If you’re an active shop owner in the automotive repair industry then you’ve surely heard that April is National Car Care Month. But what do you do with that?

A lot!

As a former shop owner, I couldn’t wait for April (National Car Care Month) and October (Fall Car Care Month) because it gave me really good ideas and content to use in my marketing for those months.

What is National Car Care Month?

The first time I had ever heard of April being National Car Care Month was when I came across an article from AutoInc Magazine. The Automotive Service Association (ASA) had written a nice article increasing awareness for shop owners. The Car Care Aware Program was launched originally by the Car Care Council, a division of ASA. Since we were members of ASA it made sense that we enjoyed content from the organization that was created to help us.

National Car Care Month was created to bring attention to the importance of car care and preventative maintenance for consumers. 35% of car owners “skipped or delayed service or repairs that were recommended by a mechanic or specified by the factory maintenance schedule,” says the American Automobile Association (AAA). As a result, the number of roadside breakdowns could have easily been prevented by owners simply following routine maintenance advice.

When I downloaded their Car Care Guide, I thought I’d hit the jackpot. I pulled information from that guide to use in our shop’s marketing. Today, I want to help you by sharing some helpful tips to guide you in marketing your shop for National Car Care Month.

Why It’s Important for Shops

People like to do business with people they know, like and trust. When you promote your shop in a way that is helping, giving tips, preventing break downs, and generally offering helpful advice then you’re positioning yourself in a way that allows potential customers to do that. Your marketing can do more than simply provide help and advice but it should also share the culture of your shop, introduce your staff and include transparency. Promote your shop by being human and inviting your audience to get to know you and your business on a personal level.

They’re getting to know you as an expert in your industry.

They’re learning to like you as a human.

They’re beginning to trust you because you’re keeping their best interest in mind.

How to Market Your Shop During National Car Care Month

When it comes to National Car Care Month and promoting your shop, start as early as you can. Compartmentalizing can make the process simpler. Break the marketing planning into these steps and you’re well on your way to effectively marketing your shop.

  1. Setting Your Marketing Goals

  2. Outlining Your Key Messages & Strategies

  3. Implementing Your Plan

  4. Measuring Your Outcomes

Setting Your Marketing Goals

You’ll want to start off with the goals you’re hoping to achieve. For the month of April what is it that you want your shop’s marketing to achieve. Are you looking to raise awareness, book appointments, position yourself as the expert or educate? Don’t forget that when creating goals you want to be specific, able to measure them, set attainable goals, relevant, and timely.

Some examples are:

Outlining Your Key Messages & Strategies

Once you know what your main goals are it’s time to think about the main messages you want to share. Developing messaging is not as complicated as it may sound. If your goal is to educate customers about the most common maintenance items for Spring then take some time to write down those items. Flesh out how you want to say it. Decide which images you want to associate with each message, whether it’s a video you want to record or a photo you want to take. Next considering your audience, will they respond to hashtags you use or emojis?

Wrapping your mind around the way you want to publish those messages will help when it comes time to sit down and schedule them.

When it comes to something as specific as National Car Care Month you may consider employing strategies such as:

Surely there are additional marketing tactics you can utilize. These are just a few to get you started. Pick one or pick them all but whatever you do pick something you can do without getting overwhelmed and end up doing it halfway. Go all in. If you’re going to do something, do it well!

Implementing Your Plan

Now you’ve solidified your goals and messaging, decided the direction you want to go in sharing the message let’s talk about how to get that plan going.

Measuring Your Outcomes

One of my favorite things to talk about! You can’t manage what you don’t measure. How will you know if something is working if you can’t measure it? How will you make adjustments if there’s no tracking? Here’s a few tips to help you measure your National Car Care Month marketing.

  1. Use tracking urls. A great way to do this is with a url builder such as this Google Analytics Campaign Builder. Here you enter your url (the url might be a link to your appointment scheduler or a link to your blog) and you’re given the chance to add tracking code to the url by entering the source (who/what gets credit for the click), medium (facebook, instagram, email, etc), etc. While entering this information your url will be expanded to include the tracking code. That’s the url you use in your social post, your email, your ads, etc. It’s now connected to your Google Analytics and you can then track how many web visits happened as a result of that link. If you want to get real techy, you can even track conversions through appointment forms and phone calls.

  2. Use tracking phone numbers. If your ad has folks clicking to call then don’t use the main phone number to your shop. That’s not trackable! BUT when you instead use a trackable number that forwards to your shop phone then you will know how many calls came in as a result of that ad. Use that tracking number only in the ad for your April Car Care Month campaign so you know exactly what brought those calls in.

  3. Pay attention to the stats built into your marketing platforms including social media sites, your email marketing program, and even your shop software. Take time to explore Google Analytics as well. You may find multiple layers of results there. Not only did someone click a link to visit your website but they also stayed on your site for a long time, went from the blog page to the about page, the services page and then finally the scheduling page. Google Analytics can tell you a lot of very important information.

  4. Finally, if you’re using a print strategy such as a magazine, direct mail or newspaper don’t feel like these are not trackable. They are! Hey, even the digital billboard is trackable. Remember what we said above about tracking phone numbers. Add to that the option of a short, easy web address that redirects to your website. Be thoughtful as if you’re using something in print you’ll want this to be an easy to remember url because people will need to type that in. Keep the url short and simple. Go do a quick search for some urls that are available for purchase. Talk to your website developer as they can suggest a subdomain that you can use. Example: maybe your website address is myshop.com a good idea would be go use april.myshop.com or carcare.myshop.com. That subdomain is being used only for this National Car Care Month campaign and this makes it easily trackable!

Visual of campaign building in Google Analytics. Make the most of marketing your shop.

Pulling It All Together

Are you excited now? What a great resource to help you dream big about the month of April and how you can promote National Car Care month for your shop. When you tap into national campaigns like this, make them real and relevant for your local audience you will find that your community will begin to look to you – the expert in your field. They will like what you’re doing, know you care, and trust you to care for their precious possessions – their family that rides in the vehicle you’re caring for.

Check out a few additional resources that you may find helpful to you as you continue to plan, prepare and implement your National Car Care Month campaign.

  1. Car Care News Service – April is National Car Care Month

  2. Submit Your April (2021) Car Care Month Events

  3. Car Care Month Editable Templates

If this didn’t excite you but instead overwhelmed you, we are just a quick chat away.

Schedule a Call – or – Watch a Demo. We’re here to help and since we do this every single day we’ll get your campaign up and running in no time!

About The Author

Kim Walker

In addition to being co-owner of Shop Marketing Pros, Kim is a Master Certified Solution Provider with Constant Contact and a StoryBrand Certified Guide. Kim is a past shop owner and has served as President of ASA North Carolina.