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Inside the Consumer Mind With UpSwell

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There is nothing more that business owners wish they could do than get inside of the minds of consumers. This would allow shop owners a way to truly understand how customers make the decisions they do, and ultimately, how they decide to spend their money. 

As a way to dig deeper and provide this vital information to shop owners, UpSwell Marketing has performed two comprehensive auto consumer surveys over the past few months. By surveying up to over 1,000 vehicle owners across the United States, crucial demographics, buying habits, and overall thoughts on the industry have been uncovered. 

Ratchet+Wrench sat down with the UpSwell team to take a closer look at these relevant data points, and discover how owners can take advantage of the information to further grow their business.   


Obtain the power of word of mouth.

As one of the questions in the survey performed in November of 2020, UpSwell asked participants how they normally decide which auto repair shop to visit. Understanding how customers make this decision acts as a direct window into which marketing works, and ultimately, how owners should be allocating their marketing dollars.

An overwhelming 59 percent of survey participants stated that they typically rely on “word of mouth” when deciding which auto repair shop to visit. This did not come as too much of a surprise to the UpSwell team.

“The top way people hear about companies is through their friends or family members, and that's really where they try to get a lot of buying information,” Nelson Rodenmayer, SVP of sales and marketing at UpSwell explains. “Obviously we want to supplement that with marketing, but word of mouth is always going to be at the top of the list.” 

Although there is no way to control what customers are saying to those around them, the largest way to use this information is by focusing on reputation management, says Rodenmayer. Ensure that each individual is given top customer service every visit, and that happy customers leave positive reviews online, this will add to the overall reputation of the shop.   


Optimize the online space.

Trailing behind “word of mouth” are the 41 percent of respondents who answered that they turn to Google when choosing their repair shop. Most people search up answers to almost all of their questions on the internet, repair shop recommendations are no different. 

In order to take advantage of this sector of potential customers, owners should pay attention to how and where their shop is listed online. 

“Search engine optimization is so important, make sure that you know you're ranking as high as you possibly can,” Rodenmayer says. “You should also be investing in PPC, or paid search, so that you are one of those top three options that pop up when people search for a shop near them.”

Owners can dive into SEO and PPC on their own, but with Google constantly changing, it may be more helpful to work with a marketing professional. 


Target your customers through direct mail.  

Following “Google” on the survey is promotional/direct mail at 11 percent⁠—making it one of the most effective methods of attracting customers. Behind direct mail is radio/TV at 7 percent, billboards at 5 percent, and magazine/newspaper at 4 percent.

“These other factors are dependent on how specific you want to get with your targeting,” Rodenmayer explains. “One of the benefits with direct mail is that you can get more specific with a closer range; mediums like radio and TV are great and still developing, just not as targeted.”

Cost of investment is also a key factor in identifying which paid advertising avenue to go in, along with the initial marketing goal. Are you trying to generate new customers, or are you working towards brand awareness? And what type of customers are you working to target?

According to the consumer survey, Upswell discovered that 24–29 year olds actually rely on direct mail more than other age ranges, making it a prime method to attract younger customers.   

In order to track where the customers that enter your shop come from, and determine which type of marketing is working for your shop, don’t shy away from simply asking them, Rodenmayer encourages. Digital and direct mail campaigns can also be tracked through Google Analytics and other analytics platforms, including the UpSwell dashboard. 


To learn more about UpSwell, visit or call 888.838.3779.

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