In this article, we’ll provide 14 practical auto repair advertising tips straight from the marketing experts.
Conceptualminds | August 13, 2022
14 Actionable Auto Repair Advertising Ideas
In advertising, good ideas are a hot commodity.
Because it’s often unclear what makes one ad work and another fail, auto repair shop owners frequently reconsider their advertising and marketing strategies.
The trouble is, such work is a tall order without the resources and know-how of a seasoned auto repair marketing expert.
In our work as expert auto repair shop marketers, we apply a range of practices, techniques, and technologies to create awareness and convert customers.
The following 14 auto repair advertising ideas include stellar advice for improving the performance of your current advertising campaigns.
Auto Repair Advertising Ideas: Reviewing Marketing Collateral for These Writing Best Practices
The average person is given the impression that good writing only comes from hyper-educated artists with heartbreaking backstory, and nothing can be further than the truth.
Writing a slick ad copy isn’t easy, but you don’t need that background to evaluate headlines and ad copy for these common issues.
Remember: trust your gut, and look out for your ads’ specificity, conciseness, clarity, and impact.
1. Auto Repair Ad Writing 101: Fix Vague and Abstract Wording
Just like trees grow towards the sun, writing orients towards vague language. Unfortunately, such vague writing is detrimental to the ad’s impact, and wastes opportunities to provide readers direction.
For instance, “Don’t wait, act now” gives viewers no concept of what’s on the offer and lacks enough punch to make an impression.
Instead, that space should be used to convey a tempting offer while giving a sense of urgency. “Free Fall Tuneups for First Time Customers” offers readers a tangible benefit and a time-based incentive.
2. Auto Repair Marketing Writing 201: Fix Wordy, Fancy Language
All you need to know, in four short words.
Our third auto repair advertising idea:
The words we understand best are those we learned earliest in life, which is why most mass media is geared towards an 8th grade reading level.
Your ad copy should use simple words without too many syllables. Keep sentences brief and jargon far away (The average person doesn’t know what “OEM” stands for, nor do they know what an ASE designation means).
3. Auto Repair Marketing Writing 301: Language Should Match the User’s Context
You want consumers to expend as little mental energy reading as possible.
Ad formats don’t just differ in font size and character count; they’re placed in different places, viewable at different times of the day from different distances, and serve different purposes (spreading awareness, informing, converting).
As such, ads are best when designed around what makes that format distinct. When evaluating your ads, picture your ad’s observer and imagine the following:
- Where are they, and what kind of mental space might they be in?
- Do they have enough information to act?
- What would they understand if they took only a passing glance?
- Are they left with any lingering questions?
Having empathy for your reader is the most reliable way to find shortcomings in writing.
They’re probably confused if walking around in their shoes confuses you.
4. Auto Repair Marketing Idea: Diversify with Print or Digital for Better Results
There’s a strange split in traditional auto repair marketing.
Before digital advertising, print and direct mail were the most common tactics for auto shop owners, owing to their reliable performance and high ROI.
Once auto ad agencies got their hands on digital technology, that all changed. Its precise targeting, huge user base, and low cost made print seem less attractive by comparison.
Still, at no point did print become less effective.
Consumers have only grown in their appreciation of print marketing.
They increasingly like the touch and feel, ease of reading, and lack of tracking tech.
Print marketing is also more easily remembered, with only email beating it in ROI.
Combined print and digital ad campaigns are 4x times more effective than those focused on digital engagement alone. Our research and experience show you’re not reaching your entire audience doing one or the other.
Auto Repair Advertising Ideas: Vary Digital & Print Formats to Expand Reach
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the array of ad formats available. What will reach the most people, 200 4” x 6” postcards or 50 18” x 24” posters?
And what’s the difference between a mobile leaderboard and a medium rectangle?
Your auto repair advertising collateral’s size, shape, and materials determine your ad’s overall visibility, reach, and persuasiveness—among other factors.
Of course, these variables change dramatically depending on the type of marketing used—so we’re covering both print- and digital-specific ad format considerations.
Are you reaching all your prospects or just those who live online? Or maybe your marketing exists only in the real world, leaving many of your prospects blissfully unaware of your auto repair services.
5. Digital Display Advertising Formats for Auto Shop Advertising
According to an in-depth analysis of more than 25,000 digital advertisers, larger ads are both more likely to be clicked and more frequently converted after clicking.
As you can see, the wide skyscraper, half page, and billboard command a cost per click in line with smaller formats. Once you consider their significant customer conversion rate and ability to turn clicking users into customers, you have one of the most valuable display formats.
Typically, the larger and more prominent the ad, the more expensive it is. However, their performance gains are substantial enough to bring their cost per conversion lower or equal to smaller ads.
So the solution is only to use larger ads, right?
It’s in your best interest to have an ad for every format. Larger ads perform better, but they’re limited in supply. There’s literally not enough ad space on the web for you to rely on billboards alone.
Four of the above formats make up 80% of all available ad inventory: leaderboard, medium rectangle, wide skyscraper, and mobile leaderboard.
Using larger ad formats isn’t the secret to making your ads more visible.
Having an ad ready for each major format helps spread your message around every corner of the web, so you don’t miss out on opportunities regardless of available ad space.
6. Vary Print Marketing Formats for Auto Repair Marketing Success
When it comes to format, print marketing advertisements work on many of the same principles.
As master auto repair print marketers, we’ve used every format under the sun to spread awareness, create branding opportunities, and motivate people to purchase.
The next 5 auto repair advertising ideas revolve around the most prominent print formats, with guidance on how we recommend using them for top performance.
Pros: Highly flexible, can use as a direct mail mailer, in-person handout, or a subtle insert.
Auto Repair Advertising Idea: Link your flier to a landing page on your site via customer QR code, or opt for a discount code or punched tab.
Pros: Simple format focuses attention, lack of envelope makes it immediately visible, and can be kept at home.
Auto Repair Advertising Idea: Postcards are the most affordable direct mail format, making them ideal for local saturation marketing campaigns.
9. Magazines, Brochures & Catalogs
Pros: Holds attention for much longer than most print formats, can include a more sophisticated pitch, and are frequently saved by recipients at home.
Auto Repair Advertising Idea: Do some background research on your customers to establish the exact demographic you’re targeting.
Pros: Sizable, readable from far away; well-placed posters help your brand stay top-of-mind in public spaces across your service area.
Advertising Idea: Stick to one large image, go with high-contrast colors and type, and ensure body copy font is around half the size of the headline.
11. Cards and Inserts
Pros: Their smaller size makes them more likely to be picked up, and they’re great for handing out at the cash register, local events, or included in local coupon books and events.
Auto Repair Advertising Idea: Seek out non-competing local businesses and gauge interest in cross-promotions; cards and inserts can be placed in packages, included alongside receipts, or tucked under a customers’ windshield wipers just before delivery.
Auto Repair Advertising Ideas: Google Ads Geotargeting for Greater Precision
Sophisticated targeting is among digital advertising’s most valuable features. With it, small business owners worldwide can locate prospects by their interests, past shopping behavior, and location, among other variables.
Many shop owners make use of digital search advertising to capture web users searching for specific auto repair services and information.
However, we frequently find that Google Ad’s location-based filtering features go underutilized.
12. Location-Based Searches for Auto Shop Marketing
Our 12th auto repair advertising idea revolves around Google AdWord’s location-based feature, which lets users filter out users searching for your keywords outside your coverage area.
To enable it, click the relevant campaign on your Google Ads home account page. Navigate to settings in the left-hand sidebar, click “locations,” the dropdown labeled locations, followed by “advanced search.”
From here you can search by country, region, city, or postal code. After, you’ll see results populate next to buttons labeled “Target,” “Exclude,” and “Nearby” (Exclude filters out searches from that area, and nearby helps you identify neighboring areas).
Save your targeting selection, and Google’s world-class ad algorithm will apply your changes to its ad network, helping you reach new audiences at a cost customized to your budget.
13. Location-based Bid Adjustments for Winning Over Online Locals
This clever feature lets users set higher-than-usual bids for keywords searched by users within a chosen area, prioritizing keywords that are more likely to convert.
Adjustments are made in percentage-based increments. A $10 CPC with a +10% adjustment will bid up to $11 for localized searches.
Click on the campaign you’d like to edit to find the bid adjustment feature, then hit “locations” in the left-hand sidebar. You should see all your previously entered locations here.
Hover your mouse above the “Bid adj” column next to the appropriate location, click the pen icon, and enter a bid adjustment increase or decrease.
Notably, it’s also possible to make a negative adjustment to bid less on searches near the edge of your service area.
For instance, residents just outside your county might make the trip, but probably less frequently than a true local.
Negative adjustments can ensure you’re not spending too much for prospects in areas that make them that much more unlikely to show up.
14. Auto Repair Advertising Idea: Boost Ad Performance by Cleaning Up Prospect Lists
If you’ve ordered a direct mail campaign before, you know it’s normal to have some mailers returned—the average direct mail campaign contains around 4%. But did you know that as many as 9.8% of Americans move each year?
As such, your undelivered mailers will take up a growing portion of your list the longer it’s been since your last campaign, significantly driving down your marketing cost efficiency.
However, you don’t have to run another campaign just to burn through another 12%.
Submit your list in a spreadsheet to the USPS’ National Change of Address System (NCOA).
At a rate of $50 for every 10,000 names and addresses, you’ll receive an amended file cross-referenced against official records with updated household information. It’s time efficient and cost efficient—a real underutilized resource.
If Your Advertising Idea Well Was Dry, We Hope It's Now Full
You don’t need to write an ad to improve your auto repair shop’s advertising performance.
Because it’s a complex creative process without a lot of rigorous standards, you can usually count on finding gaps and opportunities if you look close enough.
Learn About Conceptual Minds
At Conceptual Minds, our team helps automotive businesses get the most from their marketing dollars with tried and tested methods backed up by regular testing and research.
We equip our clients with the tools and knowledge to eliminate the guesswork from their marketing efforts and get top ROI through our tailored services.
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