In the repair business, it’s easy to feel like you’ll always have a steady stream of customers. However, that’s never a guarantee. Plus, the competition is consistently increasing, causing you to have to work that much harder to get ahead and stand out. You’ve come this far, though, and with the growing marketing budget, you’ll find an increasing number of ways to draw new business to your car repair shop.
You might be an expert at car repairs, but have limited experience with marketing and lead generation. Fortunately, you don’t have to know it all as long as you’re willing to learn. Most of the strategies that are effective today are ones that are easy to implement and that don’t take a lot of extra work. That’s part of the goal—to work smarter, not harder.
If you’re ready to keep growing, it’s time to get started on new strategies for success. Here are five tactics that should be on every repair shop’s to-do list when it comes to lead generation and marketing.
Cost: Free, unless you offer incentives
People’s word is still one of the most valuable resources for your business. Car repair is expensive and it’s an industry where far too many fly-by-night “mechanics” rip people off and do shoddy work. That’s why reviews and referrals are such an integral part of this industry. Consider setting up a referral program or soliciting reviews in exchange for a discount on services of some kind. Get reviews on your website, as well as on local business directories and sites like Google so that you can build your professional reputation, too.
Make sure that you incentivize both parties if you set up a referral program. You could offer a 10% discount for someone who refers a new customer, and then offer the new customer a free oil change for their first visit, for example. Make sure that it’s fair and that it benefits both parties. You don’t have to do this, but it helps draw in more business and maximize word-of-mouth marketing.
Cost: Free, unless you attend events, join organizations, etc.
Connect with car dealers, insurance companies, and anyone else that might be able to help you generate more leads for your car repair shop. Having a strong professional network will mean that you always have a source to pull clients from and that you will find some clients flowing in even without having to do much work at all. This also helps boost your reputation.
When you have a stronger professional network, you will be seen as a more reliable, reputable car repair shop. People will be more likely to come to you for their car repair needs because they know that you’re among the best in the industry. This kind of reputation doesn’t come easy, but it’s worth working for. Take advantage of all the networking opportunities presented to you.
Local SEO is the crux of marketing for local businesses today. Your car repair shop needs a solid local SEO strategy that includes everything from location-based keywords to using business directory listings to build your visibility online. You should hire someone skilled in search engine optimization. It’s even better if you can find someone with experience in the car repair industry or related businesses, but you can always fill in the technical details.
Claim and fill out your Google Business Profile. Make sure that your name, address, and phone number (NAP citation) are consistent across all websites, listings, and platforms. And finally, manage negative reviews and monitor online chatter about your repair shop so that you can respond accordingly and show people that you are engaged and paying attention. When you hire someone to handle all of this, your local SEO will see tons of improvement and that will help you attract new clients with ease.
Speaking of engaged, you have to be involved on social media. Usually, most companies aren’t spending as much time on social media as they should or they are not engaging in the right marketing efforts to get the best results. Now is when that needs to change. You need to utilize all the relevant social media platforms. Use them to connect with your audience, share information, and even offer specials or provide business updates to people.
You can share blogs that you’ve written, automotive industry news, information about recalls, helpful guides on repairs, and so much more. You can even show off your work with pictures and videos, or start a YouTube channel that shows people how you handle the most common car repairs, just for a few examples. What matters is that you get engaged with people and use social media to attract as much business as you can.
Cost: $250-$5,000, depending on what you outsource
You’ve got a full plate with repairs, service work, and running the shop. Imagine how much easier your work would be if you could outsource some of the most common, tedious tasks. There are tons of different things that you can outsource, but admin and communications are among the easiest and most effective.
For example, you can create a partnership with the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai, which will afford you a 24/7 answering service to ensure that you never miss a lead. But we do a lot more than that—we’ll also assist with lead intake and appointment scheduling, live website chat, and even your outreach campaigns to help generate those leads in the first place.