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  1. Here's a tip I preach at the Elite Fly with the Eagles Marketing course: Study your competition in your local area, know everything about, learn what they do in your community, learn about their advertising strategy and marketing strategy, find what their strengths are, and find out what they do special for their customers. Ok...once that is done, here is what you do: Ready? Don't do anything that your competition does! That's right, in order to stand out, be different. Don't mimic what your completion does. Tell YOUR story and build a marketing and advertising strategy based
  2. The common buzz in business is to market to new, potential customers. This is a smart strategy given that every business losses customers each year, and we need to replace those lost customers. However, we also need a marketing plan that takes care of our existing customers. It is cheaper and easier to retain your customers, than to market for new ones. What strategies do you employ to retain your existing customers?
  3. Got your attention? Good. That's the power of advertising and marketing. I know many of you are affected by COVID and experiencing a downturn economically. Studies have shown that the businesses that maintain advertising during downturns do better with market share and sales when the economy returns to normal. Maintaining your marketing presence is a lot easier and less expensive than playing catch up when things get better. I know the reality of tough times. Do your best to maintain your advertising during tough times. You will get back what you invest.
  4. Most of you probably already know what I am about to say: The Service Advisor position is the most crucial position in the shop. I know, I know, what about the mechanical work done by the techs? Well, that's important too, of course. For the most part, customers spend their hard-earned money and most of time don't really know or see what was done to their car. Let's face it, the customer can't see the water pump or T-belt. And most of the time, the customer does not feel any difference with the car as they drive out of your parking lot. What the customer does see (or experience
  5. I know it's not going to be Back to School as usual this year, but there will be increased traffic on the road as more people perform school-related errands. It's your obligation to your customers and the community to make sure the roads are safe. Many people have neglected their cars the past few months, making a lot of opportunity for your shop. Get your Fall/Back to School marketing plan in place today! Want to share ideas? Even Better!
  6. As part of our debt reduction, I revamped all of our usual marketing and advertising and put those dollars into customer service and social media. For example, we ramped up our shuttle pickup and delivery service, extended our hours of service, made sure we spend a lot of time with each customer and made sure we called as many customers as possible. We also stepped up our meet and greet process and made sure will followed up with customer after the repair. Lastly, we increased our social media posts and increases ads and boosting. This has made a huge impact on our customer and already starti
  7. 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 ev
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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 nu
  11. 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 whi
  12. Many of you might have heard of fellow shop owner, Audra Fordin. Her shop is located in Queens, New York and is doing something outstanding for our industry. She has been recognized in the news media and in many trade publications. She started a web site called WOMEN “AUTO” KNOW. Not only is it brilliant marketing, she has created a program that is actually helping to improve the image of our industry. I urge you to check out her web site and “Take the Pledge” and join her organization. At the very least, you owe it to yourself and to our industry to find out what she is all about
  13. 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!
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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 an
  19. Internet auto repair bidding is here. There’s a new online service called Repair Jungle, recently launched this past January. Its market area at the present time is Washington D.C., Virginia and Maryland. Repair Jungle is a web based service that allows shops to compete for jobs through a bidding Process. Now, are you ready for this? Consumers upload photos, describe the problem, give other vehicle information and local shops can bid for the job. Is it me or does this sound a little over the top? Fred Yu, the founder of Repair Jungle says, “The goal is drive down prices and drive u
  20. 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 a
  21. 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
  22. 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?
  23. 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 strate
  24. 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 abo
  25. 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


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