Make Your Mark with Marketing to Stand Out from the Crowd
There is no secret formula to marketing when it comes to your shop. But it is an essential part of standing out from the competition and attracting new customers. In fact, the right marketing both in-store and out may be one of the single most important investments your business can make. While there may not be a secret formula, it’s important you have at least one recipe to follow in order to keep your business on the minds of potential customers. Here are some helpful ways to use marketing to your advantage:
AIM AT THE TARGET. AND KEEP IT THERE
Don’t just decide to run an ad in the local paper or put a commercial on your local cable station. Looking at the market strategically is as important as the message you put out there.
There are many questions you have to ask yourself before you dive head first into the pool of potential customers: What is your audience make-up? Where do they go for their information? Do they live near enough to actually take advantage of your service?, etc. Knowing your demographic and their behaviors is the key to talking to them the right way. For instance, if you only service domestic vehicles, it makes no sense to send emails to someone who lives a county away and drives a BMW. A little research can go a long way in helping you to establish your audience.
Local newspaper publishers know who reads their papers. Local radio stations and affiliate television stations know who is listening or watching their programs. This information is available to you before you buy ad space or media with those outlets. The rule: Don’t be lured into buying until you know who you can reach.
BRING IT INTO FOCUS
Once you know whom you’re talking to, and where they’ll hear you the loudest, focus on a solution to their problem. Your messaging should be simple, clearly stated and direct. Remember, you have a limited amount of time in which to influence your customer, don’t make it hard on them. Easily digestible messaging ensures they don’t have to think too hard about what you could do for them.
Unfortunately, customers usually have a preconceived notion about our business. They don’t know cars like we know cars, so they tend to assume that our knowledge gives us a license to take advantage of them. Trust, honesty and integrity can be driven home with quality service. But don’t depend on your marketing to sell that story to potential traffic. You shouldn’t have to tell them that you’re virtuous, just act that way. Let your marketing drive home your name, location, working hours of operation, promotions and the tone for your brand.
Remember that, in this business, word-of-mouth will always be your strongest form of marketing. Make an impression that counts both in-store and with your marketing that gets people to notice you, but also understand what you stand for.
Lastly, there’s nothing wrong with a little thank you. Return customers will always be your biggest advocates. Give them a small token of your appreciation. You’d be surprised how far a handwritten thank you note or a calendar with your name on it will go to make customers feel good about your business.
DRIVE EMOTION WITH PROMOTIONS
According to Kabbage.com, an online business investment site, “Creating regular promotions around seasonal repairs can generate new customers and more sales from existing customers.”
In other words, setting a promotional schedule and sticking to it is a surefire way of getting customers to come back for repair work. By providing running, regular promotions, according to Kabbage.com: “You will, over time, train customers to seek out the discounts, enabling you to begin to plan on regular
upticks in sales that you can count on.”
Creating a program they will put in their daily planner is the objective. Make the promotion part of their monthly, quarterly or seasonal schedule to help create a reason for them to bring their vehicle in for service. Offering them a coupon book for future promotions is a great way to gain their trust and earn their business beyond their next oil change. It’s just another great way to stay ahead of the curve and ahead of the competition.