Top 3 Marketing Mistakes that Stall Your Auto Repair Business

Upswell Logo Blue Cmyk11211Fall is just around the corner. A change in seasons is a great time to bring in new customers or reach out to your current clientele. For maximum success, you want to ensure your marketing is right on target — that is, you want to send the right message to the right person at the right time. That means avoiding the all-too-common mistakes that can derail your marketing efforts and cause your business to fall flat.

Mistake #1: Not Having a Game Plan

Direct mail is one of the most effective marketing tools for automotive shops, and it should be part of your budget. For your marketing investment to pay off, you need to create — and stick with — a game plan. Too often, automotive repair shops stop marketing when they’re busy and start when business slacks off. Similarly, they don’t give offers a chance to work; it takes a few months to know if you’re on the right track. And while it’s tempting to try the latest marketing techniques, your goal should be, as we said earlier, to deliver the right message to the right customer or prospect at the right time. Only consistent, planned marketing will help you gain long-term market share.

Mistake #2 Sending the Wrong Offer to the Wrong People

In the auto repair business, location is everything. Customers want a nearby shop that offers convenient service. Your mailing list should target neighborhoods close to you. Say you have a loyal customer who lives 10 miles away. That customer will drive the distance to your shop because they know and trust you, but their neighbor doesn’t. To help you determine the best areas, do what’s called a penetration report which plots out your customers’ addresses. Send your offer to the neighborhoods where your closest customers live, and you’ll have better success.

And be sure to create an appealing offer. Don’t start with a big-ticket item such as brakes. Instead, try a good deal on oil changes. This is a low-risk transaction for both the customer and your shop. If you identify a problem while servicing their car, that gives you an upselling opportunity. Also, be sure your offer is actually a good deal. A high-priced oil change may leave customers wondering how much brake repairs will cost them. Remember to be consistent — send out a direct mail piece every month like clockwork. Finally, don’t forget your current customers who trust you and don’t need a discounted rate to come in. They’re the lifeblood of your business and a rich resource for new customer referrals.

Mistake #3: Not Prepping Your Employees or Shop

Does this scenario sound familiar: You send out a direct mail piece for a $19.95 oil change, only to have your front counter employee tell a potential customer that there’s no such offer. Or perhaps you have an incredible response, but your shop just can’t handle the increased volume of business. Perhaps worst of all, the shop itself turns off customers. Grimy bathrooms and worn-out linoleum just won’t cut it for today’s sophisticated customers.

To remedy these problems, start with your employees. Keep a copy of the latest direct mail piece at the front counter for reference and train your staff on their phone skills. And before you send out an offer, be sure your shop can support a spike in business. Do the math: you can expect a 0.5% return, so 25,000 mailers could bring in 125 new customers. Finally, invest in an office makeover. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but clean bathrooms, comfortable seating, and an updated look all create a professional, appealing atmosphere.

When done right, marketing will fuel your business with new customers, and your excellent service will keep them coming back. For help creating a winning marketing strategy or to receive your Free Marketing Assessment, call UpSwell at 866-397-1770 or visit our website.