Shops need to take advantage of new marketing technology and adapt to customers

If you hope to reach customers in the new year, you’ll need an effective digital marketing strategy that includes a multi-channel approach. With consumers on their devices at all times, you can’t risk restricting your marketing to just email blasts or hoping your customers will naturally land on your website.

Simply put, with marketing involving more technology and that technology continually changing, auto shops need to be flexible about their marketing. That means tapping the latest technology trends to ensure that you’re everywhere your customers are.

This omni-channel approach involves companies using a variety of ways to reach customers — especially on devices such as smartphones and tablets — including websites and social media as well as mobile apps. New tools, such as geotargeting, which allows you to deliver mobile content based on a user’s location, should also be in the mix.

You can use geotargeting to place ads for your business inside the apps your customers are using most often. One example is the GPS travel navigation app Waze, which allows users to share information about traffic, accidents, construction, etc. If people on Waze pass an auto repair shop, and the shop is advertising on Waze, its ad will pop up.

Any shop participating in a multi-channel marketing plan should have a search-optimized website and a Google Adwords campaign to capture the keywords most relevant to their area or specialty.

It’s almost impossible to appear on Google’s front page for some of the most popular search terms with an organic approach alone.  That’s why a pay-per-click campaign needs to be part of your strategy.

Social media is also an important component, but keep in mind that Facebook and Twitter posts won’t drive a lot of sales.  Instead, think of them as an effective branding tool and the beginning of a sales funnel. You can use Facebook ads to promote special events or specials to help build that funnel.

To determine how to allocate your marketing dollars, consider using data analytics, which draw on the data repair shops get from their customers -  from how often they buy a car to how they like to be contacted. New point-of-sale systems offer great tools for shops to mine customer data and help them answer questions like: Is there a pattern? What should I know about my customers that will impact their marketing? It’s very important for customers to make decisions based on their own data rather than industry averages or trends.

To optimize their marketing dollars, shops should also educate employees about their online and offline marketing plans so they can maximize opportunities with prospects. Shop owners can create a marketing program, but if they don’t bring their team in and explain the strategy, it doesn’t do much good. Shop staff can serve as internal marketing people. If a customer calls a shop about a special they saw online or something they got in the mail, employees needs to know what the customer is talking about.

The technological evolution of marketing and the complexities that come with it present a challenge for repair shops. We’re in the digital age — which has quickly become digital clutter — and the majority of shop owners and their people fix cars. But now they’ve also got to be marketing experts, and partner with marketing professionals they trust to help them do that and get a good return on their marketing dollars. Shops need to take advantage of new technology, adapt to customers and show results.

BREAKOUT:

2019 Marketing Tips

1. Diversify your marketing.

2. Make data-driven decisions about your marketing.

3. Set expectations for your marketing, and train your team regarding those expectations.

4. Hold your marketing partner responsible for return on investment (ROI).

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Tim Ross is a marketing veteran and president of Mudlick Mail, a leading provider of direct mail services. Over the last eight years, Tim has built Mudlick into a $40 million operation that has helped thousands of businesses develop sustainable sales growth.

Parts & People

Parts & People is published monthly by Automotive Counseling and Publishing Company, Inc., a Colorado corporation, P.O. Box 18731 Denver, CO 80203, 303-765-4664. President-Lance Buchner. Founded by Lance Buchner and Dave Lucia.