Category Archive Auto Shop Tips

ByEric Lawton

Using Customer Analytics to Grow Your Auto Repair Business

In recent years, we’ve seen online businesses thrive as a result of their access to analytics reports that told them who visited their sites, what they looked at, and what they bought. Online business owners could opt for more detailed reports that told them how long people spent on certain pages and even how long they spent looking at certain parts of specific pages.

It’s clear to most anyone how this information could be used to improve customer experiences and help businesses close more sales. However, brick and mortar businesses like auto repair shops have had very little access to the same types of data until now.

Now, using tools like Google Analytics, any business with a functioning website can obtain all sorts of useful information about the current and potential customers who are visiting them online. As an auto repair you can track the following metrics:

  • How many people are coming to your website
  • Where your visitors are located and what demographics they fall under
  • Which pages they’re spending their time on
  • What their customer journey looks like
  • How they’re finding your website
  • And more

By collecting this information, you can better understand who your customers are and how your website helps them convert from a visitor to a loyal customer.

Increase Business in Your Auto Repair Shop with Customer Analytics

What this all boils down to is that you can make better business and marketing decisions when you have the right data. It’s important to understand what your target customers want, need, and expect if you want to keep their business. With this data, you can build a better website and improve your strategy to grow your auto repair business. And when you make better business decisions, you can streamline your marketing efforts and offer the right products and services at the right prices, reducing your costs all around. Contact us today at RepairPal to distinguish your local auto repair business from the competition.

ByEric Lawton

Optimizing Your Website to Market Your Auto Repair Business

Today’s auto repair customers expect your web presence to be professional, up to date, and easy to find. Unfortunately, many auto repair shops and other small businesses often rely on their Facebook page as the only online representation of their business. 

Though it’s crucial for repair shops to have an active Facebook page to bring in customers and build their brand, it’s also important to have a website that establishes you as a trusted and professional source of repairs. Without a fully optimized website, some customers may choose to go with another service provider, a national chain, or a company they feel they can trust more because the company has a strong, modern web presence.

If your business’s website is due for a facelift, here are five ways to improve your web presence and attract new auto repair customers.

1. Consider UX (User Experience) in your web design.

User-driven design is extremely important for business websites because it determines how easy-to-use and intuitive your website is to your visitors. UX web design uses certain principles to ensure users find your website helpful, attractive, informative, easy-to-navigate, and comfortable to use. Some things to consider are an easy-to-locate search bar and contact information, seamless online appointment options, accurate service descriptions, and friendly customer service access via phone, chat, or email.

2. Make sure your website is mobile-responsive.

Responsive websites look great on all devices, not just laptop or desktop computers. In fact, today’s consumers are more often searching from their mobile devices than any other device they own. When it comes to auto repair, your customers are often searching for you on a moment’s notice. It’s crucial to have a website that’s user-friendly and attractive on every device, from a desktop computer to a tablet to a smartphone.

3. Use a content management system.

A content management platform enables you to update your site easily and continue to add valuable, timely content in the form of blogs, FAQs, and announcements. Popular CMS platforms to consider include Joomla, Drupal, and the ever-popular WordPress.

4. Your website should help to build your brand.

Use your website to create a consistent and recognizable brand for yourself in the auto repair community. Hire a knowledgeable designer to create an eye-catching logo for use on your website and other marketing channels. You may even want to consider hiring a copywriter to come up with a slogan and ensure all online communications are consistent and brand-driven.

5. Use several forms of auto repair marketing consistently.

You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars a month on marketing campaigns. However, you should be doing at least 1 to 3 things regularly. For example, you could incorporate any of the following things into your marketing efforts:

  • Develop a strong social media marketing campaign
  • Work with a consultant to improve your SEO
  • Explore Pay-Per-Click advertising opportunities
  • Advertise in your local newspaper or on a local radio station
  • Join your local Chamber of Commerce
  • Become a RepairPal-certified shop

 

Joining RepairPal gives your business a marketing edge by proving to customers that you’re dedicated to quality service. Our business model builds consumer trust by certifying only repair shops that offer fair price estimates, high-quality service, and transparency. Contact us today to get started.

ByEric Lawton

How Local Media Coverage Can Increase Business at Your Auto Repair Shop

As an auto repair shop owner, you may not think much about your day-to-day business is newsworthy. However, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Local news is quite different than national and even statewide news. You have everything from local papers and business journals to hometown and indie radio stations. It’s surprisingly easy to get in touch with reporters and show hosts from these types of media outlets. In addition, there are many story angles when it comes to topics like buying or selling a vehicle, and auto repair and maintenance. Consider some of these questions to discover interesting and timely topics:

  • Do cars develop a lot of rust in your area due to weather conditions?
  • What tires do best on potholes in your region?
  • Can you help clients shop for the best cars to safely handle snowy or icy weather?
  • Which model cars are the best from your experience, that keep running 15 years or more with little or no maintenance?
  • What are common problems with certain popular car models in your area? Are there many pickup drivers where you live? What about hot rod drivers, commuters, mini-van drivers, etc.?
  • What is some little-known advice for buying a used car that would help someone who doesn’t understand vehicles?

These topics can be very valuable to the public and can make great general interest stories. In addition, changing weather often makes your expert contributions especially relevant to local media sources.

How News Coverage Can Help Your Shop

Getting featured in the local news offers many benefits to auto repair shops:

  • It legitimizes your brand and helps to build trust. Buying a vehicle and having it serviced can be intimidating to someone who doesn’t know a lot about cars (and that’s most people). When they see your shop featured on the local news, they figure, “He must know what he’s doing.” Or, “He must have a good reputation. I’ll go there.”
  • It lets the public know you exist and increases business at your auto repair shop. It’s fair to say that most people don’t shop for auto repair service until they need it. However, if they happen to see a reporter interview you about how to get to work safely during a winter storm warning, the customer is more likely to take their business to your garage than to shop around.
  • It establishes you as an expert. When people see you in the paper or on the morning news, they’ll be more likely to believe you know what you’re doing and that you understand cars on a very deep level. By maintaining a blog and nailing an interview or two, you will really set yourself apart as a reliable, local automotive expert. Just don’t forget to post the videos or articles on your website and social media channels!

How to Contact Local Reporters

The trick is to develop relationships with reporters before contacting them and then to contact reporters before they even need your story. Social media makes it easier than ever to develop relationships with public figures. You can follow them, friend them, re-Tweet them, and comment regularly on their articles and content. Monitor the online activity of various reporters, publications, and media outlets to get a better sense for who you think might feature an article about car buying, repair, or maintenance. After you’ve done this for awhile, write a letter formally introducing yourself and attach your story ideas or a recent press release.

Contact them first by email, and follow that up with a paper copy of the letter and/or press release. If you offer anything unique or significant, be sure to cover that. Introduce yourself to the reporter and let him or her know your areas of expertise, should they ever want to do a news story covering a related topic. Keep the letter brief, courteous, and to the point.

To learn more about how to increase business at your auto repair shop, contact us. We understand the unique business of marketing automotive services to customers who just want to buy from someone they can trust. Sign up and start getting more leads today.

ByEric Lawton

3 Auto Repair Marketing Mistakes That Send Customers Elsewhere

Body Shop Business insiders have taken an industry profile and learned that an average 85 percent of repair estimates translate into actual jobs. This is actually a very encouraging statistic. But if your own number is lower than the average, there could be a reason. You may be making one of the fundamental three auto repair marketing mistakes.

1. Your SEO and inbound marketing strategies are too broad.

In the auto repair business, you are not dealing with customers from across the country. Instead, your clients are local. When you target keywords like “auto repair” or “repair shop”—or even long-tail keywords like “best auto repair shop”—you’re not only competing in a gigantic pool of other repair business, but you’re also targeting a ton of people who will never need your services: people who don’t live near you.

Solution: Target city-specific keywords in order to reach the customers who actually need you. Write content for your website, blog, and social media channels that incorporates these local keywords, such as “best auto repair shop in Cleveland.”

2. You’re not focused on ongoing education.

In the past, you could rely on experience, built on initial training. Today, vehicles feature more computer parts than ever. Industry and manufacturer certifications are the calling cards that identify you, your staff, and the shop as a whole as being equipped to work on customers’ super-modern vehicles. In fact, failure to apply for manufacturer certifications can make it difficult to access the repair data you need to complete your jobs.

Solution: Encourage—and even require—employees to continue their auto repair educations. Seek out industry certifications, like RepairPal, to demonstrate your ongoing commitment to improvement and customer satisfaction.

3. You don’t have any shop appeal.

Unless your auto repair marketing gives the customer a good reason to visit you, rather than the shop down the street, you may lose their business. If you have a messy shop, unfriendly employees, and lackluster marketing materials (displays, flyers, business cards, online content), it will reflect on your customers’ perceptions of your shop and the way you do business.

Solution: Be sure your staff and your shop are presented in a friendly and professional light. Periodically update marketing materials, signs, and logos to give yourself a modern look. Additionally, a RepairPal Certification identifies your business as one that maintains high standards of integrity and promises an honest price for a job well done. This is the type of advertisement you cannot afford to be without.

To learn more auto repair marketing tips or to find out how to earn your RepairPal certification, contact us today.

ByEric Lawton

4 Reasons to Use RepairPal’s Fair Price Estimator in Your Auto Repair Marketing

There are numerous reasons why consumers dread visiting the local auto body shop. Among them is the use of insider lingo, less than sanitary conditions, and the fear of paying too much for a product or service. As an industry professional, you already know about the RepairPal Certification and its effect on your credibility; did you also know that by incorporating mentions of our Fair Price Estimator in your auto repair marketing you could get more business?

By combining manufacturer-suggested retail pricing for parts with automotive industry labor data, the tool lets consumers know what kind of costs to expect. When you mention this tool to your customers, you provide them with four good reasons to take their business to you.

1. Opens a Dialog

The prospective customer contacts your shop and wants to learn more about the price. After educating herself on the RepairPal website about the price range for the needed service, you can not only assure the consumer that you honor this price but also let her now what all else you offer. Examples might include free loaner vehicles or a lifetime warranty on labor.

2. Puts Your Honesty in Plain View

The shops, which agree to abide by the price range the estimator calculates, have the right to display the RepairPal Price Guarantee or RepairPal Certified notation on their premises. The same goes for the shop’s website. Doing so is a huge selling point.

3. Enforces Fair Dealings

Shops abiding by the estimates agree to lower their prices if needed.

4. No Pressure Sales

Plenty of automotive marketing revolves around high-pressure sales and specials that are only good for that day. Not so with RepairPal’s price guarantee. It stays in effect for 30 days. If a consumer wants to shop around some more, he can do so without having to worry about losing the deal. When he returns to your shop, you are ready to get to work at the price you quoted—even if the price was quoted three weeks ago.

There is little doubt that auto repair marketing materials that feature our Fair Price Estimator will get results. Contact us today to learn more.

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