It’s exciting when new customers to come into your auto body/mechanic shop. These new customers (aka new auto body leads) landed on your doorstep through maybe a word of mouth referral or maybe even say you online. But before you can start funneling good quality leads to come to your business, it is essential to set strategies that will allow you to connect with them and incentive each lead to “knock on your doors” to access your services.
For it, it’s vital to set a full plan that includes the most efficient and affordable lead generation strategies for your company that drive customers to your shop.
Once you set it, it would help track your lead generation strategies to get customers into your shop and keep them returning. It should be easy for you to see the results of your campaigns so you can determine what is worth your time and what is not and, in this way, save your time and money for the efforts.
Traditional advertising can expose your company to new customers through print ads and radio spots. However, it is harder to track their effectiveness. Thanks to how tracking systems and software work today, you can see what online marketing is doing. Thus, you can have answers to all these questions:
- Where are visitors coming from?
- What are visitors clicking on?
- What content do your target customers love the most?
Our objective here is to share some digital lead generation strategies that your auto shop can use to grow its business. There are also some physical marketing ideas that you might want to consider.
Don’t Stick to a Few
Before we get started with the specific strategies we recommend—and know that work—we want you to remember this: you’ll need more than one, two, or even three.
You can increase your business’ visibility and attract new clients by using a few targeted and intentional marketing strategies.
International tactics would feel impossible if it is hard to find some local options. However, you don’t have to overthink how all this works.
To begin with, this list contains a few effective marketing strategies that work for any auto body company, and all of them have proven to give results regardless of your location when done right.
But although they work and you want to work with them, remember to expand your options.
Because of the international alternatives, local marketing can often be neglected when you own an auto shop. This is understandable. However, it does a disservice to your auto shop and self if you do not invest the time required to bring in potential customers or incentivize existing customers to return to your garage.
Your auto shop has highly-skilled mechanics, modern equipment, and a brand new building with a customer lounge. All you need now is customers.
Marketing ideas that improve lead quality for auto repair shops are the best. While you can spend money on television ads, SEO, PPC campaigns, and direct mail, it is not worth spending a lot on marketing channels that won’t help grow your word-of-mouth business or that are not properly combined to determine which ones are the best options, so you get the best results.
Specialty shops and auto body shops should invest in low-cost marketing strategies that target past and current customers.
Your website is your digital shopfront, so you MUST have one if you want to utilize any digital strategy to generate leads. It should present a positive view of your auto shop and encourage people to visit it.
Responsive design is vital as more internet use occurs on smartphones than on other devices. Search engines like Google give priority to mobile-friendly sites in search results.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol Security is a secure internet communication protocol that benefits users and search results. Your website should contain information that clearly and accurately explains your services and provides contact information.
A domain name should reflect your business. You can make it seamless for people to contact you by placing live chat boxes on your website or completing the Contact tab prominently visible on every page.
Search Engine Optimization for Every Online Property
Local businesses need to use SEO best practices to be found by search engines. This includes implementing all practices in your website and other properties you build on the Internet.
HubSpot, a digital marketing company, reported that 72% of people who searched for “Auto Shop” in a local area visited a shop within five miles. Google says that 28% of local searches result in purchasing or hiring the service.
You can find keywords relating to your business by doing keyword research and then using those naturally in your website content. Add them to any other websites your business is a part of, such as your bios on social media and review sites.
Create pages on your website that are related to keywords. For example, create pages for each service offered at your shop.
Search results can also be affected by the mobile-friendliness and security of your website. To optimize your website and improve the content, you might consider hiring a professional sales team and an SEO expert if you’re having a hard time even after investing your time to learn.
Social Media Works for You
While it is acceptable not to like Instagram, your business should still have a profile there and on pretty much every social media if you want to connect with the most people—your target audience, mainly. Pew Research Center has released data on social media usage in 2022:
- YouTube is used by 73% of American adults.
- Facebook is used by 68% of American adults
- 35% of American adults use Instagram.
- 25% of American adults use LinkedIn.
- 24% of American adults use Twitter.
Although there are many other social media platforms you can add to your business, these are the best ones to get started. Here are pointers on how to use them to promote your shop:
- YouTube: Upload videos of your technicians and create video content that explains car maintenance. You can still interact with customers and other channels on YouTube by creating content about autos and leaving comments for your shop.
- Facebook: Share updates about your business, such as specials and service promotions.
- Instagram: Use this photo-sharing website to upload before-and-after photos of work or show off your employees to promote your shop’s culture.
- LinkedIn: Share business updates on a company’s page and create your page to network with other local business owners.
- Twitter: Twitter is an excellent site for building relationships with journalists, online influencers, and potential leads. You can search for popular hashtags and share content on your business page using those hashtags.
Each social network your company is active on should be treated as a branded website. You should ensure that your bio is accurate and reflects your company. Also, update your contact info regularly if clients use them for customer service.
There are two critical people in every organization: their employees and their customers. Customers and employees will trust each other if the organization is transparent.
Customers will be able to see the shop’s work and show appreciation for employees via social media. They will feel more secure when they return to the shop next year because of their connection.
Email Marketing for Every Business
Ask customers if they would like to join your email list to keep up-to-date with new offers and deals. Before adding someone’s email address to your list, ask for permission which is why our previous mention. In this way, you won’t be risked to be branded as spam, and your clients will return naturally with those emails, and you get to nurture new ones.
There are many free email marketing tools that you can use depending on how often you email and how many people. Mailchimp is one example.
You can subscribe to up to two thousand people and send twelve thousand emails per month. You can use email marketing to:
- Send a welcome email to new customers.
- Spread the word about these new services.
- Blogs for sharing or other forms of content marketing.
Make sure that any email marketing software you use has instant unsubscribing capabilities. To determine which techniques work best, you can use A/B testing to modify some aspects of emails and generate leads.
One of the most practical marketing strategies for auto repair shops is establishing a local presence on review sites.
A Research Center discovered that half of all adults aged fifty or younger visit online reviews before making a purchase decision. Check that your company has profiles on these sites and if not, start working on it.
Google Local Search is related to your Google Business Listing. Yelp is a review site that attracts an average of more than seventy-five million mobile users per month and sixty-five million desktop users per month. Yellowpages.com is an online version of the traditional business directory book.
You can increase your marketing power through local review sites:
- Add the links of your site to other sites.
- You are a great reviewer if you mention satisfied customers in person.
- Promote review site links in business cards.
You should also ensure that you interact with people who leave negative reviews. It would help if you used every piece of feedback to help you build stronger relationships with customers.
Content Marketing for Engagement
Content marketing is where your company creates helpful content that your customers will love. This builds trust and authority among leads and prospects.
Customers will be more likely to remember your business when they are ready to buy. Marketing strategies that include content marketing include:
According to research, content marketing generates three times as many leads as outbound marketing (like radio or TV ads), and it is even cheaper in comparison.
In addition, the SEO lead generation strategy is strengthened by content marketing. Every piece that you create for your website increases its search potential. More people visit your site and interact with it.
It would be best to shift from being an auto repair shop owner or adding a new element around content marketing to succeed in this cost-effective strategy.
You can organize your content calendar using a spreadsheet and then commit to publishing content regularly.
A minimum of a blog per week is a good start, but it is better to publish quality content more often. HubSpot says that companies publishing sixteen blog posts per month receive five times more traffic than companies publishing four posts per month.
Referral Program to Bring Qualified Leads
Trust is built when your customers are happy. According to Nielsen research, 83% of people trust recommendations from their friends and families. This is the most solid form of advertising. Branded websites are second at 70%
Another customer can refer a new customer to receive a discount. Promoting your referral program is a good idea when checking them out.
It can also be broadcasted on your website, social networks, and in your email marketing. Referrals give high-quality leads because they are ready to buy and are trusting in you pretty much since they knock on your door, call, or get in touch in any possible way.
Like referral programs, reward one can be a great way to increase your company’s loyalty and generate sales qualified leads.
Research by Accenture, a global management consulting firm, has revealed some interesting results:
- 77% of people participate in retail programs, and your potential leads are already familiar with these programs. Members of loyalty systems generate 12-18% incremental revenue growth per year.
- American consumers spend 66% more on brands they are loyal to. You can be as complex or straightforward as a punch card for services or as creative as you want to make loyalty programs.
Advertisement via Pay-Per-Click
Paid-per-click advertising can be a great lead generation tool for your business to spread the word, especially if you are starting. For those who don’t know, it is a form of advertising that requires people to click your ads for you to pay a specific price based on how much you’re bidding for the keyword you used.
They work in the following way: you create an advertisement and target specific demographics or keyword search. You pay for each conversion when the user clicks on your website or landing page.
You can run Pay-per-click ads on search engines such as Google or social media sites like Facebook. You also can use ad networks that allow ads to appear on many websites, and you get the same results based on the click.
Pay-per-click ads should be A/B tested. Change one feature in your ad—such as the headline, photo, or call to action—to track which ads get more clicks and do lead scoring. You can optimize your campaigns to ensure your ads are as effective as possible.
Good Old Print Marketing and Physical Marketing
If your target customers are more open to physical and print marketing, it may also work well for your shop. These are just a few ideas. With a discount offer, send postcard mailers to homes near your business.
Flyers can be printed and distributed to businesses in your area.
Place business cards in your local area.
Make branded swag, such as pens, with your logo and distribute them at local events.
You can use a unique code to track the effectiveness of your printed and physical marketing efforts. You can then trace how many people use that code or go to the landing page and compare your return on investment to other marketing efforts.
To reach 93% of online potential, update your online listings. According to SearchEngine Journal, 92% of online experiences start with a search engine.
Many people who get your auto body postcards will search your name and visit your site. However, others will search for what they want: “Best auto shop in [CITY].”
They will also see a variety of listings, including many that are search and review sites like:
- Angie’s List.
- Prime Buyer’s Report.
- Yellow Pages.
- Repair Pal.
You should also ensure that you are listed on these sites and that your business profile is accurate, up-to-date, and includes photos of your work (such as before-and-after shots).
You can keep your listing current by taking the time to upload photos and asking happy customers to leave reviews on the site.
Check Out Reviews and Refer to Others
Ask your customers for feedback. Negative or positive, any feedback is better than none, and how you deal with each one will be the cherry for your business.
You don’t have to be afraid to ask for the reviews, especially if you know you delivered a great result after someone decided to work with you.
It is okay to grow your business by using your existing network actively. When you meet customers, let them know that you would be grateful for a referral or just a review.
You need a business card ready to hand, but it is even more critical to have their contact information. They will be more likely to receive your email newsletters compared to remembering they have a business card.
Also, when you are requesting the review, make it easy for them to leave it in your GMB profile or other review properties by creating a lead that redirects them to the box to write the review.
Send a thank-you note to any customers that take the time to do this. Your loyal customers will return the favor if you keep surprising and delighting them.
Don’t Get Desperate or too Ahead with All the Options
After identifying your selling points and having a good idea of your customers, you need to be true to yourself about what you can afford.
Although a 50-foot billboard near the highway would attract attention, it could also cut into your budget.
It may also cost more than what you can realistically earn in net profit, which is why it is essential to decide how fast you want your company to grow. It is better to have modest growth than to be overwhelmed with customers and not be able to serve them well.
You should be honest about what you promise and ensure that you comply with Federal Trade Commission laws. Advertising is a great way to get customers. However, fair business practices and good customer service will keep them returning.
Word of mouth is among powerful lead generation tools for advertising. It is also free. Happy customers will refer you to their friends and family.
But one unhappy customer could ruin your reputation and undermine your efforts.
Keep In Touch Quickly
Auto body shops can increase word-of-mouth sales by focusing their marketing efforts on existing customers.
Although you can spend a lot on TV ads, radio spots, and direct mail campaigns to reach customers, you are not targeting the right audience.
Keep providing excellent service and stay in touch with customers. And, most importantly, surprise and delight customers.
This will make you a trusted partner to your customers and keep your name in their minds. A functional can help you automate your social media and email marketing.
The Local Lead Generation Process for Your Auto Body Business
All right! So, everything is about building properties and generating leads. But how does the process actually take place? Are there other steps I need to know?
The steps I mention below are what students from our local lead generation program follow to generate leads for businesses like yourself. So I’ll help you see what we do. And how if you join our program, you can simply generate leads for your own business (unless you want to start a side hustle and build a laptop lifestyle business).
Essentially, our lead generation can be divided into four steps:
The first is prospecting. You need to take the time to do market research on a niche (industry) and determine how many phone-driven businesses are there.
Keep in mind that this is local research as you need to know how many companies need leads. For example, you may search for “plumbing services Youngstown OH.”
You will find dozens or even hundreds of businesses trying to get themselves in front of the customers by ranking on Map Listings, organic results, and even Ad.
The second step, building. When you find a niche (plumbing, tree services, a software company, real estate…), you will need to start building your digital properties. You don’t need to be an expert in HTML or coding. It can be easy with the right tools.
The third step is now taking time to rank your lead gen website. With the site done, you need to work on SEO strategies and start dominating those Google search results. If you’re new to SEO, it stands for Search Engine Optimization.
To keep it simple, it consists of the entire process of growing a company’s visibility on search engines like Google and generating organic traffic. And remember this, local lead generation is part of the strategies.
Moving on to step four, once you rank the site, you will start getting your ROI and profits. You only need to rent it out to a local business interested in the leads the site generates. You can offer a couple of free leads to their move on with the actual pay per lead.
To review steps 1-4 above, I described it to a normal student who is building a lead gen business to help local service providers generate more calls. But replace the student with you as the business owner. And replace sending the leads to a business to simply siphoning the leads to your personal business.
By the way, fun fact, about 20% of our students in our local lead gen program are actually business owners who went through the program. And they use the skillsets we teach to generate leads for their own business.
An Example of Lead Generation: Home Advisor
You must be thinking, “if lead generation sounds so good so far, how come I haven’t seen any company?” That’s the thing; there are many out there. You just don’t know they are dedicated to it.
HomeAdvisor is one of the best examples you can find on the Internet as it is a top lead generation company that has spent millions building its brand but also earned even more zeros for this same reason.
They started small as everyone else but invested in building their brand awareness to make people who are looking for home services go to their website and find what they need. They are over 75% of people’s first choice when they need those services.
If you don’t get HomeAdvisor that much or need a refresh, users need to submit their information to request a service and get a professional or expert who can provide it.
HomeAdvisor’s job is to share your information, which makes you a lead, with local companies so they can contact you and offer the service you’re requesting. For sharing this lead information, HomeAdvisor gets paid by the companies. This happens for every single lead they send to multiple businesses.
Business owners who don’t have marketing skills or don’t even know how to have any online presence will always rely on those pages to list their services. They will save time and effort, but companies like HomeAdvisor can make them spend lots of money as leads aren’t exclusive (one lead is sent to multiple companies after all).
Using Facebook Ads aka Paid Ad Platforms: Do They Generate Leads?
They DO generate leads. If not, no one would use them.
However, you need to remember two facts:
- Paid ads or platforms can be expensive.
- They don’t generate “natural” leads.
Whenever someone sees or clicks in one of those ads, over 80% of them did it by accident or are trying to close/report it.
Why? Because they aren’t looking for those services. At least not at the moment.
What those ads do instead is interrupt their time on the platforms. Users aren’t there to find companies or businesses unless they are searching for a specific company’s user, and for that, there’s a search bar. This is why it is hard to convert them to actual customers who will show interest in the companies’ services. Also, you’re limited by a budget.
When using lead generation, everything is organic. You aren’t forcing others to pay attention to your business but rather being there when they need you. This is why Google’s organic traffic will always beat paid ads, and the reason companies continue investing in it, which is a lot cheaper as well.
What Is Local SEO?
Don’t worry… I didn’t get it at first either. Following the short explanation, local SEO focuses on scaling businesses’ visibility on search engines. However, this is only for those who serve their communities face-to-face.
What does this mean?
Experts and professionals like painters, plumbers, and dentists (but not only them) offer their services to their local customers. Why? Because they can’t deliver them unless they are located in the same area of their customers.
To make sure those businesses get more leads, you need to rank them locally by claiming the business listing on Google to place them on Map Listings. Local SEO also involves online reviews, citation management, and how you manage your entire online presence in the local area.
If you are going to bet on lead gen, you need to adapt yourself to today’s world: The Internet.
Keep in mind that although traditional channels and methods like billboards, warm calls, and pamphlets still work, they aren’t part of your tools. Whenever someone needs a service, they go to Google and search for it.
“Dentist in Miami” or “plumbing services in Orlando,” etc. And you can keep coming up with services or professionals people need and look for. Thus, you need to make sure you’re using Google to get the companies in front of their clients.
Users will always click on the first search results (those near the top), and many of them will be either Ad links (people paid to place their websites there), Map Listing, and then you get websites. Almost all of them are your goal and where you should always aim to place yourself.
Can My Auto Body Business Utilize a Local Lead Generation Strategy?
If you want customers, you better know you need it. Following the previous explanation, lead gen is all about placing businesses in front of their customers, choosing them over their competitors.
Put it simply – it’s all about closing deals and having clients for those companies to make money. The main difference with the usual methods companies use for this is how lead generation approaches different channels to get them in the right place of the market to get customers.
Those channels are all focused on the Internet as most people are searching for products but also services across the net. The issue is that the Internet is way too broad, and businesses don’t know how to place themselves. They usually try, but they get one common result: losing money and time.
How Powerful Are Organic Auto Body Leads from Google?
For companies looking for customers, it’s everything. For you? Pretty much the same. When you build a business with digital properties, you get to make thousands of dollars a month.
This isn’t a “get started today and get rich tomorrow” thing, but it is HIGHLY scalable, and ROI + positive results are guaranteed. Learning a fairly decent and very needed set of skills to create your digital properties and start ranking them on Google is required.
I have invested in several online businesses over the years, and if there’s something uncertain, whether you will get your ROI or not, even more than the actual profit.
However, this business moved my earnings from five figures a year to a month in ONLY passive income while sitting comfortably at home.
On my laptop. Anywhere. Anytime.
You can look at one of the first sites I built back in 2016, and it continues making me over $1.000+ every month. The best part is that I don’t need to touch it or the rest I’ve built over the years, just like this digital property.
What Makes Lead Generation SO Alluring?
Here it goes: you can work from home.
The main issue with regular business opportunities is how much you need to invest in staff, equipment, or rent to have a place to sell your products or offer your services.
We all know the hassles of traditional businesses that involve regular expenses, which are extremely high. Can you afford it? I don’t think so, and even if you can, is it worth it? Now, it isn’t only about the money. You also need to put in a lot of work, and it isn’t only during the first couple of months or years. Usually, it is as long as you continue running it.
You can save yourself those headaches and bone-breaking tasks and expenses with lead gen since it is more about generating leads with digital channels—mainly websites.
Websites can be VERY cheap to build, and with many tools online, you get to do it in a couple of hours instead of days. Any virtual or digital business is scalable and won’t need constant maintenance.
So, let’s summarize this:
- You save money in regular expenses with traditional and most online businesses as what you need is yourself and digital properties (websites).
- You can bet on passive income.
- There’s no need to hire more people to get started.
- You can generate leads in multiple industries, which allows you to work on any niche you want.
How Can I Get Started in the Local Lead Generation Program?
Anyone can start and learn. That’s the beauty of this business model. I knew nothing about SEO, Map Listing, and everything I’ve mentioned so far. It is all about learning the skills, gaining experience, and deciding to take the step.
Remember that this business model will never get old as business owners are always looking for leads. They need to do business and scale their companies. Why not do the same while helping others and still making money?
You can start with this local lead generation course highly recommended for anyone wanting to grow in the business. It is a close training that will take you through each step and make sure you are able to get your ROI, profits and take control of your life.
You will be added to an incredible lead generation family ready to help you 24/7 when asking questions on the group. Anyone is welcome who’s willing to put in the work. Click here to watch the lead gen webinar.