More Marketing Strategies for Auto Repair Shops to Attract and Retain Customers

Auto Repair Shop owners should take proactive approaches to gain a steady stream of new customers coming through your doors.

Originally published on:
September 9, 2022
Attracting new customers in your first few months as a business owner can be intuitive.

However, it’s important to stay consistent in also attracting new customers rather than relying solely on the group of existing customers you build up as your shop expands its reputation for good repair work.

While walk-ins are certainly a thing, it isn’t the best bet to depend on them as your sole way of getting new customers. Instead, take proactive approaches to gain a steady stream of new customers coming through your doors.

Put your shop in the best position to generate more profit with less effort.

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1. Get Involved In Your Community

Community work allows you to not only expose the business to potential new customers but also make a positive impact on the people and places you call home.

Do something good by feeding the homeless, supporting your city’s high school, or raising money for a local nonprofit, like Casey’s Automotive did for Ellie's Hats.

2. Partner With Local Businesses

Partner with an adjacent local business, like a car wash or detail facility to establish a flow or referrals between your business and theirs.

3. Advertise Locally

According to Mary, advertising locally is one of the most effective techniques to draw new customers into your shop.

Some reliable local advertising mediums include local papers, school mailers, sports programs, small magazines, or even something as simple as hanging up flyers at adjacent businesses.

4. Run Special Promotions

Running special promotions is a great way to attract new customers. Haglin Automotive provides first-time customers with an oil change special or $25 off a repair each quarter with a seasonal savings card sent to every customer.

5. Run Targeted Social Media Ads

A few examples of social media auto repair promotion ideas include both sponsored content and visual advertisements.

When you advertise your auto repair shop on social media, make sure you consider:

  • Paid social media ad goals
  • Budget
  • Target demographic
  • Time frame

6. Up Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Game

An SEO auto repair shop marketing strategy will help make your business appear higher in the Google listings when someone searches a keyword in your area.

Pro-tip from Mary: the first step you should take to improve SEO is to list your business on Google, then regularly update your website with new content.

7. Increase The Loyalty Of Existing Customers

Always remember the customers who have been visiting your shop since the beginning. As Mary says, you’ll also want to employ strategies that help retain existing customers and increase loyalty.

8. Sell Declined Jobs

Vehicle maintenance can become less of a priority for customers who don’t set their own personal reminders on vehicle maintenance.

By investing in a shop management system that gives you and your team full visibility into what repairs customers have had previously and exactly which repairs they’ve declined, your service advisors have the opportunity to remind them of repairs and maintenance work that may be needed soon, saving them money on what could become more expensive repairs later on.

Your customers will appreciate that you are looking out for them and their vehicles amidst everything else they have to manage, and you can bring more revenue into your shop, too.

9. Provide Customers With Expert Advice

One aspect of marketing that Mary prioritizes at Tekmetric is the reliable information that the customer success team provides to Tekmetric users. Implement Digital Vehicle Inspections into your technician’s processes.

With Tekmetric’s DVIs, you can attach images and videos along with your findings, building trust with customers while clearly showing them what’s going on with their vehicles.

10. Send Timely or Seasonal Gifts

Giving small gifts to your customers during holidays, birthdays, or other celebratory times of the year is a great way to show customers that you appreciate their business.

A simple coffee mug with your logo on it could spark the next conversation about your shop when they have their friend over for coffee.

Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth auto repair shop marketing.

11. Create Loyalty Referral Programs

Provide your loyal customers with a gift showing how much you appreciate them.

Implementing a loyalty program in your shop will offer your customers important benefits that keep them coming back.

Or, for returning customers, one of the best ways to give and receive is to create a referral challenge that incentivizes existing customers to refer people to your shop for a reward.

Make your program attractive to customers and easy to track.

12. Give Customers More Ways To Engage Online

Upping your social media game can sound intimidating at first, which is why Mary recommends making it fun.

Consider sharing testimonials from satisfied customers, posting “day-in-the-life” or “behind-the-scenes” looks at what goes on in your shop from your perspective or the perspective of a technician, sending out e-newsletters with fun shop updates and vehicle knowledge, or making applicable “how-to” videos for sticky situations such as flat tires.

No Matter What, Track Your Results

No matter what auto repair promotion ideas you put into place at your shop, you’ll want to track what works and what doesn’t.

With regular, careful analysis of the results, you’ll put your shop in the best possible position to generate more profits as cost-efficiently as possible.

Selecting a shop management system that allows you to track your auto repair shop marketing strategies will provide you with insights into who your most loyal customers are, how they found your business, and why they keep coming back.

Tekmetric's former Marketing Coordinator Mary Payton had the chance to share these go-to marketing strategies to attract new customers and retain existing customers with Vehicle Service Pros. Access her full piece here.

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