Saeli: Does Your Marketing Reflect Your Shop's Culture?  

May 10, 2024
Understanding why a cohesive brand across all your marketing platforms can help give customers and potential employees a good look at your auto repair shop.

I talk to shop owners every day. Marketing, shop culture, and how to position your business are key to a successful business. I’ve talked about hiring, training, and customer service in my previous columns about shop culture. All of those topics are crucial. But don’t lose sight of marketing and your shop culture. How you position your shop to both returning and new customers is a fundamental piece of the puzzle of running your business. It should reflect who you are as an owner and the shop culture of your business. 

In today's fast-paced business environment, successful repair shops understand that effective marketing extends far beyond catchy slogans and eye-catching visuals. It's about spreading the word about your shop in a genuine and personal way. One crucial tool you should have dialed in is your marketing and how it represents your repair shop. Your shop culture—the unique personality and values that define your business—should be represented in every aspect of your marketing efforts. After all, your marketing is the voice of your brand, and it should represent who you are. 

To tee up this topic, here is a brief statement about what shop culture is. 

It's the soul of your business, encompassing your mission, values, and the way you operate each day. It's the atmosphere customers experience when they walk through your doors, the interactions they have with your staff, and the overall vibe of your shop. Including how your customer waiting area is designed … is it a comfortable space for someone to wait for their car? Including coffee, Wi-Fi, and a comfortable chair. 

Now, consider your marketing initiatives. Are they an accurate reflection of your shop culture? Do they effectively convey the essence of what sets your business apart? If not, you may be missing out on a valuable opportunity to connect with your customers. 

One of the most powerful ways to ensure that your marketing reflects your shop culture is making sure your website, your social media platforms, and all of your marketing avenues, include you. Why did you open up the shop? What is the best part of running a successful shop? If your family is involved in the business, make sure to include mentions of who they are, why they wanted to get involved, and the overall importance of being a family-run business. By including stories or mentions of yourself, you’ll bring a sense of personal involvement and care to anyone who sees your marketing outreach. 

As a shop owner, I bet you’re involved in your community. Rotary clubs, charities, local high school baseball teams, or car washes—all of your community outreach plans should include a mention of why it’s important to you and your team. An example is when you purchase t-shirts for a local car wash, make sure any messaging includes not just a shop logo, but also how many years you’ve been involved with this charity or how your team is involved with the car wash. The same goes for your social media posts. A community car wash and your involvement are perfect events to promote on your Facebook page or Instagram feed. Let customers know that you care about your neighbors. 

As with all marketing, consistency is key. You can’t expect to post something just once. Make sure your Facebook page has consistent—and interesting or helpful—posts. For example, you could post things that give helpful tips to your customers. You could remind people when to regularly have their brakes checked or the best time of year to have their A.C. serviced. By giving helpful advice to your followers, you are in turn representing your shop culture. And be sure you post these messages periodically, so they don’t show up back-to-back on your feed. 

Another crucial aspect of syncing your marketing efforts with shop culture is team involvement. Your employees are ambassadors of your brand. Their enthusiasm about working at your repair shop can be contagious. Encourage them to contribute ideas for marketing campaigns, involve them in the process, and empower them to embody the values of your shop culture in their interactions with customers. A few examples of including your crew in marketing are highlighting your ‘Employee of the Month’ on social accounts. When a crew member has a work anniversary, publicly congratulate them on Facebook. If you bring in free lunches once a month, make sure to post a few photos of that fun event. When your employees are fully engaged and invested in the success of your business, it shines through in every aspect of the customer experience, including your marketing efforts. And by promoting your team to customers you are telling customers that you care about your team—just like you care about your customers. 

Be genuine. Using just your phone, shoot a video of yourself at the shop talking about how important your customers are to you. Talk about the love you have for your community. If delivered authentically and sincerely, this type of message will cut through all of the noise of social media and reinforce your shop culture. If it’s more comfortable to include a few team members do that. And don’t feel this needs to be super polished. Just a personal message to customers will go a long way to reinforce trust. 

Start a conversation. Listen to what your customers are saying online and in the shop. Engage with them on social media. By actively involving your customers in the conversation, you are strengthening their connection to you and your business, plus you may gain valuable information and insight that you can use in proving your shop. 

Your shop culture is the heart and soul of your business, and it should be at the forefront of your marketing strategy. Think about how it can be reflected in each marketing action you take. Think about the best way to communicate—in a genuine and personal way—for both returning and new customers. You have a great shop and a great team so let people know about your auto repair shop story through your marketing! 

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