In marketing your collision repair shop, you might feel compelled to stand by the old impersonal methods of communication that many other auto body shops have been delivering to consumers for decades. Maybe you believe that it will impress customers and help you look more professional. Maybe you’re simply out of ideas for how to brand your business. Well, I want you to take a step back and re-think your collision repair marketing strategies. What clichéd taglines are you using? What generic photos litter your website pages? How genuine is your writing voice? In this age of internet marketing, your answers to these questions can mean the difference between real success and utter failure.
Why? Because people don’t respond to generic; they want products and services that stand out among all the others. I don’t need to quote statistics in order to convince you of this—just think about your own experience as a consumer. Think about the products you see every day, like an Apple iPhone, a Ford truck, a Starbucks coffee. When you think of these things, it doesn’t take much effort to conjure up a distinct image, a logo, and a backstory. A major reason why these companies have been so successful is that they’ve built upon the stories of who they are.
That’s what you need to do with your body shop.
At Stratosphere Studio, we’ve run across a number of auto body shops in which the owner is wearing multiple hats: performing customer service, repairing vehicles, handling financial paperwork, and so much more. On top of all that, you are likely the solo marketing department for your shop, which leaves you with very little time to accomplish much. Therefore, you’re probably looking for ways to maximize your time. One of the ways that you can increase your efficiency is to eliminate any unnecessary or dysfunctional areas in your marketing plan. For plenty of body shops, their social media choices come into question during the busiest times of the year. Some shops are spread too thin, trying to participate on every social network available. Some are only on Facebook, but wonder if their time could be better spent elsewhere.
If you’re currently debating between two of the top choices for body shops—Google+ and Facebook, here is what you should keep in mind:
Facebook is still the king (in terms of numbers).
At present, there is still a significant difference in the number of users on each network. Facebook is at over 1.15 billion monthly users, while Google+ is at 343 million. Now, the number of Google+ users is certainly considerable and something to pay attention to, but it doesn’t yet compare to Facebook’s powerful rankings.
It can happen to even the biggest and best collision repair shops: you’re coasting along through the month when all of a sudden you see your number of new internet leads dropping quickly. It can be disconcerting when this happens—especially if your lead numbers aren’t even coming close to your 3-month average. Many factors can contribute to diminished lead numbers, so it’s not necessarily because you’ve done something wrong in your marketing. What is crucial to examine is the duration in which your numbers have been low and the extent in which they’ve dropped. If you track your website pageviews and incoming leads regularly, then you have probably caught the problem well before it would have the chance to get out of hand. Now, to get those lead numbers back up quickly, here are some things you can do:
Have a contest.
This is a great way to get your social networking fans more involved, while also spreading the word about your auto body shop. Design the parameters of your contest to be fun and easy to enter (if it’s too complicated, then people will be less likely to share their contact information with you). You can invite people to enter their information to win a free auto detail, some paint work, or another equally-enticing offer. Encourage “likes” on Facebook or retweets on Twitter, use hashtags on Instagram or host a pinning campaign on Pinterest—whatever social media that your shop is most involved with. If your contest is successful, consider hosting a new one every month.