Whether your auto repair shop thrives on new business or repeat customers, effective, targeted marketing is the key to reaching local consumers looking for car service and repair. And with the right marketing plan in place, you can reach your customers when they need you most, on the websites and devices (phones, tablets, etc.) they use most.
Here’s our complete guide to marketing for your auto repair shop…
Having a solid marketing strategy to promote your auto repair shop is vital to spreading awareness about your business, generating customer leads, and boosting sales.
The greatest benefit you’ll see from marketing your auto repair shop is an increase in car counts. Your investment in digital marketing will get you in front of your existing customers and potential new customers.
It’s important to have a specific target market or target audience when creating a marketing strategy for your auto repair shop. You probably have a pretty good idea who your best customers are – what they drive, where they live, etc. – but if possible, you’ll want to do some research prior to creating your marketing plan, to determine exactly who your best customers are. This will determine the type of content you create and share.
Some broad target audience examples include (your customer base probably falls into one or more of these):
- Luxury car owners
- New car owners
- Lifetime car owners
- Sports car owners
Consider the differences between these potential audiences. For example, luxury car owners may be more likely to have their car inspected and repaired at the dealership where they bought it. On the other hand, lifetime owners with older cars may be more likely to go to general auto repair shops.
Let’s say your auto repair shop specializes in sports cars. You’ll want to make that clear in your marketing plan so that you can attract the right customers.
You’ll also want to research your audience demographics and look for patterns. Is there a certain age group? A general income level? Asking these questions will help you define your target market… and help you determine how to communicate with them.
Here are some solutions to consider when creating a marketing strategy for your auto repair shop.
Your auto repair shop’s marketing activities should have a primary hub — your website. All your marketing activity will always point back to your website, so you need to keep it in shape and up to date to leave a lasting impression.
Here are some places to market your automotive business that will point back to your website:
Make Sure Your Website Is Compatible With Mobile
As of 2022, 56.05% of internet searches are done on mobile phones (desktops and tablets make up 41.25% and 2.43%).
If your website isn’t designed for mobile devices, the majority of today’s searchers may simply choose another auto repair shop rather than struggle with a tough to read and use website that’s not mobile friendly.
Your Website Must Be Designed Using Up-to-Date Best Practices
When it comes to your automotive website, looks really do matter. And while what looks “professional” can be subjective, your website should follow some standard design conventions to make sure that its visual design helps your customers find what they’re looking for.
Make sure your automotive website design includes:
- Plenty of white space — so it’s easy for your customers to scan and find what they’re looking for, the products or services they need
- Design elements your customers associate with your shop — your logo, your brand colors, and “trust icons” like any professional certifications or associations you have (including the logos of name-brand suppliers and products you use)
- Real-time content, especially customer reviews — so your website stays current, builds trust and encourages your customers to stay on your site longer
Too many words are overwhelming for website visitors.
If you end up needing a significant amount of text on your website, break it up into one- to three-sentence chunks. Large blocks of wording are difficult to digest, can appear cluttered (especially on a phone), and take away space that could be used for other purposes.
People seeking information about auto repair shops may be stressed and looking to scan your site as quickly as possible. Describing who you are…what key services you provide…and what sets you apart as concisely as possible makes your company appear more professional and efficient.
That said, always focus your website content on your customer. Any text on your website should be centered around your customers’ needs and how you can meet those needs — as well as how they’ll benefit from choosing you instead of your competitors.
Incorporating positive customer reviews into your website is important, too. When a potential customer visits your site and reads about how other people enjoyed their experience with your company, they’re more likely to consider your business.
[Related: 10 Missing Pieces on Small Business Websites]
PPC (Pay-Per-Click) and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) both help in driving traffic from search engines. PPC literally involves paying per click – you pay a fee based on the number of people who click on your ad — whereas SEO-generated clicks are free – SEO drives clicks by increasing your visibility. The two are similar, but not competitors, in. fact, you really need both.
Ad formats on these platforms include:
- Search ads
- Shopping ads
- Display ads
- Video ads
- Gmail ads
- And Social ads, which we’ll get into in more detail (keep reading)
Hiring a digital marketing team such as Hibu to create social media ads and run campaigns for your company is, for most auto repair shops (and small businesses in general) the smartest route to take. Face it, if you’re like most business owners, you just don’t have the expertise or time to do it yourself. Hibu creates ads and has a extensive experience in effective social marketing on two of the most commonly used social media platforms — Facebook and Instagram.
Each social media platform has their own preference for the types of ads that work best. Here’s what you should consider in terms of ads and content before marketing on each social media platform.
Facebook is great for sharing business updates and service promotions. Perhaps your auto repair shop is interested in promoting a tire sale before the start of the summer — Facebook is a great avenue for sharing seasonal sale updates and more.
Facebook also offers excellent targeting – you can ensure that your ads are seen by exactly the audience you want, in precisely the area you service.
Instagram is a more visual-focused platform that shows minimal text (unless a user zeroes in on a caption or clicks a link in your bio to read more information).
Posting photos of your business and staff will give viewers a look into your company culture and inspire them to hire you — if they like what they see.
Posting before and after photos of certain auto projects is a great option, too. It allows Instagram users to imagine what their car might look like after you makes repairs.
Most of us are aware that YouTube specializes in video content — you typically don’t visit this platform to read text content.
YouTube is a great outlet to post videos of technicians in action making auto repairs or explaining tips on car maintenance, cleaning and more. How-to videos are great for ideas and lessons that are most easily explained via video.
As a business and employment-oriented service platform, LinkedIn is the ideal outlet for sharing business updates. Maybe your auto repair shop moved to a new location, or perhaps you brought on a new manager. Sharing these updates via LinkedIn keeps your audience up to date on your company happenings.
Twitter is ideal for generating traction on content from your website.
Take full advantage of hashtags related to vehicles, car maintenance and repairs, and general auto shop topics. You can also share links to content from your website, related articles from businesses you support or have relationships with, as well as engaging, organic tweets that reflect the interests of your target audience.
Email marketing is a great way to promote your auto repair shop’s products and services. It helps keep your customers aware of what your business is up to, and is especially impactful (and simplified) when using automation tools such as Hibu Assistant.
Here are some ways you can leverage email marketing:
- Share new services or upcoming promotions
- Request reviews from recent customers
- Reach out to previous customers to encourage repeat business
It’s almost always cheaper to keep an existing customer than to find and work with a new one. An ongoing, automated email program, sometimes called a remarketing program, can help you reach your existing automotive customers…turn them into repeat customers…and have a steady stream of jobs, even if new customers aren’t coming through the door right now.
From timely messages (like “It’s been 6 months – time for an oil change”) to milestone reminders (“Thanks for a year of your business – here’s 10% off”) to seasonal offers or even just tips and news, an email or SMS text message is a great way to remarketing to your automotive customers customers and encourage repeat business.
Bottom line — staying top of mind with your customers will make your auto repair shop stand out from your competitors.
Reputation management is one of the most important tasks in marketing your business online. If someone recommends your auto repair shop to a family or friend, that person is more likely to contact you since personal recommendations are highly trusted.
However, even a single negative review can turn away potential customers. Whether your reviews are shown on your website or on a different platform, you must respond quickly and professionally.
It makes a world of a difference when an unsatisfied customer feels that their concerns are being listened to and respected. That unhappy customer might even have a change of heart and reconsider your company in the future!
[Related: 8 Ways to Respond to Negative Reviews]
It’s also equally important to encourage more positive reviews if any negative ones populate on your site. As potential customers scan through a page of reviews, they’ll only read so many. Positive reviews from happy customers will eventually push down negative ones to the point where they’re hidden.
Content marketing is a great way to generate leads and build trust with new and existing customers. You can do so through the following:
- Blog posts —Creating content about your business (and on related topics) to generate visibility in the search results and increase your website traffic
- Videos — Create videos that are informative for those who may need repair or maintenance work on their vehicles (most people can’t perform auto repair work by themselves — how-to videos will likely lead them to your business)
- Webinars — in a lot of ways, webinars are really just longer, often live, videos. Creating invites for webinars is a way to connect with your target audience, develop relationships, and encourage people to follow your business
If you’re interested in a custom marketing solution for your auto repair shop, get in touch with Hibu. We can help you develop an engaging website… create ads for Facebook and Instagram… and build a strategy that leads to results. Call us at 877-237-6120 or request a no-obligation call to get started today.