Podcast: Hibu talks to Lucas Underwood about automotive marketing

Lucas Underwood headshot for Hibu Small Business Small Talk podcast

Today we’re speaking with Lucas Underwood, owner of L&N Performance Auto Repair, about how he began his digital marketing journey for his auto repair business in Blowing Rock, North Carolina.

Lucas talks with us about his passion for education in the automotive industry. He takes us through how he’s successfully used several digital marketing strategies to grow his business, and he shares his experience with the unique challenges auto shop owners face, including:

  • Getting started in digital marketing
  • Overcoming the fear of putting yourself out there on social media platforms
  • The value of Google My Business and Google reviews to grow your auto business
  • Having different strategic goals for different platforms
  • Trends in automotive digital marketing and other marketing strategies used for auto repair shops

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[Podcast transcript]

SPEAKERS

Hosts: Ian Messinger & Lauren Blackford. Guest: Lucas Underwood

Ian Messinger:
Hi, I’m in Messenger with my co-host, Lauren Blackford.

Lauren Blackford:
Hey there.

Ian:
Thanks for joining us for this special episode of Small Business Small Talk powered by Hibu. At Hibu, we’re dedicated to helping local businesses across America succeed and grow. And a great way to do that is to hear first-hand stories of how actual businesses have used digital marketing to be profitable, even in tough times. Today, we’ve invited Lukas Underwood, owner of L&N Auto Repair in North Carolina, to speak with us about how digital marketing has worked for him in the auto industry. Hey, Lucas.

Lucas Underwood:
Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening, wherever you are.

Ian: 
Yeah… who knows?

Lucas:
That’s exactly right.

Ian:
Well, it’s good to talk to you today. Thank you for for taking the time.

Lucas:
Absolutely. Thanks for having me. Yeah.

Ian:
Yeah. And we’re gonna just have kind of a wide-ranging conversation here about, you know, digital marketing and specific to the automotive industry and more specifically, you know, your firsthand experience with with marketing your business. And I know, you’ve got a lot of irons in the fire out there, including a, you know, podcast where you talk about some of these things. So…to get started, if you could just tell us a little bit about kind of how you came to the industry. And you know where you are today. That would be that would be great.

Lucas:
Of course, my name is Lukas Underwood, I’m with L&N Performance Automotive Repair in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. I opened this business in 2007. And I tell folks all the time, it was started with an addiction. And they say, was it drugs? Was it alcohol? No, it was actually an addiction for a diesel truck, a fast diesel truck. And it turns out, those things are expensive, and you got to come up with a way to pay for them. And we started as a performance business. And so we started in 2007. And we’ve kind of grown from there. And around 2011, I had a little girl, and she became my whole world. And all of the sudden I realized, Hey, I’m not being the Dad, I want to be right, like I wasn’t at home, like I should have been at home, I was wholly focused on the business. The business wasn’t as profitable or successful as it should have been. So I’ve been on about a six or seven year journey. Now, to improve the business, it took me some time to find myself and find out where I was in there. And so since then, I’ve become a member of a group called “asog” — or OSOG — Older Shop Owners Group on Facebook, became involved with local organizations like ASTA, here in North Carolina, that are just for shop owners. I realized there was a lot of stuff that I didn’t know, right, I was a technician, I wasn’t a shop owner, I wasn’t a business owner. So I never recognized what I didn’t know. And so we started the podcast, the ASOG podcast, and we hope to share our story and share some information and stuff from other folks, that helps shop owners kind of get a leg up until they can get in that training or coaching program that helps them improve their business much like my business is improved.

Ian:
That’s great. That’s so you’ve, you’ve really kind of touched on, you know, you went from the, the enthusiast to the technician to the you know, kind of…

Lucas:
…the whole way. And you know, what they don’t tell you is is the technician fixes the cars, the service advisor communicates with the client, the owner cleans the toilets. They left that part completely out of the manual, they didn’t put that anywhere. And so, you know, the reality is the owner does a little bit of everything. And my transition has really been from working in the business to working on the business.

Ian:
Yeah. Which is great. You know, it’s always nice to know, folks who have kind of touched all parts. And yeah, yeah…

Lauren:
I feel like it’s a very relatable story, because a lot of business owners have families, and you’re spending so much time trying to build their business because they’re doing it alone. And you know, you wanting to spend time with your daughter, and therefore figuring out how to grow your business while still having time with her, I think is a very common issue that people are having. So how did you get started in digital marketing?

Lucas:
So basically, I got started, right, the business was not performing like it should have been performing. And it’s very interesting, because when I started realizing I needed more clients, and I needed better clients, right? So, we oftentimes we talk about marketing, and we seem to think it’s about getting more clients. And in my opinion, it’s not about getting more clients. It’s about getting the right clients, and making sure we’re hitting our target audience and the people that we need in our business. And so I was really afraid of that, believe it or not, I was terrified to get out there and start doing the things like Google My Business and start doing the things like the Facebook post and the Instagram post and putting myself out there. And I’ve talked to a lot of business owners since then who have a very similar response. Yeah, but what if somebody says something bad about me? What if something had you know and so it took a little bit to overcome that and really where I started was Google My Businesses. As crazy as that sounds. I started making posts and I started asking for reviews. And that was really the beginning of my digital All marketing experience and all of a sudden I started seeing that folks weren’t saying something bad. Right? There was the occasional bad review. And then I realized that a lot of those weren’t real reviews. They weren’t even people who had been here. And so today, we’ve got, I want to say we’re close to 400 reviews, and we’re at a 4.9. And then we, we branched into Facebook, right? And we started making posts on Facebook. And there again, we found a couple of Facebook trolls here and there, but it wasn’t anything that couldn’t be handled, right? And then we branched into Instagram. And slowly but surely, we started making more and more efforts to do marketing online, because we realized, that’s where the majority of the clients we wanted are at today.

Ian:
Right? Yeah. And that’s, and that’s where they’re starting, you know, their journey is they’re going, Hey, I need something done. I’m gonna, you know, pull out my phone. Look for it. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s interesting that you kind of talked about that, that evolution of, you know, dipping a toe and then another toe, because I think one of the things that a lot of times when we talk to small businesses, the ones that we work with, anyway, you know, being an owner, as you know, is a full time job, and a half, and that’s if you don’t have a family, you know, and a lot of the folks that we talk to just the idea of marketing their business is just that it’s an idea. “Yeah, I probably should…” You know, so it’s, it’s always interesting to talk to folks like yourself who have, you know, gone from that idea stage into, you know, what, I’m gonna try it ooh, that that kind of work that scratched an itch, I’m gonna, I’m gonna try to try something different.

Lucas:
You’re exactly right. And here’s the thing is, there’s a lot of owners, you know, I think the general public looks at a business owner and they say, Man, I wish I had all that money. I wish I had all that time, I wish I could take off whenever I wanted to. And that’s just not realistic, right? There’s a pathway to attain that there’s a pathway to get there. And marketing is a very, very critical piece of that pathway. It’s a critical stepping stone that we have to take on. And you’re right, a business owner already has so much on their plate, they already have so much going on, especially because it’s not just doing marketing. Right?

Ian:
Right. Oh, yeah.

Lucas:
You know, we talk about it all the time. It’s something we call spaghetti marketing – we take a handful of noodles and throw it at the wall and see which ones stick. Right. So, we spend a ton of money 1000s and 1000s of dollars, or we don’t spend enough, we spend 50 bucks here and 50 bucks there. And we say, oh, it’s not working. And the thing is, is that we didn’t take the time to learn to be proficient in marketing. And that is a killer of any marketing strategy right there. You know, and so that’s my first message to a business owner, if you choose to do this yourself, you’ve got to do some research, you’ve got to learn and understand what works and what doesn’t work.

Ian:
Right. And that’s the huge, you know, kind of hurdle that we we try to help our clients overcome is not to certainly not put anyone down. But knowing what all is on your plate, you’ve got to worry about staffing, you’ve got to worry about, you know, supply trucks coming in, you got to worry about who knows what, on any given day, you know, you probably don’t have time to also wear the marketing hat. Or, you know, if you’re doing it, you’re not doing it very often, or many hours per week. And that’s really where, you know, a kind of full-service solution like ours comes in where it’s, we’ll take care of that part.

Lucas:
Exactly, exactly. Well, Ian, let’s use an analogy that a business owner might understand. You know, if you’re in an auto repair shop, and I take you outside as one of my clients, and I lift the hood of your car, and I say, Hey, Ian, can you point out your exhaust gas recirculation valve? Do you think you could find it?

Ian:
I would point… but I’d be wrong.

Lucas:
My point is that as an auto repair professional, I know that’s crazy to ask you to do that. And I would ask anybody looking at marketing, put yourself in your consumer shoes and say, would I expect them to know that? Right? And the reality is, is No, you wouldn’t expect them to know that you wouldn’t expect them to know the intricacies of your profession. Right? So a lot of times, even though it seems like a lot of money, it feels like a lot of money. And I’m not saying I don’t encourage people to do their own marketing. But I think that dollar for dollar, we talked about return on investment. I think you’re better off hiring someone than you are investing that kind of dollars. Now if you don’t have the capital and just to invest right in the automotive world, we talked about a number between five and 8%, a maximum of 10% of gross revenues of sales into marketing. And if you are not in a situation where you’re running the business, you know how it works financially, you know what your gross numbers are, you know what your gross profit is, and you know what your net profit is, you’re probably not in a situation where you can comfortably or safely do that. So I understand having to do it yourself. But dollar for dollar you’re way better off paying somebody else to do it.

Ian:
Sure, sure. Even just, you know for nothing for no other reason just to avoid the hassle. You know, because it’s very easy for if you’re trying to do it yourself, and you’ve got an issue that day or that week, all of the sudden, you know, those Facebook ads, you were gonna run those, you know, whatever you were going to do. It’s you know what, that’s a next week problem. So-and-so called out, this part didn’t show up and I got an angry customer, I’m not going to deal with marketing today. And that becomes a week or two weeks.

Lucas:
So you probably look at a lot of Facebook or Google ads or look at a lot of Google review responses. And the one thing that I’ve seen over and over again, is an owner does something that you don’t do – they insert themselves into it personally, they insert their emotion into it. And so especially when it comes to things like review responses, I don’t know how many owners that are friends of mine, I’ve had to call and say, Hey, man, change that review response. Right? Like, this is not about what they did, or what you, you know, I was sitting in a class. Long story short, when I started improving my business. In 2011, 2012, I went to my wife one night, and I said, I’m done with this, the stress is too much. I’m not making any money, I could go get a job as a technician and make more. I’m gonna go train to be the best technician that I can be. And so there I went, I’ll go home, tell her this. And she’s, well, that’s really interesting. There’s this card that came in the mail, and it was for an event called ASCE in Cary, North Carolina. They still have it to this day. And I walked through the door of this event, and the executive director at this event is standing there, his name was Bob Pulverani. And he says, “You’re Lucas Underwood. And I’m like, “Okay.” I’ve never been to an industry event. Right. And I guess I had a uniform shirt on or something. And he pointed out, and he said, I’ve got a question for you. And I said, What’s that? He said, I see you’re taking all technical classes, but you’re the business owner? And I said, Yes, Mr. Pulverani, and the reason being is because, you know, I’m gonna close the business down, it’s too stressful. I’m not making enough money. I don’t want to do this anymore. And he said, “Would you humor me?” Now the executive director of a show like that says that to you? What do you say? You say “yes.” Right. Especially when you’re in an unfamiliar place, and you don’t know anybody. And he puts me in two classes. And the first one was with Malin Newton, and Malin Newton is talking about customer service. And he’s talking about a story of the customer service he got in Disney. And he says something and he says it near the beginning of the class. And I just kept going over this, my head over and over again. And he said, “customer service has nothing to do with how you feel about the client. It’s how the client feels about you.” Oh, hmm? I hadn’t thought of it that way. Crap. And then right after that, you know, I go into a class by a man named Rick White. And Rick said, “Listen, I know the business is really stressful, I know you’ve got a lot going on, I know you’re not making the money you should be, give me 10 minutes, I can help you. There’s a system, we can make that better.” And so I think that through education, we can go a long way we can get somewhere with digital marketing, we get somewhere with conventional marketing. But it takes knowledge, it takes time, it takes the focus on making your business better. We can’t just continue to focus on fixing the car, we can’t continue to focus on just the day-to-day grind. Because it never improves. Right? You can fix all the cars in the world and still not have any money. That’s not the point of a business, the point of a business is to be profitable. And I think business owners look at profit, like it’s a four-letter word they’re afraid of. being profitable is not bad. It’s how you serve your client better. I know that was an off-marketing rant…

Ian:
No, not at all.

Lauren: 
I love that. I want to go back and talk about your initial fear for getting on Google and Facebook. Because it’s an interesting thing that’s come up with a lot of our clients, is this fear of people saying something bad. We’ve had so much of a focus on reviews in the industry, which is very important, right? We’ve actually seen a lot of studies come up that say that businesses with like a four and a half to 4.9 rating, get more clients than a 5.0 – because of 5.0 rating looks like it’s fake, because we all know that there are those trolls or people out there that are going to not have a five-star experience. And so it’s very interesting to hear that that’s what you were afraid of, but that’s the exact thing the industry is saying is okay — it’s better to have some negative reviews than to have all five star reviews.

Lucas:
It really is. And you know, I’ve got clients who have told me I will not leave a five-star review. And I’ve had clients who I’ve called and said, “Hey, man, you gave me a four-star review.” He said Lucas, “because your five star was making you look worse than a four and a half or a 4.9.” Right and I asked him he’s like, man, he’s like nobody believes that. It just seems unreal. It seems unrealistic. You’ve got all these reviews. They’re all five star. Look, I lay awake at night thinking about those reviews and my phone will buzz I’m like, Man, I don’t want to get there. I want to be able to sleep tonight and and the reality is is is a if we think we’re going to make everyone happy. We’re being ridiculous, right? It’s not going to happen. And, and I think it’s a fallacy if we tell ourselves, we’re going to make it happen. But it puts a lot of undue stress on business owners. Because that’s our goal. That’s what we want. You know, I grew up in a family business that had been here since the 40s. And they saw anywhere between about 20 people a day, up to 50 people a day, and my parents spoke to each and every one of them, right? And my dad was very adamant about what he said, how he said it, what he said to them, when he said it to them. And that was part of the reputation that they had. But in the same respect, he kind of eventually got to the point that son, it’s okay, right? Like, if they’re not 100% happy that we’re just not the place for them. It’s okay. It doesn’t mean that I’m any less valuable or more valuable, but I see it more. So in repair shops, I think I see more repair shops who take that extremely personally, they get upset, they get online, and they make a response and the responses, either derogatory or aggressive. Right. And now all of the sudden, you’ve made this aggressive response, other clients see the way you responded, all you did was hurt yourself. But you know, when we talk about the fear of getting on there and doing it and making these posts, if you’re not putting yourself out there, you’re missing a whole chunk of the market. And secondly, I think that when we put ourselves out there like that, we’re asking for feedback. And if we truly want to optimize our business, if we want to optimize our marketing, we want to optimize each point of our business and make it the best it can be, we have to hear the bad feedback, too. I mean, we can stem it, we can slow it down, there’s companies that do follow up, we send back feedback messages, “Hey, is everything okay?” We can slow down bad reviews. And if we got a bunch of them, there’s probably something we need to fix.

Lauren:
It definitely shows when you respond to a negative review with understanding and learning and whatnot, and it’s out there in the public on like, you know, what your friends are doing? It shows potential customers that if there’s something wrong, you’re gonna make it right.

Lucas: 
Absolutely. You know, in automotive repair, one of the biggest complaints that we hear from clients, and we talk to clients all over the country, we’ve done surveys, the whole nine yards through our groups, one of the biggest complaints that we hear is they were not receptive to my concerns after something happened. I show them – I’m receptive to you, I’m willing to listen, if we screwed up, I’m willing to say, hey, it was me. How many times have you heard about somebody going to a repair shop and the shop says all that doesn’t have anything to do with what we did? I don’t care whose fault it is, take responsibility of the situation and say, hey, I want to make this the best I can make it.

Ian:
Well, I think you just touched on something to that just by nature of responding hopefully not aggressively. That’s important. Because how many times have you seen a place where they’ve got reviews, good, bad or otherwise? And you see no responses? And it makes you think as a consumer, like, I don’t think I’m gonna be able to get a hold of these people.

Lucas:
Exactly. They never respond. They don’t say thank you. They don’t say anything at all. It’s just nothing. Yep. And, you know, the same goes for many of these Facebook groups. I implore business owners to to use Facebook groups and Facebook community pages, appropriately, right. You’re, you’re messing with the devil in those groups, you got to be really careful. But you know, just yesterday, somebody posted a response from a business owner, he was a restaurant owner. And, and folks were talking bad about the restaurant in the group. And you know, he came back out. And he posted and he said, you know, we made some mistakes, and it was Mother’s Day and the staff wasn’t comfortable with the menu. I did not recognize it. I didn’t see what we were doing wrong until it was too late. I’m gonna give everybody a gift card. Here you go. I just want to say sorry to everybody. We definitely missed the ball this time. And so those people who were speaking negatively, do you know what they did? They turn their commentary around and they’re like, “Man, that is that’s great that you would do that!”

Ian:
Yeah, right. All of the sudden they were apologizing.

Lucas:
Exactly! So this is your opportunity as a business owner to shine above the rest of the crowd and show why you’re elite, why you’re listening to podcasts like this, right? Why you’re growing why you’re researching and learning. This gives you that opportunity to be the best of the best.

Ian:
So let me ask you this just kind of changing course, you know, we’ve talked about reviews, we’ve talked about Facebook, I mean, as within your own business or, you know, your circle of colleagues, what are you seeing as kind of the trends in terms of like, what, what are business owners in your industry doing for digital marketing?

Lucas:
Right? So there’s, there’s a multitude, I see about 40, 45% of our consumers that come in our shop, are seeing a Google ad, when they search, right? We’re in an area that Yelp is not as popular. So we’re seeing primarily Google responses. We do a very, very aggressive capture of “How did you hear about us? What did the ad say?” Right, so we can distinguish between ads, and we really aggressively track. So we have multiple tracking numbers, we can see where they’re coming from. And so about, I would say 40, 45% is coming from an actual Google ad. And then the folks that are actually searching us are finding us. Now obviously, I think that you, you have brake repair on your website, and it drives your SEO up. So that does make a difference. But I think right now, for us, we look at the website is really a point of contact, after they’ve learned about you. Google ads is definitely kind of the cream of the crop. That’s where most shop owners are going right now they’re starting with Google ads. Facebook is more of a branding tool for us, right. And they’re gonna see this in a lot of shops, they’re creating reels, they’re creating videos, they’re putting information out here, just so folks know them feel comfortable with them, their existing clients can keep up with them and see what’s happening in the facility. So it’s more of a brand tool, and then the ads for the folks who aren’t following you yet. So you have Facebook and Instagram ads, those are the two big pushes right now. Otherwise, you know, I think that that there is a little bit of a market for being in Yelp. But I think that is a case-by-case basis on where you’re at. I can pull clients from Yelp, but it’s it’s a 10, to one from what we get from Google. So those are those are really primarily what shop owners are using right now. Organic marketing is key. And so videos, things like that are really what they’re responding the best to when, when you’re talking about a repair shop.

Ian:
I’ll tell you what’s really interesting to me about what you said is the fact that you’re keeping track, because I know that’s one of the… and it ties into what you said earlier, too, that someone may try, you know, “I got $500, I’m gonna run some ads,” and they go, “Oh, they didn’t work.” 

Lucas:
Exactly!

Ian:
And then they just stop, right? And we’ll hear that from clients. They’ll go, “Oh, well, you know, this, this didn’t work.” And you go and you look at their reporting, and you’re like this did great, you got this many clicks, this many calls, this many form fills. And it’s just, I think that’s a unique challenge to small business owners that it’s very hard to see that return on investment, sometimes.

Lucas:
It really can be. And so the two things that I will say with that is with the advent of VoIP or voice over IP telephone systems, we have tons of reporting with Google, I hate to tell you folks, nobody knows your dang telephone number anyway. Like I barely know my wife’s telephone numbers saved in my phone, right?

Ian:
Right – “Wife” – that’s what it is.

Lucas:
Nobody knows telephone numbers. We’re not memorizing telephone numbers, we have too much going on. We Google it, we search it somewhere. And so using tracking numbers really makes that easy, especially with VoIP because now all of a sudden, we can have multiple telephone numbers, I can report on each one, I can see length of call, I can go back and cross reference its file to my shop management software and say that client came in or did they not come in? And secondly, I think it’s really important to mention that that I think shop owners and maybe the general business public, got burned a little bit. And the reason being is we saw a lot of companies and there are still some out here who would say, you know, “hey, we’re getting you all this return these clients were coming in, we look at all these 1000s of dollars we generated, we can attribute this to this repair, order this to this client.” And then you would start to look at the numbers and you said, “Well, Miss Smith’s been coming here for 10 years. Why is she… and well she called one of our numbers.” Okay, so it takes some work from the business owner, even once you hire a professional to look at this, to know you have to put the legwork in and… I don’t mean to call folks lazy, but I’m gonna call folks lazy. I think it’s really really easy for us to want to put everything on autopilot and the business is crazy. And it’s hard to keep up with you know, a lot of fires put out anyway, and you want to do the things you want to do in the business. And marketing is not always necessarily fun and verifying those people recall. That is part of your responsibility as business owner, right? It’s your job to track and find out if your marketing is effective. No one can do that but you.

Ian:
Yeah, and I think that’s kind of the mental hurdle of you know, time. Talking to any small business owner who you know, wants to get more business or wants to get more returned business. And they’re looking at marketing as the way to do that is getting them to kind of think of it as overhead. Just like you’ve got payroll, and you’ve got, you know, you go out and you buy your coffee filters every week, like marketing is a cost of doing business. It’s an investment.

Lucas:
And… but you know why that is? And I’ve learned this, I’ve been amazed. And I was guilty of this too, right? Like I was complaining about my business, and I didn’t like how it was running. And it was terrible. And I wasn’t making any money. And somebody said, Well, where’s your clean P&L? My clean P&L? What are you talking about? I’m not talking about the one you give your accountant. I’m talking about where your numbers are. I’m not I’m not running tax schemes or anything? No, I’m saying, if that’s all you have, you don’t have enough data. Oh, crud, what do you mean, I don’t have enough data? And so then you begin to learn about operating a business and you get a clean P&L, and by that, I mean, everything’s broken out into the proper categories. And you have accounts where you can truly monitor, and then you can compare to your peers, right? And there’s industry standards and marketing for auto repair, like I said, 5 to 8% 10% maximum, if you’re trying to drive a new facility trying to fill a new facility up. If you’re not tracking it, you don’t know you can’t see the return on investment. If you knew the number of shop owners who don’t even know what they spend on anything, let alone marketing. And they’re like, I’m not getting anything back for this. Dude, you spent 50 bucks and you got five clients? How do you know that while the track here, if you go back and find the check for the marketing company, and these people said that the marketing company brought him, I want him to think about doing that. I thought it was common sense. I thought we were just supposed to do that. And we had a conversation in the group the other day, a lot of us who have excelled, right? By just like you guys who have excelled in marketing, you look back at the people who aren’t doing it right, and you say, “Gosh, why are you doing that?” In some ways, we’ve left behind those who helped us improve the image of our industry as a whole. Because we’re not going back and saying, Hey, we don’t do that like that anymore. Here’s the best process, here’s the best protocol. And that’s what our groups are really about. That’s what our podcast is about. Let’s bring them with us. Let’s not leave them back there. We were once there. Sure. Let’s show him how to do this.

Ian:
Wow. That’s great. That’s great.

Lauren:
And I love how you mentioned previously, you know, Facebook is for branding, this is for that this is for that. And that’s some of that know how that I think a lot of business owners don’t understand they’re just going to throw some money in a Facebook ad or on a Google listing, they’re not understanding what that is for. And every aspect of digital marketing, as you said, has a specific purpose either to drive leads, or create awareness, or getting your local, you know, local area to promote brand awareness. So it’s an interesting piece of education that I think a lot of business owners don’t dive into is what is this piece of marketing? And why am I doing it?

Lucas:
Right. You’re absolutely right. And, you know, I think that’s where I see the biggest struggles come from when it comes to marketing, and being able to diversify, what am I trying to accomplish, and each one of these platforms, and you know, the five keys to copywriting, like if you were if you’re going to do this yourself, you need to understand how to write copy. And one of the biggest things that I found, and we talk about this from time to time, it’s uncomfortable for some people, some people have a natural inevitability, and some people can gain that ability. But copywriting can be hard if you’re not well versed in writing and speaking and reading, right? I’ve learned that the best way to learn to write copy is read a lot of copy. And I love to read so it works for me. But I see so many people out here trying to write their own copy that don’t understand how copy works. They don’t understand how to convey what they’re trying to accomplish to their client, there’s no call to action. There’s no salt in the wound, right? There’s no explanation of what you’re trying to convey to your consumer. And so that’s one of the big things that I see is they go out and they put an ad that says AC special today only at $89.95. Where, you know, “Hey, my kids are hot in the back of the car.” You’ve been driving for two hours, you know, you got to get the AC fix, but you don’t have the cash today we’re running a special, you know what I mean? And so, I think that we find ourselves trying to rush this process. We try and push through it. We don’t give it the time it deserves We’re busy. We don’t want to spend 10 hours or 20 hours a week working on marketing. If it’s going to be effective, you’ve got to.

Ian:
Yeah, and I think that’s what we find a lot or the kind of the position we find a lot of our clients in when they come to us is you know, “Hey, I got a billboard and it didn’t work.” And it’s like that’s it. Sure, you know, or it drove a couple people in and that’s about it. It’s getting them to understand that, you know, today it’s a much more diversified, you’ve got to have a presence here, you’ve got to have an ad there, and you’ve got to have a different ad here. And this ad is just about brand awareness, it’s not about the $89 AC special. You know, once you kind of tell that story, it starts to paint that picture of, it’s an always on thing. And it takes a lot of moving parts and a whole village behind those moving parts to make it, you know, to keep all those lights on and to keep working together. And that’s a challenge. If you’re, you know, a business owner,

Lucas:
It is downright overwhelming. It’s that much of a challenge. And you know, one of the things that we see a lot of folks do is is and I was in a training class on marketing while back and I brought this up and, and you know, it’s interesting, you sit through training classes on marketing, and you watch the shop owner eyes, just plain, nothing there. And they’re like, Yeah, but what about that API and this API and what why, listen, this is outside your wheelhouse. This isn’t it’s outside my wheelhouse. I’m only going to find out if the person writing my marketing, doing a good job. I don’t know how to do this. But he brought up a really valid point in this class. If I don’t know what everyone else in your marketing portfolio is doing. If we’re not in alignment, we’re all working towards the same goal – and there’s a special over here for that that’s special over here for this and a special, your staff gets overwhelmed. Right? And so, especially if we’re doing it ourselves, it’s very quickly, something that can snowball out of control. So, it’s important that you know what you’re doing.

Ian:
Yeah, yeah. And I think when it snowballs out of control, a lot of times the response to… the very natural response is just “I’m out.” Like, you know what, I’m gonna try marketing next season. Yep. Turn ’em off. All I gotta do is click the off button. It’s off. It’s good. That’s right, I just have to stop paying that check. And then you know, I can worry about something else.

Lucas:
Exactly, exactly. And I think that clients need to or repair shops, especially need to understand that there is client attrition. You are not, you’re not going to reinvent the wheel, you’re not going to do something that other people haven’t tried. Clients are going to die, clients are going to move, clients are going to buy new cars. You always need more clients, and they say, Oh, I’ve never done any advertising. I’ve never done any marketing. And you know what that says to me, you weren’t very efficient in your shop, you weren’t doing the revenue you should have been doing. Because if you’re if your shop is performing like it’s supposed to perform, you’re going to always need more cars. The point is growth. And we don’t want to be consistently sitting in the same spot we were. And I think a lot of shop owners, they don’t realize the shops potential. You know, when I started trying to fix my business, we were doing $14,000 a month and two bays. And today we’re doing $125,000 A month in the same two bays was basically the same size staff. And it was because I didn’t realize what my potential was. Yeah, and I hate to tell you, you’re not gonna make $125,000 a month without some client attrition you got to deal with and bring new clients and it’s not gonna happen.

Ian:
Lucas, thanks again for joining us today, sharing what you’ve experienced and helping us in our goal to help shop owners like you across the country. And to all of you listening if you need help with digital marketing for your auto shop, or any local business. If you need a digital marketing partner who can deliver the kind of effective digital marketing we talked about today, helping you with visibility on Google with reviews and more. Be sure to visit us at hibu.com. If you liked what you heard on this episode, be sure to subscribe and please leave us a review if you can. Once again this is Small Business Small Talk… out!


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