Using Digital Communication To Reach Your Customers.
The greatest invention (the Internet) has changed how people shop for cars. It has also changed how they shop for service. You don’t have to tell a potential customer how good you are online when social networks like Yelp, Facebook and Twitter can do it for you. According to The Pew Research Center, which began tracking social media usage in 2005, nearly two-thirds of American adults (65%) use social networking sites. While the study shows that younger adults (ages 18-29) are the most strident social media users (90%), there also seems to be significant growth in social media usage among older Americans, as Internet usage by those 65 and older has more than tripled since 2010. (Pew Research Center — 10-8-2015). Those numbers were showing signs of increasing in 2016-2017 as the number of Americans without Internet access begins to dwindle ever closer to zero.
Small businesses like yours need to find ways to take advantage of what could be the new “word of mouth” advertising. Online ratings and social media testimonials can make or break businesses. Sharing content and your good ratings engages your audience, and can have them thinking fondly of your business even before they walk through the door. A couple of photos showing your amazingly clean bays and your welcoming waiting room can work wonders in luring potential customers to your service department.
More than one of those wispy inflatable guys with the flailing arms curbside at your entryway, creating content is now a great way to draw your audience to your brand. Being active in this arena could be the thing that differentiates you from the competition and pulls potentials in. But, you have to be smart about it. Asking satisfied customers for online reviews is as easy as sending them a survey or an email. Truly satisfied customers are generally happy to share their experience with their friends and the world. According to Nielsen ratings, 92% of consumers read online reviews and 91% of satisfied customers are willing to give referrals, so it makes sense to tap into the goodwill of those you served well.
“YOU’VE GOT EMAIL.” NOW, USE IT!
The correct use of email is another fine way to solicit new business and keep in touch with those whom you’ve served before. According to an Adobe Email Survey from 2016, email usage is on the rise, “primarily by consumers’ shift to mobile.”
What’s more, workers now spend an average of 7.4 hours on weekdays checking their emails. And, probably most significantly, 49% of respondents said that they prefer receiving marketing communications by email compared to direct mail (22%).
While these numbers show a trend toward email acceptance, there is also the warning that is apparent in the research. Namely, consumers also have some issues with marketing emails. We complain about the frequency of the emails, the quality of writing and offers based on incorrect profile data. Forty-seven percent surveyed said that too many emails from a brand is most likely to annoy people.
Obviously, there is a fine line between getting noticed and being obnoxious. The trick is to find your email sweet spot and use it correctly without hammering the consumer. Keeping it short, sweet and simple seems to be the winning recipe when it comes to emailing your local audience information on your shop, promotional incentives or general news.
IT’S WHAT’S INSIDE THAT COUNTS.
Of course, all the “likes”, favorable reviews and enticing (but not obnoxious) emails won’t matter if you can’t offer customers a top-notch experience once they bring their vehicle in for repair. While your online presence can be a differentiator between you and the shop down the street, consumer loyalty comes out of how well you served those who came your way. How you treated their vehicle and how they were treated in general have the most bearing on whether or not they had a favorable experience that
they’ll share with their friends.