The best marketing ideas for auto repair shops are the ones that increase your referral business through word of mouth. You can spend money on TV ads, SEO and PPC campaigns, and even direct mail, but investing a small fortune on marketing channels that don’t grow your word-of-mouth business isn’t worth the cost. Auto repair and specialty shops need to invest in low-cost marketing ideas that target past and present customers. Keep your business in their minds, and you’ll increase your new customer referrals.
Traditional marketing is focused on converting people who don’t know you into customers. Promoting your business to new audiences who haven’t heard about you can yield results, but it is a very expensive approach. Marketing that reaches out to the people who have already done business with you means referrals. The power of referrals is incredibly strong.
Here are 5 marketing ideas for auto repair shops to help increase their word-of-mouth referrals.
1. Use Email Newsletters to Keep in Touch
Email newsletters are the best way to stay in front of your customers. Rather than sending email newsletters that do nothing but promote your business or ask customers to promote your business, send emails that entertain or inform your audience.
Content marketing through email is a great way to keep your customers engaged without selling to them. 90% of consumers find custom content useful, and 78% believe that businesses that deliver custom content want to build a good relationship with them.
Instead of sending the same 10% off coupon month after month, consider writing an email newsletter talking about a helpful piece of advice.
For example, here’s an email campaign we sent out for our automotive customers:
Psst—if you’re interested in something like this, drop us a line and let us do the marketing work for you. We’ll automate the entire process of researching, writing, and sending content for you, freeing you up to focus on what you need to.
2. Thank People for Their Business
It’s a simple idea, but a thank you goes a long way. Remember, your focus is on making sure your existing customers tell their friends about you. The more you make every experience they have with you memorable, the more comfortable they’ll feel recommending you to their personal networks.
If you’re wondering how you can thank your customers, we have there are plenty of thank you gift ideas.
These thank you gifts often turn out to be long-term investments that become word-of-mouth referrals for years.
3. Be Social
You need to share information on your social networks that help and entertain your customers. It’s all about having a business presence online that people want to follow. Maybe you found a blog post comparing the best DIY waxes for your car. Your Facebook business page needs to be filled with helpful, interesting and relevant content. This will brand you as an expert in what you do.
People often check in on Facebook when they visit a physical location. This gives your business more exposure as their friends will see your name mentioned. Visitors can tag your business in posts, too. When a friend asks for a tint shop recommendation on Facebook, friends can tag that business in comments. Businesses can get customers and not pay a dime. Below is an example of this:
4. Get Reviewed
Don’t hesitate to ask your customers for feedback. Whether positive or negative, when someone hops on Google, Yelp or Facebook to find out more information, even neutral reviews are better than no reviews at all.
Reviews on these sites are also great because they can indirectly act as a word-of-mouth referral. If you visit a dent doctor’s Facebook page and see two check-ins from personal friends, you’re more inclined to trust that business over one you’re not connected with at all.
5. Ask for Referrals
There’s no shame in actively growing your business through your existing network. Make it known to your customers when you see them that you’d greatly appreciate a referral. Make sure to have a business card to give them, but more importantly, make sure you have their contact information. If you’re sending them email newsletters regularly, they’ll be sure to always have your contact information, unlike a business card.
When you do get new customers referred to you, make sure you send a note to the person who made the referral. If you have the budget, consider sending a small Amazon gift card as a thank you. It gives your customers even more reason to keep referring business to you.
As you continue to surprise and delight your loyal customers, they’ll return the favor.
Stay in touch more easily
In conclusion, focusing your marketing efforts on your existing customer base is a great way for auto repair shops to increase their word-of-mouth business. You can spend a lot of money on things like TV commercials, radio spots, and direct mail campaigns, but you may be targeting the wrong audiences.
Most of all, keep providing quality service, stay in touch with your customers, and surprise and delight your customers. Building this connection with your customers brands you as a trusted partner and keeps your name at the top of their minds. And if you need a hand with this, we can automate your email and social media marketing for you.