Bad economic conditions often force auto repair shop management to look for expenses to cut. Slashing auto repair shop marketing budgets is easy, offers an immediate solution to cash flow problems, but is the worst mistake possible. Outsmart your competition by continuing your marketing - just spend your dollars more wisely. Be primed and ready for economic recovery.
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Customer retention and growth through customer referrals are the life blood of auto repair shops. Customer relationships should be viewed as an essential asset. Money spent on maintaining customer relationships should be considered a necessity to business survival. Marketing should not be considered a business “expense”. It's an investment!
How To Kill Your Business
If your tempted to cut repair shop advertising and marketing give some though to these seven ways to kill your business:
- pretend that there are more important priorities than promoting your business,
- keep telling yourself that your customers would never leave you,
- ignore the lost clients that would buy your services if you were referred by your present customers,
- stop thinking about your competitors and the fact they are relentlessly pursuing your customers,
- forget the fact that marketing is not a business expense but an investment,
- convince yourself that established customers don’t need to be reminded that you appreciate their business,
- keep telling yourself you can't afford marketing.
It's a difficult choice. Follow these sure fire business killers if you want to bury your business forever. Or, find other expenses to cut and relentlessly market your business to ensure survival.
Low Cost Marketing Action
Here are four marketing actions to help your business thrive in difficult economic times:
- Spend your marketing dollars wisely – focus on the clients you already know – they are much easier to re-attract than finding new, unknown prospects. Use automotive service reminders and newsletters to keep in touch. You should be reaching out to customers once every month to keep your business fresh in their mind;
- Ask your customers for help. Get them to refer you to their friends and associates. But to make a referral campaign work you must make it easy for clients to assist – most people have good intentions but won't act if it is too much effort. Set up a “Refer a Friend” function on your website. If your clients need a little incentive use a Customer Rewards system to reward their loyalty. Rewards will also encourage the referred new customers to accept your offer;
- Build credibility and trust in you and your company. Get personal and give people a glimpse of who you are. A website with a good 'About Us' page that focuses on some history of the PEOPLE who make up the business is essential. People aren't interested in the boring technical details of the business and what fancy equipment it has. They want to know about the PERSON(S) behind the business. History, family, interests, etcetera;
- Encourage people to talk about you. Yes, bare your soul and encourage some feedback. Create some company profiles on Google and Yahoo Local, Yelp, and Merchant Circle. Many of these auto repair shop social media marketing methods are free or very little cost and take only a little time to set up. In fact you may be surprised to find your business already listed! Then get your customers to review your business. Then, highlight some of your best reviews on your website with links to your profiles.
Credibility and Confidence
Marketing should communicate that you value and appreciate your customers. Show them that you are willing to invest in your relationship with them. Instill credibility and confidence in your company. And don't ignore the fact that an economic slowdown is the best time to market since most competitors foolishly cut back on marketing.
Your customers are the single most valuable asset you possess. If you focus on attentive, relationship building marketing, the bond created will allow you to survive an economic downturn. In fact you will be primed, ready and way ahead of the competition when the economy comes roaring back.