Are you still relying on outdated strategies like punch card-based loyalty programs? If so, it’s time to bring your auto shop into the 21st century. By modernizing your marketing strategy, you’ll find it easier than ever to attract new customers while improving the services you provide to your current clients.
To help you get started, here’s a breakdown of four marketing efforts that can give your business a boost in 2022.
1. Email and SMS Text Marketing
The key to effective marketing is to meet potential and current customers where they are. In most cases, that means getting onto their cell phones. Two popular digital marketing strategies involve email and SMS/text messages.
While these are technically two types of marketing, they can be used together. Your shop’s email marketing can focus on newsletters and other long-form content while texts are perfect for shorter updates and reaffirming the messages shared in your emails. For example, you could send your subscribers a text to give them a heads-up about an upcoming promotion and a follow up email with the details.
You may think that building a marketing strategy that incorporates both email and texts sounds complicated and expensive, especially when these messages are supposed to work together, but the industry has changed. Thanks to automated marketing platforms like BayIQ, text and email marketing efforts have become easy to use and affordable for even the smallest independent shops.
2. A Loyalty Program
Though just 12-15% of customers are loyal to individual businesses, they make up roughly 55-70% of total sales. Moreover, selling products to existing customers has an average success rate between 60-70%.That’s why a loyalty program is crucial–get customers coming back again and again.
Mistakes to Avoid
Before you jump into the process of building your shop’s loyalty program, it’s necessary to point out that some loyalty programs are far more effective than others. If you aren’t careful, your program could end up having little to no positive impact on your business. More specifically, try to avoid these common pitfalls:
- A program that’s hard for customers to use. Your loyalty program can offer the best value in the industry, but if your clientele can’t understand how it works, they’ll ignore it - at best. In a worst-case scenario, their dissatisfaction with your program could even push them away from your shop.
- Not sending the right messages to the right people. A well-designed loyalty program should allow you to reach customers with offers and updates relevant to their own lives. Make sure your loyalty program is customizable.
- Making points worthless. If your points take too long to add up to real benefits, can’t be used by customers right away, or are challenging to earn, most people won’t bother dealing with them at all.
- Not offering tier-based rewards. Your most loyal customers deserve the red-carpet treatment, and that means giving them special perks through your loyalty program. As they build up their points, consider offering special discounts or promotions just because they are a member.
- Failing to let people know you have a loyalty program. No matter how much effort you put into designing your loyalty program, people won’t use it if they don’t know it exists. It may sound obvious, but a huge part of adding a loyalty program to your marketing strategy is marketing the program itself.
Knowing about these potential issues should give you a head start. However, the process of designing a loyalty program for your auto shop can still be confusing if you don’t already have experience in this field. Luckily, modern marketing platforms can make loyalty program development a cinch.
3. Prioritizing the Customer Experience
As any good tire/auto shop owner knows, “the customer is always right.” That piece of advice has become a cliche over the years. Still, it got to that point for a reason–it’s a simple way to express the importance of customer service and it’s backed up by cold, hard numbers. For a whopping 73% of customers, their buying decisions are motivated at least in part by customer service. Businesses that actively work to improve customer satisfaction can see their revenue grow by up to 80%.
If your shop hasn’t made customer experience a top priority, you’re already behind–but it’s not too late to catch up. Get started by putting these tips into action:
- Express your appreciation to customers after their appointment. “Please” is famous for being “the magic word,” but “thank you” can be just as effective. Let your clients know you care by emailing them after they visit your shop.
- Remind people when they have upcoming service appointments. Nobody wants to miss their next auto appointment, but things can fall through the cracks when life gets busy. Make it more convenient for your customers by sending them an email or text reminder when they have an appointment coming up.
- Make your service worth the wait with a special waiting area. It’s no secret that auto and tire repairs can be a time-consuming process. While your customers wait for your technicians to finish their work, give them a comfortable place to pass the time - complete with coffee, snacks, magazines, and more.
- Promote your promotions. Your loyalty program isn’t the only marketing initiative you should advertise. Whenever you have an upcoming promotion, send personalized emails to your customers to let them know it’s happening.
4. Automating Your Marketing
More and more small businesses are turning to automated marketing platforms for their promotional needs. These platforms can make it simple for companies to create loyalty programs, set up email/text marketing campaigns, schedule appointments, and much more. Better yet, they can allow business owners to develop holistic marketing plans with ease, ensuring that each piece of the puzzle fits seamlessly with its counterparts.
BayIQ is a marketing platform created specifically for businesses in the automotive and tire industry. With this service, which you can add to your current point-of-sale system, you can:
- Build easy-to-use loyalty programs
- Schedule email and text messages, including maintenance reminders
- Let customers set up appointments online
- Request, manage, and respond to online reviews
- View detailed statistics on your marketing efforts
If you want your auto or tire shop to get a great start in 2022, learn more about what BayIQ can do for your shop.