COVID-19 has complicated the automotive aftermarket. Some shops are seeing more demand than ever, while others have slowed down and cut back. Some shops stayed closed for longer and implemented heavy safety measures, while others didn’t make the same investment and worked through the lockdown. Some shops eliminated underperforming offerings, other shops expanded their services.
For those shops who have slowed down, stayed closed longer, and adapted your offerings to meet customer demand, this is for you. You need to make more time for marketing.
You have some newfound free time. We recommend taking advantage of that time in a number of different ways. Reduce costs by implementing process, cleaning your shop, creating a refreshed business plan, and negotiating with your suppliers. Check out the articles we’ve written on these subjects in the last few months.
Use the time and the newly freed up budget to invest in marketing and drive new sales through your shop. You have the freedom right now to place your time and money into time-consuming marketing campaigns that can generate proven return on investment, bringing in more phone calls and emails and giving you a fun way to enjoy the process.
Here are three marketing tools that you can invest your time into:
· Shop cars
This is a basic one. Your younger customers are almost guaranteed to be on Instagram. They may follow hundreds of different shops, influencers, manufacturers, and distributors. It is a saturated market, but it is a necessity to build up your Instagram presence. If you make the time to maintain your Instagram on a daily basis, you will see your numbers rise.
Posting and stories on Instagram are not about generating sales with a single post. They’re about creating consistent awareness. Daily stories document what goes on in your shop and demonstrate to potential customers who you are and what you do. Tagging your suppliers, getting reposts of your stories, tagging your customers and getting them to tag you will go a long way for generating awareness.
Aim for at least a weekly post and at least 5 to 10 story posts per day documenting the cool stuff you do. Speaking as an all-around car enthusiast, I love seeing the content from every shop I follow to get inspired for more work I can do to my cars, to laugh at all the antics that go on in the shop, and appreciate the performance and style that some places can generate.
As you grow, hire someone to manage the Instagram or delegate it to someone who can roam the shop and maintain high levels of interaction. Thousands of followers and DMs can create a massive workload just to manage the Instagram account to bring in sales.
Are you showcasing the pinnacle of what your shop can do? The personal cars of you and your team are excellent marketing tools. If you aren’t investing in your personal cars for the sake of your shop, you’re missing out on an easy opportunity.
Does your twin turbo Huracan win the standing mile events? Do you take your wrapped Aston Martin on road rally events and show off the branding and quality? Is your lifted truck taking up three parking spaces at the local car meet to promote social distancing?
Shawn Baca was recently given his claim to fame when his shop truck, Master Shredder, exploded on the dyno shooting for over 3,000hp from Industrial Injection’s Cummins. Yes, the truck exploded. Yes, he failed to actually get to 3,000hp. No, this did not hurt Industrial Injection’s sales.
Texas Speed and Performance bought two flood-damaged Camaros a few years ago and converted them both into drag racers. One of them ran a 4-second 1/8th mile pass on YouTube recently.
Treat your personal cars like SEMA builds and use them as year-round marketing tools.
Yiannimize, the London-based wrap shop, has 1.7 million subscribers and has been cranking out videos since 2014. These guys are booked four to five months out at any given time. They sustained this level of demand straight through COVID and grew their YouTube presence massively during the pandemic.
YouTube is also heavily saturated and should not be used in isolation. Promote your YouTube channel in every way you can think of, but put a bigger focus on creating content.
With your free time, practice getting a perfect take in front of the camera and editing standards perfect. Talk to your viewers about what you’ve done on your customers’ cars. Provide weekly updates, technical explanations, and hype videos. Start with content that is easy to edit so you can easily generate a lot of content quickly. As you grow, the hype videos and vlogs from events you attend can become valuable productions.
Shops have a huge untapped market for YouTube. Your content is different from traditional automotive YouTubers for whom their videos are their business. You can get more technical, explain the variety of your capabilities and offerings, showcase your badass-looking shop full of enviable cars, and boost your approachability.
How well do you feel like you know the YouTubers you regularly watch? I bet pretty well. You have the potential to become that sort of personality, highlight your customers and your team, and watch the inquiries roll in.
We’ve mentioned several examples of successful marketing generating huge amounts of sales. Not every marketing channel will make sense for every shop, but the only way to determine what will work for you is experimentation and persistence.
We frequently recommend our clients delegate or outsource their marketing. Hire someone internally or externally and over a short amount of time you will see a return on that investment.
Driven Performance Advisors can help create and execute marketing plans, find your ideal marketing partner, devise your marketing budget, and free up more money to invest in increasing sales.
Make more time for marketing.