Growing Your Company In Just A Few Steps

Rhonda HiltbrandMemory is always faulty. Emotions are always true. ~Author Unknown

We are a resource…
Did you know that we are the oldest marketing company specializing in helping you, the independent repair shop owners, grow their business? It has been over 28 years and we are still going strong and we have seen it all. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly… This goes for both traditional and internet (now called digital) marketing. Unfortunately, we have also witnessed quite a few shop owners who see a new marketing concept and for some reason feels compelled to try it. Unfortunately, more times than not, it doesn’t work and once again a lot of good money and time is wasted.  But it does not have to be like that. Most of our clients pick up the phone and call us or email us to get our perspective.

Marketing gimmicks come along all the time, usually with great fanfare, hooking unsuspecting business owners. We know you are a NEED industry and your marketing needs and wants differ from most other businesses.   We get the same calls making the same promises to us!

We have many customers who tell us that they wouldn’t be in business today if it wasn’t for News Works. We helped them capture the attention of their customers and build up their car count. We enabled them to keep their customers’ attention and loyalty so they aren’t tempted to stray to the chains/dealerships.  Here is how to do it!

  1. Consistent marketing! All of your marketing should inform, educate and entertain to attract attention and keep it.
  • Direct mail gives you room to really make an impression.  We recommend you do a direct mail piece at least quarterly.
  • Social media helps give you “top of mind awareness” to your followers. Keep it short and use an interesting picture and post at least weekly.
  • Websites should be easy to navigate and not filled with so many repeat words your reader gives up in disgust (If I am reading about brake repair I don’t need to see the words “brake repair” 50 times in one short article)!
  • On hold messaging can even be informative, educational and entertaining.
  1. Now that you have grabbed their attention you can build on the relationships by community marketing!  This can be accomplished in a variety of ways!  Here are few examples of what our customers are doing so successfully:
  • Contests! – They do everything from monthly drawings to guessing games.  The trick is the customer has to come into the shop to be eligible.  That doesn’t mean they need their car serviced every month but they drop by to participate in the program.  They then are contacted if they win and their picture is taken and put in the newsletter or on Facebook.
  • Art contests for elementary schools – Teachers and parents like a shop who cares and participates in this event!
  • Car Care Clinics are also well received and what a great way to inform, educate and entertain!

Remember, this method of growth is done through emotions which is the key element in building trust which is the key element in building loyalty.

I could do an entire seminar on this subject but I try to keep Help Me Rhonda short as I know you are all so very busy.  For more information on how to keep growing and filling those bays, contact me or George Zabrecky (you can reach George at 513-378-0003 or george@form-ingprofitablesolutions.com).

Rhonda Hiltbrand
CEO
News Works Marketing


“Learning In Action”

Rhonda HiltbrandYou learn something every day if you pay attention. ~Ray LeBlond

I always learn something when I teach a marketing class.  It happens every single time!  Recently I had the privilege to speak at the Auto Tech Expo, presented by Auto Wares in Schaumburg, Illinois and Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Tim from The Muffler Shop shared with me that one of the best things he does for all of his customers is leave a gift in their cars after service.  The gift is a cone of popcorn!  He orders it from www.popcornopolis.com.  He says his customers tell him that whatever the cost of the service or repair, this free gift makes them so happy.

Phillip from D & H told me that he always tells his customers that he and his crew stay up-to-the-minute when it comes to auto repair so they can know they are getting the very best service and repair.  When he comes to any training event, he always gets his picture and that of his staff taken and shares it on Facebook.  He says his customers like to see them “learning in action.”

I just had to share these fun ideas with you, my readers, in case you would like to try them!  I got Tim and Phillip’s permission to do this!

If you do some different things and would like to share, please let me know!

Thanks and happy spring!

Rhonda Hiltbrand
CEO
News Works Marketing


SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Challenges

Rhonda HiltbrandA journey of a thousand sites begins with a single click. ~Author Unknown

Just a couple of years ago, in order to have the best SEO, auto repair shop owners (or the people they hired to help their SEO along) just stuffed their website full of adwords.  It didn’t matter to them if the “articles” didn’t make sense.  They just kept adding those key words!

Then along came “content marketing” and if your website articles didn’t make sense you quickly got pushed down the list in the search.  Those who faithfully track their website’s success were amazed at how quickly those adwords were no longer helping like they used to.

SEO, like everything else in marketing, keeps changing.  It may be subtle at first but before you know it, it can be a real game changer.  What matters at this moment for SEO?

  • Relevant content
  • Mobile-friendly look
  • Keep it short as consumers’ attention spans keep getting shorter
  • Telephone numbers need to stand out
  • Using video? The shorter the better
  • Get your point across in a hurry

What does this tell us about marketing in general?  You might fool consumers at first with “tricks” but it won’t last.  Be authentic as that stands the test of the time.

I hope you have a wonderful 2016!

Rhonda Hiltbrand
CEO
News Works Marketing


Email Marketing

Rhonda Hiltbrand“Email addresses are not data.  Each represents a real person.  Treat them accordingly!”

(Marketing Essentials of the Highly Successful Shop Owner – Part Three)

This is part three in answer to a reader who is frustrated that many of his marketing strategies aren’t working like he thought it would! Today’s post is about email marketing!

I love email!  It is my favorite form of communication.  I like it because it is easy, I don’t have to play “phone tag” with my customers and writing happens to be my main vocation.

However…as a consumer nothing annoys me more than the “overzealous” emailer. I purchase my printer toner at Best Buy.  In December, they decided, for some reason, to start emailing every single day.  They never stopped.  They are on my list to “unsubscribe.”  Web MD seemed like a great business for me to subscribe to.  When they started sending me no less than 20 emails each and every Saturday…way too many through the week and on Sunday, I unsubscribed!  Certain LinkedIn persons decided I needed to hear what they had to say all weekend long and in the evenings and on holidays especially…I dropped them.

The main problem with email marketing is that it is sooooooo easy businesses forget that the email address represents a real human being and it isn’t just “data”.  Respect that person’s time.  Don’t be responsible for their “email fatigue.”

Always ask yourself this question before you send out email marketing…if I had to pay for this service like I do direct mail…would I send it?  Treat it like you would direct mail…always respect your readers!

Some suggested rules of email marketing:

  • – Address your readers’ concerns.
  • – Don’t make it be a big sales push.
  • – Remember it should be all about what you can do for your customer…not about how great you and your business is.
  • – Experiment with the best time to send it out. I do 7:00 am on Tuesday’s because that is when my readers seem to interact with it the most.  I get a great read rate using this time.
  • – Always include an “unsubscribe” option…don’t force yourself on your readers as this will turn them off faster than anything.
  • – I send out two “Help Me Rhonda’s” a month…one to service advisors and one to shop owners. That is all!  I want my columns to be welcomed…not an intrusion on my readers’ busy time.
  • – Keep it short and keep it simple. This email blast is far too long…but I wanted to answer the question I was asked.

If you have further questions about email marketing (this is just the basics) I have a lot more I can say about it so let me know and I’ll make sure you get the information.  You are always welcome to call or email me and I am here to help you!  Don’t hesitate!

Thanks for your time!

Rhonda Hiltbrand
CEO
News Works Marketing