In my opinion, the answers to the above two questions are simple: Collision repair centers have never marketed or emphasized their relationship with customers, because it has never been necessary. Insurance companies, dealerships and fleet companies have always provided endless amounts of work, and franchises and networks provide the customer with a recognizable brand.
So why market? To the right?
Well, times are changing, demands are higher and people want to do things the right way rather than do what is expected of them. Businesses want to thrive, not just survive.
With this need to thrive comes the understanding that for a business to succeed in its local markets, things must be done differently than before.
This out-of-the-box mindset, which looks at the business from a bird’s eye view, is where automotive marketing comes into consideration for many. Indeed, businesses now see the potential for an insane number of opportunities that will arise by investing time, resources and effort in marketing their businesses within their own local communities.
So what is marketing? Marketing, in collision repair terms, is the process of creating value to meet the needs of a target market or local community with respect to the services (and products) you offer. Collision repair centers can provide such value and build strong relationships within their local markets. So, maybe marketing is an affordable solution to help you become the “best bodybuilder in town”.
What do you think?
In today’s article, I’d like to provide you with a simple guide on how to kick off your marketing campaign with a focus on capturing greater brand awareness and building relationships. within your local communities.
Let’s say your target audience, or the local population of your community, is 100,000 people.
That means 85,000 to 95,000 people in your local community regularly use the internet and social media. It’s a lot of people and a lot of potential, don’t you agree?
With much of your local community having an online presence and digital marketing becoming more and more affordable, we suggest that in order to market your business you should start by focusing your attention on the digital world as it offers an easy, affordable and powerful way to reach your customers.
So how can a collision repair center begin to market their business within their local community? First, let’s answer three main questions.
Where do you want your message to appear?
Your customers are everywhere. Some prefer watching YouTube videos while others enjoy socializing on Facebook.
Some like to read blogs on Google and others like to follow and keep up to date with a brand by checking out what’s new on your website. So whichever method you choose, you’ll do well, but the most successful companies typically favor a combination of these strategies to appeal to a larger audience. Here are some suggestions…
✓ Social Media Marketing
✓ Email Marketing
✓ YouTube Channel
What is your budget?
Marketing can cost as little or as much as you’re willing to put in. It’s not so much the cost that I suggest you look at, but rather what you want to achieve and how much time and resources are you willing to allocate to achieve that goal.
What I’m suggesting is find an amount that your company can afford, and if you can’t do that in-house, hire a company and tell them your max budget and see what they can do with that budget. Most businesses spend three to five percent of their total sales on online marketing, but we know that with the cost of other operating expenses, that can be a lot to incur. Therefore, pay what is comfortable for you, because no matter what, you will always see results.
How much time are you willing to devote?
To be frank, marketing takes a lot of hard work to perfect. It takes commitment, allotted time, creativity, execution, and lots of planning to get your message and brand awareness out into your local communities. Are you ready to devote the time to do so?
A reasonable recommendation on how much time one should devote to marketing their business would be 10-20 hours, at a minimum, per week.
If you don’t have the time or resources to help you with this task, hiring a marketing agency is another great way to help, but be careful; you will need someone who fully understands the industry.
General marketing agencies are notorious for providing more “basic” but high-level marketing strategies that won’t provide a collision repair shop with the value, awareness, and relationships they would have hoped for. Once you find the answers to these three questions, you are then in a position to make bigger decisions about exactly how you are going to execute your marketing strategy.