How to create a marketing plan for an auto repair shop
The automotive service industry is a multi-billion dollar market in the United States alone. There are thousands of independent shops and large chains competing for a piece of the pie.
As an auto mechanic and business owner, you might think the only thing necessary for your auto repair business to succeed is to have a great business plan. But have you ever thought about how marketing plans can influence your small business and help you amplify what you’re already doing well?
Marketing plans are an essential part of the success of any small business and an often overlooked part of creating a small business plan.
In this blog post, we will go over the basics of how to create a marketing plan for your auto repair shop so that you can scale your business and stand out from the competition.
Free Guide: How To Set Up Your Google Business Profile
What goes into a marketing plan?
Before we can dive into marketing ideas for your shop, it’s essential to understand what goes into a marketing plan.
They are made up of several main components: the market, objectives, and action steps. There isn’t a single, perfect way to execute a marketing strategy; instead, it’s more of a learning experiment.
However, there are a few key things to consider when creating a marketing plan for an auto repair shop. The first step is understanding your business, its goals, and what makes your business unique.
Start by answering some questions
Many small businesses make the mistake of trying to drive business without understanding your audience’s needs.
Understanding this and involving this data in all of your marketing decisions will help your business better deliver what your customers are looking for, and in return, allow you to see a greater return on investment (ROI) for your marketing efforts.
Start by asking yourself these simple questions:
- What services do we offer?
- Who is our target market?
- What do we have to provide them with?
- How will we ensure excellent customer service?
Once you understand what your customers need from you, you can start developing marketing strategies that resonate with customers.
For example, your auto repair services may include routine oil changes. If your customers need one every 3,000 miles, you might initiate a direct mail campaign sending oil change coupons to those current customers who are due for an oil change.
This is just one way to keep a loyal customer base that can eventually provide thoughtful testimonials and ultimately participate in a referral program by recommending their family and friends for your service.
Set your business goals
Drawing a line on what you want to achieve is the best way to begin charting the path forward for your business.
If you don’t have a goal to reach, how will you know whether or not you’ve succeeded? How will you know where you need to improve to attract more business? Deciding on your business goals is an essential part of your marketing plan.
For example, if one of your goals is to increase sales and create more long-term, happy customers, you might include tactics in your marketing plan to incentivize first-time customers to keep going to your shop.
Set your budget
Auto repair shop marketing is just one part of your business. It can’t use up all of your available capital and, at the same time, shouldn’t be ignored.
Setting aside a budget for your efforts will help you understand how much you can invest and give you a better idea of how much ROI you can expect in return.
Take a benchmark measurement
If this is your first time running a marketing plan, remember to take a benchmark measurement of where you’re at today, so you have something to measure your marketing plan against when it’s time to evaluate how well your plan worked.
For example, if your marketing plan goal is to increase the number of new customers obtained in a month by 10%, it would be helpful to know how many customers, on average, you currently gain in a month.
How to market an auto repair shop
Creating a marketing plan for an auto repair shop can be difficult because of the many different ways to market the business. However, all marketing plans, regardless of the niche, need the same elements discussed in the previous section.
Once you’ve gone through those steps, you can get more specific on which strategies will serve your customers best. Even though you are not a marketer, you know your clients and services better than anyone.
Here are some tips on how you can put that knowledge to work for your business.
Create a website
First, it’s crucial to have a place where customers can find you. While being present via business listing sites like Yelp is essential, having your own website can prove very beneficial in attracting more clients.
It’s also essential to make sure your business page or website is checked for search engine optimization (SEO) so potential customers can find you when searching on the web.
Essentially, search engine optimization just means incorporating those key terms that customers are searching for.
An example might be including “local auto repair shop in San Francisco” on your home page, as it’s likely most of your customers are searching the web and using a similar phrase.
Having an online presence to help customers find you is just one of the many website benefits you can take advantage of.
This has to be one of the oldest marketing tactics in the book and one you’re sure to be familiar with.
Mechanics can attract new customers by providing quality service and excellent customer care for existing customers.
In turn, you can ask that your clients let others know about their experience by referring their friends and family or by leaving a positive review for your business on Google, Yelp, or other business listing site.
Advertising is another one of the most common ways to enhance auto repair marketing. There are many different types of advertising, and each has its advantages and disadvantages.
Some common forms of advertising include using the ads manager for social media sites like Facebook or running Google ads.
While word-of-mouth is excellent for your current clients, paid ads can help you reach a broader audience that might not know your business exists yet.
Email marketing is another way to stay in touch with your existing customers.
When people become customers, you can reach out to share upcoming promotions and nurture those relationships by collecting email addresses.
Furthermore, staying in touch with your existing customers ensures that your business remains top of mind for them and that they return to your auto shop for future service needs.
Social media marketing
Have you ever thought of using social media marketing for your auto repair shop? This marketing strategy can help you establish a greater online presence than your website alone because it puts your business where people are already hanging out online.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are a great way to connect with your customers and increase brand awareness for your business to local customers that might need your services.
You can share photos of your work, post updates about new services or products, and answer customer questions. It’s essential to be active on social media and to have a process for quickly responding to customers that reach out to you via social media.
Market your business with broadly
Auto repair shop owners can market their businesses effectively and increase sales by following tips we’ve laid out in today’s post.
Creating a marketing plan and measuring its success is essential for any small business and is crucial for companies that rely on word-of-mouth referrals. By implementing a solid marketing plan, you can retain more of your existing clients and attract new customers to grow the business.
At Broadly, we help small businesses like auto repair shops to create and scale their online marketing and lead generation efforts.
We can also help you better communicate with your team and your customers, revamp your website, and more.
Want to see how Broadly can help you grow your auto repair business?
See what Broadly can do for your business in just 30 days