Do you rely on customer referrals and personal recommendations to bring in new customers? If so, you’re not alone; 75% of workshops rely on word-of-mouth marketing.
That is, they rely on happy customers telling their friends, family and colleagues about the great service they received, and then those individuals making a booking with that same workshop next time they need a service.
When you put it like that, it sounds ridiculous. But it does actually work. Studies have shown that 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and that 64% of marketers believe it’s actually the most effective form of marketing there is.
But — and here’s the trick — it’s not the only form of marketing there is. And while your competitors are relying on word of mouth, you can get a competitive edge by adding some of these five ideas to the marketing you do.
1. Google Reviews
Google Reviews are like word-of-mouth marketing on steroids. They’re real reviews, by real customers, available to anyone on the internet.
If a potential customer in your neighbourhood searches for “panel and paint workshops near me,” for example, not only will your business turn up, but potential customers will have all those virtual “word-of-mouth” recommendations and five-star reviews to read. The better your reviews, the greater the chances that searcher will head in your direction.
But that’s not all. The better your reviews, the better the experience that Google thinks you’re offering your customers, and they use that information to help determine how high up you appear in search results.
Positive Google Reviews are some serious business gold. So, it was surprising to learn in Capricorn’s State of the Nation Report 2020 that only 30% of Members are using them.
Google your business now and check out your Google Rating. Could it be better? Ask every customer to leave a Google Review!
2. Google My Business
Another Google service you’d be crazy not to use is Google My Business.
If you have a Google My Business profile, then your workshop turns up in those Google search results you get sometimes which include a map with dropped pins and a list of top local business names and their contact details.
It doesn’t take long to set up, it’s free, and it can drive customers in your direction. If you’re not using it yet, create your profile here.
3. Use Facebook Groups
You probably have a Facebook profile page for your business. Advertising on Facebook can be a great and targeted way to reach potential customers. But what about free ways to reach people on Facebook?
A lot of companies don’t post very often these days, as the potential for “unboosted” or unpaid posts by businesses to reach lots of customers is much smaller than it used to be.
But what can be effective is to join Facebook groups for your local community and keep an eye on them. There are always people posting requests like “does anyone know a good… (insert trade here).” It’s a great opportunity to leap in and say “we can do that for you!”
You could also join local automotive hobbyist groups and give answers to the questions the members ask.
But be warned: these groups often have rules about posting anything they consider “commercial” or “advertising” (often it’s a zero-tolerance rule, so be careful!). But by being active and posting when you have something relevant to contribute, you can keep your workshop top of mind for everyone in the group.
Not many workshops have harnessed the power of blogging, yet there’s a real opportunity to beat local competitors with it.
How so? It’s all down to Google, again.
Google rewards websites that regularly create relevant, high-quality content by giving them higher search engine rankings.
There’s a lot to this. You’re entering the worlds of “content marketing” and “search engine optimisation.” But it is incredibly effective. There are plenty of examples of websites generating more than 200 per cent more traffic in the first few months of blogging.
The trick is not just to convince Google and to attract the traffic, but to then convert the customer. What you want from them is an email address.
5. Email marketing
Once a customer has given you their email address and has consented to receiving emails from you, then they’re in your database and you can contact them with offers and reminders, etc. That’s a really powerful tool.
Collect email addresses and consent from every customer. Use pop-up windows to encourage visitors to your website to subscribe to your emails.
Your emails can offer tips and advice, reminders about servicing, deals and offers, your blog articles and much more. Use a catchy subject line to encourage customers to open the emails. Send them regularly, but don’t spam people. Perhaps once a month is enough.
Regular emails help keep your workshop name top of mind with customers and encourage loyalty. According to one study, not only is email marketing up to 40 times more effective than social media, the buying process happens three times faster than on social media, too.
Email marketing, deployed properly, is a fantastic weapon to give any workshop the edge on their competitors. Just remember that no one wants to be inundated with marketing emails!
If you need a little help with your marketing, take a look at Capricorn AutoBoost. It has advertising and letterhead templates, feedback forms, post-service letter examples, and much more.