How to Increase Your Car Count with New & Returning Customers
Let’s Fill Your Service Bays!
Before we dive in and spill our secrets on how to increase your shop’s car count, it’s important to determine your business goals first:
- Are you focusing on an increase in new customers?
- Do you need your one-time customers to become lifetime customers?
- Do you need your loyal customers to come in more frequently?
The answer is probably a blend of all of the above, so you’ll need to prepare the right expectations to suit each goal. It’s also important to understand which types of marketing will help you reach them:
Our bread and butter here at Autoshop Solutions is Acquisition Marketing, so we’ll focus there. The goal of acquisition marketing is to gain new customers by reaching them where they are. In shop terms – it brings more cars into your bays! Typically new customers don’t know who you are but are in need of your services. This means you have to understand how and when customers are looking for your services.
Methods to Reach New Customers
The best methods of reaching new customers include:
- Pay-Per-Click Advertising – Displaying instant ads on Google, Microsoft (formerly Bing), Facebook, Instagram, and beyond means you will reach customers who are actively searching or are interested in your services thanks to your ad. This marketing avenue is pay-to-play but ensures fast results and is a surefire way to increase your car count!
- Search Engine Optimization – Optimizing your website to increase your organic (aka unpaid) reach on search engines is crucial to making sure you show up where your customers search. The long-term results of a powerful SEO program will bring in new customers with a steady trickle!
- Social Media – Having a strong social media presence highlights your brand and allows you to gain access to new audiences. Creating engaging and shareable content is the key to exposure when it comes to social media!
- Direct Mail – Sending out mailers has always been a powerful way to reach new customers because you’re accessing their mailbox directly. Although it doesn’t have as strong of a conversion rate as various digital marketing efforts, it’s a great way to expand your brand awareness and provide special offers to potential new customers!
Many studies (like this one from Invespo) show that the cost of getting a new customer can be up to 5 times as expensive as keeping an existing one. Retention marketing is one of many ways you can get your loyal customers to keep coming back! While it may not increase your number of customers, it will still increase your car count from their returning business.
Although you might have plenty of loyal customers, you might be missing out on opportunities to bring them into your bays more often! We all know that car maintenance and repairs are not desirable to the customer in most cases. However, you might find that customers are much more willing to have repairs done when they have advance notice on upcoming issues and if they can break the repairs into more manageable “bite-size” pieces. Consider ways to upsell your customers on other maintenance needs that might otherwise be a tough sell!
Ways to Retain & Upsell
Some of the best channels for both retention and upsell marketing include:
- Email Marketing – Email marketing, especially when linked to your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software, is an extremely powerful and valuable tool. Paired with the knowledge of the next services your customer needs, you can bring customers back at the right frequency for their vehicle’s needs!
- Social Media – Staying top of mind for your current customers is one of the most important ways to bring them back! When they follow you on social media channels, they’re reminded of your business and the value you bring them. Stay active and engaging with your followers.
- Mobile Messaging – Engaging with your customers via text is a growing way to keep in touch and stay top of mind with your customers. Not to mention the opportunity to send service reminders and an easy way to schedule an upcoming appointment!
All of these methods and avenues for increasing your car count can be overwhelming to absorb! The most important thing is getting started by testing various methods that will guide you towards your business goals. If you’re in the market for acquisition marketing, get in touch with our marketing experts, and we’ll offer our best recommendations!
*BONUS: Read our blog on the Difference & Importance Between Acquisition & Retention Marketing!