High-Performance Marketing for Automotive Service Businesses

Has your marketing response been a little flat lately? The automotive aftermarket service industry is highly competitive, but there are ways to get ahead in the race that won’t compromise your budget or goals.

Because there are thousands of aftermarket automotive service businesses in the U.S., you’ll have to persistently remind consumers of your brand and why they should choose you over another. Americans average 2 cars per household* and are keeping their vehicles longer than ever, 11.6 years on average.

Fuel Customer Loyalty

According to Invesp, acquiring new customers is five times more expensive than keeping them. While it seems obvious focusing on customer loyalty programs is a top priority, only about 18% of businesses do.

There are several ways you can fuel customer loyalty and most of those begin with gathering information during each point of contact. For instance, you might collect a new customer’s address, phone number, and email when they first come in to shop. Maintain customer information in a database and add details you collect during visits, emails, and phone calls.

Over time, you can gather vehicle make and model, service maintenance schedule, birthday, customer anniversary and other information you can use to send a discount postcard, an email, or make a phone call to increase loyalty to your brand.

Satisfied, loyal customers are brand ambassadors. Offer referral rewards or discounts for new customers they send your way. That way, your marketing efforts will pay off for years to come.

Start Your Lead Engines

For the aftermarket auto services industry, every person or business with a vehicle in your service area is a lead you can turn into a customer and then, into a loyal customer. Omnichannel marketing is a good method to attract and convert leads and keep your brand top of mind.

What is Omnichannel Marketing?

It sounds more complicated than it is. Omnichannel, or multichannel, marketing is using more than one marketing channel to share a consistent message. More channels = more awareness.

Say you’re going to have a big sale on a specific service. You can use a direct mailcampaign (offer a coupon in Valpak’s Blue Envelope or send a solo postcard), use a similar message and graphic design for your social post or automotive digital marketing campaign, and run a Google AdWords campaign online to coordinate with your direct mail and social media. That’s omnichannel marketing. And you can do it.

Choosing Automotive Marketing Channels

Deciding which marketing channels to use for your automotive services business depends on your goals and budget. Make sure you plan your marketing campaign from the end to the beginning by identifying the methods to measure performance. Effective, targeted marketing involves determining your audience demographics. Your marketing budget and performance tracking goals will also affect the marketing channels you decide to use.

  1. Set measurable goals
  2. Define your ideal customer
  3. Segment your existing customers
  4. Know your competitors
  5. Map out your geographic territory

Direct Mail Solutions for Automotive Services

Direct mail marketing wins the race against email on the consumer preference track. You just can’t deny a 3.7% response rate and an 18-20% ROI reported by Small Business Trends. In terms of print, direct mail leaves a lasting impact on consumers, making brand recall easier.

Cornell University blog asserts for each $167 you invest in direct mail marketing, you’ll generate about $2,095 in sales. Direct mail drives other positive results:

  • 34% will continue investigating online
  • 44% will go to the business website
  • 57% will buy something
  • 79% will act right away

Tune Up Your Social

When it comes to our vehicles, trust is a huge factor in deciding on an automotive services provider. Social makes sense for your business because, according to Forbes.com via Market Force, over 80% of consumers will make a purchase decision because of a friend’s recommendation. Social media helps people ask for fast recommendations from people they trust. Facebook business pages also inform consumers about review ratings, how quickly your business responds online, testimonials, and more. Use social media to your advantage by posting often, sharing discount opportunities, running contests, and educating consumers.

Online Local Business Directories

Be sure to list your business on at least one major online business directory, such as Google My Business. According to think with Google, 76% of people who search for something nearby on their smartphone visit a related business within a day and 28% of those searches result in a purchase.

When it comes to online reviews like those found on Yelp, the effect is undeniable. BrightLocal estimates that for each star your business has on its review listing, your revenue could increase as much as 9%. How do you get those reviews? Ask.

Be Generous with Coupons

Consumers have been taught to look for coupons, discounts, and codes when it comes to the auto industry—whatever will help them save a little cash. A coupon can make a tremendous difference to your business. In fact, consumers say coupons and discounts are a deciding factor in choosing an automotive service provider for oil changes and tires. However, while a coupon might bring a new customer to your service bay, the quality of your service should be what keeps them coming back.

Need to give your sales a lift? Trust Valpak’s 50 years of local marketing leadership with your print, digital, and direct mail marketing. Contact your local Valpak today.

 

*Claritas data with current year projections, January 2018.

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