Top 10 Marketing Strategies for Auto Repair Shops

How to bring in new customers is a challenge that all auto shops face. There are hundreds of ways to market your business, but if you don't have an unlimited budget you have to be careful which you choose. Learn which marketing strategies will provide the best value for your dollar by bringing in the most new business.

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When business is slow, auto shops have to look at their marketing to try to bring in new customers

(Vocus/PRWEB) March 02, 2011

Most auto repair shops are very good when it comes to fixing cars, but when it comes to marketing they are out of their element. When the economy is doing well business is usually good, but when the economy is slow and people are holding off on having their automobile repaired, it can be very tough. When times are slow mechanics have to think about their marketing or lack of marketing and find new ways to get customers coming in the door. The following list is comprised of the top ten marketing strategies for auto shops to use to get local customers.

10 – Radio Advertising – High Cost with a Large Reach
The right radio station can be an excellent way to promote your shop because most people listening to the radio during rush hour are in their cars. The challenges with radio are that you need repetition for it to have an effect on the consumer and buying time during rush hour is very costly. This strategy is good for brands that are bigger and have multiple locations.

9 – Local Newspapers – High Cost with Medium to High Reach
Local newspapers can be an effective way to advertise if you have the right ad placed in the right section. It is a great way to create brand awareness but only when done on a repeated basis. To get the best value out of this type of advertising you have to be consistent which can be quite costly.

8 – Physical Directories – Medium to High Cost with Decreasing Reach
The physical directory books have been one of the bread and butter advertising channels for many auto mechanics. While these directories can still provide some new customers, most people no longer have their book accessible and instead use the internet to find local businesses. This strategies effectiveness has been decreasing for the last five years and will continue to decrease in the future.

7 – Local Flyers – High Cost with Medium Reach
Printing a small run of flyers and having them delivered to your local neighborhood can be an effective way to get new customers. The challenge with this strategy is that you only have from the time they collect the flyer till they walk to the blue box to catch their attention. The best way to do this is to have a special or discount offer that is very hard to refuse. This strategy is not as effective as it used to be because people don’t save flyers anymore so you have to get people who are already in the market for your service.

6 – Sending Cards – Low to Medium Cost with Low Reach
Sending a card to your customers to either thank them for their business or to give them a special offer can be a very effective way to get repeat business. While this doesn’t bring in new customers it can get your current customers to visit your shop more often. These campaigns work best when they are timed with the changing of the seasons or other events that would cause people to need to have their car serviced.

5 – Strategic Alliances – Low Cost with Medium Reach
Finding non competing businesses that have the same target market and passing business between each other can be a very effective way to advertise. If you’re a general repair shop you can refer business to a windshield and glass replacement shop and have them do the same. The key to this is to find the right alliance partner that has the same quality of work and customer service so you can make sure that your customers are treated properly. When this strategy is done right it’s a win-win for both businesses.

4 – Referral Programs - Medium Cost with Medium Reach
Referral programs are typically done by finding businesses that have the same target market as you but offer a different service and giving them a commission for each customer that they refer to you. This is a way for them to earn more money from their existing clients and allows you to get new customers with very little work or risk on your part. The key to a successful referral program is finding the right businesses and providing them with a good incentive for helping you out.

3 – Social Media – Medium Cost Because of Time with Large Reach
Social media has become the fastest expansion of word of mouth marketing. While a person has the potential to speak about you to approximately 9-27 people, they’re online network can range from several hundred to several thousand people. With a simple Facebook status post or tweet they can reach a much larger group than ever before. This can quickly spread your name and drive business to your door. By engaging with your audience and participating on these sites you are gaining more exposure and credibility.

2 – Online Review Sites / Directories – Low to Medium Cost with Large Reach
As the internet grows in both its popularity and reach more people are looking for local services online. The reason customers look through online directories is to research the different auto shops and read reviews. Positive reviews have become critical in many industries online as they are the easiest way to gain trust with your customers and the more of them that you have online the more business you will get. To see a sample of one these sites visit http://www.autoshopit.com

1 – Word of Mouth – Low Cost with Medium Reach
The number one strategy for auto shops to bring in new customers is word of mouth. Almost all auto shops generate a significant amount of their business through word of mouth. This is why many of them don’t do any other types of advertising. One of the big appeals to word of mouth advertising is that it’s very passive. Having customers recommend you to their friends is great but only when they do it. There are several ways to increase word of mouth advertising. The main one is to go out of your way to provide excellent customer service. When you WOW your customers they want to talk about you to their friends and family. A unique positive experience becomes something worth sharing. The more they talk about you the better it is for your shop.

Autoshopit.com is a directory for auto repair shops and auto mechanics to promote themselves and build their reputation online. The site allows you to take advantage of all three of the top marketing strategies at the same time. While you’re building your online reputation you are also allowing your customers to leverage social media and word of mouth to their entire network.

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