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Who Are the Best Marketing Partners/Companies for Your Auto Repair Shop?

I’ve done a lot of crazy things in my life but this may take the cake. Here I am putting a list of my competitors on my own business’ website. I’m telling you the good I know about them, telling you what they say about themselves, then putting their contact information right here so you can reach out to them – from my website.

Some of you may be thinking, “Someone should call a doctor for Brian,” and maybe you’re right. Some of you may be thinking I’ve lost my mind, and maybe you’re right.

But here’s what I know. There are way more shops in the industry than all of the companies listed here could handle. Combined we couldn’t handle the marketing for 10% of them.

I also know that having wrong-fit clients is toxic to a business, and of all the shops we talk to, only a small number of them are good fit clients for us. But they may be a perfect fit for some of the other marketing companies.

I’m also friends with most of the owners or key people in the companies I have listed here – or we’re at least friendly acquaintances. I believe they are all good people who want to see the best for all of their clients, I believe they truly care about the industry, and if they are successful, it makes me happy because that means I can be successful too.

But we all do things a little differently, and that’s what makes us unique. That’s what makes us a right-fit for one client and a wrong-fit for another. If you’re looking for a marketing company to work with to market your auto repair shop, you should talk to multiple of the companies on this list and make the decision that you think will be best for your auto repair shop.

How This Article Is Laid Out

There are different types of marketers that serve the automotive industry, so I’ve broken this article down into categories. The categories are:

  • Digital Marketing Companies
  • CRMs that provide marketing services
  • Direct Mail Companies
  • Fractional CMOs (Chief Marketing Officers)

It’s completely logical and even likely that you would work with multiple companies from different categories, but not so logical or likely that you would work with multiple companies from within the same category.

Also, it’s important to know that I’ve put them in alphabetical order within each category. I’m not rating or ranking them in any way. That’s up to you. If you want people’s opinions, head over to the ASOG Facebook Group or one of the many other groups and do a search or ask the question. You’ll get varying opinions. My point is this: DYOR (do your own research).

Ok, let’s get into it.

Digital Marketing Companies

Understand that I’ve labeled this “digital marketing companies,” but some of these companies may dabble in traditional media as well. They may do billboard placement or some direct mail, but they are known for their work in the digital space. All of these companies will build you a website, do search engine optimization, run Google Ads for you, and manage your social media. Some of them may run geofencing campaigns and possibly do email marketing for you.

AutoShop Solutions

Established in 1998, Autoshop Solutions has been around longer than any other marketing company I know of in the industry. They are known for their award-winning websites and their RPM program, which stands for Really Powerful Marketing. From their website: “You know how to fix cars in the shop. We know how to get them there.”

Website: https://autoshopsolutions.com/ 
Phone: (866) 516-7361

German Import Repair Shop Marketing

Just like it sounds, German Import Repair Shop Marketing specializes in marketing for Euro shops. They’ve been around since 2012 and have established a great reputation. Their website says for 13 years they’ve been “helping German & Import repair shops fill up their parking lots and drive their competition crazy.”

Website: https://www.importautoshopmarketing.com/ 
Phone: (888) 678-8423

Lift Auto Repair Marketing

As one of the new kids on the block, Lift Auto Repair Marketing has made a strong entrance into the industry. From their website: “Boost sales and credibility with our online marketing expertise. From optimized websites to local SEO and SMS campaigns, we help auto repair shops stand out and attract more business.”

Website: https://liftautorepairmarketing.com/ 
Phone: (877) 733-3446

Leads Near Me

As one of the major players in the industry, Leads Near Me has become well known for its High Gear Conference. They’ve trademarked the term “Effortlessly Increase Car Count.” From their website: “Making lives easier by helping great auto repair shops to connect with great customers with the greatest of ease.”

Website: https://leadsnearme.com/
Phone: (888) 953-2379

Shop Dog Marketing

Formerly Advanced Local, Shop Dog Marketing is a new name but not new to the world of auto repair marketing. From their website: “At Shop Dog Marketing, we’re different from big companies because we focus on giving each auto shop personal attention.”

Website: https://shopdogmarketing.com/
Phone: (801) 622-3690

Shop Marketing Pros

That’s us. You’re on our website right now. Shop Marketing Pros does “Top-Tier Marketing for Top-Tier Shops.” We’re big on know / like / trust and doing marketing that’s specific to your shop. We don’t believe in generic marketing. Our founders were shop owners, so they know what it’s like to walk in your shoes. We work with all types of shops and especially love working with European, diesel, and 4×4 specialty shops.

Website: https://shopmarketingpros.com/
Phone: (985) 662-8419

CRMs That Offer Marketing Services

Whereas all CRMs fall into the marketing category, there are a couple of CRMs in the automotive space that offer services that aren’t normally thought of as CRM functions. A CRM by definition is a customer relationship management tool. It is typically used as a communications tool for people who are already customers. Most of the functions of a CRM are related to customer retention in some way. But some of the CRM companies have expanded into acquisition marketing as well and because of this they deserve a place in the list.

Kukui

If you’ve never heard of Kukui you must have been living under a rock somewhere. Kukui is a CRM but they are probably known more as a website company than a CRM. In addition to websites, Kukui will also do some basic SEO and PPC management, putting them firmly into the digital marketing side of things as well. Their CRM is one of the best in the industry.

Website: https://www.kukui.com/
Phone: (877) 695-6008

Shopgenie

The new kid on the block when it comes to CRMs is Shopgenie, but don’t let the fact that they’re new fool you. These guys are developing at an incredible pace. Like their biggest competitor, they’re a CRM at their core but they’re marketers as well. They’ll build your website, manage your PPC, and the hot topic of the day, online booking, is baked right into their product. 

Website: https://www.shopgenie.io/
Phone: (480) 597-1936

Direct Mail Companies

We don’t do direct mail at Shop Marketing Pros, but I’m a big believer in it for driving car count and as a customer retention strategy. People like to say direct mail is dead, but they’re dead wrong. I believe that direct mail coupled with a strong digital strategy is the way to go.

There are thousands of direct mail companies out there, but I know of 2 of them that specialize in the automotive independent aftermarket. I am a big fan of working with specialists over generalists, so if you’re looking to grow your shop through direct mail, I’d recommend choosing from the companies below.

Mail Shark

Mail Shark has been around since 2008. They serve quite a few industries but automotive is one of their mainstays. They are often at industry tradeshows, and you can speak to them face-to-face at these events. Their success lies in their weekly direct mail strategy. From their website: “Our weekly direct mail marketing solution took a complicated and confusing process, simplified it, and made it affordable and accessible for every business.”

Website: https://www.themailshark.com/
Phone: (484) 652-8359

Upswell

Upswell was born out of a merger between Mudlick Mail and Muscle Up Marketing. They also specialize in a handful of industries, and automotive is also one of their mainstays. If you’ve been in the industry for a while you’ll remember Mudlick. It looks like they now have a digital aspect to their business and can handle your social media. PPC, and email marketing needs. From their website: “Our direct mail advertisements and services are proven to produce the best response rates in the industry.”

Website: https://upswellmarketing.com/ 
Phone: (866) 790-3269

Fractional CMOs

There’s another subset of marketers in the industry that a lot of people don’t understand and those are the fractional CMOs (chief marketing officers). A chief marketing officer is a person in your business who is responsible for overseeing all of the marketing. They are there to drive the direction of the marketing, craft the message, uphold timelines, ensure quality, measure results, and hold outside service providers accountable.

Most small businesses like an auto repair shop cannot justify hiring a full-time CMO. That’s where the “fractional” part comes into play. A fractional CMO works for many different companies and they have a team of people who work alongside them to make sure your marketing is great.

I actually love this business model and I often wish that were the direction I had gone with Shop Marketing Pros. I do think it’s a wise decision to work with a fractional CMO.

There are two companies currently that provide fractional CMO services.

Overdryve

As the new kid on the block in the fractional CMO category, Overdryve is coming on strong. If you’re looking for a fractional CMO, Overdryve might be the right choice for you. From their website: “We identify the holes in your current process and build custom plans that are tailored to your shop and nobody else, and we manage the path forward.”

Website: https://www.overdryveinc.com/
Phone: (510) 861-0132

Turnkey Marketing

Turnkey is the original fractional CMO in the industry. They were actually the first business of this type that I’d ever heard of. They’ve had a lot of success and have grown quite the team at their Overland Park office. From their website: “Get Your Own Director of Marketing & Get Marketing Off Your Plate.”

Website: https://www.turnkeyautomarketing.com/
Phone: (913) 777-4144

Wrapping This Up

There are a lot of great companies you can work with in this industry and there is a place for all of the various marketers. You need to determine if their place is with your shop.

Do they mesh with your core values? Do they do things on the level you are expecting?

Do you want to work with marketers who will allow you to be completely hands-off even at the expense of efficiency, or marketers who require some work on your part because they know your input will make the marketing better?

Are you looking for cheap? Because it does exist. Or are you looking for the best?

You need to decide exactly what you want out of your marketing and then take the time to meet with all of the options. Then, choose the marketers who you feel will align with you the best.

I hope this list helps you, and I wish you all the best in the growth of your business!

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.
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