Sure, there are all kinds of brilliant marketing strategies out there, loads of advertising opportunities, and a million ways to 2X your revenue as an auto repair shop. And if you could leverage and invest in every big idea, you would. But realistically, most auto repair shops don’t have the budget, staff, or resources to run every ad or chase every “hot” marketing method. No one understands better than we do. Every day, we work with auto repair shop owners, managers, and marketers to develop REALISTIC marketing plans that align with their unique budgets.
You CAN build a winning auto shop marketing strategy that works without breaking the bank or over-extending your resources. And it starts with developing a realistic marketing and advertising budget for the year ahead. Today, we’re breaking down every consideration you need to know as you strategize your marketing for 2024. Follow this proven auto repair shop marketing budget process.
And we’re keeping it real, so you can keep it realistic.
Setting S.M.A.R.T. Marketing Goals for 2024
What does it mean to set S.M.A.R.T goals? It’s a widely used acronym among the business community because it’s a great reminder that every goal you set should be measured within its defined parameters. When developing your marketing plan for 2024, start by developing S.M.A.R.T. marketing objectives. In other words, what is the outcome you hope to achieve with your tire and auto shop marketing plan? Once the goals are established, you can then begin to assign the various channels, tools, and budgets to each step in reaching those goals.
Examples of S.M.A.R.T. goals for auto repair shops:
(S) Specific: Don’t generalize by setting a goal to “bring in more car repair customers.” Instead, get specific, crunch the numbers, and set a goal of “100 new customers by the end of 1Q 2024.”
(M) Measurable: Set marketing objectives that you can actually measure, including post-campaign car counts, quarterly revenues and/or profits, cost per lead, cost per customer, marketing reach, and frequency.
(A) Achievable: Be realistic about setting marketing goals. Know your market potential and establish objectives that make sense for your auto repair shop. For example: Doubling your business from $2M to $4M in 1 year may not be an achievable goal.
(R) Relevant: Establish marketing goals that actually bring value to your business, in boosted car counts, improved brand awareness, and/or stronger customer loyalty. Example: Advertising 15-miles away in a dense metropolitan market may not be relevant to your business.
(T) Time-Bound: Any goal without a timeline is just a pipe dream. So, be sure that whatever marketing objectives you set out to achieve also come with timeline benchmarks to achieve and deadlines.
Coach’s Tip: Remember to develop similar S.M.A.R.T goals for other aspects of your business, including operations, financial, and human resources.
Get to Know Your Customers and Business
With your newly created marketing goals in mind, it’s time to crunch some numbers. Most CRMs nowadays allow you to better understand your customer, job and business data. Before you launch new marketing and pay for ads, you consider answering the following questions:
- Average Revenue Per Order
- Repeat customer rate?
- Most purchased services?
- Least purchase services?
- Higher profit margin services?
- Current customer demographics?
- Is there a type of customer you aren’t currently attracting?
- Is there a type of car you aren’t currently attracting?
- What do your customers love about your business?
- What do you they dislike the most about your business?
- What discounts brought in the greatest number of customers?
- How did most of your new customers find you this year?
- Highest number of cars
Armed with these insights, you can start to identify opportunities and/or gaps. In your current customer demographics and/or marketing. This will allow you to better understand what changes you could/should make in your marketing.
Choosing Channels with Great ROI
With your goals and profit center services in mind, you can begin to explore which marketing channels reach and engage the best. Here, you’ll be selective about choosing those resources and methods that specifically target your core audience of decision-makers, promoting those “best foot forward” services. Don’t try to be everything to everyone – instead, apply some precision in identifying the few solutions that can net great ROI with each marketing dollar spent.
In the auto repair industry, one of the most powerful marketing tools is the online review. Customer testimonials influence how people make purchasing decisions in a big way – both positively and negatively.
Check out these Minc Law stats regarding brand reputation:
- 75% of customers rely on word-of-mouth to inform their purchasing decisions.
- 92% of B2B customers trust customer reviews to inform their purchasing decisions.
- Improving your reputation by just 5% can translate to a 2.5% boost in revenue.
And managing your auto shop’s online reputation requires the right software, brand monitoring strategies, and an active effort to leverage reviews via Yelp and Google. These tools allow you to improve the customer experience and leverage the power of great reviews online.
For many of our tire and auto shop clients, Google Ads is a great way to apply pinpoint precision to their marketing efforts. Google Ads is a method that allows you to specifically target a local audience of car care decision-makers with a unique offer that you can track, click by click.
Direct Mail Advertising
Digital marketing is a must, but not at the expense of traditional methods that still drive results. Direct mail postcards are a terrific way to let the local area consumers know about your business. These mailers also offer direct ROI.
Social media often offers the most resonating impact among your target audience because it’s a way to boost your auto shop’s visibility in the community, inspiring trust with conversational engagements. Choose one or two social platforms that reach your target audience and dominate them with regular posts, seasonal ads, and community involvement. Now, with your marketing goals, profit centers, and select channels in mind, you can next determine what marketing investment tools are needed to properly execute your initiatives.
Another marketing channel worth considering with great ROI is targeted video marketing. Forbes shared data from a NogenTech study that found 91% of marketers are using video content today.
Local, regional, and national television ads can bring increased reach and frequency with your latest offer. Additionally, drilling down on niche channels, like Disney+ and Hulu or local cable networks with video ads can significantly drive car counts.
More importantly, YouTube and social media video marketing are some of the most effective marketing tools in your arsenal. Creating and sharing car care tips, getting candid with behind-the-scenes looks at your shop, and supporting the community with videos just works. Videos are more engaging to your audience and allow you to essentially have conversations with them wherever your videos live.
Based on a Statista survey, these social media channels are the most popular among business leaders and marketers:
- 86% use videos on Facebook
- 90% use videos on YouTube
- 35% use videos on TikTok
Investing in the Right Marketing Tools
Your marketing roadmap for 2024 is coming together. But before you begin assigning dollar amounts, you’ll also want to decide if you need to invest in additional marketing tools to help you seamlessly execute your plan. Today’s auto repair shops are finding great results with time and money-saving digital software solutions. And because maintaining your digital presence online is a pillar element of your 2024 marketing, these are just a few of the marketing investments to consider.
Local SEO is the concept of digitally optimizing your website and online content to be more visible when your local target audience hops online to look for car care services “near them.” This may involve a series of investments, depending on your website metrics, to revise content to feature your city, target search keywords, and search intent. Getting your audience to visit you more online will result in them visiting your tire and auto shop more frequently offline.
Check out some of these WebFX stats that reinforce the importance of local SEO:
- 200% increase in mobile searches for phrases like “open near me now.”
- 30% of all mobile searches relate to location.
- 46% of all Google searches are local.
Email marketing continues to be a truly effective way to reach existing car care customers, offering reminders, sharing discounts, and asking for reviews or referrals. Consider investing in email marketing tools that help you facilitate these email campaigns easily with templates, automations, and metrics. Check out MailChimp, Oracle, or Steer by Mechanic Advisor.
Putting It All Together with Dollar Amounts
Let’s review your auto repair shop marketing budget-setting process thus far. You’ve set realistic marketing goals, identified your most attractive service, evaluated your new customer preferences, selected precise marketing channels to reach your customers, and prepared to invest in great marketing tools to execute your plan. Now, you can break down the investments required and establish the 2024 marketing budget. Remember to:
- Calculate any one-time fees or monthly subscriptions needed for tools or software.
- Assign dollar amounts for your chosen platforms and marketing campaigns.
- Assess seasonality spending and strategic timing to launch (spend) campaigns.
- Identify your internal capabilities and needs for outsourcing.
Working with the Best Marketing & Advertising Coaches
Use these marketing-budget-setting insights as you carve out an advertising roadmap for your tire and auto shop in 2024. And if you need help with any of these critical steps, contact us! When you have the best marketing and advertising team of coaches in your corner, guiding you through all the best practices, you can take the guesswork out of creating and executing a marketing plan and budget.
And let’s be honest – you’re busy running an auto repair shop. Let Conceptual Minds step in and do all the marketing heavy lifting for you! For hassle-free, no-nonsense marketing results, trust our team to help you boost car counts and ROI in 2024!
Learn About Conceptual Minds
As veterans of the automotive industry, the Conceptual Minds team are experts at growing car counts through effective and personable marketing. If you are unsure of your current marketing strategy and would like some guidance, contact us today at 877.524.7696.