Memory 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!
- 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.
- 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 [email protected]).
News Works Marketing
You 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!
News Works Marketing
Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain. ~J.K. Rowling
Technology: “the knack of so arranging the world that we don’t have to experience it.” ~Max Frisch
The other day I had great plans and a very tight schedule. Undaunted…I had it all planned to the minute…but technology had other ideas. The night before when I went to shut down my laptop, it decided to do an hour’s worth of updates. The next morning…it very unkindly spent another hour doing more plus initializing. Usually it asks permission but I read afterwards that it was trying to be helpful. Needless to say that backed up my entire day as I simply had to launch payroll that morning to Paycor and other necessary items on my to-do-list that required technology in order to be accomplished. I was only happy I didn’t have a flight to catch! I know the plane wouldn’t wait for me anymore than my “updates” would.
I was recently speaking to shop owners about technology. We love it, of course, when we feel in control. We all pay for monthly subscription services and it is up to us to decide, after using them for a few months, if they are worth it. We discussed that very issue…how do you really know if you are in control if you don’t track it? Many pay their monthly subscriptions and never look back. They couldn’t honestly tell you if what they are paying for is working for them or not.
Make sure the very technology you are paying for is working…and it isn’t getting a boost from another source you are also paying for and taking credit! That doesn’t help you! If you can’t track it yourself…don’t use it!
When my customers ask my opinion about certain services I don’t provide, I do research for them and recommend…but I always say it is now up to them to track it!! Keep in mind that what works for one shop…doesn’t necessarily work for every shop! Do your due diligence.
Notice the quotes I used above…our technology does seem to be equipped with brains…like they think for themselves. It is up to us though, to keep in touch with it enough that we do experience our world…and that we don’t just leave it up to technology as it keeps collecting its dues.
Have a great one!
News Works Marketing
A 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!
News Works Marketing
Education is learning what you didn’t know you didn’t know. ~George Boas
I was watching the weather report on television yesterday because we had out-of-town company coming and we want to go to The Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo. As of this writing we had been enjoying sunny days and weather in the 50/60’s during the day. As I was sitting there waiting for the forecast I was thinking how dry my hands and lips felt and I usually don’t feel that dry until January/February. I was hoping this wasn’t the result of getting older! Ha ha!
The meteorologist captioned her forecast by saying it is Chapstick weather because even though the temperature is mild it is very dry right now. She went on to say that this is when we experience static cling and dry lips and skin. I was impressed by that forecast! How informative. Now I know it is the dry weather that causes chapped lips and dry hands, not just the gloomy, colder days of January and February. She gave me meaningful insights into the weather!
I then thought of all of us consumers who feel empowered by our automotive service experts when they tell us “good to know” information. A customer shared with me the other day that a competitor just moved in and was selling flushes with every oil change. He was rightly concerned that this person was “ripping off” the consumers. This is when a shop owner or service advisor needs to educate their customers on flushing/fluid exchanges. They simply might not be aware that this should not be done with every oil change! Many of my automotive repair shop customers call this practice “wallet flushing.”
When you share your knowledge with your customers they will truly be grateful because today’s consumers want to be informed so they feel a part of the decision making process when it comes to their car’s health. This knowledge also builds trust!
You can share this information at the counter and social media in small doses or in larger doses on your website and direct mail. They will appreciate it!
I hope you all have a wonderful Holiday season!
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!
News Works Marketing
That old September feeling… of summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air…. Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year’s mistakes and failures had been wiped clean by summer. ~Wallace Stegner
Many customers tell me that they don’t really have a major change of season like we do here in Cincinnati, Ohio and in my travels I have, of course, noticed that. Fall is my very favorite time of the year and as I sit here at my desk with the morning’s cool breeze coming in through the open windows I feel revitalized somehow. The leaves haven’t changed color much yet, but they will soon. Pumpkins and mums are everywhere at the stores (and I admit I have pumpkins in my mulch beds already…after all…they are ripe now in the gardens).
Autumn, no matter where you live is a great time to remind customers to come in for service. While they are in, check their lights for them as darkness will be with us longer now. Make sure their wiper blades are in good working order and don’t forget that battery. It is also a great time to make sure the coolant and other fluids are in great shape.
No one likes to have a breakdown, but a breakdown in darkness seems so much worse! They will thank you for the attention to detail!
If you need help spreading the word, just contact us! All of us at News Works Marketing are here to help you!
News Works Marketing
Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going. ~Jim Ryun
Like most people, my husband and I are always in a hurry. We do, of course, make a point of being consistent about getting our vehicles serviced on a timely basis. 5,000 miles ago my husband was told his transmission fluid was getting dirty and needed to be flushed (exchanged) on the next visit.
He took his car in for its oil change and service last week. Imagine his surprise when after the service was complete they told him the oil was changed, the air filter was still clean, all the fluids were in great shape and topped off and they specifically pointed out that the transmission fluid was very clean.
He looked at me and raised his eyebrows…saying with no words, “You have got to be kidding me!”
My recommendations from this experience to all technicians, service advisors and shop owners…
- Never recommend a service that doesn’t need to be performed.
- If you do recommend a service, at least write it down and remember to mention it on the customer’s next visit. This needs to be a habit!My husband’s trust was very bruised. Hmmmmm…
News Works Marketing
When solving problems, dig at the roots instead of just hacking at the leaves. ~Anthony J. D’Angelo, The College Blue Book
Recently I had an overheating vehicle…on the weekend! I needed it to be in perfect working order by Monday morning so…I debated taking it to the corner chain store or to a quick lube equally close by. The quick lube won.
The young men there quickly took a look under the hood and then the equally fast diagnosis began.
“You need a new radiator!” said one.
“You need a new water pump!” declared another.
After much debate a manager returned from lunch and felt the hoses. It was a hose. It had a small slit-like crack underneath. The young men didn’t even feel the hoses and even I know that is the first thing to look at.
He ordered the hose…but it took three tries to get the correct hose delivered from an Advanced Auto Parts store. It also took three hours to replace the hose and give my radiator a flush (or fluid exchange for those of you out west!). I paid my bill and when I got home was amazed at how dirty the guys left my hood. I took it to a car wash immediately.
A few days later I had a rather longer than normal drive to another state and thought I detected a kind of burning smell. After my meeting I drove back to the quick lube. Again…they gathered around and looked under the hood whispering and gesturing and finally said that the hose had not been clamped properly and the cap had not been put on correctly either. It took about 45 minutes and I was given every assurance that all was well but they did ask me to drop by again in a few days so they could take another look…just to be sure. I did and all was declared well!
I had to take my car through the car wash again and wipe down my credit card that was extremely greasy. Yuck.
The moral of this story is…even the most eager to please, enthusiastic quick lube employees (including the manager) will never be as good at diagnosing and repairing even the simplest of issues as a certified technician.
My suggestion to all of you…SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS! To be certified takes work, dedication and a strong desire to be the best! You are the BEST! Wear it proudly!
News Works Marketing
The speed and efficiency of programmatic advertising is valuable, but it should always be used in conjunction with creativity to engage consumers, writes Denise Colella. “Overreliance on performance metrics at the expense of creativity is a dangerous practice, yet it’s easy to do,” she writes.
(Marketing Essentials of the Highly Successful Shop Owner – Part 4 Continued)
The advantages of direct mail are many…here are just a few!
- It is targeted – You decide who it goes to.
- It is measureable – You know who it went to and you can tell who responded to it right down to the individual.
- It is scalable – You can mail as few or as many as you like. If using bulk mail to get the best rate you do need a minimum of 200 pieces.
- It is expected – Consumers expect mail six days a week. They don’t have to order it, subscribe to it or drive out to get it.
- It is appreciated – USPS did a recent study that showed over 60% of consumers would prefer getting offers by mail than by any other method.
- It is non-intrusive – It doesn’t pop up in an article, appear in their social media viewing and it doesn’t show up in their inbox to be deleted in seconds. It comes and gets viewed regularly.
- Now more than ever it captures attention because many bills, etc., are received online rather than in the mailbox.
- Consumers can put it aside to look at later…unlike an email, social media, etc. You only get a quick moment and setting it aside for later is not an option with those venues.
You want consumers to spend time with your mail piece so make it worth their while. A recipient spends 213 seconds with a mail piece. You have three seconds to draw interest to your piece. You have 30 seconds to engage and 180 seconds to get it looked at thoroughly and generate a response.
- Make it fun!
- Add color and graphics
- Make it sizzle!
- Entertain for brand awareness!
- Remember…it isn’t always, sell, sell, and sell!! (but do include an offer)
A short reminder…always live up to your marketing campaign no matter what method you use. A lot of times shops say they are the best, the friendliest, the most high tech, etc…then they get a consumer to try them once. When that shop fails to live up to that marketing campaign…they seldom get a second chance.
I hope these “Marketing Essentials of Highly Successful Shop Owners” has been helpful. They were a brief overview of each type of marketing that most shop owners (and other small businesses use). If you need more in-depth information on one or all, just let me know!
News Works Marketing
It’s important to select the right marketing channels and to recognize the enduring power of print media to produce an effective marketing campaign, experts advise. Also, remember that it takes commitment to build a following through paid advertising. The Guardian (London)
(Marketing Essentials of the Highly Successful Shop Owner – Part Four)
Technology is great but too often tech companies leave out the human factor…to them it is data-to-data instead of a person to another person. They still call it marketing…but is it really? Mostly it is a quick, cheap “touch” and so it is given very little thought. If one had to pay direct mail prices to send it…they probably would scrutinize it before pushing it out! I get more complaints from my customers about the tech companies they use than about anything else. They say their customers complain to them about receiving too much…34 or more touches a month. Whatever we do…we don’t want to be annoying. I appreciate the tech companies’ zeal and enthusiasm but too much of a good thing is still…too much! I always suggest that my customer ask the tech company to cut back on how much they push out.
Direct mail still delivers the strongest ROI for business to consumer. If you are trying to find new customers, it can be done very inexpensively. If you are keeping in touch with your current customers it works very well.
- Direct mail delivers the strongest ROI for Business to Consumer acquisition of customers (31% for direct mail compared to 16% for email) as well as for retention of customers (37% for direct mail compared to 29% for email).
- 98% of consumers bring in their mail the day it’s delivered and 77% sort through it immediately.
- 65% of surveyed online Americans say they have made a purchase in response to messages received via direct mail.
- For every $1 invested in direct (non-catalog) mail expenditures, the average return on investment is $15.40.
The DMA (Direct Marketing Association) uses $12 in revenue for every $1 spent to show you can have over 1200% ROI. This is based on the lifetime value of your customer. For example, if you spend $1000 on a direct mail campaign you may not see $12,000 worth of immediate business but over the lifetime of the customer you could reasonably expect to see a 12x return on investment.
No other type of advertising gives a small business that level of return.
Next month we will continue with more stats and reasons to use direct mail! I promised to keep my Help Me Rhonda’s short and sweet so I will stop here for this month!
Never hesitate to contact me with comments or questions!
News Works Marketing