It’s June 2022 and the theme of the month for us is “digital advertising”. That means the classes we teach, the blogs we write, and our social media posts will be mostly about the topic of digital ads.

Having themes throughout the year helps a lot with content ideation. If you’re not doing that already in your auto shop’s marketing, I’d say “5 stars – highly recommend!”

When it comes to the long-form written content for our agency, I tend to be the one who does most of it. But if there’s a topic that falls into one of our team member’s specialties and they know way more about it than I do, we have them write it.

Hallie was scheduled to write this article, but we’ve taken on a lot of new digital advertising clients this year so she’s busier than the proverbial one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest!

This blog would sound much more sophisticated and smarter had she written it, but I’m stepping in for her and writing it in “good ole boy” terms.

So here goes….

Should You Do Your Own Digital Advertising Or Hire A Professional?

As the owner of a marketing company, and having seen how hard it can be to get a great ROI on your marketing, I’m going to start out by making an analogy here in the form of a TLDR.

Asking if you should do your own digital advertising for your auto repair shop is like a customer asking you if they should rebuild their own transmission. If 1,000 people asked that question, the answer for 999 is a definite “NO”. But don’t stop reading yet. Stick with me.

Before I lose you, I have solutions for the 999 that don’t require hiring a professional. So keep reading.

You see, I don’t know your capabilities. I don’t know your interests or desires. I don’t know your finances.

Let’s look back to 2002 when I opened my shop.

I was 25 years old when I opened my shop. I did it on a bit of a whim, so I hadn’t been financially preparing to open a shop.

Before I was a professional technician, my hobby was working on cars. The hobby remained when I was a dealer tech (back in the good old days before I had the stress of owning a business).

When I opened my own shop, if I had a wrench in my hand after hours it was because I needed to finish up client cars. This happened often.

I needed a website for my business and I couldn’t afford to pay someone to build one for me, so I figured out how to do it myself.

It turned out that I loved building websites, and I was very good at it. Who’da thunk it? It became my new hobby.

Maybe you’re like I was. Maybe you have a hidden talent you didn’t realize you had. Maybe you’re the 1 out of 1000 that the answer is “Yes, you should do your own digital ads”.

After all, I’m the marketer who could actually rebuild his own transmission.

Why The Majority Should Hire A Professional

Running digital ads isn’t just a process, it’s an art form. You don’t click a bunch of buttons and stuff starts working.

To competently create, monitor, and optimize a digital ads campaign you have to:

  • Understand the decision-making process of the consumer, specific to auto repair
  • Know how to write persuasive copy
  • Know how to create graphics that cause a pattern interrupt
  • Be able to navigate the complex interfaces of Facebook, Google, and whatever platform you’re advertising on
  • Know how to install scripts and pixels and set up tracking measures
  • Have the patience to deal with ads being rejected for stated reasons that don’t make sense at all
  • Be willing to put money into testing tactics that may or may not work

People think doing this stuff is easy because these days anyone with a laptop and no job can become a marketer. That’s why marketing gets a bad wrap – because so many people who don’t have a clue are self-professed “professionals”.

All that being said, if you look at the list above and can check most of those boxes, you can probably run a successful digital advertising campaign for yourself. Now the question is, “should you?”

I can rebuild my own transmission, but I wouldn’t, because I shouldn’t. The money I would save by doing it myself would cost me money in opportunity cost. “Opportunity” cost is the money I didn’t make because I was busy not working on the things I should be working on in my business.

You have to make that decision for yourself. I can’t make it for you.

When You Should Do Your Own Digital Advertising

There are some cases where you should do your own advertising. Trust me, these are rare cases, but if you fit into these and you’re not questioning yourself about it, then go for it.

You want to do your own digital advertising and you’re willing to spend the time and money to become proficient.

There are things in this world that I’m passionate about and I simply want to do them. I once spent $5000 on woodworking tools to build furniture that would have cost me hundreds of dollars to buy. It didn’t make sense, and it didn’t need to because I wanted to do it and I enjoyed doing it.

The truth is, you may spend a ton of time learning how to do ads and get bored with it after a while. It doesn’t matter. Quench that thirst and you’ll be better for it because you’ll have a great base of knowledge to have intelligent discussions with marketers you work with later in life.

You Come From A Marketing Background

Some of the best shop owners I’ve ever worked with couldn’t fix a sandwich, much less a car. That’s why they are great shop owners. Great techs are usually terrible shop owners for a variety of reasons.

If you’re a marketer turned shop owner, I’d expect you to do your own ads, especially in the earlier days of your business when money is tight.

You Can’t Afford To Hire A Professional

In the early days of a shop, cashflow can be tight, but you still have to advertise. I wrote an article that covers much better ways for you to market your shop when you can’t afford to farm it out, but advertising can still be done.

The next section covers ways to dip your toes into digital advertising when you’re not a professional marketer.

How Novice Marketers Can Do Their Own Digital Advertising

I’ve spent most of this article telling you that you probably shouldn’t do your own digital ads, but there are ways to test the waters without jumping into the deep end.

The two most common forms of digital advertising that an auto repair shop owner will do are Facebook Ads and Google Ads. Both of these companies have created greatly simplified solutions for doing your own digitals ads.

These solutions aren’t as effective as their full-featured counterparts, but they’ll get the job done in a pinch.

Facebook Boosted Posts

On Facebook you don’t have to run ads in the sense that we commonly think of them. You also have the option of boosting posts. I’m not going to get deep into this because I just wrote an article comparing Facebook Ads vs boosted posts, but with boosted posts you can pay Facebook to show your posts to more people.

Google Smart Campaigns

Doing simple advertisements on Google can be accomplished with Google Smart Campaigns, formerly known as Adwords Express. This is a much simpler interface with way less options, but it can get your business in front of new clients, especially if you’re in a lower competition area.

Either Way It Goes, Don’t Miss Out On Advertising

Advertising can be the catalyst to get your auto repair shop to capacity. The one thing I would hate to do is deter you from doing digital ads. We see the huge impact paid ads can have on a shop, and I wouldn’t want you to miss out on it.

If you can put the time into becoming proficient at running your own ads, do it!

If you need to use boosted posts or Google Smart Campaigns to smartly work your way into digital advertising, do it!

If you’re ready to hire a professional to run your digital ad campaigns for you, we’d love to see if we’re the right fit.

About The Author

Brian Walker

Brian Walker is the Owner and CEO of Shop Marketing Pros, a marketing agency specializing in marketing independently owned auto repair shops. Brian is a Mercedes Benz Master Technician and has owned multiple shops and served as the Mechanical Division Director for ASA-NC.

He's a mechanic at heart who loves fixing things that are broken, which is why he loves marketing so much.

"Digging in and figuring out why a business' marketing isn't working is a lot like it was when he was elbows deep into a car that no one else could fix. When you figure it out, there's nothing else like it."

To get to do this for auto repair shop owners combines his passions, and he couldn't be more excited about helping shop owners.