Take a look at your business. What is it that determines whether you stay afloat or go under? Is it the same thing that motivates you to do better every day? To phrase it simply, what is it that drives your entire operation? The answer is simple and quite obvious: customers.
Every auto repair and auto body shop owner out there will tell you the same thing: getting customers is not easy. Obviously, that isn’t something you want to hear when starting your own auto repair business.
Unfortunately for many of these auto repair and body shop owners, the importance of digital marketing strategies, especially in a world where the internet exists, is either lost on them or entirely unacknowledged. Fortunately for you, however, you are about to learn the three essential auto repair shop marketing strategies and how they can help you gain more customers no matter how big or small your business is.
1. Reputation Management
What is it?
When a customer searches for your business online, the results will include every bit of information that Google considers relevant to the search(SEO). This includes websites with positive and negative reviews about your company, forum posts, articles, and blog posts.
Reputation management, or online reputation management(ORM), is what businesses do to control what their customers see first when they search for their company online. The most efficient way to achieve this is by boosting the positive search results so that they are ranked higher than the negative results, giving the company lots of good publicity.
In as much as reputation management revolves around publicizing good news about your company, it is also about learning how to respond to criticism swiftly and appropriately.
How it will help your business
So how will reputation management help you gain more customers?
a) By giving your business an online presence – some of the key components to online management such as keeping your websites updated (or creating one for those who haven’t), posting articles and media, and publishing to your social media pages can make your business an authoritative presence online. This means new customers will find it easier to trust you.
b) By making your business easier to find – very few people go past the first page of the search results. If your company has established a good online presence, Google will rank it higher on the first page and make it a lot easier to find.
Reputation management allows you to present the most relevant or accurate information about your business first, giving you the chance to put your best foot forward and become more visible on the internet. Neat, isn’t it?
2. SMS Marketing
What is it?
Short Message Service (SMS) marketing is a permission-based marketing technique that businesses use to distribute promotional messages to their customers. This strategy requires your customers to opt into an automated texting service, usually by sending a text to a predetermined shortcode. Customers who opt in receive a confirmation message alongside instructions on how to opt out of the service.
The scale of your operations will determine whether you will need SMS marketing software for this strategy. However, it is a lot less labor-intensive to automate the process.
How it will help your business
SMS marketing plays a massive role in many business’ marketing campaigns for one particular reason: it is a fantastic close range marketing tactic. When it comes to increasing customer loyalty and growing your database, it is a very potent marketing technique.
Because many of these consumers feel that text messages:
· Are more likely to grab their attention sooner (98% of SMS messages are opened and read within the first 3 minutes);
· Are easier to read and respond to;
· Make it easier to communicate with businesses like yours, and most importantly;
· Do not make them feel like their identity and personal data is at risk of being exposed.
A general rule of thumb to be observed when implementing this tactic is that the platform should primarily be used to serve your customers and not to promote your business.
What does this mean?
Simply put, you should use the SMS communication channel to relay information such as appointments, service reminders, and important events. Promoting your business using SMS marketing, while still allowed, should be done with tact. The last thing you want is your customers to feel pestered or annoyed by incessant text messages about discounted auto servicing rates. A general rule of thumb is to keep the total number of messages to less than 5 per month.
Keep it short and straightforward, and most importantly, keep it relevant.
3. Promotional Marketing
What is it?
This kind of marketing involves the use of promotional tools such as contests, raffles, and sweepstakes to create awareness about a brand/company and to attract customers. This tactic is usually deployed with one primary goal in mind: to create a buzz.
How it will help your business
Promotional marketing can help your business in the following ways:
a) Creating awareness about your company – everybody loves to win, which is why promotions get a lot of attention from consumers. You don’t have to bend over backward to get your customers interested either; a prize as simple as free service or repairs for a specified period is enough to get everyone in a competitive mood. The more competition there is, the bigger the buzz generated.
b) Providing a platform to conduct market research – Contests and promotions are also crucial for market research. You can use them as a platform to carry out short but useful surveys on your existing customer base. For example, a series of brief questions on the participants’ registration forms can give you crucial insight into your clients’ driving habits, their preferred type of engine oil, and various other pertinent things that you can use to better your services or to promote your products.
If organizing promotional events sounds too hectic for you, worry not. Online contest management software such as the one offered here (http://www.jvimobile.com) not only lessens the load for you, it also encourages your customers to share the contest on social media by rewarding them with more entries for every person that enters the contest through their recommendation.
Remember, you don’t have to go over your budget when organizing contests, sweepstakes, and other promotional tools. A single prize is usually enough to attract several participants. However, if you can afford it, there is no harm in offering multiple prizes, especially when you’re promoting a new product.
Thus far, here is what we have learned:
· Reputation management is all about making your business more authoritative and easier to find online;
· If you can help it, don’t bother with email marketing or push-notifications; SMS marketing is the way to go, and last but not least;
· Promotional marketing is a double-edged sword that can be very useful when used correctly.
Now that you’re armed with three vital digital marketing strategies, you’re probably wondering how to implement all of them at once. To be honest, it can be quite a task to juggle the three strategies on your own, especially if you run a small business.
Can it be done?
Fortunately, the answer to that question is a resounding YES! Thanks to the innovative and easy to use software that you can find here, you can take care of your company’s reputation management, SMS marketing, and promotional marketing needs in an easy and highly efficient manner.
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Raise your hand if you’re cautious about spending money on marketing? Same here.
That’s why it blows my mind when one of my clients drops up to 10K on an animation and does nothing with it. I’m not kidding.
I’ve followed up with clients months after we finish an animation and ask where they’ve been using it. Their response?
“Well, we have it on the website somewhere.”
Then I play my favorite game of “Where in the world is the video we created for my client?”
I love my clients. All of them. But they are leaving money on the table because explaining a confusing product or service takes time. And what does time equate to?
That’s why I created a checklist of best practices for marketing your video(s) to get the most mileage. Below are a few ideas from my checklist which you can download here for free.
FRONT PAGE OF YOUR WEBSITE
You might be thinking, “No s%#t Mike”, but this is the #1 place the majority of my clients do NOT use it. Completely kills me. One of our clients had it on the front page of their site but it was hidden by an image that looked like a film strip with a 12pt type that said: “Watch our video”.
I took a screenshot of their website, sent this image and told them to have their web designer use it as a template to get the video front and center.
Below was his reply after they followed my advice.
You were right!
The new placement of the video has yielded 110 views in the past month, compared to 127 views in the 4 months prior to the move.
Thanks for your help on that!
Take a look at your analytics and see how many people are visiting your website daily. Even if it’s just 3, what does it mean to you if just one of them becomes a client? Is there a residual value to that?
Also, don’t forget that your website works during the weekend even when you’re not.
ADD IT TO YOUR EMAIL SIGNATURE
This is something you can do right now. Just think of how many emails you send out a month. According to my email account, I’ve sent 711 in the last 30 days. That’s A LOT of eyes and potential clients.
Here’s what you can do:
Grab the youtube link or the landing page where your video resides
Open your email settings and write something witty in your email signature with a link to the video. Here’s a sample:
Make sure you don’t put the link as the text because people will click less on that
Drink a beer.
Add a weekly or monthly reminder to check your Bitly clicks so you can see if you need to change the signature to get more clicks. If you have employees, suggest they do the same thing in their signature.
UPLOAD IT TO YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE
Think what you want about Linkedin, but people use it. Know what they use it for? To check your credibility and learn more about your skilllzzzz.
Once you show up on someone’s profile page there’s an option to “See More”. You can add video to this section. What a great place to put your video so people know what your company does?!
Have employees? Suggest they add it to their profiles as well.
PIN IT TO THE TOP OF YOUR FACEBOOK BUSINESS PAGE
If you have a Facebook Business page then people are using this as a way to find out a little about your business. Visitors will briefly skim your page and then bounce. They’ll check out reviews and some posts to see how people are engaging with you. This is why pinning your video to the top of your page is useful. Especially if you want them to quickly know about something you are currently promoting.
Check out Eleven Lights Media’s Facebook page. The very first post is a pinned video because Sarah Moore wants everyone to know about her CREATE campaign.
First, upload your video as a post. Once it’s up, click the drop-down arrow in the top right corner and choose “Pin to top of page”.
MAKE CLIPS OF YOUR VIDEO INTO GIFS
Giphy.com is amazing. You can upload your youtube link, add text, and create 10-second clips that are looping gifs.
Create 3-5 clips and spread them out through the week with a CTA telling people to click on a link to watch the full video.
Want more ideas? Just click here to download the checklist I mentioned at the beginning of the post.
And if you are looking to explain what your business does in less than a minute, check out my company www.drive80.com.
* Mike Doyle is the owner of Drive 80 Studios, a Raleigh NC Based animation studio. We think he rocks and we love all of his videos.
Have you given much thought to building a local brand for your small business? If you’re like a lot of business owners, you haven’t. You spend your days wearing many different hats, handling everything from accounting to ordering to marketing. If you don’t have a dedicated marketing person, then brand building might be a low priority – but it shouldn’t be.
The truth is that even if you don’t have a website, online store, or social media presence, you have an online local brand. Recent research shows that 80% of consumers research brands and products online before making a purchase. With that in mind, here are some tips to help you build a solid online brand for your business starting today.
Tip #1: Make sure your listings are consistent
The first thing you need to do, even if you don’t have a website, is to check out your listings online and make sure they are consistent. Your name, address and phone number – also known as your NAP listing – plays a big role in how easy it is to find you online. Even if you have a professional website, inconsistent NAP listings can affect your rank on Google and other search engines. To give you an idea of how nitpicky these things are, keep in mind that even something as simple as having “Ave” on one listing and “Avenue” on another can be a problem. Pick the format you want and then stick with it.
To ensure that you catch everything, do a Google search and then check specific listings that you think might be relevant. For example, even if you have never claimed your listing on Yelp, you might have one there. The same goes for Google My Business and local business directories. It might be time-consuming, but make the effort to go through and claim everything.
If you search a promising directory and find that your business isn’t listed there, find out how to get it listed. Citations, even if they’re just a listing of your NAP, can help to build your online profile and attract people to your business. Keep in mind that it may take a few days or even weeks for your new or updated listings to appear.
Tip #2: Optimize for mobile users
2015 marked a turning point in “online search”. It was the first year that mobile searches outpaced searches done on desktop computers, a trend that is expected to continue going forward. Combine that statistic with Google’s recent “Mobilegeddon” update – and the promise of more such updates to come – and there is no denying that you have to make your business easy to find for mobile customers if you want to succeed.
If you have a website, then the best option is a mobile-responsive design – one that automatically detects the type of device being used to view the site and adapts accordingly. Such designs ensure that mobile users won’t have to scroll horizontally to read your content or have to deal with trying to hit a teeny call to action button on their screen.
It’s not enough just to make your site accessible on mobile devices. You also need to do user testing to ensure that your pages load quickly and respond well to user activities. Mobile users are notoriously impatient, and a page that takes more than a few seconds to load will likely see a high bounce rate. If you have a WordPress site, making it mobile-responsible should be easy. All you need to do is choose a mobile-responsive theme for your site. However, if you want a more detailed overview of what is required to get your site mobile-ready, click here.
Tip #3: Network your local brand with other local businesses
The #LoveLocal movement is gaining traction online as a way of encouraging people to buy from local and small businesses. One way to build your local brand and reputation is to take the time to network with other small business owners. They know better than anybody else how difficult it can be to keep a small business afloat, and they are often very eager to refer customers to other local businesses to keep the community thriving.
Consider visiting Townsquared and seeking out other entrepreneurs and business owners in your area. You can establish yourself as an authority, learn about other local companies, and even build partnerships and referral sources.
Tip #4: Use social media effectively
There’s no denying that social media use is high – and getting higher every day. If you aren’t already using social media to build your local brand, then it’s time to get serious about it.
A well-thought-out social media strategy can help you connect with existing customers and attract new ones. People love to connect with their favorite brands, but it’s important to remember the “social” in social media. Nobody is going to follow you on Facebook or Pinterest in the hopes of being hit with a barrage of aggressive sales pitches. Your social media content should follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of what you post should be interesting and relevant content that provides value to your followers, and only 20% should address your specific products and services.
Certain industries and businesses are better adapted to some social media sites than others. For example, if you sell an aspirational product that lends itself well to being photographed, especially if your product appeals to women, then Pinterest is a great choice. Facebook is still the most widely-used social media site, and the most versatile. Instagram and Snapchat are highly visual and tend to lend themselves to marketing to young people.
Whatever sites you decide to use, make sure to post regularly and always keep your brand in mind. The voice you use on social media should reflect how you want people to perceive you.
Tip #5: Stretch your ad dollars by focusing on paid social media advertising
Finally, if you’re on a tight budget and don’t have much money for advertising, consider using your dollars wisely by advertising on social media. Ranking for top keywords on Google can be difficult, and the competition (and the cost) is high. Social media advertising is very affordable and versatile. You can target your ad so that it reaches one of two groups: your followers and their friends; or a chosen group targeted by demographics and interests. Research shows that users are most likely to make a purchase when they have repeated exposure to a company or brand. Every time a user sees your ad, it increases the likelihood that they will eventually buy from you.
Advertising on some social media sites is still rolling out and not available to everyone, but Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter all have well-established programs. You can run a Facebook ad for as little as a dollar a day, and they provide free analytics so you can see how your ad is performing.
The bottom line is that you have an online brand. Whether you are managing it properly is another question. By using the tips provided above, you can claim your online brand and build it into something that accurately represents your business – and you.
At JVI Mobile, we are passionate about creating and growing awesome social relationships. Tell us how we can help! We’ve got a crack team literally at your fingertips!
If you haven’t already, check out our Digital Marketing Assistant. It’s a brand new Facebook Group we are offering where you can get expert help and ready access to the JVI team will all your digital marketing concerns and questions!
When the Downtown South Boston organization asked if we could work on their existing web site to keep it updated, we didn’t even hesitate to say yes. Since we were new to the area, having such a vital organization for the area on board meant we could help grow the area in a really professional manner.
September is a big month for the small town of South Boston, VA. Downtown is the host of the annual South Boston Harvest Festival, a gathering of vendors, artists, musicians, dancers and local businesses sharing their talents and offerings with the community.
We have been hard at work updating the schedule and performers pages the last few weeks and the folks we work with there have been spectacular to work with!