Marketing! It’s something we’ve all got to do to get the word out, but half the time it feels like learning another language.
Let us assure you that it’s a language worth learning. If you don’t market your shop, how are your potential customers going to find you?
Spoiler alert: they’re not.
But have no fear, Fullbay is here! We recently ran a webinar centered entirely around marketing and how to get started on it – without feeling like you’re losing your mind. We brought together Jacob Findlay, Co-Founder & CEO of Fullbay; Chris O’Brien, COO of Fullbay; and Jeffrey Godwin, President of FTI Groups, and let them roll with it.
So how should you market your repair shop in 2021? We hope you’ll listen to the entire webinar, of course, but we’ve put together some of our favorite takeaways.
Locate the right customer.
If you’ve ever thought about cutting your prices to attract customers…stop! The labor rate you set determines the customer you attract. Trust us – you don’t want a customer who only focuses on cheap work. Providing quality service and reducing downtime is still the best way to secure a long-term customer.
But to find the right customer, you have to know what you can offer them.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you assessed your shop’s strengths and weaknesses? Once you write down your weaknesses and understand them, you can turn them into strengths.
- What are the opportunities and threats in your area? Maybe there is zero mobile presence. That’s a place for you to step in.
- Who is your competition? See who else is out there. What are they doing – not only with their services, but in their marketing? Let’s piggyback off the mobile suggestion. If they’re offering mobile, there may be space in the market for you.
Create a marketing plan.
Setting up a marketing plan is similar to setting up a budget: it’s all about strategic goals. Begin with the end in mind and work backward. A marketing plan will outline your strategies and tactics for the next year.
- Create an overview of your goals. What do you want to achieve? More customers, or more business from your existing customers?
- Create a timeline. Campaigns have a lifespan and it helps to map them on a calendar. This lets you measure your spending and gauge how effective everything is. Pro Tip: Seasonal changes can lead to an upturn or downturn in business. If you’ve got a spicy marketing campaign ready to launch for a seasonal shift, you’re already ahead of the game.
- Track results. What’s the point of creating a timeline and plan if you’re not tracking what’s happening? You’ll never know what worked! Measure the impact of each campaign. See what attracts attention and what doesn’t.
Set a marketing budget.
Don’t just pour your money into marketing without figuring out where it goes. If you’re gonna spend money, budget it to ensure you have some control over it.
- What channels will you use? You’ve got Google Ads, Facebook, breakdown sites…there plenty of sites out there are that will put your advertising efforts in front of potential customers. You will, of course, have to pay for this. Identify your ideal advertising channels and how much you’re willing to spend to attract a new customer.
- How will you track results? We’ve created a Cost-Per-Customer Calculator that you can download and put to work for you. Use it to find out how much it will cost you, per month, to attract a new customer. This sheet will break down your overall marketing costs, how many new customers you’ve obtained, and what channel they came from.
Make sure your website is ready for 2021.
Your website introduces your shop to the world and hopefully turns visitors into customers. Remember, once they’ve become your customer, ask them for a review to help you increase your visibility.
- Services and vehicles. Let potential customers know exactly what type of work you perform and what vehicles you perform it on.
- Are you Search Engine Optimized? You can’t just build a website and leave it to fend for itself. Stay on top of your SEO so search engines can find your site!
- Shop info. This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by how many shops ignore this. You need your name, address, phone number, and all your relevant details front and center so people can find and contact you.
- Make sure your site is responsive. Let’s say you’re a driver trying to find a place for emergency work and the site for the nearest shop won’t load correctly on your phone. Forget them, right? You’re gonna find a site that does load correctly. Make sure your site is streamlined and will display properly on a variety of devices – computers, tablets, and yes, cell phones.
Don’t forget about old-school.
We’ve focused a lot on the digital realm, but things like flyers, direct mail, and print still have their place. They may even be an advantage, as not as many people are sending things in the mail these days. Get involved in the community: sponsor the local baseball team, or attend events and trade shows (once it’s safe to do so).
Wow! That was a lot of good information – and this recap is just scratching the surface of what the guys covered.
If you’ve got the time, listen to the entire webinar here and download the free marketing budget spreadsheet that comes with it. You can also visit our partners at Dieselmatic, who specialize in digital marketing for heavy-duty repair shops. Good luck powering up your marketing in 2021!