The holidays are a special time of year when we make memories with the family, give thanks, and spread joy. However, with social distancing guidelines still in effect, this holiday season will look a little different. Because this year has been challenging for many people, it’s more important than ever to stay positive and spread cheer to past, current, and prospective customers.
Making people feel warm and fuzzy this holiday season will get them to remember you, leading to more business immediately or at some point in the future. And even if not every person you positively impact comes to your shop, it’s okay! You’re still paying it forward to your community, which bolsters your shop’s reputation and can lead to more referrals down the road.
Here are ten ways you can connect with guests this holiday season.
Hosting a holiday toy drive and using your shop as the drop off location is a great way to give back to your community. Do your research to select a local charity to support with the drive, then start spreading the word that you’re hosting a toy drive through email marketing, local ads, and word of mouth.
Additionally, you could encourage more participation by matching donations. For example, your shop can donate a toy for every toy donated (or every three toys donated—the number is up to you). And of course, make considerations for social distancing. You may want to create a drop-off box that people can easily access without having to go inside or limit the times of day people can drop off toys.
Another way you can positively impact your community is by donating to an organization for specific types of services your shop sells. For instance, you can tell guests that for all oil changes during the month of December, your shop will donate half of the proceeds to an organization.
You don’t have to restrict your donations to one organization, either. You can work with several different organizations, such as a food bank or an animal shelter. Consider getting guests involved in the process, too, by letting them pick which organization they want the proceeds from their oil change to go to from your pre-set list.
You can cross-promote your shop’s holiday toy drive or donations with another local business. For example, you can pair up with a body shop. Both teams can commit to matching customer donations or giving a certain portion of proceeds to charity. Or, you could pair up to offer certain exclusive deals—maybe every guest who gets a car repair gets a coupon for 25% off a future body shop fix or vice versa. Just make sure you and the business you’re partnering with are on the same page and have a written agreement about expectations.
By pairing up with another business, you can get your name out there more, as well as help out another business during the holidays.
To encourage guests to bring their cars in when they might not otherwise, you can group your services into special holiday packages, giving guests an “extra” holiday gift of sorts. One potential package: offering a wiper change and coolant flush with every oil change.
You could also show guests the value of what they’re getting with their package deal by slashing out the old price and listing the discounted price in an email or print ad.
A great way to get new customers in the door is by offering free oil changes. Suddenly, people who might be regulars at a different shop in town or don’t consider car maintenance a top priority during the holidays will come into your shop.
They might even spread the word about your free oil changes to their family and friends. And while you won’t immediately be making more money from these walk-ins, your impressive service can ultimately turn them into customers for life.
Gift card sales are a great way to secure revenue. When a guest buys a gift card, the money immediately goes to your shop, regardless of when you actually have to service that guest’s car.
You can incentivize guests to buy gift cards either for themselves or for friends and family by giving them something extra. For instance, for every $100 gift card a guest buys, you can give them a courtesy $20 gift card.
Running a raffle can be a great way to pay it forward to your guests. The prize is up to you—it could be a gift card to a popular retailer or a large donation to a certain charity. However, do keep in mind that many typical raffle giveaways, such as theme park and concert tickets, are no longer viable due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can drive participation in the raffle by either emailing all guests in your system to register or by just having those guests who happen to come to your shop sign up right then and there.
Another way to show customers your appreciation is by sending them cards or small gifts, such as keychains, mugs, and notebooks. You could even include your logo on the cards or gifts. This is a great way to drum up brand awareness. Customers will think of you every time they reach for their keys, sip coffee from their mugs, and write in their notebooks.
However, don’t try to sell them anything if you do this. Simply thank them for choosing your shop, wish them a happy holiday season, and add that you’ll be there whenever they next need help with their car.
Getting their cars prepared for the winter and driving in the cold can be challenging for some guests, depending on the local weather and other circumstances.
As a local auto repair shop, you have inside knowledge on how to best prepare cars for the winter, and how to stay safe on the road during the colder months. You can be helpful by sharing those valuable insights with your guests, either through sending them marketing emails, writing blog posts, or printing flyers to hand out at the shop.
While some activities won’t be feasible this holiday season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, looking at a creative holiday display can still be a safe way for guests to have fun.
Putting up a fun holiday display is a great way to let your technicians’ creativity run wild. You and your team can adorn the outside of your shop with colorful lights, an inflatable reindeer, or even Santa in a hot rod! Not only will your decorated shop spread holiday cheer, but people in your community might even share images of it on social media, generating brand awareness.
You’ll catch the attention of passerby—and they might even be compelled to step in!
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