Putting air in car tires

Getting Started With Content Marketing: Tips for Auto Repair Shops

Content marketing is more than a buzzword; it’s an essential strategy for any business owner. That said, if you work in the automotive industry, email and social media probably aren’t the first things on your mind when you get to work. We get that. But both of these channels are worth your consideration. Why? Because content marketing is the most effective way to stay in front of existing customers and reach new ones.

Most people don’t think about auto shops until there’s an emergency or something needs to be fixed. And because of that, a lot of time can pass between visits. A successful content marketing strategy ensures that customers won’t forget about your shop in the interim.

Understanding Content Marketing

The goal of content marketing is to put your customers first. Content marketing makes use of multiple communication channels ranging from social media and blogs to email newsletters. For the purpose of this article, we’ll focus on email newsletters.

When it comes to email marketing, the goal is to send content that is related to, but not directly about your business. You might teach your customers something new or provide handy maintenance tips. Think about the topics you get asked about on a regular basis — maintaining a car’s interior, different types of oil, seasonal maintenance, etc.

Where content marketing varies from traditional marketing is the sales pitch; it’s either subtle, or not there at all. When you make content for your customers’ benefit, they’re more likely to tune in.

Sharing helpful content regularly will help you establish credibility, turn you into the go-to automotive expert, and keep you fresh in the minds of your customers. Memorability is so important. Every business interaction is a choice, and while a lot of business decisions depend on good service, you also need to be remembered. Content marketing can help.

After all, it’s easier (and way more affordable) to keep your customers coming back than constantly trying to acquire new ones.

Getting Started With Content Marketing

We’ve been throwing around the word “content” a lot. So, speaking of content — how do you know what to write about?

Creative webbing is an easy, tried-and-true method of brainstorming, and it can help you figure out where to start.

Creative Webbing Activity for Automotive Content Marketing

You’ll need: paper, something to write with and a timer.

Part 1: Topic Web

  1. In the middle of a sheet of paper, write the word “Cars” and draw a circle around it.
  2. Set your timer for five minutes.
  3. Take five minutes to fill your paper with words and phrases related to cars. There are no wrong answers here. Follow your train of thought wherever it leads you; just write as much down as you can.
  4. When you’re done, draw lines between related words or circles around groups of words that stand out. And voila, you’ve completed your first web and you have a wealth of topics to explore further.

Part 2: Subtopic Web

  1. Now pick one of the topics from your first web, like tires, and get a fresh sheet of paper.
  2. Repeat steps 1 to 4 with your new subtopic.

Examples: weather, terrain, sport, tread, maintenance, etc.

Part 3: Email Content Topics

  1. Grab a third sheet of paper and set the timer again.
  2. Use your subtopic sheet to come up with content ideas for email newsletters or blog posts. Again, there are no wrong answers. You can spend more time later refining your ideas; webbing is meant to be spontaneous and off the cuff.

Examples:
Why You Need Winter Tires
Choosing the Right Tires for Your Car
Tips to Keep Your Tires in Good Shape
Warning Signs: How to Tell You Need New Tires

Turn Your Creative Webbing Into a Plan

Use a calendar to schedule the dates you’ll want to share each topic. Consider the seasons and holidays, and set a regular schedule that works for you. We like to send newsletters on behalf of our clients twice a month.

And with that you are well on your way to being an automotive content marketer. Pro tip: Don’t wait until the last minute — give yourself ample time to write the content so you’re not struggling to put something together at the last minute.

Wrap-up

With content marketing, you can share your automotive expertise with your customers without asking them to step foot in your garage. Sharing helpful information, car care tips and industry insight via email not only provides a valuable service to your customers, it is also valuable for your business. Content marketing keeps you relevant and top of mind, and it keeps your customers coming back.

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Erin Myers
erin.myers@outboundengine.com

Erin is the former Content Marketing Manager at OutboundEngine. She's passionate about tracking the latest trends in social media and marketing to help business owners build relationships and reach new customers online.