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You’ve seen it in your shop, no doubt—when the economy gets tough or a little dicey, people tend to forego repairs or maintenance on their vehicles. Every business has slower periods, but the automotive repair industry is especially affected by economic downturns. It’s important to be able to respond to these slow periods proactively.
So how do you accomplish that? Read on for tips on how to attract new customers and bring existing customers back into your shop.
Create and Promote Your Brand
Your online presence must portray a strong digital marketing brand. It might seem silly to think of your auto repair shop as being a “brand,” but seeing it as such will generate more business for your shop. Strong branding generally means there is a positive impression of the company amongst consumers, and they are likely to do business with you because of the familiarity and assumed dependability of using a name they can trust. Once a brand has been well-established, word of mouth will be the company’s best and most effective advertising technique.
Basically, you should sit down and really think of how your customers interact with your business. Make a list of everything that might make its way into a customer’s hands, and think about how you want your business to be represented by it. You want to present a consistent, cohesive image to keep your name on customers’ minds between visits. You don’t want them struggling to remember the name of that auto shop they took the car to for new brakes; you want them to remember you and your shop clearly and immediately. Having a compelling brand will go a long way toward making that possible.
A Strong Online Presence
Your business likely already has a website. If it doesn’t, it should. Building and maintaining an online presence is a must for any small business that wishes to stay competitive. If a consumer is able to Google your products or services in your city or town, and you are nowhere to be found, then they have no way to find out about you.”
But maintaining and regularly updating your website can be a challenge. Think in terms of seasons—winterize your car, recharge your air conditioner for summer—and any specials you can run that might make sense for a specific time of year. You also want to make sure that any print or other traditional advertising you also use is mirrored on your website—have that information, or at least links to any sales or special offers, clearly visible on the first page your customers are likely to see. B2B Automotive offers professional, innovative, and responsive website designs to make all of these items possible.
In addition to having a webpage for your shop, you’ll want to have a strong social media presence. Facebook is a must, but you will also want to consider other social media platforms like Instagram or Twitter, if you have the time. Have these updates regularly scheduled so your customers know when they can expect new content from your shop.
Social media presents a wide variety of opportunities for posts that you can use to get your brand in front of customers and potential customers. Not only can you post links to your blog, but also coupons, notifications of any specials you might be running, helpful or seasonal advice, customer testimonials, and anything else you can think of that might be of interest or service to your customer base. Our digital marketing solutions at B2B Automotive will provide you with the tools you need to excel your profits into high gear.
With over three decades of automotive marketing experience, the B2B Automotive Team are experts when it comes to assisting with these common challenges. There are different forms of digital marketing that B2B Automotive utilizes when it comes to setting up an individualized plan.
Networking and Cross Promotional Marketing
Networking is an often-overlooked way to attract new customers. Find other small businesses in your community to connect with. This is most easily done online, on social media platforms like Facebook. Follow these businesses on social media, and think about mentioning them in a post; this can be an excellent way to generate goodwill.
Look for local organizations you can join, like small business associations or your local Chamber of Commerce. Most of these types of organizations have monthly meetings where you can meet other small business owners and discuss the possible benefits of networking. Rubbing elbows with other local business owners and making a good impression can be a great way to drum up word of mouth business or recommendations.
Host Free Seminars or Workshops
By providing your potential customers with information about the products and services your auto shop provides, you can create sales by stressing the importance of regular maintenance and making sure their vehicles are prepared for the season ahead.
If your auto shop holds a free car care seminar, workshop, or clinic—either at your shop or at another community event like a street fair or a farmer’s market—you can attract new customers or remind existing customers of repairs or maintenance they may need to have performed. Feature free vehicle inspections and estimates, and consider having a mechanic or technician on-hand to answer any questions.
During Slow Periods, Contact All of Your Customers
If you’re experiencing a slow period of business with few customers coming into the shop, rely on your customer list or database to drum up business. Tell them your name and the name of your auto shop, and let them know you’re just calling to see if there are any maintenance or repair issues you could assist with—perhaps at a discount, if you really want to incentivize them.
Simply by calling existing customers and letting them know of any special offers or discounts your shop may be running—such as 50% oil changes—can bring much needed business into your shop. Even if your customers don’t currently have any pressing needs, it keeps your business name fresh in their memory and enhances the reputation of your shop.
The B2B Automotive team provides a strategic mix of traditional and digital design, public relations, brand development, web design, search engine optimization (SEO) and social media initiatives designed to grow your annual revenue. If you are unsure of your online presence and digital marketing needs, B2B Automotive is happy to provide you with a consultation via phone, online or arrange a shop visit. For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415.787.AUTO.