Keep your automotive service busy with these online marketing tips, ideas, and strategies for lead generation and auto repair marketing.
A good mechanic is highly prized because most of us don’t know what goes on under the hood of our cars. We rely on our mechanics to be honest, and when we find someone we trust, we’ll stick with them for years.
For auto repair services, that means your marketing has two main goals. To capture new leads searching for a service, then to retain them as a repeat customer. Digital media can help you do both.
Much of what we’ll discuss here is important because it gives you visibility on people’s phones. Walk into your waiting room right now, and you’ll see why that’s vital. We live on these things now.
These strategies and tactics will put you in front of new clients. Combine that with honesty about what you’re doing under the hood, and you’ll do well.
Marketing Idea #1: Develop a Modern, Professional Auto Repair Website Design
We start with a piece of marketing collateral that is the focal point of most of your efforts, the business website.
Today, there is simply no reason not to have a modern, clean design that makes a great first impression for your services. Most people will check out your website at some point (even referrals), and they’ll judge you based on the impression it creates.
Your website is also where you communicate your value proposition and special offers connected to your ad campaigns. It does no good to run an ad on your excellent transmission services only to drive leads to a page that looks 20 years out of date.
Here’s an idea of what you’re looking for:
As we said, it’s vitally important that your template be mobile responsive so it displays well on phones. It needs to make it easy for people to understand what you do, why they should choose you, and how they can schedule an appointment.
Templates like this are neither as expensive nor time-consuming to design as they once were. In fact, when you develop an auto repair website on the UXI® platform, you can get it for free with our marketing plan.
Also, be clear about your location. People have to drive into your garage, so make sure your site is clear about where it is. This info is so straightforward that businesses often overlook it.
Your website is an important, fairly easy piece of the marketing puzzle to put into place. Get it right or face being at a major disadvantage.
Marketing Idea #2: Create and Segment Your Value Proposition
We’ll now move from the most obvious and easy piece of marketing to put into place to perhaps the most difficult. Creating a crisp, clear value proposition.
Your value proposition is a statement that must communicate why a customer should choose you instead of another auto repair service. To be effective, it needs to be specific and communicate an advantage your customers care about. For example, this service has a superior warranty:
This statement needs to appear on your homepage. If you have ads running with value offerings on specific repairs, have them go to a landing page that matches the content of the ad.
The above ad goes to this page:
Remember that potential customers have an unspoken question in their minds: Why should I choose these guys and not another mechanic? You have to answer that question with clarity and confidence.
If you’re struggling to come up with a value proposition that distinguishes you from the competition, take a closer look at your services, including customer service. Uncover the ways you’re exceptional and use them to develop offerings that other auto repair services can’t match.
You can also build your value proposition around makes of cars you specialize in or particular services you do well (brakes, transmissions, 4×4, etc.). Today consumers like to choose services that specialize in solving their specific problem.
Marketing Idea #3: Dominate Search Marketing
There once was an advertising service printed on yellow paper and left at people’s doorsteps. Now its main job is being used as a doorstop.
Today, when people want to look up a service like auto repair, they do it on Google. It’s a major advantage to have your business appear at the top of search results.
You do this in three ways.
The first is to use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. You use the auction system (Google Adwords) to bid on keywords and gain placement at the top of the page. The top four results on any search page are all PPC.
The second is the Google My Business listing. This is a free listing that ties into local search and Google Maps. It’s important to optimize your description and service listing with the keywords, particularly for the areas you service. As an auto repair service, this listing will largely tie into your physical location.
The third is the organic listing of your website. This is driven by your search engine optimization (SEO) work. Optimize your site for target keywords, get some backlinks into your site, and blog on a regular basis to get high rankings.
Note that you can use your blog to optimize content for a variety of searches, including common questions people have about auto care. This is a great way to introduce your brand to leads doing research and get them into your marketing funnel.
If you do this right, you can actually appear in three places on page one results:
Pro Tip: Use Retargeting
Today, consumers have so much information at their fingertips with online content that it creates a problem.
People get distracted, hesitate, and don’t act.
Even with a strong, targeted advertising campaign, you’re doing great if you can get 1 in 10 people to convert. But that doesn’t mean all the traffic is lost.
You can use retargeting to keep your brand name and offer in front of people as they surf the net. This tactic tracks people after they visit your website so you can deliver follow up ads. Here is an example ad:
There are a variety of strategies you can use with retargeting, including bidding higher on searches using RLSA ads. You can also retarget on Facebook.
These ads are like that knocking sound in your engine, reminding people they need to get their car service scheduled.
Marketing Idea #4: Advertise on Facebook
Many mechanics and garage owners see Facebook as a frivolous social platform. But with billions of users, it’s a platform you can no longer ignore.
Your clients and potential clients are on Facebook, and there are some powerful advertising tools to target them.
One that works well is retargeting. You can also use Facebook lead ads, which lets people call or schedule an appointment without having to leave Facebook.
You can also make use of Facebook Messenger to interact directly with people and answer questions in real time. With the increasing popularity of messenger apps, this can be as effective for scheduling appointments as taking phone calls.
On your Facebook business page, create posts that update your audience with car care tips, news about makes, and the latest from your shop.
Marketing Idea #5: Create a Video
One of the most effective ways to get your message across to modern consumers is video. It’s underused by most auto repair services, so you can gain an advantage by producing an effective video.
What you want is a short video that communicates your value proposition, explains your services, and builds trust. This video uses testimonial content to give their video an authentic, credible voice:
Embed your video on your homepage and optimize it for YouTube searches.
Marketing Idea #7: Manage Your Reviews and Reputation
You can create a lot of content to advertise and market your auto repair service, but there is content – that you don’t create – that’s even more influential.
It’s the reviews customer leave about you on sites like Google, Yelp, and Top Rated Local. These comments and ratings are so widespread today that most consumers expect to be able to find reviews on your business. It’s must-have content.
Just consider how prominent the review content is on Google Places:
If your auto service has no reviews or a poor rating, you’re at a huge competitive disadvantage.
The biggest thing you can do to affect your reviews is deliver outstanding service. Every time you go above and beyond for a customer, you’re helping your marketing. Every time you cut corners, you’re hurting it.
It pays to be proactive and request that happy clients leave you reviews. Start by asking when they check out. A quick jump on their phone will yield you a Google review. You can also get reviews on Facebook, where many of your customers may be while waiting for their car.
You can also send follow-up emails with links to review platforms you’d like to get more content on. More reviews on Google will improve your ranking.
Watch your reviews and respond to any negative comments in a professional tone. Resolve any legitimate complaints.
Last, use testimonials on your website so clients can see those positive comments within the rest of your content.
Marketing Idea #8: Work on Client Retention
Recently, my wife called into our auto repair service to get some scheduled maintenance work done. Before she could say why she was calling, the rep was telling her.
This was because he was using a customer relationship management tool (CRM) that had notes on our entire service history. They’d sent us a reminder about this service with a coupon to save a bit on the work.
These guys are doing a great job of retaining us as clients. They reach out to us with mailers and email that has reminders, deals, and updates.
People value a competent, honest mechanic. If that describes you, you’re doing the most important thing to retain clients.
But don’t take that loyalty for granted. People will forget. They’ll get lured in by new competition aggressively advertising and low-balling on price.
Two tools that will keep you in touch with current clients are email software and a CRM. Along with mailers, use these to send occasional messages and track all your transactions with clients.
These tools will help you “get to know” your clients and their cars. Just don’t take it too far…
Marketing Tip # 9: Hire Some Marketing Help
If you think managing all these marketing channels sounds like a lot, you’re right. The reality is that the typical small business owner has no chance of being able to keep up with all this and have time to run their business.
Get some help. Look into a marketing agency like Marketing 360® that can design your website and manage your marketing tactics. The best option is to use a full-service agency that can work on all your tactics together, guided by a clear strategy. You can also hire specialists (one company to do PPC, another to do social media, and so on), but this can make it hard to stay focused on your strategy.
Also, make sure the agency has strong reporting tools and transparency into their process. You won’t want to deal with every detail, but you should have a clear picture of how the agency is delivering ROI. At Marketing 360® we have a software system that makes it easy for you get data on what’s happening for any time period.
Remember that marketing is an investment. The goal is to get more back in revenue than you put in. If your marketing company is doing that for you, it’s going to be worth it.