You can spend money on endless campaigns to reach new customers (e.g. tv ads, SEO, direct mail, etc.), but nothing works quite as effectively as word-of-mouth. If you are trying to grow your auto repair shop, consider the following low-cost marketing ideas that will increase the number of referrals your business receives. Boost the loyalty of your existing customers, while also winning new customers.
Say “Thank You”
Probably the easiest, simplest idea of all: just say “thank you”. What customer would want to share their experience with a friend or family member if they do not feel like their business is appreciated. Would you? The best way to make sure you existing customers share your business with others is to make sure they feel welcome and comfortable. Make them feel like their experience with you is memorable. The more welcome they feel, the more inclined they will be to recommend you.
After a long day, the last thing on your mind is probably being social. After all, you have been socializing all day at the shop. However, it is just as important to share things with your social networks. You want to build (an entertaining) business presence online – a presence people want to follow. Go beyond helpful tips and industry related content and get creative with your ideas. Is your business pet friendly? Share photos of your customers pets hanging out at the shop. Is there an event your business plans to participate in? You can not only network one-on-one, but also share photos of the event to let your customers know what you are passionate about. People support businesses that support their community. All in all, you want each networking opportunity to establish you as an expert in what you do. That is key to boosting referrals.
Use Email Newsletters
An often-overlooked tool, email newsletters provide another way to stay in front of your customers. You can include industry news, helpful content and monthly discounts and specials. Curious to know what your customers think? You can even include a poll. Ideally, you want the email newsletter to be entertaining. You want to engage your customers without making them feel that every newsletter is simply another way to sell to them. Focus on a strong content marketing strategy for your newsletter that builds a relationship with your readers.
Ask for Referrals
Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. Let your existing customers know that you would greatly appreciate a referral. This shows them that you value their opinion of your business and its customers service. It lets them know that you want them to enjoy their experience with you, and that you appreciate any feedback they are willing to provide to improve upon that experience. For example, do they suggest better payment processing options? Consider working with a provider like First American Merchant to secure an automotive merchant account. You can take this a step further by giving them a gift card as a thank you for their feedback or referral. Just one more reason for the customer to keep referring business to you.
Business Funding expert, Nathan Hale, founded First American Merchant with his eyes set on helping the backbone of our country, small business owners. His passions include writing/producing music, and travel. First American Merchant is America’s Best automotive merchant account company, serving both traditional and high-risk Businesses.