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When it comes to marketing your shop, the conventional wisdom these days is to concentrate your efforts on digital channels. Pay-per-click, SEO and social media have become the buzzwords that marketing experts say shop owners need to embrace to maintain visibility in an increasingly competitive landscape.

While there’s no doubt that creating a strong online presence has become more important in recent years, it’s also key to continue utilizing more traditional marketing vehicles. If you’re relying strictly on digital marketing to promote your shop, you could be limiting the reach of your campaigns.

In some rural areas, for example, sponsoring the local Little League team might garner more attention for your business than trying to engage potential customers through social media or an email blast. When it comes to following up with existing customers, direct mail may serve as a more effective tool than text message reminders, which can easily be deleted or may come across as intrusive.

Simply put, your customers are going to find you through a variety of vehicles and employing a multi-channel approach to your marketing will allow you to maximize your exposure.

Here’s a closer look at the benefits of utilizing a mix of both digital and more conventional marketing strategies to promote your shop.

  • Better targeting capabilities. Most digital marketing campaigns are designed to target customers based on the products or services they’ve purchased or searched for in the past. If a customer has previously responded favorably to a $30 oil change offer, it’s easy to send that individual repeat offers at regular intervals. Likewise, a customer that searches for auto repair services may find a number of ads for auto repair centers pop up in his or her Facebook newsfeed. While there’s value in targeting based on past behavior, being able to direct your promotions to customers based on demographics or geography is also worthwhile. When it comes to targeting by neighborhood or income level, few marketing methods deliver the results of direct mail. With direct mail, you can drill down to the highest-income customers located closest to your shop – an ideal base of consumers to choose from. Using direct mail in concert with digital efforts allows shop owners to interact with the customers they’re most interested in on a variety of platforms.

  • Higher response rates. There was a time when AOL’s “You’ve Got Mail” phrase was music to Internet users’ ears. But the novelty of receiving email wore off long ago and now many consumers view the offers that land in their inbox as spam. According to Direct Mail News, the average response rate for email is just 0.12%. In comparison, direct mail has a response rate of 4.4%. Direct mail also outpaces the response rates for internet display ads, which have a click-through rate of 0.17%, according to Smart Insights. Even static newspaper ads may trigger a stronger call to action among some of your key customers. Baby Boomers, for example, spend 2.87 hours per week reading newspapers, according to Market Wired. Thrive Analytics estimates that those Boomers spend an average of $533 for repair service, nearly $200 higher than their Millennial counterparts, who prefer digital forms of communication. The figures clearly show that integrating traditional forms of advertising into your campaigns will increase your chances of successfully engaging your customers.

  • Stronger ROI. Let’s face it, nobody wants to waste money on something that’s not working. Even relatively cheap vehicles, such as email marketing programs, can start to add up if they don’t produce results. So why allocate budget solely to marketing efforts that will be ignored or will reach only a small portion of the audience you want to target? Direct mail, for example, averages $10 in sales for every $1 invested. But those numbers are likely higher for shops that have well-optimized, user-friendly websites and utilize email reminders to prompt return visitors. The key is figuring out how to blend old and new methods to achieve the highest possible conversion rates and biggest bang for your buck.

It’s clear that the way we market to our customers is evolving. Tapping new technology, while continuing to employ tried and true marketing strategies will help you attract customers and make the most of your marketing dollars. Visit the Mudlick Mail Automotive Learning Center for FREE shop owner training resources, how-to videos and customer acquisition methods.


Tim Ross is the President of Mudlick Mail. He has 15+ years of automotive service sales and marketing experience. Tim holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Dayton. He has spent the last eight years building Mudlick Mail into one of the fastest growing small businesses in the USA! Mudlick Mail specializes in automotive service marketing and has partnered with thousands of shops in North America to develop sustainable sales growth. Tim hosts a series of learning webinars for shop owners, covering a range of topics on front counter responsibilities, operations and marketing. Visit Automotive.MudlickMail.com for FREE shop owner resources and tools.

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