One of the questions I get asked all the time is “What is the single best tactic to use when marketing a small business like an auto repair shop?”
In this article, I’m going to answer that question - and there is absolutely a definitive answer for this.
First though, let’s look at what I’m really being asked when someone poses this question.
“Brian, I have little to no budget and I don’t have time to do things right in my business. What magical spell can I put out there that won’t require me spending any money, won’t take much of my time, and will have cars lined up outside of my shop tomorrow morning?”
Maybe that’s a little harsh, but that’s the world we live in today. We want instant gratification without putting in the work.
That’s not you though. If you came here looking for that, it’s probably that you’ve simply been misled by all of the marketing gurus on Facebook who swear they can make it rain customers on your business with their super secret 3 step process that they’ll teach you for $997.
If anyone reading this has ever had success with one of those, PLEASE tell me about it.
Let’s get real though.
Here is the real marketing secret for auto repair shop owners that is guaranteed to bring you, high-quality new customers, consistently.
You ready? Here it is.
Market your auto shop with all of the foundational marketing techniques. Do it well. Do it consistently. Never stop doing this.
When business is good - keep marketing.
When business is bad - keep marketing.
When business is just the way you want it and you don’t want any more business - keep marketing.
What are the foundational marketing techniques I’m talking about?
- Have a good website that displays nicely on all devices. Desktop, tablet, and phone.
- Make that website stand out to the search engines by consistently adding good quality content and getting other websites to link to it.
- Collect email addresses from every customer and email them at least monthly.
- Be active on social media. Share your company culture, share your expertise, and every once in a while ask someone to buy something from you.
- Pull out your phone and shoot pictures and videos, and do this often. Use these images and videos on your social media, website, YouTube channel, and emails.
- Once per week, drop $20 - $50 on boosting a Facebook post.
- Give some money to Google. Yes, pay them to place your auto repair shop at the top of the search results when someone searches for the keywords you want to be found for. This is called pay-per-click advertising and it works. It works really well.
- Be nice to people. Make them feel special.
- Ask people to leave you reviews. The average person won’t do it unless you ask. Other people use these reviews to choose between shops.
- Join your chamber of commerce - and actually get involved. Chamber’s are like gyms. The membership only works if you show up and do some work.
- Join a BNI group. BNI works amazingly well for auto repair shops.
- Sponsor the local little league team. Your name on their shirts probably won’t bring you any business, but there’s just good karma that comes with doing this kind of stuff.
- Actually fix the cars. This may be the most important marketing you do. If you don’t think this is marketing, I’d ask you to re-think it.
Do these things, do them well, and do them consistently. Never stop doing them. I promise you if you use these strategies, it will pay off for you.
Oh, and be patient. Don’t start this today and start looking for the results next week. It takes time. It’s like the giant flywheel that Jim Collins talks about in the book “Good to Great”. It takes a while to get it moving, but once it’s up to speed, it’s very hard to stop.
If you want some detailed information on this, check out our Ultimate Guide to Auto Repair Shop Marketing. It's a 17,000-word article that's effectively the book on marketing an auto repair shop.
If you don’t have time to do these things, we get it. That’s why Shop Marketing Pros exists. We do this type of marketing for busy shop owners. Check out our marketing packages and give us a call today!