The U.S. auto repair industry is worth $67 billion annually allowing for an influx of business among auto repair shops. But, between the ads, billboards, TV commercials, and push notifications on your phone, the sheer volume of advertising may make it difficult to get your message heard amid all the noise.
That's why it’s important to think out-of-the-box for your some of your auto repair shop marketing initiatives. Here are some great ideas to put your business on the map.
Run Attention-Grabbing Promotions
Some of the most successful promotional efforts are ones that grab your attention and are memorable. A great starting point is to run a promotion that appeals to potential shop customers while sparking social media buzz and drive sales.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Host a Scavenger Hunt
Get creative with your auto shop marketing promotions by running a fun scavenger hunt with other local businesses. This type of promotion gives you the opportunity to use multiple media outlets, work with other small businesses, meet new customers that wouldn’t necessarily visit your shop, and thus encourage sales.
You can use tools, like Scavify, that help you create a custom scavenger hunt within an app. The major benefit is that you can track the data in real-time, see all who participate, and integrate rewards (if you choose).
Going old school isn’t a bad idea either, though it may take a little more effort. Here is how to get started:
Step 1: Determine Your Prize(s)
Offering a large prize (like lifetime oil changes) for the winner is a great way to incentivize participants. You might also consider giving away smaller prizes (like discounts or coupons) to everyone who participates.
Step 2: Schedule Out Clues
Decide when you will begin announcing clues or hints and how often. Include this information in your rules and post them to your website, social platforms, and physically at your shop. Be clear as to when new clues or hints will be available to avoid confusion.
Step 3: Create Your Messaging
How will you tell consumers about a new clue? This is where your marketing can get creative. Encourage customers to ‘like’ your business Facebook page, subscribe to your email, or sign up for the loyalty program to receive updates.
Step 4: Spread the Word
Scavenger hunts are a fun, interactive promotion that entire communities can participate in. Utilize all of your social platforms and local media outlets to try and promote the event.
Give Away a Lifetime Service Prize
In addition to hosting an auto shop scavenger hunt, you could also do a giveaway where the winning prize is something like a lifetime service! It offers a lot of value to your customers (who wouldn't want a lifetime of free oil changes?), without requiring a huge cash outlay from you. Additionally, it gives them a reason to keep coming back, in turn creating an opportunity for you to sell them other services.
Here’s a few ways you could run your lifetime service giveaway:
- On your website - You could have an area on your website where people can input their contact information in a form to be entered into the giveaway.
- At the reception desk - You could have slips of paper at the reception desk where customers write in their contact information and drop it into a plastic raffle box.
- On social media - You could create a promoted post or digital ad on Facebook or Instagram promoting the contest where they fill out a form with their contact information to be entered.
Partner With Other Brands
Running a special promotion may work great for attracting attention, but it might not fit into your budget. Don’t worry, you can work around those constraints with a different auto repair shop marketing tactic - business partnerships. Having a partner limits your risk while widening your potential pool of clients, granting access to customers you might not otherwise reach.
Here are a few ideas you could consider:
- Team up with your local auto parts supplier - Make sure your parts suppliers, especially if they have a retail counter, know that you’re open to working with their customers. Much like how many shops incentivize independent tow company drivers, you can offer referral bonuses to your local parts counter. Create a counter flyer and have the shop hand it to their customers. You can even offer discounted labor rates for repairs they steer your way.
- Partner up with independent used car lots - It can be difficult to compete against new car dealerships and their typical 3 year free oil change offers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work with local used car lots and offer free or discounted oil changes and tire rotations for their new buyers. It’s a win for the used car lot in that it provides them with another sales-closing tool. It also gives you first crack at new customers and their used (typically out-of-warranty) vehicles providing the opportunity to build new long-term relationships.
- Negotiate a deal with a local restaurant or coffee shop - that provides your clients with free drinks or snacks while they wait for their car to be serviced. It will improve the overall customer experience, giving you an advantage over your competitors' stale donuts and burnt coffee.
Create a Loyalty Program
Creating a loyalty program should also be considered among other auto repair shop marketing ideas. Bringing in new customers is a crucial part of growing your business, but retaining your current customers is critical for sustaining your business.
People who have already come to your auto repair shop represent an excellent source of future revenue. According to Annex Cloud, by increasing your customer retention by just 5% through loyalty programs can boost your revenue by 25% to 95%.
Loyalty programs can be difficult to generate and manage on your own, but companies like BayIQ can help out tremendously. BayIQ provides a plug-and-play loyalty program that will help you increase customer retention by:
- Offering rewards
- Capturing email and text permission
- Enabling a text-to-join shortcode and social sign-ups
- Sending bonuses and promotions
- Creating a customer portal to access transaction history and enroll family members
Make Auto Repair Marketing Easy with BayIQ
In addition to loyalty programs, BayIQ offers other automated marketing services specifically for tire and auto repair shops. Features such as online reviews, appointment schedulers, service reminders, automated promotional text messages and point-of-sale integrations can help any auto shop increase car count and spend per visit.
Make BayIQ a part of your auto repair shop marketing initiatives and start building those long-lasting relationships with your customers.