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Your 4-Step Auto Repair Shop Marketing Plan

In order to continue growing your auto shop business, you’ll need an effective marketing strategy that promotes loyalty among long-time clients and captures new ones, as well. 

By taking the time to understand your shop’s current situation, as well as its relation to the greater marketplace, you can craft an auto repair shop marketing plan that delivers consistent results. 

Step One: Run the Numbers

The first step in creating a successful marketing plan for your auto repair shop is conducting a SWOT analysis. Components of SWOT (an acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) can help you dig deeper into the current state of your auto shop. 

Strengths and weaknesses refer to internal factors of your auto shop. A strength might be that your auto shop consistently gets positive online reviews from clients, while a weakness might be that you currently have a high staff turnover rate. 

If you use software like AutoVitals, you’ll be able to dig into the data about the performance of your shop. Insights like AVO, percent of jobs sold, car count, and other auto repair shop metrics can help you pinpoint where your strengths and weaknesses are.

Opportunities and threats, while similar to strengths and weaknesses, refer to external factors. For example, an opportunity may be the availability of low-interest loans, which may allow you to purchase new repair equipment. A threat might be a new national automotive chain opening up a shop in your town. 

By creating an exhaustive list of every SWOT component as it relates to your auto shop, you’ll create a clearer picture of your present operations. This information will play a key role in how you market your business. 

At this time, it’s also a good idea to consider your marketing budget. Depending on the type and scope of your marketing campaign, you could easily spend tens of thousands of dollars; however, this may not be wise for most smaller businesses, making it essential to create a rough idea of how much you can stand to spend on marketing.

Step Two: Brainstorm Potential Initiatives

The next step in creating an auto repair shop marketing plan is to brainstorm initiatives. After performing your SWOT analysis, you’ll uncover several immediate ideas. For example, if a weakness is poor web traffic, then you might want to figure out how to improve your website SEO

As well as patching up weaknesses, you might also want to lean into your strengths. If customers consistently rave about your auto shop in online reviews, you might want to double down on encouraging them to post, increasing your brand’s visibility and creating word-of-mouth marketing. 

Depending on what your auto shop is currently doing, you might consider the following marketing approaches:

  • Launch an email marketing campaign
  • Create a customer loyalty program
  • Implement a calendar of social media posts
  • Build an onsite blog to improve SEO
  • Advertise discounts or promotions through social media
  • Utilize paid search like Google Ads
  • Test automotive text messaging for marketing and communication

Throughout the process, remember that you don’t have to do everything yourself. Keep your mind open to possibilities even if you or your team don’t currently posses the skillsets or experience required to execute on them. With the right software or partner, you can find success with these initiatives even if it’s something you’ve never tried before. 

Step Three: Evaluate and Prioritize Initiatives

Most marketing approaches intrinsically cost money, and the tactics that don’t (like posting on Facebook), require time from your team. Before you make a decision, evaluate each initiative through a cost-benefit analysis. 

For each marketing initiative, you’ll want to consider:

  • How much will it cost, both financially and in terms of staffing?
    • For example, if you plan to beef up your social media presence, this might have no intrinsic costs, but someone will have to be paid to conduct these tasks.
  • How long will it take to see results?
    • Paying for Google Ads will likely generate an immediate increase in website traffic, whereas improving your site’s SEO can take months. 
  • How likely are you to see results?
    • While this can be difficult to predict, some initiatives will have a greater chance of succeeding than others. 

From these observations, you’ll want to prioritize your list based on which projects could have the greatest impact at the lowest costs. You may end up choosing to proceed with only one or two initiatives for the year; however, culling down to a smaller number of initiatives can help you stay in line with your budget.

Again, lean on technology partnerships to get more done. Your technicians and service advisors are highly trained in their areas of expertise, and it may be best to have them focus there rather than learn marketing strategies. Outsourcing or partnering with a solution like AutoVitals can take some of the work off your shoulders so your team can focus on where they perform best.

Step Four: Monitor and Measure

Once you’ve evaluated and prioritized initiatives, it’s important to monitor and measure progress. This will help you determine which initiatives are working and which ones need to be adjusted. 

In order to do this properly, you’ll need to set key performance indicators (KPIs) which will vary by the type of initiative. For example, if you’re hoping to improve your auto shop website’s SEO, then organic traffic, bounce rate, and SERP rankings will all play a role in determining your progress. Alternatively, if you choose to create a customer loyalty program, then enrollment and participation numbers will likely inform your progress. 

Remember, some marketing initiatives take time. In most cases, you can’t deem something a success (or failure) after just one week. Additionally, if an initiative starts out unsuccessful, there’s no reason why you can’t tweak it. This is why it’s important to track your progress and regularly reexamine your overall auto shop repair marketing plan. 

Lean on Industry Experts for your Auto Repair Shop Marketing Plan

While larger automotive businesses devote entire teams to their marketing efforts, family-owned shops must figure out how to balance these efforts with daily operations. This is where software can play an integral role. 

With AutoVitals, a digital platform made specifically for auto shops, you can utilize a variety of solutions to create, implement, and monitor marketing initiatives. AutoVitals can power your SEO-optimized website, manage your online reputation, and implement online booking––all through one convenient dashboard.

Backed by industry experts, the digital marketing and shop efficiency tools built into AutoVitals take the workload off your team and generate results with new and old clients alike. Reach out today to schedule a demo and power up operations and profitability for your shop. 

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