Embracing modern consumer behavior in your auto repair marketing plan can help you continuously win over customers.
Car owners may not love the cost of vehicle maintenance, but they can appreciate the value an auto repair shop provides. Implementing a strong auto repair marketing plan is the best way to prove your worth long before new customers walk through your door.
Of course, auto repair marketing is no longer as simple as it was in the heyday of direct mail and billboards. Consumers are using the internet as their main resource and relying on smartphones more than ever. As a result, you need to upgrade your marketing to turn saturated search engines, review sites, and social media pages into your greatest opportunities.
5 auto repair marketing strategies
Online marketing is a necessity for reaching today’s consumers. Our lives are now intertwined with the digital world, which means businesses need to be right there as well to stay relevant.
We’ll break down five of the best digital auto repair marketing strategies you should implement in your business as soon as possible.
1. SMS marketing
While emails only have a 20% open rate and cold phone calls are often ignored, text messages offer a surprising 98% open rate—with 90% of texts read within three minutes. It’s safe to say that consumers are constantly on or near their phones, which means business text messaging is the auto repair marketing strategy of the future.
With SMS marketing, you can create more personal interactions with your leads and customers while staying on a platform that’s convenient to them. Auto repair business owners can improve conversion rates and reduce missed appointments when they use text messages to:
- Remind current customers about scheduled appointments
- Remind current customers about recurring maintenance needs
- Promote limited-time discounts
- Send first-time service discounts to new leads
Lead-capturing widgets like Podium Webchat can empower you to automatically capture warm leads and their phone numbers straight through your website, so every potential customer is included in your text message marketing strategy.
2. Loyalty programs
Every driver has to keep up with their car maintenance. With the need for your automotive services already there, all you have to do is encourage drivers to choose your auto repair shop and return every time. Rewarding loyal customers is a great way to engage members of your local community and make each person feel important to your business.
With 79% of consumers seeking loyalty programs before making a purchase, this auto repair marketing tactic can make your leads and customers feel like they’re getting the best value, while you improve your bottom line, too.
Common rewards offered by auto shop owners include:
- One free oil change for every 10 oil changes
- A free service worth up to $50 per $100 spent
- A discounted service during a customer’s birthday month
Loyalty programs help you collect customer data so you can personalize your marketing, but you can cater your loyalty program toward lead generation, too. For example, you may offer rewards when your customers share your business with their networks through word of mouth, social media, or a Google review. In this sense, loyalty programs can function in part like referral programs.
Digital loyalty program platforms like Fivestars, Square Loyalty, and CandyBar are great for taking your offers straight to customers’ smartphones, where they’re already looking, instead of requiring them to carry around a punch card in their wallet.
3. Content marketing
Auto repairs can get expensive, so customers want to know that their chosen auto repair shop is well worth the price. There’s no better way to prove your expertise than to offer helpful content that positions you as a leader in your industry.
Video is one of the most engaging forms of content, with 54% of customers preferring it over any other type of marketing. Auto repair shops can provide value to potential and current customers by filming visual car maintenance guides or car product reviews. These videos can then be shared on social media like LinkedIn and Facebook or in your email marketing.
You can also pair your video content with written blog content. Not only is blog content the fifth most trusted source of online information, but your company blog is also an effective place to develop your search engine optimization (SEO) and improve your Google ranking. Each blog post you write can include keywords your target audience is searching for. This way, they come to you when they’re looking for expertise.
4. Landing pages
When it comes to capturing qualified leads, landing pages can be a highly effective auto repair shop marketing tool. Whereas your website homepage is a compilation of all the major maintenance and car repair services you can provide, landing pages keep visitors focused on the topic at hand, such as a tire alignment, and a single call to action (CTA).
To get the best results, your landing page should always be mobile-friendly, as over 52% of all website visits are done via mobile. It should also grab your attention with images or video—as long as it can still load quickly—plus headlines that separate blocks of text.
Each landing page should be focused on only one CTA to ensure that users are driven to perform one action and aren’t overwhelmed by your requests. However, you can include your phone number and email address in case your leads want to get in touch through other channels.
Much like your company blog, landing pages are also a great place to target specific keywords for your industry and boost SEO. This will help you reach the most relevant searchers so site visitors are more likely to become new customers.
5. Complete business listings
Our final auto repair marketing idea is one of the simplest. Claiming your business listings on relevant websites—specifically, on relevant review sites—can have a huge effect on how often you generate leads online. A verified and complete listing immediately adds legitimacy to your business and gives potential customers access to accurate information.
Claiming listings on review sites like Google and Yellow Pages is a great start. This allows you to start building consistent business pages and responding to customer reviews throughout the web.
However, claiming and completing your listings on niche review sites like RepairPal and AutoMD can prove to be an effective addition to your marketing plan for two reasons. First, visitors to these platforms are already seeking your services, which means they tend to be high-quality leads. Second, your competitors are less likely to be taking advantage of these platforms, making it easier for you to stand out.
Expand your reach with reviews
Once you’ve added our five suggested strategies to your auto repair marketing plan, you’ll be in a good place to focus on increasing your positive reviews. Over 60% of consumers are willing to pay 15% more for a good experience, but first they want to know what kind of experience they can expect. That’s where reviews can help.
With Podium Reviews, you can boost your business listings by sending automatic review invites to your customers via SMS. Learn how to start getting more reviews for your auto body shop today.