailing list to compare your repair orders with. Josh Davis Mail Shark Executive Vice President of Sales Direct: 484-948-1611 Email: [email protected] www.themailshark.com/Auto-Direct-Mail
  4. There’s an old adage in marketing: “features tell and benefits sell.” This is critical to keep in mind when you’re promoting your auto repair shop. If your prospective customers don’t understand the features your shop offers, how they’ll benefit from these features, and why they should consider your shop for their next repair or maintenance service, you may lose them to your competition. The main constraint you’ll encounter when emphasizing benefits on your direct mail is usually space. There are a lot of important elements an effective direct mail advertisement should contain, all of which are fighting for valuable space. Furthermore, putting too much information on an ad can make it cluttered and hard to read, which could diminish your return. A great solution to this problem is to provide a clear, concise, and organized list of your shop’s features that can easily be scanned by your prospects. Depending on the available space, there are two ways you can do this. If you have limited space, you can simply list your benefits out in a bulleted list. If you have extra space, you can list them out in conjunction with an icon to help illustrate the benefit and call additional attention to them. Here’s a starting point to help you develop and build a list of your shop’s features and benefits. Quality -Are your technicians ASE certified? -Do you offer a warranty on your work? -Do you offer a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee? Affordability -Do you offer any financing options? Comfort -Do you offer any amenities in your waiting room? Convenience -Do you offer any type of shuttle service or loaner car service? -Do you offer same day service on most repairs? -Do you offer early drop-off and/or after-hours pick-up? -Do you offer roadside assistance? -Do you offer online appointment scheduling? Trust -Are all repairs approved by your customer before any work is done? Pro Tip: Make sure you give your list of benefits a header. Something like: “Why Choose XYZ Auto” or “Our Benefits For You.” or “10 Reasons to Choose XYZ” Josh Davis Mail Shark Executive Vice President of Sales Direct: 484-948-1611 Email: [email protected] www.themailshark.com/Auto-Direct-Mail
  5. With Mother's day approaching soon, plan on a Mother's Day promotions. It could be an individual flower, like a rose, to all the Mom's a few days before Mother's day, or little boxes of candy. It does not have to be a big deal, just something that tells your customers you are thinking of them. So, think about a small promotion and trust me, it will be a hit. Another marketing tip: Father's day is coming; so don't forget the dads!
  6. If you are currently sending or considering sending out direct mail by carrier route, there is one specific type of address you should be aware of called a Drop Stop AKA Drop Address. A Drop Stop is a “locked” location where postal carriers do not deliver mail to the individual units or boxes. They “drop” the mail in a designated location for the individual complex to distribute. Take a look at the attached. This photo is from a client of mine from years ago that wanted to test this area and mail this specific complex that we identified to be classified as a Drop Stop. *Although the majority of Drop Addresses are apartment complexes, the vast majority of apartment complexes are NOT considered drop address apartments. In addition to designated apartment complexes, some other types of drop addresses are some gated communities, trailer parks, etc. There are no absolute rules or policies for establishing an address as a drop delivery location. The determination of a drop delivery location is based on several factors. It may be the choice of the recipients at the address such as for gated communities or prestigious high-rise condominiums that the residents don’t wish to have their physical address information disclosed and elect instead to have their mail distributed by their building management. Where a delivery location is defined as a business delivery point such as a trailer park, the USPS may make the determination that all mail will be delivered to a central location and the responsibility for distribution to the individual recipients will be made by other than USPS personnel. All that said, the first step is to identify if any of the addresses in your area are classified as drop addresses. From here I typically always recommend removing these from a saturation mailer. You could have a tenant that sees a special offer and simply takes all of them or someone doesn’t like an employee at your business or had a bad experience, etc, etc. and simply takes them and dumps them in the trash. In my opinion in 99.8% of cases it makes no sense to pay for postage on pieces that may just get dropped on a table. I’m sure you would much rather have your direct mail marketing going to a physical address that you know will get delivered into the intended recipient’s mailbox. If you have any questions regarding Drop Addresses or would like to see if there are any in your immediate area, please let me know. Josh Davis Mail Shark Executive Vice President of Sales Direct: 484-948-1611 Email: [email protected] www.themailshark.com/Auto-Direct-Mail
  7. If you haven’t considered or utilized direct mail postcard magnets to attract new customers, now is the time to reevaluate this medium. Over the past 9 years, I have seen first-hand how effective direct mailing a postcard magnet can be for new customer acquisition as well as customer retention. The Direct Marketing Association (DMA), who is quite a credible source, also reported in their DMA Statistical Fact Book that “A postcard with a magnet attached is read at least 51.9% more often than a traditional postcard.” With that said, I cannot speak to how this study was conducted, but this directly correlates to my real-world experience mailing millions of postcard magnets for our clients over the years. Why is now the right time to mail a postcard magnet? Postcard magnets are effective all year round. However, now is the perfect time to capitalize on the recently released NFL schedules, which will give you a great opportunity to beat your competitors. You’ll be the first company to get your region’s favorite team schedules on the fridge of your prospective customers. Another reason postcard magnets are so effective is this simple fact. Your target prospects may not have a broken car or need your services the exact day that you target them. Therefore, it is imperative that you are top of mind when a need arises and that’s exactly what postcard magnets accomplish. Consumers get them and intuitively put them on their fridge, keeping your brand constantly visible in their home. There are a number of companies that offer this product so get quotes & compare services. Again, it’s the perfect is the perfect time to execute this product. I have attached a few samples to give you a better idea of what the product can look like. If you have any questions, please let me know. Josh Davis Mail Shark Executive Vice President of Sales Direct: 484-948-1611 Email: [email protected] www.themailshark.com/Auto-Direct-Mail
  8. 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
  9. 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 View full article
  10. Here's a tip I have posted before, but it's worth repeating. One job that goes unnoticed most of the year is the job of the part's driver. You get part deliveries all day long, every day, all year long. Many times, these part's drivers take all the abuse due to wrong parts, the parts took too long to be delivered, on and on and on. Those drivers may not say anything, but they take it to heart. So, here's what you are going to do. Buy small gifts, such as small boxes of candy or chocolate. Nothing expensive. During the holidays, give all the drivers one of these small gifts and say "Thank you, I appreciated what you do." Two things will happen. First, the driver will be stunned and will not know what to say, and they will be very thankful that you thought of them. The second thing that will happen is this: The very next time those part drivers have three delivers to make at three different shops, what shop do you think they will want to go to first? Yes...Yours!
  11. A few weeks back I had a problem with my refrigerator. I got a referral and called an appliance repair company. I called three times and each time I called this is what happened: "C and E appliance, please hold." I was put on hold three times for about 5 minutes. After being put on hold each time, a women would say, "What's the problem?" No engagement, no sign of interest for me the customer, no signs of caring. I gave the women a brief description of the problem and each time she told me someone would call me back. Well, no one did. So, I called for the 4th time, and as the person answered the phone I said, "DO NOT PUT ME ON HOLD." There was silence, so I continued. I explained to her that she has spoken to me three times, I left messages three times and three times you told me that someone would call me back. She replied, "You are talking to the wrong person, if you have any complaints, write a letter to my boss, after all he won't listen to me anyway." I hung up the phone and called another company. The lesson and takeaway here is simple: Who's answering your phone? The wrong people on the phone in your shop can kill your business. Have meetings with your people. Make sure you review your phone skills policy. If you don't have one, create one. Empower your people to people to handle issues. And make sure you log every phone call. If you feel you have a problem, start recording phone calls. Your phone is your lifeline to future business. So, please ask yourself....Who's answering your phone?
  12. If you have ever wanted to advertise like the big franchises and dealerships here is your chance. I will be adding to my program, professionally produced ads for use on social media sites for my clients. There will be one for all four seasons Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall as well as a couple you can run weekly or bi weekly to stay in front of your customers, and to generate new ones. You can personalize ads as well. If your going to use ad words you might as well get the biggest bang out of them. Bringing Shop Marketing and Management to shop owners that want to hit that million dollar mark and beyond and providing it with a reasonable investment that has huge returns. Shop Training, Management and Marketing all in one. All shops are different so we can talk about your needs and what will get your shop to that next level. We can build a program to fit. If interested in the program send a private message here, or go to my web site and do so. I think you will be amazed at what we offer. Consultation is no cost. Making your business the best in your market and beyond.
  13. You are a entrepreneur and your business is Automotive Repair. Run your business like a business and become more profitable. You have a tool box just like your techs in the shop do and the ones with the correct tools , good work ethics and knowledge are the best at what they do. So can you in the shop management area just use your TOOL BOX! A few things to get cleared up. I have read a lot of post , forums etc, dealing with car count, advertising, us against the dealerships etc. WELL ! First you have to concentrate on your business not what someone else is doing, what works for you and makes you money should be what matters to you and your business. 1) Concentrate on what your doing right if it needs refined ..REFINE IT.. DIAL IT IN... GET THE PERCENTAGES CORRECT. 2) Do you have enough work flow and are you getting the max out of what you already have ? 3) IF you don't have a good even flow of car count, advertise, but do it in a way that it comes back to you to show what your business has to offer that the others don't. 4) REPUTATION, CUSTOMER SERVICE, FIXING THE CONCERN and BEING A SMART BUSINESS OWNER are the only steps to winning. 5) Last but not least .. PEOPLE BUY GOODS AND SERVICES FROM PEOPLE PERIOD !! Look at it in this perspective for a moment. Your advisors are problem solvers, customer comes in with a problem or just for a service and they let them know what it will take to repair it or what the car may be in need of if not now then soon. They are solving problems if not right now then later, building trust and reputation for your business. I always say if you solve there problem the rest SELLS itself. And for those of you that think and have been programmed to think that getting new customers, keeping the good ones you have to spend crazy money to get them and keep them is just that "crazy". I will be glad to speak with anyone that wants to have less stress and make there shop profitable. Send me a message, email, phone call and we will go over what you have and what you are wanting to achieve and the consultation is always free. IT COST NOTHING TO ASK BUT IT COULD COST A LOT IF YOU DON'T !! "LOAD YOUR TOOL BOX WITH THE RIGHT TOOLS"
  14. This is not new topic for me, but I need to revisit it again. And I will keep revisiting this topic for the sake of our industry. For independent repair shops to "thrive" today, you must take a proactive approach with regard to business. If you only want to "survive" you can stop reading now. Waiting for the phone to ring, or for cars to breakdown, or for a customer to drive into your shop asking for a repair or service is business suicide. The days of broken cars lining up in front of your bays are over. Sure, cars still breakdown, but you cannot thrive with a wait-and-see strategy. Make sure you perform multipoint inspections on all cars in for any type of service. Yes, any type of service or repair. Look up vehicle history on all vehicles. Let the customer know of needed services, missed services and services due. And lastly, book the next appointment. Yes, I know....Joe's been preaching this over and over and it does not work in your shop. Fine, then let me focus on those shops that do book the next appointment. Because those are the shops that are adopting a proactive approach...and I will see those shops in the future.
  15. Car Count Daily | Episode 8 Click Here To Subscribe For DAILY Car Count Daily Tips Straight To Your Inbox Click Here To Subscribe For DAILY Car Count Daily Tips Straight To Your Inbox VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION Hi, shop owners, Ron Ipach here. Sometimes people call me Captain Car Count. Welcome to yet another edition of Car Count Daily. Now before I get started did you know that you can go down below this video and leave me a comment, leave me a question, maybe a suggestion? Yes, you can. As soon as this video is done, please go down and tell me what you think about these episodes, ask some questions, maybe even give me some suggestions for what I should be covering on future episodes. I would really appreciate that. As soon as we're done with this, please go down and type something in that bar down there, so I could read it. I will respond to them. I try to respond to every one of the questions, comments and suggestions that I've been given. On today's episode we're going to actually be addressing a question from a shop owner named Dave who's been in business for 28 years. He asked, "Is there anything new in the automotive repair industry?" In a word, yeah. A lot has changed in these 28 years. If we look at the car itself, obviously, you know the cars are made a whole lot better than they used to be. You're more in a maintenance business than you were in a repair business. That has changed drastically over these 28 years. Also, what's changed is the consumer, the consumer habits. The way of contacting them has changed enormously. The buying habits of the consumer have changed drastically. Your share of their attention, trying to grab their attention when they're being bombarded by all the advertising that's out there has changed drastically. When we think about it, millennials, which is now the largest group of people that are out there, they grew up with cell phones in their hands. Everything is online. They're doing mobile searches instead of looking through the yellow pages. They buy things differently and at different times. You and I have changed a lot as well with that. When was the last time that you did some online shopping? I know I did a lot of my Christmas shopping online. I didn't even have to leave the house to whittle down that Christmas list. A lot of people are driving less because they can simply go on Amazon and have it delivered in a couple hours. That's changed drastically, the amount of miles that people are driving as well as people are using services like Uber and Lift for other people to drive them. It's very inexpensive for people to get driven around. Their driving habits are changing a lot. The one thing I can tell you is the marketing principles have not changed. The way we contact people have changed. The messages we give them have changed. The people we're marketing to have changed. All of those have changed drastically over the past 28 years, but the main principles, the core competencies of marketing really haven't changed much at all. What am I talking about? First off, we got to find the right person to market to, the person we want to attract to our shop. Second, we have to give them a very compelling message. We got to grab their attenton. As I said before, there's a lot more competition for those eyeballs. People are looking at email, they're online. They're seeing advertisements bombarding from all these different areas. We have to be a lot more savvy in how we try to attract their attention. That hasn't changed. Then we need to give them a very compelling offer. That's a good core competency and make sure that you have that in all of your marketing as well as you got to give them a sense of urgency. We got to have the right target. We have to have the right message. We have to have the right offer, and we have to give them that sense of urgency, so that they come in right now. That all has been the same. Everything else about running the business has totally changed. If you're not keeping up with that, you're going to be left behind. Again, the marketing, the core competencies haven't changed, but everything that layers on top of that, how we deliver that message, that's changed drastically. Who we're delivering it to has changed drastically. -- Ron Ipach (a.k.a Captain Car Count) President/Founder of Repair Shop Coach More articles and content like this and originated through Ron Ipach's Car Count Daily campaign Auto Repair Shop Owners, Managers, and Automotive Industry Professionals are invited to join 'Car Count Daily Boosters' LinkedIn group to provide resources and gain insight on boosting car count DAILY and filling up the bays in their shops.
  16. Somebody recently sent an email to me asking the same question that I get dozens of times every single month. Basically, it says, "Ron, how much should I budget for my marketing?" I have a very simple answer to that. One that actually a lot of people are gonna totally disagree with me... My answer is, throw out the marketing budget. You do not need a marketing budget, and here's the reason why: A lot of times, I've heard five, six, or even three percent of your growth sales should be used towards advertising. Now, that might be a good number for some months, but it's a horrible number for other months. But if you're budgeting and you're only gonna have a certain amount of money for marketing every single month, your business is gonna be going to be heading on a downward slope. For a lot of our clients, the summer months tend to be their busiest month. They don't need to be spending a lot of money on marketing at all during those months because they're just naturally busy. But then when the kids go back to school in August and September, everything screeches to a halt. So I'm gonna say throw out the marketing budget and spend it where and if you need it. You don't need to spend a lot of money on marketing if you're naturally busy. You do need to spend a lot of money on marketing if you're gonna be slow. Now, this goes to ... I guess I should mention, it's not a matter of just throwing a bunch of money out there on marketing. You have to do good quality marketing. You have to have the right message sent to the right market at the right time using the right media. In other words, a way that they're actually gonna see your marketing. You have to get all of those things straight. So I'm going to probably guess that if you follow me and participate in my Car Count Daily campaign by watching my videos, you're getting a good idea, a good sense of what good quality marketing is. I'll assume that you're doing good quality marketing. Now, if you're spending money on good quality marketing, you're gonna get good results. If you don't need it during the summer months, slow it down. If you're gonna need it in the fall, you need to raise it up. I don't like marketing budgets for that reason, because everybody gets used to spending the same amount of money every single month, whether they need to or not. Pay attention to your numbers. Pay attention to what your shop is telling you. Pay attention to what your car count's telling you and spend the money when needed. Also, if you're running short of your numbers, you may need to spend a lot more money and put in a lot more effort on your marketing for those specific months. Don't look at marketing as an expense. Look at it as an investment. A marketing budget is something to be spent. Marketing investment, your marketing dollars if it's done right, is actually an investment. It's not taking money, it's actually attracting more money to your shop.
  17. According to a recent survey featured in the May issue of National Oil and Lube News, 38% of the motoring public usually go to a new car dealer to have their oil changed. Second place was a quick lube and third place was the traditional auto facility. Now, I have to admit, this survey was done by a publication dedicated to the Quick Lube industry, so I am not sure of any bias here. But it is worth taking note that the people polled were car owners from across the country. And, in spite of what we think about the new car dealers, they do want to penetrate the consumer market we took for granted for so many decades. The point is that in today’s competitive climate we need to take a proactive approach to our business. Anyone who knows me or reads my articles and posts know I have been preaching this for some time now. We also need to be convenient and deliver world-class service. We need trained people on the phone and on the service counter. Of course you need quality techs, training, information systems and the best equipment. But, look at your business through the eyes of your customers. That will tell you your next marketing strategy. If I were you, I would do my own survey….find out for yourself….Who’s changing YOUR customer’s oil?
  18. I feel like my area is extremely competitive. My area is a small town with about 8000 households (includes town and rural areas). We have 6 legitimate 4-8 bay shops, 1 Chevy dealer, and at least 3 hole-in-wall/backyard guys (800 households/shop). The next town over has 8000 households, 1 legit 8 bay shop, 0 dealers, and 2-3 hole-in-the-wall/backyard guys (2-3000 households/shop). Just wondering what some of you are dealing with out there so I have some reference point. Also, for those of you with multiple locations, does this sort of thing impact the success of individual locations?
  19. Free Report: Everyone knows how expensive advertising the repair shop can seem at times. So much so that many auto repair shop owners are hesitant to even begin to construct an auto repair marketing game plan. Because of this, in a file attached, we dug a little deep to provide you with 10 absolutely free ways to market your automotive business in order to boost the car count in your shops. Check out these 10 Strategies to Increase Your Car Count Without Spending Any Money (file attached) Enjoy. - Captain Car Count P.S. For more free daily content please subscribe here: http://www.carcountdaily.com Free Report.compressed.pdf
  20. Back in the 1970’s, the success of the repair shop could be traced directly to three things: General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. Those cars needed a ton of repair work and broke down all the time I remember when a customer would come in asking for an oil change. We would almost laugh at the guy, “Park it out back, I’ll get to it later if I get the chance”, was the standard reply. Today, it’s a different world. When Mrs. Jones asks for an oil change, I urge you to say, “YES, we can do that!” Cars today are built better, don’t require as much maintenance and oil change intervals are ever-increasing. You need to take a proactive approach with every car in your shop. Don’t get tunnel vision and focus only on what the customer brought the car in for. Manage the vehicle’s car care needs. Explain the need for preventive maintenance, scheduled services, and other services such as wheel alignments, tire rotations, filters, etc. And lastly, make sure you inform the customer of their next appointment and book that appointment. Ok, I know what some of you are saying, “My customers don’t know what they are doing in 4 months and that strategy does not work for me.” I hear this all the time. Well, think about this; your dentist books the next appointment, and so does the eye doctor, medical doctor, hair dressers, chimney cleaners, boiler service companies, on and on. The bottom line is this. You can wait for the cars to come to you, and some will. Or you can take a proactive approach and increase those car counts and maximize your sales.
  21. A common discussion this time of the year is how business slows down in the mid-winter months. Not that you can always predict it. I have experienced some winters that were banner sales months. But in general, business does slow down for a number of reasons, especially in the colder climates: Credit Card bills from holiday spending, home heating bills, tax season, lost days due to storms and more. So, the question is, how does a shop prepare? Here's a few things that I do. Perhaps you add your owner strategies, which would benefit all ASO members: * Prepare in advance and flood your customer base with service reminders, winter promotions and other recommended services during the slower months. Try to increase traffic to your shop during the months that are typically slower * Review the history on all vehicles the day before the appointment. Look for previous notes and recommended service and repairs. Be prepared to discuss at write-up. * Make sure all cars get a multi-point inspection - identify needed service and repairs * Review the service history for all vehicles. Check for services due, services due soon and services never done. Again, this can be done prior to the appointment date and discussed at the write-up * At write-up, don't forget to ask, Is there anything else we can do for you today? Wipers? Tire Rotation? An oil change? * If you use email promotions, create email blasts around winter events, for example: "Its Valentines Day! Show your car some love!" Include a few winter tips and links back to your website and to book appointments OR... "Winter Driving Advisory: Is your car prepared for the upcoming storm?" Include a few tips; wipers, tires, washer fluid top off, heater working right, antifreeze, battery. And of course, links back to your website and appointments. * Check your CRM for customers that did not show up for their recommended service or repair. CALL THESE CUSTOMERS. Here's a tip; start calling your best customers, those are the ones most likely to come in. * Go back and review all invoices for the past 4 weeks. Look over the work orders and check service history too. You will find work that was missed, not sold and services that are due. Call these customers too. As you can see, a proactive approach is better than hoping people will come in. What strategies to you have?
  22. The holidays are a great time of the year to strengthen your relationship with employees and customers. Spend time with customers and employees discussing holiday plans and family. Show everyone that you value people first, profit second. Make sure you are genuine and show sincere interest in others. In the spirit of Christmas, the more you give the more you will receive. And of course, never forget your own family. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!
  23. While many shop owners may not enjoy a harsh winter, there's always that feeling that a tough winter is good for business. But is it? Last year was one of the worst winters on record in the northeast. There was a ton of winter-related work. But, when you factor the days closed due to snow and ice storms, sales did not reflect any real increase. I know I may be simplifying this, since there are a number of reasons why business may slow down in the winter months. However, to rely on a tough winter to bring in service and repair work may not be your best sales strategy. The winter will be what it is; tough or mild. We cannot help that. But, what we can do is prepare for either scenario, which is building your customer retention rate by proactively identifying needed future work on each vehicle, discussing all future work with each customer, creating service reminders and creating a follow up call list to contact your customers when those service reminders go out. We cannot predict the future, but we can help create it. Start today with each and every customer to ensure that they come back to you for all their service needs. Remember this: Every car in your shop today will need a future LOF service, future services and future repairs. The question is, will they be coming back to you?
  24. Before you call me crazy, please read on. Last year was one of the toughest winters in history for many shops in the northern states. Records snow falls and frigid low temperatures caused many shops to lose days, and in some cases weeks’ worth of sales. Many shops are still struggling to eke out a profit for this year. That’s the bad news, and the reality of what happened and what can happen again this winter. The good news is this: We all learned from it. And because of what happened we are better prepared, or should be better prepared for it. He’s a rundown of the strategy most of us will implement. Please feel free to add to this list, so we can all share in each other’s knowledge: · Create a Fall Promotion to get your customer’s car ready for the winter · Have a meeting with the entire staff; key on the service areas that are winter-related and check these items at every vehicle visit: o Battery testing o Antifreeze testing o Check wiper blades o Check tire condition o Suggest snow/winter tires o Check all fluid condition o Check operation of heater and fan speeds · Make sure your service staff is proactive with regard to needed maintenance services · Identify the next service for all customers, inform the customer. · Book and flood your customer base with service reminders during the slower months to boost sales · Implement a phone call system to call customer to remind them of recommended services, especially during the slow months · Create another Winter-Related promotion and send out during the months of January, February and March. o Flood your customer base with these promotions. No one can predict the future, and no one can tell how any effect any marketing plan will be. But there is one thing I CAN guarantee; if you do nothing, expect nothing. Your thoughts?


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