Free Marketing Ideas for Auto Repair Shops
Free marketing ideas for auto repair shops sounds like a great deal doesn’t it? Maybe and maybe not. A wise business owner friend once said you can spend Time or you can spend Money. Sometimes you have more money than time so it makes sense to pay someone to do various jobs, sometimes you have the time but not the money so you do jobs yourself. I would add that sometimes you just don’t want to do something yourself (or you can’t) so you pay someone else to do it.
If you are just starting out you may well be short on both time and money, but you know you need to market your auto repair shop so you are looking for some free ways to get more cars in the door. Here are some free ways to spread the news about your business and increase your average car count.
Word of mouth
The easiest and also the hardest marketing for any repair shop. You need a lot of happy clients who will tell anyone who wants to know about car repair that your shop is the best in town. Once you reach the tipping point, well word of mouth will fill your shop with clients who are happy to pay what you ask as they trust you.
Social media reviews and Google reviews. While these are free they have a VERY high value for your business, we cannot stress just how vital reviews are now to your business. The easiest way to get a positive review is also the simplest and yet gets missed so often, Ask for it.
As you are saying goodbye to a happy smiling customer, ask them to leave you a review. Explain how it helps your business (people love to feel invested in the success of a business they use) and how much you appreciate it. You can even offer them some kind of gift if they do leave the review, a discount on next service is usual. You can never have too many reviews.
Even a review that is not so good can have value, as long as you answer it in a professional manner. The best reviews to get are on Google, but Facebook and yelp reviews carry weight and give you some diversity which is always good.
You will get lots of companies contacting you offering to get you more reviews, and they have value, but if you are looking for free marketing ideas then doing review collection yourself is perfectly viable.
1-Ask the customer to leave a review as they pick up their car
2-Send them a personal email a few days or a week later, asking if everything is ok etc and leave a link in the email to your Google review page.
3-Send them a text message from inside your shop management software if it has that capability or from a shop phone (don’t use your personal phone), with a link to the Google review page if you can.
The easier you make it for people to leave reviews the more likely they are to do it. The more people you ask the more reviews you will get and you can NEVER have too many reviews.
Make sure your business is shown in Google and make sure you add pictures and as much information as you can, including claiming your business so it shows up in Google maps.
When people search online for “auto repair near me” (searched 61k times a month) they need to see your shop appear on the map. Being in the map isn’t enough as there may be more than 3 or 5 local competitors and that is generally the number of businesses that get shown on the initial map.
Reviews will help you appear in a better position on the map. Google want to give the best experience to their user and that means showing them the best shops in the area, the only way they have to measure this is by reviews. Can you see now how important Google Reviews are?
If you use any kind of SEO or marketing company (which is not free obviously) they should be talking to you about Google Reviews and your appearance in the Maps part of Google. If they are not mentioning it, well you should be looking for a new company to work with.
Do a grand opening and invite the local radio stations and newspapers down to cover it, if you are linking it to some kind of charity they are even more likely to come and cover the event. Radio stations will sometimes try and push their advertising at you, but if they need content they will come and share your event just to stop one of their competitors being there.
Do something that is connected to a charity group and you will get coverage, it is good for the charity, it is good for you and it is good for the news outlets. This can be something like helping a local group that deals with young offenders, maybe they want to start a go-kart group and you can help them by spending time with them showing how to maintain the karts.
Now before you say you hate social media, think about where your customers are and where your future customers are. Starting your own company page on Facebook costs nothing and you can share news from your shop along with news that may interest local customers, and potential customers. Do not pass the job of setting the page up to someone else, you need to be the owner and then you make others an admin so they can post to the page and manage it if you wish but you must be the owner.
Stay away from politics and religion, don’t go sharing your thoughts on local or national elections. You will alienate as many clients as you excite and the ones you alienate may well the local influencers so it has far more risk than reward.
Ask your partner for ideas, find other local business that are successful and ask them how they grew. People love to share their success stories.
Finally, Be Consistent
Consistency is the one word that will help all your marketing efforts, ask for reviews from every customer, post to your Facebook account every single week. If you consistently fix peoples cars in the time frame you promise for the price you quoted and do it with a smile you will build a happy clientele and the positive word of mouth will bring you all the business you need. If you consistently share to Facebook your following will grow and more people will see your ads. If you consistently ask your customers to leave a review they will.
Auto Repair Shop Marketing Part Three – Low Cost Marketing Ideas for Auto Repair Shops