Are you struggling to fill your service bays with new customers or retain existing customers? Or maybe you’re looking for big growth this year? Then it’s probably time to take a look at your fixed ops marketing strategy.
The past 12 months haven’t been easy on many industries. Dealership service departments have had to adjust to meet evolving customer demands that have shaped the “new normal” for fixed ops.
The struggle to stand out with impactful marketing is real. But last year’s DriveSure Dealership Retention Report did reveal some of the most effective fixed ops marketing tactics, according to your customers. For example, we learned that text messaging was quickly rising in popularity, regardless of age or generation.
In this article, we want to go a little deeper. Granted, not all service departments will have the capacity to take on all of these marketing tactics. The key is to develop a roadmap and start small. Begin with things you can execute and implement immediately, and they’ll produce results faster than you might think.
Here’s a list of 5 marketing ideas to help you get new customers into your service center — and make sure you hang onto your current ones.
1. Improve your SEO
SEO stands for search engine optimization. In a nutshell, it means your dealership service center comes up when customers search by name, proximity, vehicle issue, or question.
- By Name: “Aspen Auto Clinic”
- By Proximity: Auto Shops Near Me
- By Issue: Brake Repair Colorado Springs, CO
- By Question: How often should I replace my brakes?
No matter how impressive your website is, it’s all for naught if customers can’t find you.
To help potential customers find you online instead or your competitors, SEO should always be top of mind with your fixed ops marketing.
The more localized you get, the better.
For example, if you’re a dealer service center in Cleveland, your marketing campaigns, landing pages, and videos should go beyond “best auto service centers.” Instead, target keywords and phrases like “best auto service centers in Cleveland” or “brake repair shops in Cleveland.”
Some tools for checking and improving your local SEO results include:
2. Educate customers with video marketing
There is perhaps no better way to personalize your service department than with video marketing. Create a YouTube channel, produce a video or two to feature on the “home” or “about” pages of your website, and use short videos in your email marketing.
Customer testimonials, videos with your staff and service manager, service center tours, and expert Q&As are all great ways to warm up to customers and make you look more approachable.
Many consumers don’t know the difference between conventional, synthetic, and high-mileage oil changes. Educate them with video marketing to set yourself apart. You might even consider including a personalized manager’s offer or promo code to incentivize the first visit.
For other potential video topics, consider things like:
- Signs of alternator failure
- What does it mean when the steering wheel shakes?
- Questions to ask before my first service department visit
- What will void a new car warranty?
If you can produce regular video that attracts, engages, and delights your customers, it will go a long way in improving your SEO, establishing yourself as a credible automotive expert, and building confidence and trust among your audience.
3. Get active on social media
Simply take a scroll through Facebook on a Saturday afternoon. You’ll probably see people posting stories of vehicle issues and asking for recommendations.
Across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, social media can do more than just raise brand awareness for your fixed ops. It can show how you’re genuinely helping your customers. You may not become an overnight influencer, but here are a few best practices to optimize your engagement:
- Retweeting and favoriting things your followers’ post
- Commenting on followers’ posts
- Being responsive to comments on your posts
- Responding to mentions
- Connecting with other professionals in your field or local area
- Uploading shareable videos, photos, and content
- Following/adding customers on social media
Beyond just boosting your organic social media presence with the tips above, many dealerships choose to run paid social campaigns as well. With targeted ads (on Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram) promoting your fixed ops and relevant specials, you can reach audiences that traditional media often overlooks.
4. Encourage customer reviews
Online reviews are great for helping potential customers decide on where to go for service. But they’re also essential for helping customers find you in the first place. When people in your community write about you online, it affects your SEO and increases your visibility (see #1).
Like it or not, customers today are probably reading about you online before they pick up the phone or go online to make an appointment. So the more positive reviews you can bank, the better it is for your brand image. Here are some tips to help your service department get more positive reviews.
5. Launch a value-added incentive program
Incentive programs can be a marketing machine for dealer service departments. By partnering with the right provider, you can offer your current and future customers a unique suite of benefits with each oil change that both helps with retention and encourages future business.
Mazda of Orland Park is a great example of what incentives can do to supercharge fixed ops marketing. With an enticing program in place, they were able to increase their market share and improve customer retention resulting in 6X ROI.
Is Your Marketing Cutting Through the Clutter?
It can be difficult for fixed ops directors to ensure their service departments stand out in a crowded industry. But with the right strategy, you can make sure you’re front and center when customers are considering vehicle maintenance and repair.
Aside from unrivaled benefits that make you the go-to provider for maintenance, tires, and unplanned repairs, DriveSure’s experience with all things fixed ops marketing (including more tried and true tactics like SMS, email, and direct mail) can help you outshine the competition.
To find out how, contact us today for a free 30-minute consultation.
The 2020 Dealership Service Retention Report
INSIGHTS FROM NEARLY 2,000 DEALERSHIP CUSTOMERS
Learn why customers choose to return to their dealership for service and why they don’t. Plus, we reveal your biggest opportunities for encouraging customer loyalty.