By Andy Fiffick, Owner Rad-Air Complete Car Care, Cleveland, OH and Chairman MACS Worldwide
In the last issue, I mentioned how important it is to keep all of your marketing and advertising efforts firing on all cylinders to maintain and build your client base. This issue, I want to touch on low-cost efforts to accomplish the same results.
Get Noticed: Again as I mentioned in the last issue, we need to be creative, and this is a sticking point for most of us. Don’t be afraid to try almost anything. Hold an anniversary cook-out or Halloween party, celebrate opening day of baseball with hot dogs, have a charity car wash or just about anything that will benefit the community, and you will get noticed. Co-op or co-host your your events with other local businesses: donut or pizza shops, print shops and others.
Social Media: Once you have your “get noticed” program in place, you need to get the word out to all social networks about your plan. Post your events on FaceBook, Twitter and on your blog. If you don’t have these tools in place, make flyers and tell all of your clients and friends. Word-of-mouth advertising is still your number one source of business and image building. Let your clients help you. Your goal is to build your likeability to the surrounding community.
Client referral program. If you already have happy clients, let them work for you. Develop and maintain a referral program where you reward your current clients for new referrals. A free LOF, tire rotation or dinner/pizza at a neighboring business can reward them, build your client base and build community relationships at the same time. Most consumers have the same feeling about auto service as they do visiting the dentist; it’s a necessary evil. Letting your clients refer your business will build their confidence in you from the start.
Combine your efforts: As you build your plan, keep all marketing and advertising programs on the same page. Make sure your flyers, advertising, social media, community involvement and marketing programs tie together and work along adequately to support each other. Once in place, tweak the plan to improve your results.
Avoid Mistakes: One mistake I see time and time again is the abandonment of all of these programs once the shop is busy. The second mistake is to believe one program will appeal to a broad base of potential new clients. Use the same base plan and then try different versions of the plan to gain a wider base of clients. In this very competitive environment, staying on top of your shop’s social media, image, advertising and marketing efforts is a matter of survival.
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The 34th annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show, Be the Best of the Best will take place January 16-18 2014 at the Sheraton New Orleans.